VASSALBORO — The Mt. Ararat golf team came within a single shot of a state championship two years ago. And all these days later — including countless rounds of golf — the sting hadn’t completely faded.

“A couple of years ago, we had one slip away from us,” coach Gerry Caron said. “We didn’t forget that.”

Given a chance to return to Natanis Golf Course and atone for that defeat, the Eagles took advantage. Mt. Ararat had a trio of golfers — Caleb Manuel, Cade Charron and Will Kavanaugh, all of whom were present for the bitter runner-up finish — break 80 en route to a score of 312 that bested defending champion Scarborough (317), Thornton Academy (331), Camden Hills (331) and Falmouth (342) for the Class A championship.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan Monmouth’s Abby Flanagan putts during the Class C state golf championships Saturday at Natanis Golf Course in Vassalboro.

“It’s kind of what we’ve had in mind the last three years,” said Manuel, who shot a 71 that was tied for the day’s second-best round. “Two years ago we tied for first and were really disappointed, last year we weren’t as strong. This year, we came out on top.”

In Class B, York, fueled by its own story of redemption, shot 333 to win its seventh state title — and first since winning four straight from 2009-12 — over a field including Mount Desert Island (342), Freeport (345), Cape Elizabeth (346) and Hermon (356). The Wildcats didn’t even qualify for last year’s championships, but got an 80 from Tyler Rivers and an 82 from fourth player Trevor Lavigne to reach the top. Gardiner (371) finished sixth.

“They were focused,” coach Steve Freeman said. “We missed qualifying up here last year by one stroke, and right from then until now, this was the mission. They said ‘OK, we’re going back.’ ”

Houlton’s depth proved too much for Class C, as the Shiretowners got four scores of 85 or better en route to 333 points and the title over St. Dominic (352), North Yarmouth Academy (366), Monmouth (375) and Orono (376).

“They’ve played like that all year,” said Houlton coach David Grant, whose team got scores from Wyatt Harvey (81), Nick Brewer (82), Isaac Vega (85) and Collin Moody (85). “I’ve got six kids that are all equal, 80 to 85, 86. You never know which one’s going to be No. 1.”

Mt. Ararat had the determination coming in, but the Eagles weren’t certain that was going to be enough. Scarborough had a deep team anchored by 2017 Class A co-champion Anthony Burnham, Camden Hills entered with the other co-champion in Cole Anderson and Thornton Academy was in the mix with a top-tier player of its own in Armond Ouellette.

“I wouldn’t say we were coming here thinking we were favorites,” Kavanaugh said. “I think we just came in here thinking we had a chance.”

The Eagles had a standout of their own, however, in Manuel, and playing out of a group with the aforementioned aces, Manuel matched Anderson’s and Burnham’s 1-under 71, while Ouellette shot 75.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan Erskine Academy’s Dagan Savage tees off during the Class B state golf championships Saturday at Natanis Golf Course in Vassalboro.

“That was a good group,” Manuel said. “(Anderson and Burnham) were both 4 under at one point. I was just kind of hanging back, being patient. … I threw one to three feet on 11 to make a birdie, and I just kind of coasted in from there. The 11 approach shot was definitely the turning point.”

The key, however, was Kavanaugh, who said his best previous score at Natanis was a 78, and who then carded a 75 that helped the Eagles sidestep another tiebreaker — or worse.

“I couldn’t be more focused today,” Kavanaugh said. “From two years ago when we tied for first and we ended up losing the tiebreaker, the whole team didn’t want to do that. I just tried to do my best, as well as everyone else. It was a team thing. I’m so happy we won.”

Cade Charron had a 79 and Ben Hickson shot 87 for Mt. Ararat.

“We had three seniors, Will showed up with a 75, and that’s really what did it for us,” Manuel said. “Three rounds in the 70s is pretty hard to beat.”

Scarborough got Burnham’s 71 and a 79 from Ethan Mason, an 83 from Peter Malia and an 84 from Alden Griffiths, while Thornton got Ouellette’s 75 and the day’s best round (70) from Manuel Barbachano.

York’s No. 1, Chris Cummins, struggled to an 86, but the Wildcats’ depth paid off with Rivers, Lavigne and Brady Cummins (85).

“I think our strength all year has been that we’re pretty deep,” Freeman said. “They rely on one another. It’s really fun to watch. They’re a really close group of kids, so this has been a special one.”

“It feels good. We put a lot of work in for it,” Rivers said. “We set high goals. We expected to win. That was pretty much our goal all season.”

MDI got an 80 from Peter Ryan and an 81 from Kyle Nicholson en route to second, while Sullivan Smith (81), Tom Robinson (83) and TJ Whelan (86) led Freeport to third. Cape Elizabeth rode Austin Legge’s 72, the best round in Class B, to fourth.

In Class C, Houlton finally broke through after finishing fourth, third and second the last three years. Harvey, a senior, helped the Shiretowners finish the climb, posting Class C’s third-best round.

“It feels really good to finally win a state championship,” Harvey said. “We kind of called it our ‘Revenge Tour’ for the seniors, because as freshmen, we were behind Mattanawcook all the time. This year, we kind of took them out. It felt really good.”

St. Doms was led by Demetri Gammaitoni (84), Neil LaRochelle (86), Valerie Doucette (87) and Will Fletcher (95), while NYA got an 85 from Jared Buckner and an 89 from Reed Silvers. George Stevens’s Percy Zentz (76) and Mattanawcook’s Max Woodman (77) had the lowest rounds in the class.

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

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