Saturday’s regional cross country meets in Belfast and Cumberland will be the last of the season for about half of Maine’s high school runners.

The other half will move on to next week’s state meet, which this year will be held at Twin Brook Recreation Area in Cumberland. The Eastern Maine regional will be held at Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast, while Twin Books is hosting the Western regional.

The top half of teams in each class will move on to the state meet as will the top 30 individuals. Several teams find themselves right on the bubble.

“I would say with both teams,” Maranacook coach Rosela Kimball said of her boys and girls chances. “They’re both right on the edge.”

The Maranacook boys finished first in last week’s Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B meet while the girls placed fourth. But the competition grows much tougher Saturday as they compete against a number of Western Maine powers in Cumberland. Kimball is looking for a bounce-back race from senior Abby Mace, a two-time Class B state champ who finished fourth in last week’s race.

“She just had a really rough day,” Kimball said. “It’s not any reflection of the kind of shape she’s in.”

The Eastern Maine Class A race in Belfast includes the same teams as last week’s KVAC A race. The Mt. Blue girls placed third while the boys finished eighth out of 12 teams, just three points out of sixth. They’ll need to improve to extend a state meet qualifying streak of 19 years in a row.

The Winthrop boys finished third in the Mountain Valley Conference meet but will see stiffer competition in a Western Class C regional that includes North Yarmouth Academy and Waynflete.

“Every week they’re getting better,” Winthrop coach Jay Lindsey said. “Maybe that’s because we’re younger and we’re reaching our peak.”

The top eight teams, out of 15, qualify for the Class C state meet. Winthrop, which won the state championship in 2007, has missed the cut the past two years.

There are a number of strong individuals from central Maine competing this week. Waterville’s Bethanie Brown and Winslow’s Nickolas Shuckrow won KVAC B titles last week and will compete in Belfast on Saturday. So will Lawrence’s Erzsebet Nagy and Messalonske’s Harlow Ladd, who won KVAC A championships last week.

Madison’s Matt McClintock, the reigning Class C state champion, will continue his quest to go under 16 minutes in the Class C race at Twin Brooks

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]

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