BELFAST — It’s on to the state championships for the Mt. Blue and Cony cross country teams.

The Cougars (Class A) and the Rams (Class B) will have both their boys and girls teams compete for state titles next week, after both had top-five finishes at the Northern Maine Regional Championships on Saturday at Troy Howard Middle School.

Mt. Blue (87 points) finished runner-up to Bangor (39 points) for the Class A North title, led by the running of Nora McCourt (21:43.27), who finished 10th. She was followed by teammates Lucinda Carroll (15th), Moriah Reusch (16th), Natalie McCarthy (22nd) and Brielle Tinker (29th).

“We had an absolutely amazing race from Brielle Tinker,” Mt. Blue head coach Kelley Cullenberg said. “All season, from one race to the next, she just keeps cutting time off.”

Camden Hills (90 points) finished in third place for the A North girls race, which had the closest race of the afternoon, as Edward Little’s Payton Bell (20:00.65) edged Camden Hills’ Jenna VanRyn (20:02.35). Katie McCarthy of Bangor (20:24.54) finished third.

“It’s pretty cool, I’ve never won this race before,” said Bell, a senior. “It’s exciting. I had high expectations for myself as a senior this year, knowing it’s my last year. Cross country is my favorite sport. I knew I just wanted to do good. I was really just hoping I’d run it so we could make it to states (as a team).”


“I was trying to keep my pace, and I was so happy to keep it consistent,” VanRyn said. “I was really proud of my team today as well. Payton and I have a similar time, so I was just trying to stick with her, just trying to pace off somebody else.”

The Mt. Blue boys finished fourth, led by senior Cyrus Evans, who finished second overall (16:35.44) to Charlie Collins of Hampden Academy (16:00.86).

“I’m happy with (the win),” Collins said. “I wanted to win, I was pretty confident I would, but I wanted the time to be there.”

Evans fought through a foot issue to complete the race.

“I’m proud,” Evans said. “I was struggling (before the race). I had a foot issue, and my mental practice went down. This race, I thought of (Steve) Prefontaine, one of the greatest runners in (history). I was like, ‘You know what? Prefontaine was pretty gutsy. I took out that first mile, staying with Charlie. I told myself I was going to stay with him as long as I can and don’t let him out of my sights. That’s what I did.”

Cony junior Matthew Dos Santos rounds a bend during the Class B North cross country regional race Saturday at Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast. He finished in 43rd place in 19:42.88. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“It was great to see Cyrus step up and take second,” Cullenberg said. “We watched a Steve Prefontaine (video) last night. He took it to heart and really decided to run as gutsy as he could.”


Harrison Shain of Hampden Academy (16:39.36) finished third overall in the A North boys race. Hampden Academy (41 points) won the A North boys title, followed by Brunswick (72 points) and Camden Hills (116 points).

Cony (105 points) finished runner-up to Mt. Desert Island (56 points) in the B North girls race. The Rams were led by Loralie Grady (21:43.02), who finished 11th, followed by Emma Brown (15th), Sage Fortin (20th) and Caroline Hendrickson (28th).

“When I saw those girls go by after mile one, I kind of knew (they’d do well),” Cony head coach Shawn Totman said. “These girls were firing on all cylinders today.”

Hermon (130 points) finished third. MDI’s Amelia Vandongen (18:28.74) was the individual B North girls winner, followed by Waterville’s Abby Williams (19:19.92) and Caribou’s Kayley Bell (20:36.78).

“I’m not entirely happy with my run, but the place is really good,” said Williams, a senior. “I just wish I’d (set a personal record) on this course.”

The Cony boys finished fourth (100 points) in B North, trailing champion John Bapst (40 points), runner-up MDI (63 points) and third place finisher Ellsworth (95 points). MDI’s Sam York (16:36.46) was the B North boys winner, followed by John Bapst’s Ethan Roach (16:45.79) and Caribou’s Ephraim Willey.


“Our kids really worked up through the field quite well in the second half of the race and I think that’s what got us into the state championship (meet),” Totman said.

After finishing second, Waterville senior Abby Williams, left, high fives Class B North cross country regional winner MDI’S Amelia Vandongen, who ran a time of 18:28.74 Saturday at Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast. Williams finished second in 19:19.92. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Bucksport’s William Hileman (16:14.26) won the C North boys race by a large margin, with Kaleb Colson (17:06.61) of Sumner taking second and Ethan Linscott of Lee Academy (17:19.69) taking third. George Stevens (60 points) finished as C North boys champion, followed by Sumner (82 points) and Limestone (102 points).

To wrap up the day — and to the surprise of no one — Orono junior Ruth White cruised to the C North girls title, winning with a time of 17:51.42, more than a minute faster than second-place finisher Teanne Ewings (19:01.90) of Houlton. Thea Crowley (19:14.85) of George Stevens finished third.

Orono (29 points) won the C North girls crown, with Houlton (51 points) as the runner-up. George Stevens (90 points) was third.

Temperatures jumped from as low as 38 degrees to start the day to 66 degrees by its finish, making runners adjust throughout.

“It’s definitely hard,” Williams said. “Training in the summer prepares you (for heat), but where we’re so far into the season and it hasn’t been summer in a long time, it’s a little hard to transition back to the heat.”

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.