BELFAST — Two of the nation’s best schoolgirl cross country runners were on display Saturday, and they put on quite a show.
Abbey Leonardi of Kennebunk became only the second girl to break the 18-minute barrier on Belfast’s 5-kilometer course at the Maine Cross Country Festival of Champions, blazing over the 3.1 miles in a meet-record time of 17 minutes, 58.4 seconds.
That narrowly missed Cassie Hintz’s course record of 17:52.60, but broke the meet record of 18:25.99, held by Erica Jesseman.
Cheverus of Portland’s Emily Durgin, who finished second in 18:21.9, also eclipsed the old meet record.
Both Leonardi and Durgin qualified for the Foot Locker National Championships last fall.
In the team ranks, Durgin’s Stags proved tops for the second year in a row, as three Cheverus runners finished in the top 10 overall en route to an impressive 74-point performance.
John Bapst of Bangor earned runner-up honors for the second year in a row, tallying 196 points while Massabesic of Waterboro was third with 230, followed by Falmouth (244) and Bonny Eagle of Buxton (270).
Mt. Blue of Farmington finished seventh overall with 322 points while Caribou was 10th, compiling 351 points.
Leonardi and Durgin blasted through the first mile in 5:28 while Leonardi was still on pace at two miles, clocking through at 11:26.
Abby Mace of Maranacook of Readfield was third overall, running 18:56.5 while Fiona Hendry of Cheverus ran 19:09.5 to place fourth.
Old Town’s Dacie Manion led all Eastern Maine competitiors with an impressive fifth-place finish in 19:19.9 while Brittany Bowman of Camden Hills of Rockport finished ninth and Adrienne Carmack of John Bapst 10th.
Overall, the girls meet featured over 550 runners and 44 scoring teams.