AUGUSTA — The Mt. Blue cross country team was looking for some momentum heading into the 2022 season.

The Cougars found it Friday afternoon at the annual Scot Laliberte Invitational race.

For the second straight year, Mt. Blue rolled to the overall team title in the preseason race, which typically draws more than a dozen teams from across the state.

“It’s great for the team,” said Cyrus Evans of Mt. Blue, who finished second in the boys race. “It gives us motivation going into the season to keep winning and put in that effort for everyone.”

The Cougars finished with 424 points while runner-up Cony checked in with 548. Messalonskee (630), Morse (695) and Caribou (705) followed.

Parker Libby of Mt. Ararat win the race in 13:51.77.  Mt. Blue took the next two spots in Evans (14:00.57) and Henri McCourt (14:10.45). Kayley Bell of Caribou (16:44.91) won the girls title. Payton Bell of Edward Little (17:08.72) finished second while Lina Martinez Nocito of Maranacook (17:17.76) followed.


The Laliberte Invitational — which essentially kicks off the cross country season — started in 2000 as a way to honor former Cony star Scot Laliberte, who died in a car accident that spring. The race combines the boys and girls scores to determine an overall winner.

“I’m feeling great,” Evans said. “Last year, I ran this course, with goals set. This year (I came into the race) with new goals, and I beat those goals. It starts me off for a new season and I’m really excited, because it gets me going.”

Runners take off from the starting line for the Laliberte Invitational on Friday in Augusta. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal


Mt. Blue coach Kelley Cullenberg said the team had a time trial on the carriage roads at a recent trip to Acadia National Park, which helped set the placement of runners for the Laliberte.

“That kind of helped us decide who was going to be running (in the varsity race) today and who would be running (in the junior varsity race),” Cullenberg said. “It’s always nice when you have a difficult decision of who is going to run on what team. We’re a little down on depth this year, so we’re hoping when school starts we can add some more boys and girls to the program. Maybe this (win) will help.”

Cony head coach Shawn Totman was pleased with his team’s performance, the second straight year the Rams finished second on its home course. Sam Goldey (15:21.88) had the top time for the Cony boys, while Loralie Grady (18:27.10) led the Cony girls.

“I’m really proud of these kids; this finish for us was great,” Totman said. “You could just tell the kids were absolutely pumped.”

The race was moved up two hours with inclement weather in the forecast. The move paid off as competitors ran under mostly cloudy skies, with an occasional burst of sunshine. A thunderstorm came at the end of the award ceremony.

“It was beautiful, compared to last year,” Evans said. “It was cool, they re-did the course. It was nice, very nice. Very flat. A little hilly, but very nice.”

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