Two of the top central Maine boys cross country runners — Mt. Blue senior Zeke Robinson and Waterville junior Nick Dall — enter the season ready to go after recovering from nagging injuries.

Robinson leads a Mt. Blue squad that will be hard-pressed to replace Class A state champ Tucker Barber, but the team’s depth is the envy of many programs.

Robinson (12th in Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A meet) will be counted on for quality finishes this fall. Despite a nagging left foot injury that limited his training this summer, Robinson said expectations are high.

“I have high hopes for this season,” he said. “My goal is to break 16:45.”

In KVAC B, Waterville returns a great mix of veteran and rookie runners this season, coach Hannah Bard said. The Purple Panthers are led by Dall, the top area boys runner.

Last season, Dall won KVAC B and Northern B titles and then ended up fourth overall in Class B (16:47.79). Like Robinson at Mt. Blue, Dall is coming off a considerable injury — in this case to his knee.

“I’m probably about at 90 percent,” Dall said. “I’m just trying to get in shape and nothing really hurts.”

Cony coach Shawn Totman says this should be one of the better teams he’s been able to put on the trails in quite a few years. Totman has good reason to believe his Rams can make it back to the Class A championship race this fall behind solid performances from senior Jack Wroten and junior Caleb Richardson, who were 15th and 17th, respectively, in Northern Class A last season.

“They are two totally different kids but they equally love it and push each other,” said Totman. “It’s fun to watch them in practice every day.”

David Currier takes over an Erskine program that had a solid season a year ago, culminating in a fourth-place finish in Northern B. Most of the runners who came out for the team ran spring track for Currier, so there is some inherent familiarity this fall for the team and new coach.

Maranacook finished a strong second in KVAC B but graduation took three of the team’s top seven runners off the board for the upcoming season. Junior Luke Bartol finished seventh in the KVAC B last October.

“It’s definitely a building year but we got some talent to work with,” said Maranacook coach Rosalea Kimball. “It’s hard to say where we will be at this point.”

Carrabec had an impressive season last fall, finishing second in the Mountain Valley Conference championships to perennial powerhouse Boothbay thanks to five of its runners finishing in the top 20.

Junior Brody Miller took eighth in the conference meet and classmate Jacob Atwood finished 12th.

Oak Hill is rebuilding in its second year after losing last season’s top three runners.

Coach Derek Anderson says his boys team should improve throughout the season.

Senior Tyler Desmarais and junior James Greenwood have shown strong leadership so far this season, Anderson said.

Winthrop coach Ed Van Tassel hopes to get a few more runners to help fill out his team. He said his two returners, senior Vincent Scott and sophomore Jack St. Germain, will contend for MVC honors and should qualify for the Class C state meet.

The Ramblers will miss the outstanding contribution that senior Jacob Hickey made last fall when he won MVC and C South titles.

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