CUMBERLAND – Harlow Ladd reached the line first, but with his right foot. A leaning Nick Morris wound up winning by two-hundredths of a second to cap a thrilling individual race in the Class A cross country state championship Saturday at Twin Brook Recreation Area.

Morris, a Scarborough senior, successfully defended his title by closing a sizeable gap over the final 80 meters of the 5K course to win in 16 minutes, 46.81 seconds to 16:46.83 for Harlow, a Messalonskee senior. Officials required finish-line photos to determine the outcome.

“I knew it was going to be close coming down to the end,” said Morris, who took the lead shortly after two miles, only to have Ladd surge back in front with 600 meters to go. “I leaned right when I got to the camera. I don’t think he leaned.”

Concentrating on the thick white stripe painted on the grass, Ladd reached with his foot but landed with heel instead of toe, unintentionally braking.

“I thought I had it won,” Ladd said. “That brake was the worst mistake in my running career.”

Scarborough also celebrated its second straight Class A team title, holding off Bangor by 14 points to earn a berth in the New England championships Nov. 12 in North Scituate, R.I.

“Both teams ran great but I think the big difference was having (Morris) out there,” said Scarborough Coach Jim Harmon, noting the absence of Bangor runners among the top 10. “What a finish. Can you believe that? That was like gladiators battling, back and forth and not either one of them giving up that whole way.”

Although Morris and Scarborough had plenty to celebrate, top individual and team honors went elsewhere. Matt McClintock of Madison won the Class C title with the day’s only sub-16 run, 15:52.97. Silas Eastman of Fryeburg Academy won Class B in 16:14.15.

Teamwise, Falmouth dominated a Class B competition that sent four teams to the New Englands. Led by Tim Follo’s runner-up finish, Falmouth’s top seven runners crossed the line before any other school’s fourth. Thomas Edmonds, Jay Lesser, Henry Briggs and Colby Howland went 12-13-18-19.

Even without Follo and Edmond, the scores of Falmouth’s bottom five runners would have been enough to win.

“These guys, these seniors,” said Falmouth Coach Danny Paul, “this has been a mission all year for them.”

Greely (102) took second ahead of Caribou (103) and York (105). They joined Falmouth and Scarborough as New England qualifiers.

The other qualifier was North Yarmouth Academy. The two-time Class C champ won by 34 points over Waynflete despite seeing its No. 1 runner, senior Cam Regan, fade from seventh in the final mile to 33rd and stagger across the line before collapsing. Five teammates passed him.

“He knows how to go to the absolute limit,” said a teammate, Evan Kendall, “and he went there a little early this time.”

Alex Coffin and Kendall finished 10th and 11th. Rudy Guliani was 15th, freshman Matt Malcom 23rd and Grant McPherson 31st.

“The whole team rallied,” said NYA Coach Peter Sillin. “If one guy has a tough race, the others can carry him along.”

Individuals with the top 25 times, regardless of class, also qualified for the New Englands, the first time Eastman and McClintock will race each other.

“I had it in the back of my mind,” said Eastman, running in the last of six races, of McClintock’s time, “but I didn’t know what I came through the 2-mile at, so I was just running to get the best (time) I could and to hold off Tim and (Ellsworth sophomore) Dan (Curts, who finished third).”

Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at:

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