BELFAST — It was a big day for Cony’s Anne Guadalupi and the Waterville girls and boys cross country teams Saturday at the Northern Maine championships at Troy Howard Middle School.

Guadalupi, a junior, won the Class A North girls individual championship in 19:10.24. It is her second regional title in three years. She was second last year to this year’s runner-up, Tessa Cassidy of Brunswick (19:20.29).

Guadalupi, Cassidy and Mt. Ararat’s Katherine Leckbee, who finished third, staged a three-way battle for the title the first two-and-a-half miles before Guadalupi pulled ahead in the final 500 meters.

“It was all mental for me,” said Guadalupi. “I had to tell myself to keep going and don’t give up. I actually had to tell myself I’m not in pain so I would be able to get to the finish line. Tessa pulled away right about the 800 mark but I caught up with her and then stayed ahead of her until the end.”

Waterville swept the Class B individual titles with freshman Nick Dall (16:42.84) winning the boys race by 12 seconds and senior Lauren Brown (19:01.29) dominating the girls race by 35 seconds.

Brown took command of the race just 200 meters in, leaving Amanda Boyd of John Bapst and Waterville’s Cecilia Morin to race for second,

“It was a little tough to keep going fast because there was no one in front of me,” said Brown, who just missed breaking 19 minutes and setting a new PR. “I just tried to focus on running my hardest. I think I got the exact same times, even at the first-mile and second-mile marks, as last meet here (Festival of Champions, where she finished second among all Maine girls).”

“It’s definitely a different experience when you’re out there completely by yourself,” Waterville coach Rob Stanton said. “I told her (that) her performance today was actually better (than at Festival) even though the clock may not say so.”

Brown’s victory and Morin’s third-place finish lifted the Purple Panthers girls to the team championship over Caribou, 66-92. They were backed by a strong trio of freshmen — Ella Ruehsen (13th), Merline Feero (18th) and Gwinna Remillard (33rd), who also scored.

“Coach always says if you have a dog in the hunt then you’re more likely to do better. So we all work together, and I think about my teammates when I’m running because I want to achieve goals together,” said Morin, a junior. “We have really strong bonds. We spend a lot of time together and we have a lot of trust in each other.”

Stanton had the Panthers at 64 points in his pre-race estimates, “and we felt like if we could be in that ballpark that we’d be awfully hard to beat,” he said. “You never know. Teams can have great days. With both teams (girls and boys), we always focus on doing the best we can.”

Dall led the Waterville boys to a second-place finish, well behind Caribou (28-65), which placed six of the top 11 runners. All seven Purple Panthers had personal records to vault them ahead of third-place Belfast.

Dall heeded his coach’s advice and lopped nearly a minute off his personal best to out-pace runner-up Caleb Love-Webb of Camden Hills.

“He executed pretty much what we talked about,” Stanton said. “He’s a competitor, and sometimes he wants to just get out and lead right away and we talked a little bit about (how) you don’t need to lead the whole way. It’s the guy that crosses the finish line first who’s the winner. He took that to heart and ran a smart, controlled race.”

“At Festival of Champions, I did 17:31. I knew if I just listened to coach, I’d get to where I wanted to be,” Dall said. “I wanted to go out a bit conservative, and then at two miles, I really pushed it on.”

Zachariah Hoyle of Messalonskee finished in 16:16.63 to finish third in Class A boys, behind champion Osman Doorow of Lewiston (15:40.39) and Hampden Academy’s Paul Casavant (16:05.91).

He out-kicked Cameron Meier of Mt Ararat in the final 30 meters to edge him by four-tenths of a second.

“That was scary. I definitely knew I had a kick. I just waited too long to use it,” Hoyle said. “He started passing me with 800 to go and I did not see that coming. I just kept with him and tried my hardest.”

The top 30 individual runners in each class earned a spot in this Saturday’s state championship meet at Twin Brook in Cumberland.

In Class A girls, Talia Jorgensen of Cony was fourth and Messalonskee’s Avery Brennan fifth. Mt. Blue qualified four runners — Maggie Hickey (sixth), Meghan Charles (11th), Maeve Hickey (14th) and Emily McCarthy (23rd). Tara Jorgensen (22nd) joined Guadalupi and younger sister Talia as Cony qualifiers. Peyton Arbour of Messalonskee (16th) also qualified.

In Class A boys, runners from the area who qualified were Carson Bessey of Messalonskee (10th); Tucker Barber (12th), Zeke Robinson (17th) and Isaiah Reid (28th) of Mt. Blue; and Cony’s Caleb Richardson (18th).

In Class B boys, Waterville’s Soren Nyhus (ninth), Billy Chambers (15th) and Andy Chambers (30th); Erskine’s Sam Jamison (13th), Justin Studholme (16th) and Ethan Dodge (18th); Winslow’s Nathan Martin (20th); and MCI’s Alex Krechko (26th) made the cut.

MCI’s Megan Noble finished 29th to qualify for Class B states.

The top six teams in each region except Class B boys (seven) qualified for the state championship.

Mt. Blue’s boys and girls both qualified as teams, as did Erskine’s boys and Cony’s girls.

Orono swept the team titles in Class C for the third year in a row.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

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Twitter: @RAWmaterial33