BELFAST, Maine — The most anticipated race at Saturday’s Eastern Maine high school cross country championships certainly lived up to the hype, as the Camden Hills girls of Rockport edged Mount Desert Island of Bar Harbor by a single point to win the Class B title.
Camden Hills, which finished second to MDI earlier this month at the 40-school Festival of Champions meet, turned the tables on the Trojans by a 51-52 margin in this rematch of two of the top three teams in the latest state cross country coaches poll.
“Going into the race we knew how we compared to MDI, and that we had to step it up in order to beat them,” said Camden Hills sophomore Brittany Bowman. “We knew that every point counts and that every runner we passed was important. The JV team was in that situation last week (in winning the KVAC championship), so we had proof that we had to work hard and our runners got motivated at the end.”
Also crowned regional champions Saturday were Class A Mount Ararat of Topsham and Class C Washburn.
Bowman and freshman Willow Parker paced Camden Hills to its title, finishing second and third overall behind Bethanie Brown of Waterville, who was timed in 18:59.74 on the 3.1-mile course at the Troy Howard Middle School.
MDI placed all five of its scorers, led by freshman Caroline Driscoll, between seventh and 13th place, but Camden Hills used late surges from Emily Lopez (10th), Lily Kassen (17th) and Samantha Morse (21st) to slip past the Trojans in the team scoring.
“When Sam came past she had two girls ahead of her and I looked to her and said, ‘Sam, you’ve got to pass those giris,’ and she did,” said Camden Hills coach Becky Flanagan. “They all passed that one girl they really needed to pass. They learned that each point counts, and they gave it everything they had.”
Sophomores Nora Hubbell (ninth), Olivia Erickson (11th), Maggie Painter (12th) and Isabel Erickson (13th) completed the MDI pack.
“I think we did pretty well,” said MDI junior Malia Demers, who placed 19th. “There were a lot of people who wanted to do better that didn’t have their best race ever, but I’m really happy with how our team did and we’re excited for states.”
The state meet is Saturday at the Twin Brook Recreation Area in Cumberland, and joining Camden Hills and MDI as Eastern B qualifiers were John Bapst of Bangor (96), Caribou (110), Waterville (116) and Ellsworth (137).
WASHBURN, which did not have enough runners for a full team last year, was led to its Eastern C title by defending individual state champion Carsyn Koch, a sophomore whose time of 20:28.46 was nearly 50 seconds faster than her closest competitor.
The Beavers, whose 10-runner roster included five sophomores and five freshmen, scored a 45-61 victory over second-place Orono.
Koch was one of three Washburn runners among the top seven finishers, with classmate Carmen Bragg fourth and freshman Mackenzie Worcester seventh.
“Our top three are amazing,” said Washburn coach Michael Waugh. “To place three in the top seven, they knew they had to do it and they came through for us.”
Freshmen Marianne Helton (16th), Joan Overman (25th), Mikayla Churchill (28th) and Hannah Heald (30th) also aided the Beavers’ cause.
“What I was especially impressed with was our fourth through seventh runners, they really stepped it up today,” said Waugh. They knew they had to step it up, and they ran their hearts out.”
Orono was led by Rowan Wilson, who placed third overall behind Koch and Nelly Winship of Bucksport. Jordan Richards added a fifth-place finish for the Red Riots.
Joining Washburn and Orono at the state meet will be Bucksport (81) and George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill (83).
MOUNT ARARAT placed its five scoring runners among the top 11 finishers to win the ‘A’ girls race, outpointing runner-up Brunswick 36-52. Kelly Lynch and Emma Wood led the Eagles with a 4-5 finish behind individual champion Erzsie Nagy of Lawrence of Fairfield (18:51.25), Teresa Murphy of Brunswick and Addie Cullenberg of Mt. Blue of Farmington.
Other teams in the top half of the field and earning berths in the state championship meet were Mt. Blue (99), Hampden Academy (104), Brewer (159), Lewiston (161) and Bangor (185).