As was the case three years ago, Maine schoolgirls made a big splash at the New England cross country championships by placing four runners among the top 10 Saturday in North Scituate, R.I.

Cheverus senior Emily Durgin placed third, Waterville junior Bethanie Brown fifth, Maranacook senior Abby Mace seventh and Cheverus senior Fiona Hendry eighth.

As freshmen in the 2008 New England meet in New Hampshire, Durgin, Mace and Hendry all finished among the top 10 behind the winner, Abbey Leonardi of Kennebunk, who chose not to run Saturday in order to rest for a third attempt at qualifying for the Foot Locker nationals.

Elle Purrier of Richford, Vt., won Saturday’s 5-kilometer race by 10 seconds in 18 minutes, 0.02 seconds. Durgin finished third in 18:27.44.

A pair of Camden Hills runners — sophomore Brittany Bowman in 17th and freshman Willow Parker in 23rd — also earned all-New England status.

Washburn sophomore Carsyn Koch just missed out on all-regional honors by placing 26th.

Maine schoolboys also earned six spots on the all-New England team, led by Madison senior Matt McClintock taking third place in a fast 15:38.67.

Harlow Ladd of Messalonskee outkicked Fryeburg Academy junior Silas Eastman by less than a half-second for ninth place. Falmouth senior Tim Follo was 11th, Boothbay senior Chase Brown 13th and Ellsworth sophomore Dan Curts 19th.

Josef Holt of Telstar (28th) and Jack Pierce of Merriconeag (32) weren’t far behind.

Mike Marsella of Chariho, R.I., won the boys’ race in 15:25.27, a little more than a second in front of Connecticut’s Connor Rog of Fairfield Prep.

In team competition, the Bishop Hendricken (R.I.) boys and Champlain Valley Union (Vt.) girls won top honors. Cheverus, which had placed fourth last year and fifth in 2009, was eighth among girls’ teams despite missing sophomore Shannon Conley, who did not make the trip after collapsing near the finish of the state meet two weeks ago.

“It’s most likely a virus that she’s been fighting that they haven’t been able to detect yet,” said Cheverus Coach Valerie Guillet.

The top Maine schoolboy team was Falmouth in 17th.

Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at: [email protected]

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH