Jack Bassett of Cape Elizabeth, Griffin Allaire of Wells and Jarrett Gulden of Lincoln Academy should compete for the individual Class B title Saturday at the state cross country championships. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer Buy this Photo

After a week of rain, the cross country course at Twin Brook Recreation Area in Cumberland may prove even more challenging at Saturday’s state championship meet than at last weekend’s Southern Maine regional.

“It will slow down, time-wise, especially for the first and last mile,” said David Dowling, head coach of Cumberland’s Greely High, a team that regularly trains at Twin Brook. “The trails in the woods will actually be pretty good. They don’t really get muddy.”

Six team and seven individual state titles are up for grabs Saturday, including, for the first time, a wheelchair division, with Leavitt High sophomore Jonathan Schomaker starting alongside the rest of the Class B boys.

Last Saturday at Twin Brook, Schomaker covered a modified 1.92-mile course in 37 minutes, 21.49 seconds, and at one intersection had to wait briefly for runners to pass. Meet officials are adding several bright-colored cones this weekend to reduce spectator confusion and better mark the wheelchair course.

The rest of the field will run 3.1 miles, and Greely, which won both girls’ and boys’ regional titles by small margins, will face bigger challenges. Here’s a look at all six team races in the order they will be run.

The Class B girls kick things off at 11 a.m. Ellsworth is the defending champion, but the Eagles placed third in Northern Maine and aren’t likely to be a factor Saturday. Instead, the two regional champions, Greely and Mt. Desert Island, appear closely matched, with Western Maine Conference foes Cape Elizabeth, Freeport and York likely battling for third.

“We have some low numbers,” Dowling said of senior Marin Provencher and freshmen Abby Hollis, Charlotte Taylor and Katie Hankinson. “It all depends on how the fifth will run. Of course, that’s every coach’s worry.”

At regionals, Greely had a gap of nearly a minute between its fourth and fifth runners, while MDI’s pack all finished within 34 seconds of each other, albeit on a flatter course at Belfast.

Individually, defending champ Lila Gaudrault of Cape Elizabeth is the overwhelming favorite to repeat.

The Greely boys are in a similar situation for their race at 11:40, facing an impressive pack from defending state champion York. The Wildcats were only three points back in the regional race, thanks to a 49-second differential between their first and fifth runners, all of whom placed among the top 20. The gap between Greely’s fourth and fifth finishers stretched just over a minute, and a stronger field Saturday could push those scoring numbers apart.

“With their pack up high enough, I’d say it helps them more,” Dowling said of the Wildcats. “It throws more people between their fifth and Greely’s fifth.”

Lincoln Academy of Newcastle (2017 state champion) is likely to challenge Cape Elizabeth and North champion MDI for third place.

The individual race is likely to be a reprise of the Southern battle between seniors Jack Bassett of Cape Elizabeth, Jarrett Gulden of Lincoln Academy and Griffin Allaire of Wells with Greely’s Sam Wilson and Riley Franklin not far behind. All five ran faster, on a harder course, than any Class B North runner in Belfast.

Among Class C girls, two-time defending champion Orono is after its sixth title in seven years, but Maine Coast Waldorf of Freeport presents a formidable challenge. Junior Olivia Reynolds of Maine Coast is seeking her third straight individual title.

The Maine Coast boys are in good position to win their second straight state crown after claiming five of the first eight places in the South regional, with a spread of only 41 seconds. Individually, Orono sophomore Kyle McClellan won Class C North and will try to keep pace with the Southern trio of Will Perkins (Boothbay), Seamus Woodruff (Maine Coast) and Aidan Laviolette (Lisbon).

In Class A girls, Falmouth’s Sofie Matson is expected to win a third consecutive state championship. The unbeaten junior broke Abbey Leonardi’s course record last week with the first sub-18 performance at Twin Brook by a Maine schoolgirl, so the biggest question is whether anyone can stay within a minute of her.

The past two team champions, Bonny Eagle of Standish (2018) and Camden Hills (2017), should vie for the overall title. Falmouth is within shouting distance, and Gorham could also be in the hunt.

The Class A boys’ race shapes up as the most competitive of all, with five teams in the mix: North champ Mt. Ararat of Topsham, South champ Falmouth, defending champ Scarborough, Brunswick and Bangor.

On paper, Mt. Ararat gets the nod, particularly with unbeaten individual champ Lisandro Berry-Gaviria leading the way. But this race will be run on slippery grass and a gritty combination of dirt and gravel, with plenty of mud by the end of the day.

“That’s where a slew of the fast runners are,” Dowling said. “Boys A is going to be interesting.”

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