AUGUSTA — Cony High School’s Anne Guadalupi and Maranacook’s Hannah Despres were the queens of the course Saturday.

The two local standouts took top billing in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A and B girls cross country championships, respectively, in a meet held at Cony, while the Maranacook boys captured the KVAC B team title.

Guadalupi — who placed second in the KVAC A race last season as a freshman — tried to use a little home course knowledge in her win, but the original strategy went out the window a little bit after the race started.

“We’ve ran these hills so many times in practice that I knew I was ready for this meet, unlike last year for KVACs,” Guadalupi said. “I wanted to stay with the group because usually I go out way too fast and then I lose it.

“I wanted to stay with them and I really wanted to kick it when we exited the woods, but for some reason I started my kick as soon as we finished coming down from Hodgkins at the bridge. I started my kick extremely early, which surprised me because I didn’t think that I would make it.”

The early kick with about one-half of a mile to go allowed Guadalupi to open up a sizable lead, but also nearly cost her at the end of the race. Guadalupi said she began to really feel it in her legs with about one-tenth of a mile left, but the sophomore still managed to will her way across the line before collapsing in exhaustion moments after finishing with a time of 20 minutes, 30.6 seconds.

“I just tell myself, ‘I can do this,'” Guadalupi said. “I keep telling myself over and over again that, ‘I can do this, I can do this,’ and it just gets me through the race.”

A little over one minute later Despres crossed the line as the top finisher in KVAC B with a time of 21:34.8. Like Guadalupi, it was a test of will for Despres as she made her move to the front when most competitors are looking to catch their breath.

“After the massive hill around the end of the first mile there’s a nice field at the top and it’s really flat,” Despres said. “Most people tend to die at that area, so if you ramp it up right there at the top of the field and just kind of push for the rest of the race (you can gain some ground on the competition).”

Despres surged into the lead by the midpoint of the race but could not pull away completely, as Waterville’s Lauren Brown remained within striking distance.

“I was just trying to have a really good first mile and hang in there for the rest of the race,” Brown said. “… (Despres) was right there so I was just trying to keep her in sight.”

Unfortunately for the Black Bears, Despres’ win was not enough for Maranacook to retain its KVAC B title as Morse took top billing by a final of 54-61. Sydney Green (11th), Maddie Taylor (14th), Jaycee Greeley (15th) and Lexi Harriman (23rd) rounded out the Black Bears’ top five.

The Maranacook boys, however, did manage to hold onto their title as the top team in KVAC B Saturday on the heels of a strong all-around performance.

Ethan Harriman paced the Black Bears — who edged Camden Hills 87-91 — with a fourth-place performance in 18:33.4, but it was the middle of the pack that helped seal the Maranacook win. John Parent, Luca DeAngelis and Colby Watts finished 14th through 16th, respectively, and were all within 10 seconds of each other. Ruslan Reiter’s 45th place finish rounded out the top five for the Black Bears.

“That was obviously our goal but I’m pleasantly surprised at the same time,” Maranacook coach Rosalea Kimball said. “Our No. 5 runner had an injury and wasn’t able to run all week, and we were really worried how he would be today. He was back quite a bit but he managed to pull it off. We just barely squeaked it out.”

Also in KVAC B, Justin Studholme placed ninth and Camrin Portela was 10th to pace Erskine to a fourth-place finish.

In the KVAC A boys race, Owen Concaugh (seventh), Zachariah Hoyle (12th) and Carson Bessey (14th) helped lead Messalonskee to a third-place result, while Cony’s Andrew Levesque finished eighth with a time of 18:29.5.

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley


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