The high school cross country season for Maine runners officially came to a close in New York City over the weekend.
Yarmouth High School junior Luke Laverdiere, the Class B state champion, capped off a fantastic junior campaign with a strong run at the Footlocker Northeast Regional meet at Van Cortlandt Park.
Laverdiere finished 38th out of 139 runners, covering a 5-kilometer course in 16 minutes, 35.3 seconds.
The Foot Locker Northeast regional meet comprises of runners from the New England states, along with New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland.
Laverdiere romped through regular and postseason races in his home state, as he compiled gold medals from the Maine Cross Country Festival of Champions and the Class B South regional meets.
Greely of Cumberland Center senior Katherine Leggat-Barr and Yarmouth senior Abigail Hamilton enjoyed stellar performances in the girls’ race as well.
Hamilton was the top Maine schoolgirl finisher, clocking in at 18:51.6, good for 20th place among 96 runners.
Leggat-Barr, who was the Rangers’ top runner in the Class B state championship (third place overall) in leading Greely to the team championship, came in 25th place, recording a time of 18:57.5.
The top 10 finishers in each race qualified for December’s national championships in San Diego.
Laverdiere, Hamilton and Leggat-Barr were the only Maine runners to participate in the Foot Locker regionals.
Runners throughout the state kicked off the indoor track and field season with preseason practices on Monday. The first Eastern Maine Indoor Track League meets are scheduled for Dec. 17 at the University of Maine.
Cross country season one to remember
Now that the sun has officially set on the high school cross country season in Maine, there are plenty of things to look back on as the calendar flips towards December.
For one, it’s remarkable how all the athletes across the state did not waver to regional championship meets being postponed in late October.
While cross country runners are certainly known for wanting to run in the muddiest of weather conditions, the decision to push regional and state championship competition back a week apiece was a good call by the Maine Principals’ Association.
You always have to think safety first, and course conditions in Cumberland and in Belfast were immaculate for South and North regionals and states, giving all athletes and teams fair, dry and fast courses to compete on.
How about the incredible team confrontations between the Orono and George Stevens Academy girls?
The Red Riots used a sixth-runner tiebreak to edge the Eagles of Blue Hill at the PVC championships before GSA triumphed at the North regional meet by a single point.
GSA went on to take a nine-point victory in the state meet.
It’s rare that you see three consecutive close postseason confrontations between two teams, much less two in the same region, but the Red Riots and Eagles gave Maine running fans some races to remember.
We are also fortunate to have some very talented individuals traversing Maine’s trails.
Among them are the aforementioned Laverdiere and Leggat-Barr, along with Mount Desert Island’s Tia Tardy, John Hassett of George Stevens, Kassidy Dill of Orono and Mt. Blue of Farmington’s Tucker Barber.
Tardy recently committed to attend Bucknell University on a track scholarship, and led her Trojans to conference and regional team titles on the cross country trails. She made history last winter in becoming the first girl in the long history of the EMITL to break the five-minute mile barrier, and is poised for a strong winter on the track.
Dill had an outstanding postseason for Orono, sweeping the individual races at PVCs, the North regionals and the state meet among Class C competitors, and Hassett did the same for GSA. Barber’s first-place run at regionals wound up leading Mt. Blue to a team championship.
Here’s hoping the upcoming indoor track season brings with it some fast times, record-breaking performances and a limited supply of snowstorms.