Adam Goode isn’t a big believer in the state’s high school cross country coaches’ poll — even though he’s one of the eight coaches statewide who voted in the most recent weekly offering.
But the first-year Bangor High School coach hopes those who do participate know of what they’re evaluating, as the Rams currently rank third statewide entering Saturday’s Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championshp meet.
The KVAC meet, which crowns champions from both Class A and Class B schools, will be held at Cony High School in Augusta. The girls varsity race begins at 11 a.m., followed by the boys varsity at 11:45 a.m., the girls junior varsity at 12:30 and the boys junior varsity at 1:15 p.m.
The Bangor boys sport a youthful roster led by sophomore Jon Stanhope.
“Jon’s been doing very well,” said Goode, who is assisted by Bangor girls basketball coach Katie Herbine. “He’s able to run up in the top pack in every race.”
Senior Jonathan Belanger, sophomore Caleb Halvorson-Fried, freshman Jake Archer and senior David Correale are other top runners for the Rams, but Goode credits the team’s depth for much of its success — which included a sixth-place finish at the recent Festival of Champions in Belfast where Bangor placed third among in-state schools behind Western Maine powers Falmouth and Scarborough.
“We’ve really got 11 guys who could be among the top seven at any of the championship meets,” said Goode, who plans to use senior Nate Ivey and junior captain Nils Wahlstrom to round out his team’s top seven at the KVACs.
“The depth really helps, and what I’m most excited about is how we’ve been able to deal with what typically challenges teams during a season,” said Goode, referring to injuries and other personnel issues.
Goode also has been pleased with his runners’ willingness to follow race strategies designed to help the Rams maximize both individual and team results.
“The teamwork has really been important,” he said. “The guys have really supported each other’s strengths, and they’ve proven to be flexible in terms of what strategy we use because we’ve had to change strategies for different meets.”
Other teams expected to contend for the KVAC boys title include Lewiston, Brunswick, Mount Ararat of Topsham and Hampden Academy. Class B Camden Hills, Mount Ararat, Brunswick and Mt. Blue of Farmington should be among the top girls teams.