BELFAST, Maine — Saturday’s Maine Cross Country Festival of Champions brought together many of the state’s top runners.
That atmosphere helped produce many of the best times clocked by Maine runners this season as 18 of the top 25 performances were logged during the girls seeded race, and 16 of the fastest 25 times of 2012 were run in the boys seeded event.
Among the girls, Bethanie Brown’s record-setting time of 17 minutes, 56.69 seconds is the fastest run on the state’s cross country trails. The same holds true for the next five spots on the list compiled by Maine TrackXC on me.milesplit.com.
Finishers Nos. 2-6 at the Festival of Champions turned in the next five lowest times of the fall. They included runner-up Erzebet Nagy of Lawrence High in Fairfield (18:33.67), Samantha Cox of Bonny Eagle in Standish (18:59.39), Brittany Bowman of Camden Hills (19:03.83), Carsyn Koch of Washburn (19:06.60) and Mary Szatkowski of Bonny Eagle (19:07.46).
The dynamic was not quite as pronounced for the boys ranks in the event, as the four fastest times run by Maine competitors remained unchanged. That list is led by Dan Curts of Ellsworth at 15:42.0.
However, 11 of the next 14 fastest boys times this year were registered at the Festival of Champions. They included Jon Stanhope of Bangor (16:24.55), who was fifth in the race and ranks No. 5 in Maine this fall.
Others whose performances have put them in Maine’s top 10 were Cameron Nadeau of Biddeford (16:30.48), Ben Trapani of Camden Hills (16:36.12), Mohamed Barre of Lewiston (16:37.36) and Robert Hall of Scarborough (16:38.06), who are Nos. 7-10, respectively.
The impressive list of times came only three weeks before the regional championship meets. And the Eastern Maine regional and state championship meets will be held on the same course at Troy Howard Middle School.
Maine TrackXC’s numbers show Class B Mount Desert Island of Bar Harbor as the most complete girls team in the state, regardless of class.
Team leader Maggie Painter boasts a seed time of 19:19.05, which was run at the Festival, while Trojans Olivia Erickson (20:15.08), Isabel Erickson (20:15.92) and Nora Hubbell (20:17.53) rank Nos. 29-31, respectively, followed by Caroline Driscoll (20:28.99) at No. 37 and Waylon Henngeler (20:34.89) at No. 41.
Bonny Eagle is second in the rankings, followed closely by Camden Hills. The Windjammers have the No. 4 overall runner in Bowman (19:03.83), along with four others in the top 42.
MDI and Camden Hills will be the girls favorites in the Class C regional.
Class A Cheverus of Portland holds the No. 4 spot overall, while Class B Waterville checks in fifth. Brown sets the pace at Waterville, with three teammates also among the fastest 69 runners overall.
Massabesic of Waterboro, Falmouth, Yarmouth, Hampden Academy (Kylie Parker, 18th, 19:51:36) and Caribou (Mackenzie Belyea, 20th, 19:56.52) round out the top 10.
Western Maine teams occupy seven of the top 10 positions in the Maine TrackXC boys cross country power rankings.
The field is paced by Scarborough, led by Hal, and Lewiston, featuring Barre, in first and second, respectively, both overall and in Class A.
Class B leaders Falmouth, behind Liam Simpson (16:41.26), and Massabesic of Waterboro, which looks to Cody Vachon (16:54.00), are the Nos. 4 and 5 teams.
Ellsworth, Bangor and Mt. Blue of Farmington rank sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively.
The Class B Eagles are spearheaded by Curts and Robert Looker (16:50), while Class A Bangor’s front-runners are Stanhope and Colin Glencross (17:22.25). The Rams’ biggest EM challenger comes from the Cougars, who have a one-two punch in Justin Tracy (16:46.02) and Josh Horne (16:47.97).
Riot Challenge, Pendale set
Thursday will be a busy day of cross country in eastern Maine with the running of two invitational meets.
The first Riot Challenge Cross Country Invitational will be contested at Orono High School, while Hermon High will be the host for the Pendale Invitational.
According to meet director Mary Cady, Orono hopes its meet can fill the void left by the Wolverine Invitational, which used to be held at Schenck High in East Millinocket.
The Riot Challenge will be small this year, with Orono being joined by runners from Foxcroft Academy, Lee Academy, Central of Corinth and Calais.
The Pendale meet, which had originally been scheduled for Friday, will feature a larger lineup comprised predominantly of Class B schools.
On Friday, Bucksport High hosts the Hancock County Championships.
Purdue’s McClintock wins again
Matthew McClintock of Purdue University continued his impressive debut season Saturday in the 40th Sean Earl Lakefront Invitational in Chicago.
The freshman from Athens won for the second time in three collegiate meets, besting a deep field with a time of 24:32 over 8 kilometers (5 miles). He outkicked runner-up Brett Egan of Northern Iowa by one second for the win.
It was only the second time McClintock, a former Madison High star, had competed at that distance. The time shattered his previous effort by 26 seconds.
For his efforts, he was again named the Big Ten Men’s Cross Country Runner of the Week.