AUGUSTA — Prospects for a third straight Mountain Valley Conference championship appeared distant when the Monmouth Academy girls cross country team opened the season this fall.

But the Mustangs came together quickly, integrating five new runners into their top seven. They won all their MVC meets this season and Saturday at the University of Maine at Augusta course, capped it with their third conference title in a row.

Boothbay’s Faith Blethen easily wins the Mountain Valley Conference cross country championships Saturday at the University of Maine at Augusta. Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

“It’s been a really successful season even after losing like everyone,” said junior Amber Currie, one of two returning runners. “I’m surprised. It was really tight this year. We knew we had a target on our back. We had some worries about Boothbay and especially Winthrop but I think we all knew in the back of our minds we had it in us.”

Currie finished the 3.1-mile course in 23:35, good for fifth place. Teammate Kaitlin Hunt placed sixth followed by Lydia Roy (eighth), Jocelyn Coffin (10th) and Lydiah Madore (18th), giving the Mustangs 40 points. Boothbay/Wiscasset finished second with 54 points despite having first- and second-place finishes from sisters Faith and Glory Blethen. Winthrop took third with 66 points followed by Oak Hill and Madison. Also participating were Hall-Dale, Richmond and Telstar.

“It went as we expected,” Monmouth coach Tom Menendez said. “Two up front, two in that second seven and then the other two closing it in, making that pack nice and tight.”

Boothbay/Wiscasset won the boys race, nipping runner-up Lisbon and overall winner David Schlotterbeck, 51-55. Schlotterbeck also was named MVC Runner of the Year. Dirigo took third followed by Monmouth, Madison, Winthrop and Hall-Dale. Runners from Richmond, Carrabec, Telstar and Spruce Mountain also competed.

Faith Blethen won easily over her younger sister Glory, finishing 33 seconds ahead of her in 21:18.4.

“It was really slippery on the grass parts,” said Blethen, the MVC Runner of the Year who led from start to finish. “Your legs have to tense up to catch yourself and balance. Aside from that, the weather and the air felt so good on your lungs.”

Haley Gunn of Oak Hill finished third followed by Richmond’s Leah Wescott, Currie and Hunt from Monmouth, Winthrop’s Maya Deming, Roy of Monmouth, Oak Hill’s Isabella Coulombe and Monmouth’s Coffin.

The boys race began in light rain that continued for the better part of an hour, making the quest for personal records remote.

“I like it when it’s colder out but I don’t like the wetness or the mud,” said Schlotterbeck, who finished in 18:24.4. “My shoes were soaked, these spikes are just super thin.”

Madison’s Jennifer Dean sprints to the finish line at the Mountain Valley Conference cross country championships Saturday at the University of Maine at Augusta. Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

Schlotterbeck won all his MVC races this season and wasn’t challenged in this one after assuming the lead at the halfway point.

“I like to let the person think that they’re leading but once they get tired, I’ll pass them and take off,” Schlotterbeck said.

Dirigo’s Blaine Wilkins finished second, 14 seconds behind Schlotterbeck, followed by Boothbay/Wiscasset’s Will Perkins, Monmouth’s Joe Crocker and Fox Elder also of Boothbay/Wiscasset. Owen Libby (Dirigo), Graham Harris (Boothbay/Wiscasset), Aidan Laviolette (Lisbon), Zack Babin (Madison), and Zak St. Germain (Winthrop) rounded out the top 10.

Menendez was named MVC Girls Coach of the Year while Lisbon’s Jeremy Williams won for the boys. Regional meets will be held Oct. 20, with the state meet scheduled for Oct. 27 in Belfast.

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