Though the season is early, the Waterville girls cross country team has shown promise.

Three runners finished in the top 25 during the meet at Maranacook on Sept. 1. Another three runners finished in the top 25 in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference meet Saturday.

Gwinna Remillard has been the early standout for the Purple Panthers. She finished third at the Maranacook meet (22:45.90) and fourth Saturday, but improved her time, finishing at 22:31.00.

“Gwinna has taken charge, and she’s one of the runners that’s been working hard all season,” Waterville head coach Hannah Bard said. “She came to all of the summer practices, all the summer workouts. Sometimes I have have to keep an eye on her in practice, because she’ll keep pushing herself past — sometimes — what is good for her. But she’s been one of those runners that has been making excellent strides since last year.”

Though Remillard has been the standout, Bard has been impressed with the depth of the roster.

“The girls have been doing really well,” Bard said. “I feel like there’s a fire in them that I haven’t really seen before….I just see a little bit more relaxation in them, and I don’t see that pressure that I think they’ve been feeling in past years. Their times this season compared to last year are crazy. Most of them have been running a minute to two minutes faster than last year.”

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Speaking of the Purple Panthers, Nick Dall has been the leader of the Waterville boys cross country team early this season. Dall finished first at the Maranacook meet on Sept. 1 with a time of 17:51.80.

It’s no surprise Dall has jumped out to an excellent start. Dall won the KVAC Class B and Northern Class B titles a year ago. But Bard was quick to point out that — much like the girls team — there’s strong depth behind Dall.

“He’s running phenomenal,” Bard said. “He’s running great times, he’s feeling really good, he’s looking really strong. But it’s not just the No. 1 runners that win championships, it’s having the depth on the team. This year we really have some great depth.”

Bard pointed out that Soren Nyhus, Connor Dolan, Andy Chambers — all senior runners — will be members of the team she expects to see step up as the season moves along.

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The Maranacook girls cross country team brought new meaning to home-field advantage.

During a meet hosted on their home course in Readfield on Sept. 1, the Black Bears took six of the top 11 spots, with sophomore Molly McGrail finishing first with a time of 21:48.40.

“She’s been training with the captains a lot, so she’s getting mileage in and really racing strong,” Maranacook coach Rosalea Kimball said.

Finishing second was teammate Laura Parent, with a time of 22:25.00.

Rounding out the effort was Maddie Taylor (fourth), Sophie O’Clair (fifth), Lily Welch (eighth) and Madelyn Dwyer.

“We have a lot of depth this year,” Kimball said. “It’s completely unclear who the top seven runners are. That’s going to sort itself out as we go along. Thankfully, most of the meets it doesn’t really matter (who the top seven are) until we get down to the (Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference meet) at the end of the season. Hopefully by then it will be clear, but right now, it’s not clear at all…. It’s a good problem to have.”

The Black Bear boys were on their game as well. Luke Bartol finished fourth with a time of 18:46.80, with Tate Mendall finishing 11th at a time of 19:58.30.

“Luke has been really training very well over the summer. He’s improved his time by a lot over the last year,” Kimball said. “Then we have a really strong pack after Luke. The next three or four boys are within 40 seconds of each other. We just have to move that pack up closer to where Luke is.”

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Around the area: Winslow runner Olivia Tiner had a big day in the Waterville meet Saturday, finishing first at 21:26.00. She bested Brewer’s Olivia Mosca, who finished second at 21:51.00….At the Waterville meet, Messalonskee had runners take seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th, respectively. Those runners were Charlotte Wentworth (23:21.00), Peyton Arbour (23:22.00), Emma Wentworth (23:26.00) and Alexa Brennan (23:49.00).

Dave Dyer — 621-5640

ddyer@centralmaine.com

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer