Brunswick senior Zoe Wilson(134) chases Mt. Blue junior Lucinda Carroll (184) up a hill during the Class A North cross country regional championships on Oct. 22 at Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast. Carroll finished 15th in 21:52.36 and Wilson was in 17th in 21:58.71. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Central Maine teams and runners turned in strong performances on the state’s biggest cross country stages this fall.

The Mt. Blue girls finished second behind Bangor in the Class A Northern meet on Oct. 22 in Belfast, while the Cony girls finished runner-up to Mount Desert Island in the Class B regional meet.

Three Cougar runners — Nora McCourt (10th), Lucinda Carroll (15th) and Moriah Reusch (16th) — earned top 20 finishes, while Natalie McCarthy finished 22nd.

The Mt. Blue boys also shined, finishing fourth at regionals. Senior Cyrus Evans was the top overall runner for the Cougars, finishing second (16:35.44) in the Class A boys race to Hampden Academy’s Charlie Collins (16:00.86). Sophomore Henri McCourt (16:59.84) finished 11th.

“(The season) was amazing, in so many aspects,” Mt. Blue head coach Kelley Cullenberg said. “We knew going into the season that both teams had potential. Not a lot of depth, so we knew we didn’t have a whole lot of room for injury or sickness.”

The Cougars did battle through sickness during the regular season, but came through in the postseason. Evans and McCourt would go on to have strong showings at the Class A championships on Oct. 29 in Cumberland, as Evans finished sixth (17:08.78) and McCourt 10th (17:17.48).


“For us to place fourth at regionals and then turn around and place fourth (for boys) at states, we were hoping that if we were in the top six, that would be a good day,” Cullenberg said. “To be as close as we were to being one of the teams that would be able to compete at New Englands was just a thrill that we didn’t spend a lot of time talking about.”

Mt. Blue juniors Lucinda Carroll, left, and Natalie McCarthy run in the Class A North cross country regional championships on Oct. 22 at Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Loralie Grady (11th) finished as the top runner for the Rams at regionals, followed by Emma Brown (16th), Sage Fortin (20th) and Caroline Hendrickson. (28th).

“I was happy with how our girls ended up in the Northern B Regional,” Cony head coach Shawn Totman said. “They ran incredibly well, and to come in second to a talented MDI program is nothing to be ashamed of. What they accomplished this year was impressive especially given the fact that we had such a small team.”

Injury and illness hurt the Rams, who had two runners unable to compete at the Class B championships on Oct. 29 in Cumberland.

Waterville senior Abby Williams, left, high-fives Class B North cross country regional winner Amelia Vandongen, of MDI, on Oct. 22 in Belfast. Williams finished second in the race. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“When you only have six girl runners and two are unable to compete it’s obviously a killer, ” Totman said. “We were lucky to have made it so far in the season without something bad like that cropping up.  Unfortunately when it did happen it came at the worst possible time, but our girls always display an incredible amount of poise, positivity and character.”

The Cony boys finished fourth at regionals. Sam Goldey (15th) was the top runner for the Rams, followed by Sam Coffin (22nd) and James Mooney (25th). The Rams would go on to finish 10th at the Class B meet.


The Winthrop boys were a force in Class C, finishing as the state runner-up behind champion George Stevens. Senior James Cognata (17:39.42) finished third overall, followed by teammate Christopher Pottle (17:42.46). It was a fine end to a strong season for the pair. Cognata won the Southern Maine Class C title (18:02.77), while Pottle (18:08.38) finished as runner-up. The Ramblers, who won the Mountain Valley Conference championship, would go on to win the regional title.

“I don’t think we really went into the season with too (big) of expectations,” Winthrop head coach Ed Van Tassel said. “I kind of thought we’d be in the mix. Then the season unfolded, there were some kids who weren’t really running the way they should have… We kind of just went through the season and never got the full squad all together until the postseason. Then kids just started running really well. We kind of surprised some people and surprised ourselves.”

James Cognata enjoyed a standout cross country season for Winthrop this fall. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Central Maine runners turned in strong performances at the state and regional championship races. Waterville senior Abby Williams finished runner-up to Amelia Vandongen of MDI in the Northern B race, then finished third at the Class B meet. Haley Williams of Winthrop finished runner-up at the Class C South race and fourth at the Class C meet. Maranacook’s Lina Martinez Nocito was the Class C South champion before finishing ninth at the state meet.

“She always competes, she always seems to run well,” Van Tassel said of Haley Williams.

For the boys, Messalonskee’s Pierce Coughlan finished ninth in the Northern A meet and 20th in the Class A meet. Erskine Academy’s Nick Choate was fifth in the Northern B race and then 13th at states. Mt. Abram’s Jeffrey Warnock was third in the C South race and then seventh at states.

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