Cross country isn’t Luke Bartol’s primary sport, but the Maranacook senior gave it all he had in his four seasons on the trails.

Bartol placed third at the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B championships this fall before checking in second at the C South regionals. He wrapped up his career with a fourth-place finish at the Class C state championships.

For his accomplishments, Bartol is the Kennebec Journal Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year for a second consecutive season.

Bartol — who is also a member of the Maranacook Nordic ski team — said cross country helps him train for the winter sports season,

“It wasn’t quite where I would have liked (to have finished),” Bartol said. “I peaked around regionals. I had been doing a lot of Nordic training for the upcoming season. I wasn’t in my prime condition and I think that kind of showed itself. But (the Class C championships) was definitely a great race and a great experience to have.”

Bartol was still proud of his performance.

“Every day, when you go in to run, it’s about giving everything you’ve got,” Bartol said. “I felt like I had gone out and given everything I had that day. That gave me a good feeling, no matter what happens after that. That’s one thing that we tell all the kids coming in on the team, and that definitely rang true for me there.”

Bartol helped the Black Bears turn in a strong postseason, with top-three finishes in each championship race.

Maranacook finished second in regionals and third at states.

“The big goal of the end of the season was for sure the team goal,” Bartol said. “We knew we had a good shot at regionals, coming in second. Coming into states, we had beaten our seed by a lot, and we were feeling good about that. I’m glad we made a run for it.”

Bartol added that he welcomes all challenges that come with any sport.

“Even beyond sports, it rings true for me,” he said. “Giving it my all is something that has always been in the backbone of what I do. Running was never my primary sport, but I definitely think I’ve grown into loving it, loving the people who do the sport. And then loving that ability to give everything your body had and everything your mind has at whatever challenges. If it’s a big hill ahead of you or a tough field of competition. That definitely has been a big driving factor and a big thing I’ve loved about the sport.”

Bartol also said he will continue running, although perhaps not in a competitive setting.

“I never really expected, when I started cross country, to be someone in contention for a state title, at all,” Bartol said. “Just even having an opportunity was awesome for me.”

Dave Dyer — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer

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