GORHAM — For nearly a decade, Kevin Desmond and Will Lundquist have been trying to prove who is the fastest.

“Our little rivalry goes a little ways back,” Desmond, a graduate of Monmouth Academy, said. “We’ve run against each other since seventh grade.”

“We saw each other a lot in middle school, like every other week,” added Lundquist, a Cony graduate. “I was just getting into running, and in seventh and eighth grade he was that kid who was really fast and I was trying to chase after him.”

The two are still chasing each other today, only now as friends and teammates on the University of Southern Maine cross country team, rather than as rivals.

Desmond and Lundquist are two races into their senior year with a Husky team that has aspirations of competing for a Little East Conference title this season.

“Our team is pretty solid,” Lundquist, the team’s captain, said. “The pieces didn’t look like they were there to make a legitimate run (in the beginning) but it really seems like we could pull off something big if we continue to progress. If we can figure that out and get that good we can be dangerous.”

Both Husky harriers have shown at different points this season that they could be serious threats for USM this season.

The Huskies opened the season at the Husson Harrier Classic on Sept. 6, where the team finished in first place in a meet that also featured Maine Maritime, University of Maine at Farmington and Husson.

Lundquist was the first Husky across the line in the 8-kilometer race, clocking a time of 29 minutes, 56.43 seconds to finish third. Desmond was fifth with a time of 30:19.06.

For his efforts in the opener, Lundquist was named the LEC Runner of the Week on Sept. 8, the first time in his career he had won the award.

Last Saturday at the UMass-Dartmouth Cross Country Invitational it was Desmond’s turn to shine, as he finished the 5-mile course in a personal best time of 26:07.79 to take 35th place. Lundquist was the Huskies’ fourth runner across the line, placing 86th overall with a time of 27:12.54 as USM finished 11th in the 34-team event.

“It was a pretty good day for us,” USM coach Ryan Harkleroad said. “The team did alright and most of the guys ran personal bests, which is encouraging at this point in the season.”

Harkleroad also said that Desmond and Lundquist — who have roomed together at USM since their sophomore years — have played a big part in helping the Huskies build their program.

“They’ve been part of the foundation of the team. They have great attitudes, and they approach most days with energy and enthusiasm,” Harkleroad said. “They both developed a relationship with me where they’ve figured out how far they can push me, and they know when to be joking and when to be serious. It keeps me on my toes for sure, and it keeps the rest of our runners in a good frame of mind.”

In addition to helping the team improve, Lundquist and Desmond have also made each other better.

“It’s always good to be like, ‘hey Kevin, you just want to run,'” Lundquist said. “Especially during the summer it was really beneficial to have someone to run with.”

Lundquist, Desmond and the rest of the Huskies will return to action in Maine this weekend as they will participate in the Bowdoin Invitational on Saturday at 11 a.m. in Brunswick.

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley

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