BELFAST, Maine — The Monmouth Academy boys cross country team was an underdog in Saturday’s state Class C state championship race to Western Maine regional champ Boothbay Region.
The Mustangs flourished in that role, tucking four scoring runners in the top 15 to earn a 72-83 victory over a Boothbay team seeking the first state title in the history of that program.
“They just felt they had nothing to lose. The kids just ran out of their shoes today,” said Monmouth coach Rick Amero, whose club won its first title in the Class C ranks and first championship since 2003, when it was in Class D.
Winthrop finished third in the field with 87 points while Eastern Maine champ Foxcroft Academy took fourth with 88 and Hall-Dale of Farmingdale rounded out the top five with 110.
Scarborough and Greely of Cumberland Center won going away in Classes A and B, respectively.
Class C: Senior Matt McCollett and sophomore Patrick McInnis powered Monmouth’s championship drive by finishing fourth and seventh, respectively.
”On paper we honestly thought we could get four in the top 20,” Amero said.
Turns out Amero got what he wished for and then some, with Kevin Desmond also cracking the top 10, finishing ninth.
“Every single one of them ran with determination, focus [and they] counted on each other,” the coach said.
The Mustangs had to withstand a strong finish by the Seahawks, a club which has had a remarkable season.
“They’ve made great strides this season. Going into the state meet they were the team to beat, no question about it,” Amero said.
Hall-Dale’s Wade Davis ran uncontested from start to finish, winning the individual title in 16 minutes, 40.11 seconds over 5,000 meters.
Foxcroft senior Graham Pearsall was the only Eastern Maine runner to finish in the top 10, clocking a 17:28.65 for third.
Class A: Scarborough came into the meet fired up after losing the Western regional title to Cheverus of Portland on a sixth-runner tie-break last weekend.
The Red Storm took out their frustrations on defending champ Lewiston, overpowering the EM champion Blue Devils 62 points to 98. Cheverus took third with 102.
“I think that probably helped,” coach Jim Harmon said. “We knew Cheverus was good. We knew they’d be right there with us and that did help us as far as to focus a little more.”
The Storm have perhaps the deadliest 1-2 punch in Class A in Nate Hathaway and Craig Robinson, and those two finished 2-4 to put a gap between themselves and Lewiston early.
Brunswick junior Will Geog-hegan won an exciting race, outkicking Hathaway to win in 16:16.40.
Geoghegan, Hathaway, Luke Fontaine of Cony of Augusta, Jack Terwilliger of Cheverus and Mt. Blue of Farmington’s Kelton Cullenburg were roughly three seconds apart with a half-mile to go.
Class B: Top-ranked Greely put this one away early, tucking three runners in the top 10.
The Rangers overwhelmed runner-up Cape Elizabeth 38-88 while Falmouth finished third with 105.
Ellsworth was the top Eastern Maine team in sixth place while regional champion Caribou settled for seventh.
Greely was powered by its 1-2-3 punch of Mark McCauley, James LePage and Logan Price, who finished third, fifth and sixth, respectively.
Those three have swapped leading positions all year for coach David Dowling, and this time it was McCauley leading the charge.
EM regional champ Sam Seekins of Erskine Academy of South China took fourth while Ben Chapman of Ellsworth was eighth and Ryan James of Belfast ninth.