Kaden McIntyre of Mt. Ararat, front, tries to maintain a lead over Clayton Allen and Nick Choate of Erskine Academy during a cross country race earlier this fall at Brunswick High School. Eli Canfield/Times Record

The days are getting colder and the hours of daylight are shrinking.

Both are signs of late fall, as well as high school sports postseason events.

The Maine Principals’ Association offered state championships in just two sports — golf and cross country — this fall.

The latter wrapped up earlier this month, and the former will hold state championships next month at Saxl Park in Bangor. The boys will go Nov. 11 before the girls follow on Nov. 14.

In between, cross country teams are gearing up for meets that will double as conference and regional qualifiers.

The Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference will hold its championship meets Saturday in Augusta (Class A) and Waterville (Class B). The meets will also serve as state qualifiers.

The Class B meet was originally scheduled at Troy Middle School in Belfast, but was relocated to Waterville because of a COVID-19 safety concerns in Waldo County.

Although the races will look vastly different compared to years past, runners and coaches are excited to compete.

“The new location is one that none of our girls have seen or raced at, so it’s a new challenge that we are ready to face,” said Morse junior Iris Hennin, whose team will be in Waterville.

Morse runner Liam Scanlon is also heading to Waterville with an open mind, and remains confident despite the unfamiliar course.

“My feelings are fresh heading into the postseason now that they’ve moved to a course I’ve had little experience with,” Scanlon said. “Our team is running to qualify for the state meet, something we’ve never been better prepared to do.”

Morse head coach Brent Luchies said his Shipbuilders are up for the challenge.

“The switch really hasn’t changed much of our planning,” he said. “I keep telling the runners to just go out there, be controlled, and run your race. Don’t worry about what you can’t control.”

Brunswick coach Heather Hoisington said the Dragons are eager and ready to run at Cony.

“When looking at how we performed at Cony last year, we knew we had to change a few things up,” Hoisington said. “We figured that Cony would be the location for the KVAC meet again and we wanted the athletes to feel more confident running hills.”

Brunswick runner Addy Dolley said she enjoys the challenging Cony course.

“I do love hills and the Cony course is one of my favorites,” she said. “It’s been a few weeks since our last meet so I’m just excited to get going.”

Brunswick’s home course drastically differs compared to Cony’s, as it has much fewer hills and uneven terrain.

However, Hoisington said the Dragons have been training for this course.

“Right from the beginning of the season we have been working on our conditioning on hills, how to run up hills and how to race down a hill. I really feel that what we’ve been doing will help us,” she said.

Mt. Ararat head coach Diane Fournier acknowledged the KVAC/Class A race will have a much different look and feel this season.

“It will be very strange not to see the entire KVAC teams there, along with no spectators,” she said. “Without that, it changes the whole nature of the competition.”

Still, the opportunity to compete in a championship race is enticing.

“There is nothing that beats the feeling of running in a championship meet,” said Mt. Ararat standout runner Jace Hollenbach. “The best part of the season has yet to come.”

The Eagles are no strangers to the course at Cony, having run it several times in the last few seasons.

“I’m glad we are going to Cony, this will be the fourth time racing at that course for some of the runners,” Fournier said.

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