It’ll be a busy championship Saturday this weekend, as the state’s cross country runners will join their soccer counterparts in deciding state championships.
Twin Brook Recreation Center in Cumberland will play host to the meet, with the Class A girls kicking off a full day of racing at 11 a.m.
The Class A boys will run at 11:45 a.m., the Class B girls at 12:30 p.m., the Class B boys at 1:15 p.m., the Class C girls at 2 p.m. and the Class C boys at 2:45 p.m.
On paper, Western Maine teams are favored to continue their reign over their East cousins.
The Cheverus of Portland teams are favored in both Class A races while defending state champs Greely of Cumberland Center on the boys side and Cape Elizabeth on the girls have reloaded.
In Class C, the Freeport girls and boys and Boothbay Region boys look strong.
That’s not to say that Eastern Maine will not produce plenty of standouts.
On the girls’ side in Class A, Mt. Blue of Farmington senior Melody Lam will be looking for another strong performance after winning her second consecutive individual crown in Belfast last weekend.
“I’m not really sure what to go for for time, but I’ll probably still be looking to go sub-20 [minutes],” Lam said last weekend.
Other Eastern Maine individual stars who will join her include Mount Ararat of Topsham’s Kate Spies, Brunswick’s Katie McMahon and Sara Chavarie of Brewer.
Sophomore standouts Emily Durgin of Cheverus, Abbey Leonardi of Kennebunk and Fiona Hendry of Cheverus are expected to lead the pack, and Durgin made a statement last week by beating Leonardi, the defending state and New England champion, for the first time.
Durgin and Hendry combine to lead a lethal Cheverus pack.
On the boys side, Sam Nisbett of Bangor will be looking for another top-10 finish after placing sixth in regionals.
Cheverus won the Western Maine crown last weekend, but defending champ Scarborough and East champion Brunswick cannot be counted out.
Class B: These meets, at least on paper, are Greely’s and Cape Elizabeth’s to lose, but Eastern Maine winners, the John Bapst of Bangor girls and Caribou boys, are both coming off outstanding regional performances.
The Crusaders used pack power to overwhelm the rest of the EM field, and will have to exhibit that same trait to have a shot at a top-three finish.
Sisters Adrienne and Mary Carmack lead coach Joe Capehart’s team, while Kim Spencer, Sarah Dickens and Laura Donovan had solid regional races.
Defending individual champ Abby Mace of Maranacook of Readfield is favored to defend her title, and Eastern Maine standouts Dacie Manion of Old Town, Alecia Palmer of Presque Isle and Brianne Dunn of Ellsworth should figure into the mix for top-10 finishes.
The Caribou boys have a talented top four in Finn Bondeson, Christian Sleeper, Tim Freme and D.J. Flynn while fifth man Jake Michaud is improving with every race.
Coach Roy Alden’s club will be gunning for a top-five finish in a talented field.
“Greely and Cape and those schools are very good,” Alden said last weekend. “When you look at the polls and stuff it’s clear that they’re probably a notch better than all of us.”
However, the Vikings snuck up and finished second two years ago, which only enhances their confidence.
“Everybody thought all the Western Maine teams were going to be way better,” Alden said. “If we can pack ourselves up close like we did two years ago, we can race with them.”
Eastern Maine stars Darik Frye of Hampden Academy and Sam Seekins of Erskine Academy should contend for top-five spots.
Class C: The Freeport girls and boys won their Western Maine titles in contrasting fashions, with the Falcons edging defending state champ Waynflete of Portland on the girls side and the Freeport boys running away with its meet.
Eastern Maine individual champs Faith Mackey of Searsport and Matt Guiod of Mattanawcook of Lincoln should contend for a top-10 finish, while EM team champ Orono will battle for a top spot.