HERMON – Two new course records now stand at Hermon High School, and both belong to Ellsworth High School seniors.
Aleta Looker demolished the previous girls’ record by one minute and 14 seconds and then watched as her classmate, Brayden Beardsley, set the new boys’ mark with a time of 16:51.12 at the Penobscot Valley Conference Cross Country Championship meet Saturday at the Hermon High School course.
“Aleta, I thought, ran really well today,” said Ellsworth head coach Andy Beardsley, who is Brayden’s father. “[Brayden] is finally getting stronger as a runner and coming into his own. He’s got a real chance to really lead our team and he did a good job of doing that.”
“The course is a little different than what I’ve been training on. We’re used to hills and the fact that it loops around so much is a little weird, but it was a really fun race,” Looker said. “Just being able to see my teammates run by me was really supportive.”
The Eagles were without their top runner on the boys’ side, senior Dan Curts, who did not compete in the 5-kilometer race due to a hamstring injury.
“It feels pretty good. I was pretty happy actually,” Brayden Beardsley said. “It was weird leading the race because I’m not really used to that. I’m used to at least having Dan [Curts] in front of me. I like to have a goal of catching up to someone, but it was different.”
On the girls’ side, Mount Desert Island of Bar Harbor took the large school title with 23 points and an average time of 20:43.86. The Trojans were followed by John Bapst of Bangor (70 points), Caribou (86), Ellsworth (92), Presque Isle (130), Old Town (171), Foxcroft Academy (180) and Washington Academy of East Machias (200).
“I’m really happy. We always go in with a little bit of a goal and a strategy for both team goals and individual. I was really impressed that all of the girls really stuck with the strategy and I think they’re really happy with the results,” MDI head coach Desiree Sirois said.
On the boys’ side, Ellsworth edged out John Bapst by 12 points to win the large school title with an average time of 17:48.07. John Bapst (53 points) was followed by Presque Isle (75), MDI (87), Caribou (107), Old Town (131), Hermon (206), Foxcroft (231), and Washington Academy (243).
Both Orono High School teams took the small school titles with the Red Riot boys totaling 33 points, followed by George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill (51), Fort Kent (62), Bucksport (116), Central of Corinth (117), Lee Academy (150) and Calais (160).
The Orono girls recorded 23 points to notch first place, followed by GSA (53), Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln (60) and Lee (100).
“It’s a good day for running. I’m glad we had good weather to lead up to Eastern Maine’s which is the one that most people really point for, but this helps us see where we are as far as pointing towards Eastern Maine’s and States,” Ellsworth coach Andy Beardsley said.
Looker beat out 90 other runners to take the girls’ varsity meet with a 19:28.85 time . She was followed by MDI senior Isabel Erickson, who finished with a time of 20:11.87, MDI junior Waylon Henggeler (20:12.65), Mattanawcook Academy freshman Tia Tardy (20:20.68) and John Bapst freshman Amanda Boyd (20:32.63).
Fort Kent junior Matthew Toussaint (17:07.25), Ellsworth senior Robert Looker (17:14.50), John Bapst senior Connor Wagner (17:27.83) and GSA freshman John Hassett (17:35.95) finished behind Brayden Beardsley to make up the top five overall finishers on the boys’ side out of 111 runners.
The Eastern Maine Regional Championships will be held Oct. 26 at Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast, something Looker and coach Beardsley are looking forward to.
“We’re focused and we’ve got work cut out for us,” Beardsley said. “We’d like to take a stab at defending our Eastern Maine title from last year for our guys and our girls really want to make it to states. Our team is unified in trying to make our goals.”
“I’m just fired up,” Looker said. “I really want to do well and give it my all. Today I didn’t really kick as hard as I thought I could, but it’s my senior year and I really want to make sure I’m just completely spent at the end of it.”