AUGUSTA — The Scot Laliberte Invitational has become a showcase for some of the best cross country runners in the state. This year’s race will see two new winners. Last year’s girls winner, Erzsie Nagy of Lawrence, will miss the race due to injury, and last year’s boys winner, Harlow Ladd of Messalonskee, graduated and moved on to Purdue University.

“I think, in the last five or six years, this is the one time nobody has an idea of who’s going to win,” Cony High School cross country coach Shawn Totman said. “There are five or 10 kids, boys and girls, who can win the individual titles.”

The race is named in honor of Scot Laliberte, a Cony runner who died in a car accident in 2000. The race will begin at 3 p.m., and run over the trails surrounding Cony High School. The race is unique in that boys and girls are scored together for one overall team title.

“I love it that girls and boys run together,” Nagy said. “It was really fun running it last year. It’s nice getting pumped up for the cross country season.”

Twenty-two schools have confirmed they’ll compete, Totman said, and he expects two more could show up. More than 460 runners are registered, Totman said.

“Hopefully, those two other schools show up, and we have more than 500 runners,” Totman said.

While the race is competitive, Totman and the race organizers see it as a celebration of their sport.

“The whole spirit of the race is about getting kids out and running and seeing what cross country is all about,” Totman said.

Some of the strong teams this year could include Mt. Ararat, Mt. Blue and Brunswick.

“Nobody’s going to show up and say ‘Well, there’s Harlow Ladd,’ ” Totman said. “There’s a lot of good runners.”

The race is shorter than the typical high school cross country race. Still, at approximately 2.4 miles, the course is challenging. It includes what Totman called “The Mother of All Hills,” a 700 meter climb that comes approximately 600 meters into the race.

“It’s challenging,” Totman said. “It’s a little shorter, which is perfect for this time of year.”

Runners can expect sunny skies and temperatures in the high 70s with low humidity at race time.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]



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