It took a while for Nick Dall to feel right when he ran. The knee injury kept him from competing last spring in the outdoor track and field season lingered into the fall. But when Dall felt good, it showed.

“I’ve been injured for quite a long time, so it was nice to work my way back up to my previous levels,” Dall said.

A junior, Dall won his third consecutive Northern Maine Class B title, while also taking second place in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference meet, and fifth place in the Class B state championship. For his efforts, Nick Dall is the Morning Sentinel Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year.

“It really took a toll on him,” Waterville cross country coach Hannah Bard said of Dall’s injury. “This was the first time Nick faced some challenges in his abilities.”

Bard said she saw the old Dall begin to reemerge in the KVAC championship race at Cony High School in Augusta. The defending conference champion, Dall ran in 17:52.4 and placed second to Sam Russ of Lincoln Academy.

“Cony is one of the hardest courses we race on,” Bard said. “I really just saw that fight in him again. He was really going for it.”

Added Dall: “It was a pretty good race. I was a little disappointed not to defend my title. It was nice to race with all the top guys. The second mile everybody took off, and I don’t think I was strong enough yet.”

Dall said he felt better a week later, in the Northern regional championship in Belfast. Dall won with a time of 16:41.50, shaving close to 40 seconds off his time from the Festival of Champions run on the same course three weeks earlier.

“That was the first time all season I ran a pretty good time,” Dall said. “I just wanted to get close to my PR (personal record) again. I knew it would be hard to have the year I wanted to have because of the injury, but I improved a lot from where I was. I’m happy to be well again… As the season went along, I just tried keeping consistent. By the time regionals came along, I felt pretty good.”

Dall fell in love with running when he was 6 years old, and his grandmother entered him in a half mile road race in Yarmouth.

“I just got hooked on running after that. I just love competing,” Dall said.

“I’m really proud of him. I know how much work he’s put into running over the years. A lot of dedication,” Joanna Dall, Nick’s mother, said.

Dall plans on taking the indoor track and field season off to make sure he’s completely healthy for the spring outdoor season. Next fall, Dall hopes to complete his set of regional titles, as well as contend for the Class B state crown.

“I’m just looking forward to track season. I’m skipping indoor to get stronger so I can really attack outdoor,” Dall said.

Dall’s cross country season ended with the New England championships in Belfast, where he ran 16:55.59.

“He ended up building quite a mental game,” Bard said. “He ran amazing at New England.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

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Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM