Of the six teams to win cross country championships last fall, only one – the Mt. Desert Island girls – failed to win a regional title the previous week as well.

Even then, MDI finished second to Camden Hills by a mere point, 51-52.

That pattern may continue Saturday at Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast, where the six state championship races are scheduled to begin at 45-minute intervals. The Class A boys kick things off at 11 a.m. and the Class C girls wrap up the proceedings at 2:45 p.m.

Then again, several top contenders held out runners from the regional meets, either because of illness or injury, or simply for rest.

Scott Lambert and Josh Simensky of the Falmouth boys and Maggie Painter of the MDI girls are among those expected to run Saturday after bypassing their regional meets.

“Falmouth will be back strong this weekend,” said Cape Elizabeth Coach Derek Veilleux, whose team won Western Class B after finishing second to Falmouth in the Western Maine Conference meet. “I expect them to run very well and be right in the mix for the win.”

The week before, in the league meet, Veilleux rested his third and fourth runners.

“We’ve been in their position before, missing a couple of key runners and then getting them back,” said Veilleux. “Being at full strength will be a confidence boost for them.”

At the Festival of Champions in Belfast a month ago, Falmouth edged Cape Elizabeth by five points, with Eastern Class B champion Ellsworth far behind. Then again, Ellsworth was without its No. 1 runner, Dan Curts, who led five Eagles into the top 10 at the Eastern Maine regional.

All of which promises to make for an exciting showdown Saturday.

“Ellsworth ran very well last week but I think Cape is the favorite,” said Falmouth Coach Jorma Kurry. “It should be a great meet with those two, us and York, (which is) really coming on.”

Here’s a look at the six championship races, in the order they run:

CLASS A BOYS

Massabesic won the West by beating two-time defending champion Scarborough for the second time this fall. Lewiston is the class of the East.

“It could be our day and our time to win the states,” said Massabesic Coach Mark Crepeau, “but only the race will tell.”

Scarborough is seeking its seventh title in 10 years. Lewiston beat both of the Mustangs and Red Storm in their only meeting, at last month’s Festival of Champions.

Massabesic has “great coaches and runners so we weren’t surprised they won the regional meet,” said Scarborough Coach Jim Harmon. “We do hope to have a better race in the state meet all we can do is give 100 percent, run our best and hope that’s enough to win.”

CLASS A GIRLS

Bonny Eagle won the West by 11 points over Massabesic and by 14 over three-time defending state champion Cheverus. In the East, only two points separated champ Hampden Academy from Mt. Ararat and Brunswick.

“We have run this course before,” said Bonny Eagle Coach Chris Strout, whose team was second only to MDI at the Festival of Champions. “The girls are looking forward to seeing how they have improved.”

CLASS B BOYS

Cape Elizabeth ran away with the West (by 46 points over York) and Ellsworth easily won the East (by 100 points over Caribou). The Capers seem to be peaking at the right time.

“We’ve been training for 19 weeks to have a shot at winning the state title,” Veilleux said. “We know that it will be the toughest race of the season and that the team who wins will have earned it.”

The individual race between Curts of Ellsworth and Silas Eastman of Fryeburg Academy also should prove interesting.

CLASS B GIRLS

West champ Falmouth, East champ Camden Hills and MDI all ran at less than full strength last weekend. Waterville is also a factor, particularly with Bethanie Brown leading the way, and Yarmouth, Freeport and Caribou may make noise.

Brown was the only girl in the East to break 20 minutes in the mud at the regional meet, and did so by more than a minute.

“If MDI has everyone, they are the best team,” said Falmouth Coach Danny Paul, who also noted the strength of Camden Hills. Still, if Falmouth’s top runner, Madeline Roberts, can rebound from plantar fasciitis, Paul said, “we will definitely be in the fight.”

CLASS C BOYS

West champ Hall-Dale beat East champ Orono at the Festival of Champions, with Boothbay the nearest Class C school. Waynflete was only 14 points behind Hall-Dale at the regionals, with Boothbay another four points back.

Jack Pierce of Merriconeag and Josef Holt-Andrews of Telstar will compete for the individual title.

CLASS C GIRLS

Merriconeag held off Waynflete by six points to win the West, and Washburn beat Orono in the East. Merriconeag, despite a total school population of 38 students, is bidding for its third straight state title.

Not since Mattanawcook Academy in 1997 has an Eastern Maine team won Class C.

The New England championships are scheduled for Nov. 10 at Twin Brook in Cumberland. The individual state champions and those with the next-fastest 22 times, regardless of class, will qualify.

For teams, the state champions from each class advance, along with the next three highest-scoring teams when times from the class meets are combined.

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

gjordan@pressherald.com

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH