The Bangor Rams Cross Country team swept the boys and girls KVAC championships on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020. The girls team, led by Erin McCarthy, in this photo from the Festival of Championships in Belfast on Oct. 3 will next compete in the state championship at Saxl Park in Bangor on Nov. 11. Credit: Glendon Rand Photo

As the bus carrying the Bangor High School cross country teams left Cony High School after Saturday’s KVAC Class A championship meet in Augusta, the Rams didn’t know whether they had won or finished second.

An hour later and 60 miles farther north on Interstate 95, coach Roger Huber’s boys and girls squads finally got their answer via email.

There were no Halloween tricks involved, just treats, as the Bangor girls captured their first conference title, while the boys were best in class for the second time in three years.

“Riding back on the bus I sort of knew the girls won, but I thought the boys might be second or third,” Huber said. “But boy, when the results got emailed to us it was cool to have the entire varsity team together on that nice, warm bus to announce the results.

“In 20 years, I’ve never left a meet not knowing what the results were,” Huber said.

The results were delayed because the meet was run in two heats, with boys and girls squads from KVAC South schools in the conference racing in the morning and the KVAC North teams, including Bangor, competing in the afternoon.

Once the northern races concluded, meet director Marty Thornton had to combine the times from both heats for each gender to determine the conference champions.

The Bangor girls scored a dominant victory, with Erin McCarthy and Megan Randall finishing first and second as the Rams totaled 36 points, far ahead of second-place Mt. Ararat of Topsham (91), Brunswick (107) and Camden Hills of Rockport (114) in the 10-school field.

The top four teams all qualified for the girls Class A state championship on Nov. 14 at Saxl Park in Bangor along with the top three individuals from non-qualifying teams, third-place Olivia Mosca of Brewer, No. 4 Payton Bell of Edward Little in Auburn and No. 5 Grace Kirk of Cony.

Bangor’s win was fueled by three pairs of runners, led by McCarthy and Randall. McCarthy finished in 20 minutes, 35 seconds on the 3.1-mile course, 10 seconds ahead of Randall.

Teammates Sadie Harrow and Carly Hayward finished ninth and 10th, respectively, and were separated by 14 seconds, while Sophia Mazzarelli and Anna MacDonald were five seconds apart in 14th and 16th places, respectively.

“Even though there would be fewer bodies in the race [because of the two heats], I thought the girls would have an easier time running solid races because they had partners with them,” Huber said.

Camden Hills was led to its state berth by Jenna Vanryn and Claire Wyman, who placed sixth and seventh, respectively.

The top four Bangor boys were separated by only 21 seconds with Daniel McCarthy — Erin’s brother — fourth in 17:07, followed immediately by Gordon Doore (fifth, 17:25), Fritz Oldenburg (sixth, 17:26) and James Fahey (seventh, 17:28).

Those finishes were rounded out by Simon Socolow’s 15th-place effort as Bangor scored 37 points to shade the next three teams — Mt. Ararat (56), Brunswick (57) and Hampden Academy (96).

“Frankly I think the races of the day came from Fritz Oldenburg, James Fahey and Simon Socolow,” Huber said. “I think Gordon probably struggled a little more today than he would have liked, but Fritz and James and Simon really picked up the slack.”

Joining the top four teams at the Nov. 11 boys state championship race at Saxl Park will be individual qualifiers Dylan Flewelling and Caden Cote of Messalonskee and Casey Gallant of Cony.

Tyler Patterson of Brunswick won the boys race in 16:46, 12 seconds ahead of runner-up Grady Satterfield of Mt. Ararat.

Abbott Valentine’s third-place finish in 17:05 helped Hampden capture its state-meet berth, with teammates Charlie Collings and Harrison Shain following in 17th and 18th places, respectively.

Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...