ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine men and University of New Hampshire women used a common denominator in their victories in an America East dual cross-country meet Friday afternoon.
Led by senior Jesse Orach’s first-place finish and four other Black Bears finishing in the top six, coach Mark Lech’s club was easily able to outdistance its border rivals by a 16-47 count on a cool, crisp Friday.
The difference between Orach and UMaine’s fifth guy, sophomore Simon Powhida, was a staggering 44 seconds.
The UNH women got a strong individual effort from senior Alexandria Giese to earn a 22-39 triumph in the women’s competition, and the difference between Giese and No. 5 runner Riley Gilmore was 36 seconds.
UMaine’s Orach completed the 5-mile men’s race in 25 minutes, 16.3 seconds, leading a large pack of Black Bears right from the start.
Jacob Johns, Aaron Willingham and Levi Frye backed up the Gorham native with a 2-3-4 performance while Powhida completed the Bears’ scorers in sixth.
For the women, Kaitlyn Saulter of Hermon led UMaine with a strong second-place effort but the Bears didn’t have the pack power to overcome the Wildcats.
Giese emerged from a tight pack over the 5K (3.1 miles) race’s stretch portion to break the tape in 18:43, while Saulter was timed in 18:49.2.
Giese was backed by teammates Julia Shorter and Isobel Kelly, who placed third and fifth, respectively, while Cassandra Kruse was sixth and Gilmore seventh.
Haley Lawrence inked a top-five effort for the Black Bears, finishing fourth while Faith Gardner (13th), Tina Bibb (15th) and Eleanora Hubbell (16th) rounded out UMaine’s scoring runners.
UMaine returns to action at the New England Championships at Boston’s Franklin Park on Oct. 8.
Follow Ryan McLaughlin on Twitter at rmclaughlin23