HAMPDEN — The high school cross country season has not even reached its halfway point, but the way Darik Frye is running, the rest of Class B better watch out come late October.
The Hampden Academy senior lit up his 2.84-mile home course Friday afternoon, capturing individual honors at a three-team Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference meet, traversing the hilly course in 15 minutes, 6.77 seconds.
Frye’s Broncos also won the team title with 20 points, while Bangor had 53 to finish second and Brewer 63 for third.
Defending Eastern Maine Class A champion Brewer tallied 21 points to capture the girls meet while Bangor scored 46 and Hampden 61.
Witches sophomore Sara Chavarie won the individual title in the girls race in 19:20.63.
The boys race featured an individual rematch from the opening week of the season between Frye and Bangor’s Sam Nisbett, a race won by Nisbett on his home course.
But Frye wasn’t about to let that happen again on his first — and only — high school race on HA’s trails, as he took the lead on a sharp, curving uphill at the mile mark and never relinquished it.
“Off the start, it was really close and we were kind of nudging shoulders through the woods and everything, and I knew he was going to try to stay with me for as long as he could,” said Frye.
Frye opened his lead to about 10 seconds or so as the runners crested a hill to start the second loop of the two-lap course, but Nisbett closed the gap slightly just after the two-mile mark, prompting Frye to make his move again on the uphills.
“I could hear him, so I knew at the two-mile I had to start going, so I started pushing it more,” Frye said.
Frye’s time was only 13 seconds off the course record of 14:53, set by Ellsworth star Steven DeWitt in 2000.
Frye will likely be even faster in future meets.
“He’s got good leg speed, obviously, running a 1:57 half-mile on the track,” said Hampden coach Dick Balentine. “Once we start doing more speed work I think he’ll get faster, and I think the whole team will get faster.”
The Broncos packed in well behind Frye, as Evan Piccirillo finished third, Greg O’Donnell fourth, Ethan Burke fifth and Mike Wagner seventh to round out the five scoring runners.
Bangor’s Nisbett turned in another strong effort with a 15:10.10 clocking while other top-10 finishers included Juergen Pilot of Bangor in sixth, Andrew Cote of Brewer in eighth and Andrew Closson and Travis Bach of Hampden in ninth and 10th, respectively.
Brewer’s Chavarie went on to win her second race in three meets on the young season, getting out strong from the gun and never looking back.
The chase pack included teammates Michelle Haluska and Lily Sund and Bangor’s Rachel Huber, but Chavarie’s lead was just too wide to be challenged, especially on Hampden’s hilly layout.
“I felt like the second mile went by faster than the first,” said Chavarie, who cruised through the opening mile in 6:21.
Hampden’s course has a fairly tight start, taking runners two laps around a soccer field before heading into a narrow entrance into the woods, so coach Glendon Rand made sure his Witches didn’t get boxed in early.
“He told us to get out, especially around this field, run the first mile well but the second mile better,” Chavarie said.
The Witches had a fairly tight pack behind her, as Haluska and Sund finished second and third with fourth Brewer runner Mikaela King taking sixth and No. 5 girl Bekah Clark ninth.
Bangor’s Huber came in fifth, while other top-10 finishers were Hampden’s Blakelee Jordan in fourth, Mariah Reading of Bangor in seventh, Kylee Parker of Hampden in eighth and Bangor’s Kendall Lunn in 10th.