The Maranacook golf team is hoping to contend for the Class B team title at Saturday’s high school team championships at Natanis Golf Course in Vassalboro. Based on the conference qualifier, also held at Natanis, the Black Bears will be among the favorites.

“You don’t know what’s going to come out of southern Maine,” Maranacook coach Ryan Meserve said. “York seems to be playing pretty well and Cape Elizabeth’s got some good players.”

Maranacook shot a four-man total of 321 at Tuesday’s Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference qualifier, best among Class B teams.

“If we were to post the same number Saturday I think we would be in the mix,” Meserve said.

The Black Bears went unbeaten in the regular season before losing to Camden Hills by two strokes in the KVAC championship. They have five players capable of breaking 80, four of whom qualified for the state individual championships on Oct. 13. They’re led by junior Luke Ruffing, who is a Natanis member and club champion this past summer.

“His end goal is to do well at the state level,” Meserve said.

York is the defending Class B state champion.

Oak Hill also qualified for the Class B state championship at the Mountain Valley Conference qualifier.

In Class A, defending state champion Falmouth and Gorham, winners two years ago, are among the favorites. So is KVAC Class A champion Bangor which shot 321 in qualifying earlier this week. Gorham returns four players who won the title two years ago while Falmouth was the Southern Maine Activities Association northern division champion this fall.

Cony and Messalonskee also qualified among KVAC teams and could be among the top five if they shoot similar scores.

“I don’t think we’re deep enough to be the top team but we proved we could be one of the top teams in the East,” Cony coach Tim Folsom said. “I have (five) people who can shoot under 80. They all have to get hot at the same time.”

Natanis is Cony’s home course although the Rams generally play the Arrowhead Course and Saturday will play the 18 holes on the Tomahawk Course.

“If we can finish in the top five or six that would be fantastic,” Folsom said.

A young Messalonskee team is playing its best golf of the season, evidenced by the 326 the Eagles shot in the KVAC qualifier.

“I think it’s tremendous for this group,” Messalonskee coach Jim Kerschner said. “They’ve started to play better the second half of the season.

“To be honest, I think the teams in the south are a lot better. If we can put up the same kind of numbers on Saturday I’d be pleased.”

St. Dominic is the defending state champ in Class C and the favorite on Saturday. The Saints, who went unbeaten during the regular season, return the bulk of their lineup and were the low qualifier at the MVC qualfier Wednesday.

Winthrop, which had two players (Taylor Morang and Anthony Owens) qualify for the individual tournament, was the No. 3 qualifier at the MVC championships.

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]

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