OAKLAND — You never know what kind of course you’re going to get for an October that’s been fairly rainy in recent years. Saturday’s Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championships were a mixed bag.

Although the greenery was in nearly perfect condition for this league championship meet at Messalonskee High School, there were parts in the forest that kept runners on their toes. It made for an interesting contrast as championship season began for runners in the state’s largest conference.

“The field area was great, but once you got into the woods, it felt like you were running on a layer of sponge,” said Lincoln Academy’s Eliot O’Mahoney. “It’s like that this time of year sometimes, and you just had to do your best to manage it. I thought it was all right in the end.”

It was certainly “all right” for Lincoln Academy, which swept the Class B boys and girls championships for the second straight year. Camden Hills put five runners in the top 10 to win the Class A girls race with Hampden Academy beating out the Windjammers to win the A boys title.

Brunswick’s Maeve Woodruff, left, and Mt. Blue’s Nora McCourt race during the KVAC Class A cross country championships Saturday at Messalonskee High School in Oakland. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Morse’s Shealyn Brochu claimed victory in the Class B girls race, finishing in 20:9.8. Lincoln’s Dylan Burmeister (20:25.5) placed second with Leavitt’s Haley Marston (20:38.5) placing third and Maine Central Institute’s Addison Verrill (21:00.02) coming in fourth.

Lincoln’s O’Mahoney won the boys race with a time of 17:23.0, beating out Leavitt’s Gabe Durazo (17:23.7) in a tight race to the finish. Although O’Mahoney had a healthy lead, he had to hold off the fast-charging Durazo as the latter made up ground — something the Lincoln senior fully expected.


“I’ve raced him before, and if I’m going to beat him, I’m going to have to get a pretty decent-sized gap on him because he can close pretty well,” O’Mahoney said. “I knew he was catching up, so I was pretty worried, but I had a nice kick at the end of the race and was able to pull it out.”

Morse’s Eli Riggs claimed third place, posting a time of 17:35.5. Central Maine runners Braden Rioux of Winslow (17:46.1), Sam Goldey of Cony (17:52.2), Elijah Jakubisn of Nokomis (18:21.2) and Isaac Keresey of MCI (18:27.3) rounded out the next four spots.

Lincoln (40 points) beat out Morse (55 points) in a two-way race for the girls team title to claim its third consecutive KVAC B championship. The Lincoln boys (45) made it two in a row, placing six runners in the top 10 to edge runner-up Cony (62) and third-place Morse (68).

“I was very pleased with our boys,” said Cony head coach Shawn Totman. “They knew that Lincoln and Morse are two high-caliber teams, but thought they could go out and compete with them. They had a great attitude and intensity prior to the race, and I just had a feeling they were going to do something pretty cool today.”

Brunswick’s Maeve Woodruff claimed victory in the Class A girls race. The senior finished in 20:11.5 to beat out Camden Hills’ Jenna VanRyn (20:15.3) and Bangor’s Katie McCarthy (20:24.9), the former of whom she passed late in the race before sprinting to a win.

“I overtook her with 800 to go,” Woodruff said. “She’s a strong runner, and she was going strong the whole way and really pulling me along. … There were some muddy sections in those woods, but the rest of it was really dry. I thought it was actually pretty fast, surprisingly.”


Nora McCourt of Mt. Blue was the top central Maine runner, finishing fourth with a time of 20:41.4. The Cougars also placed fourth as a team with 106 points, finishing behind Camden Hills (36 points), Hampden (58 points) and Bangor. Camden’s win snapped the Rams’ streak of three straight KVAC A titles.

MCI’s Gavin Gomez, left, gets passed by Erskine’s Logan Dow just before the finish line during the KVAC Class B cross country championships Saturday at Messalonskee High School in Oakland. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Oxford Hills sophomore Lucas Hutchinson crossed the finish line in a blazing 16:45.9 to claim first place in the Class A boys race. Messalonskee’s Pierce Coughlin finished second in 17:05.8, overtaking Brunswick’s Ben Klingle (17:06.3) within sight of the finish line.

Harrison Shain (17:15.5) finished fourth in the A boys race for Hampden, which put four runners in the top 11 and earned 49 points to repeat as the team champion. The Broncos beat out Camden Hills (61 points) and Brunswick (65).

This year’s KVAC championships were the first since 2009 (held at the University of Maine at Augusta) to not take place at Cony High School. The school did everything possible to ready the Cony course for the competition, but a key part that’s essential to meet planning had been too ravaged by weather earlier in the year.

“There’s a stretch through the middle that you just can’t do a 5K without, and we tried, but it was totally destroyed by all the rain we got in the late spring and early summer,” Totman said. “It’s a bummer because we look forward to hosting it, but I’m thankful for Messalonskee for taking it on, and they did a good job.”

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