Despite a forecast of heavy rain overnight and more this morning, cross country regional championships in Belfast and Cumberland are expected to take place as planned today.

“In all my years of coaching, I cannot recollect the regionals being postponed,” Mt. Blue coach Kelley Cullenberg said.

Cullenberg and the Cougars will compete at the Eastern regionals at Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast while Western Maine teams will run at Twin Brooks Recreation Center in Cumberland. The state meet is scheduled in Belfast next Saturday. The top half of finishing teams in each class today qualify for the state meet.

“In meets like this, it’s not time that matters,” Cullenberg said. “It’s placement that matters.”

The Eastern A Regional features the same teams that competed in last week’s Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference meet. In that one, the Mt. Blue boys finished second and the girls fourth out of 13 teams. Most of the KVAC B teams will also compete in the Eastern regionals with the exception of Maranacook, Leavitt and Gardiner who will run in Cumberland.

“We’re going to see some teams we haven’t seen before,” Maranacook coach Roselea Kimball said. “We still race with the same basic strategies.”

The Maranacook boys finished first in the KVAC B race, 32 points ahead of runner-up Winslow, while the girls placed third behind Camden Hills and Waterville. The girls gained a couple of new runners in freshman Taylor Cray and senior Deanna Morris, who had missed most of the season due to injury or illness.

“I think our chances are looking pretty good for both teams,” Kimball said.

The Hall-Dale boys won the Mountain Valley Conference meet last week and expect to continue their success at the Western Class C regional. They will have the services of junior James McAuliffe, who originally was going to miss the meet because he re-aggravated a hamstrimg injury at the MVC meet.

“I made a decision (Thursday),” Hall-Dale coach Chris Poulin said. “He was cleared to run and it was supported by the athletic director so I changed my mind.”

Poulin expects Boothbay, Winthrop and Monmouth, all of whom finished in the top four at the MVC meet, to be the Bulldogs’ main competition.

The regionals also feature a number of outstanding individual runners from central Maine. Justin Tracy of Mt. Blue was the individual boys winner at last week’s KVAC A meet while Lawrence’s Erzsebet Nagy won the girls race. In Class B, Waterville’s Bethanie Brown won by over a minute while Gardiner’s Christian Heath finished second behind winner Ben Trapani of Camden Hills in the boys race.

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

ghawkins@centralmaine.com