Some like it muddy, other runners don’t

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

SHOWING THEIR SCHOOL SPIRIT — Donning some Raider blue in their hair and on their faces, Fryeburg Academy runners (left to right) Thomas Rose, Jonathan Burk and Eric Hannes were all smiles after their Regional performances Saturday.

CUMBERLAND — After a close call a week ago, Silas Eastman left little to chance Saturday.

Entering the Class B West Regional cross-country championships at Twin Brooks in Cumberland, the defending state champ had two goals in mind.

First, he wanted to prepare himself for the upcoming State Meet. Despite some mud spots, which seemed to slow down some runners, Eastman went out hard over the first mile, bettering his time from a week ago by eight seconds.

“By 1.5 miles, the race was over,” Fryeburg Academy varsity cross-country coach Bill Reilly said.

Eastman crushed Falmouth’s Tim Follo, who had a lead on the Raider junior heading toward the home stretch a week ago. Not this time. Eastman dominated with a time of 16:18.11. Follo was second in 16:55.71.

Matt McClintock, a senior from Madison, posted the fastest time of the day by winning the Class C Regional crown with a scorching 16:00.23. Eastman will likely go head-to-head with McClintock at the New England Championships in two weeks.

Objective #2 was to come out of the Regionals healthy. Silas did despite some sloppy running conditions.

“Overall the course was in good shape. I have seen it a whole lot worse,” Coach Reilly said. “100% of the team members went to meet to cheer or run!”

Junior Logan Gerchman “ran a great race,” Coach Reilly said, staying under the 18-minute mark (17:56.82) to finish in 15th place in the field of 109 competitors.

Meanwhile, FA freshman Thomas Rose broke a 6-minute pace and ran ahead of several runners who had been in front of him in previous races. Rose ran an 18:34.98 to place 34th. Overall, the Raiders qualified as a team with a sixth place finish — the Top 8 squads qualify for States.

Coach Reilly had high praise for his other runners — Jonathan Burk (49 at 19:26.23), “a very solid race”; Eric Hannes (56 at 19:52.29), “a pure guts runner, leaves nothing at the end”; Tyler O’Keefe (65 at 20:17.90),  “was sick last week, getting healthy to rip one at State Final”; and Like Yang (68 at 20:20.73), “finding his pace, should go out faster this week at the State Final.”

“This team lost two top seniors to graduation, but picked up three freshmen and a sophomore to form a new team with an equal result,” Coach Reilly said. “They go to the State Final and all are back next year. The Western Maine Conference is so tough that the first six teams to qualify are from the conference ahead of Maranacook, seventh, which was the team champion in the KVAC Conference.”

Lake Region gave it their best shot, but failed to make the Top 8 cut, finishing 11th out of 16 teams.

“We gave it a good shot, but it just wasn’t our day. I am proud of the boys. They really did their best,” LR Coach Dan Dors said. “I am very pleased with the progress they made this year.”

Mark MacDougall paced the Lakers with a 19:10 to finish 42nd over the 3.1-mile course, while TJ Leach finished in 19:22 for 45th place.

Other LR finishers were: 66. Nick Aceto at 20:17; 74. Dillon Knudsen at 20:42; 77. Lucien Sulloway at 20:57; 80. Kyle DeSouza at 21:19; and 101. Mason Kluge-Edwards at 23:37.

On the girls’ side, neither the Raiders or Lakers qualified as teams.

“The girls really were short on numbers this year, yet they still finished 10th!” Coach Reilly said.

Raider senior Corinn Bedell made a strong late surge to place 21st in 22:22.18, good enough to punch a ticket to the State Meet.

“Corinn passed seven runners over the last 300 meters to qualify for the State Meet,” Coach Reilly reported.

Maranacook senior Abby Mace won the event in 19:41.49, well ahead of York’s Heather Evans, who finished in 20:16.86.

Meanwhile, freshman Elizabeth Grzyb capped off an impressive rookie season with a 22:23.15 for 23rd place. She became the first Raider since Stephanie Jette to qualify individually as a freshman for the State Meet.

Coach Reilly was equally proud of the efforts turned in by Raiders Laura Pulito (54 at 23:58.63), Meghan Costello (91 at 32:43.32), Emily Powers (92 at 33:11.20) and Daniele Delucco (93 at 37:32.50).

“Laura ran her heart out, but the competition was really stiff this year,” Coach Reilly said. “A senior, Meghan never ran before this year, but was always there to help team score. Emily, another first year runner, will contribute next year.”

Delucco battled an ankle sprain from most of the season, but “she ran in pain to help the team score,” Coach Reilly said.

Lake Region girls “ran within themselves,” but in the face of some grueling competition, the team was 13th overall.

Finishers were: 69. Kari Eldridge at 25:41; 70. Maggie Knudsen at 25:47; 76. Maude Meeker at 26:42; 82. Savannah Devoe at 27:43; 85. Julia Carlson at 29:31; 86. Nicole Noble at 29:36; 88. Leanne Kugelman at 30:49.

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