AUGUSTA — The top runners in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference and Mountain Valley Conference are set to invade the Capital City on Saturday morning.

Cony High School will play host to the KVAC A and B meets beginning at 11 a.m. with the boys up first, while the University of Maine at Augusta will be the site of the MVC championship beginning at 10 a.m.

The condition of the course could be a factor after heavy rains Thursday that lingered into the early morning hours Friday. That being said, it will be conditions all the runners who compete have to deal with.

“The attitude my kids have is it doesn’t matter what the weather is,” Mt. Blue coach Kelley Cullenberg said. “You might want to get out of the field as quickly as possible if the field is really messy, but they’re conditions everyone is going to have to run in.

“…We’re going to have to plan from here on out on the conditions not being good, get psyched for bad conditions and if they’re better than your expecting, then you’re already ahead of the game.”

Even if the conditions are a little messy, Cony sophomore Anne Guadalupi will be looking to take advantage of a home-course advantage as she looks to take the top spot in the KVAC A meet after finishing as runner-up a season ago.

On the boys side, Mt. Blue — led by standout runners Aaron Willingham and Dan Lesko — will be aiming to take down Hampden Academy.

“They’re running great. They had a pretty incredible speed workout (Wednesday) and, after reviewing the times, I was really impressed,” Cullenberg said of her top two runners. “They’re ready to go physically, I think we need to spend a little bit of time working on the mental piece.”

The duo should both be in the mix to take top billing in the race, but the big question facing the Cougars is whether or not their third and fourth runners will finish high enough.

“Obviously it would be helpful for us if we placed Aaron and Dan ahead of their top two,” Cullenberg said. “The biggest thing for (Hampden) is what happens after their top two.

“We’ve been working for the better part of the season on trying to get our pack time down.”

Messalonskee is also poised for a strong showing with Owen Concaugh, Zachariah Hoyle and Natale Cardillo leading the way.

In KVAC B, meanwhile, both the Maranacook boys and girls will be looking to hold onto their titles. Ethan Harriman has paced the boys team this season for the Black Bears, while Hannah Despres — who will have a shot at taking the individual title — leads the girls.

Waterville’s Chris Cote was the runner up in last year’s KVAC B meet and should have a shot at first Saturday, while Lauren Brown and Cecilia Morin pace the Purple Panthers’ girls squad that will be looking to compete as a team.

As for the MVC races, Winthrop’s Ben Allen and Hall-Dale’s Emma Wilson will each have a shot at taking home first-place finishes in the boys and girls races, respectively.

Allen has put together an impressive season thus far, most recently clocking a time of 16 minutes, 31.72 seconds in a 16th-place performance at Festival of Champions earlier this month.

“(He is) heading in pretty confident so we’re not necessarily gearing up too much for this race,” Winthrop coach Ed Van Tassel said. “I think he’s done enough throughout the season to separate himself but we’re not going to be surprised if a Nicholas Harriman from Lisbon, Luke Thombs from Monmouth or Joey Paolillo from Boothbay gives him a run for his money.”

Boothbay will enter as the favorite having bested the Ramblers three times so far this season, but Van Tassel is not counting his team out.

On the girls side St. Dominic and Monmouth have separated themselves from the rest of the pack as the favorites, with the Saints holding the edge heading into the race.

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley

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