BELFAST – After three years of being miserable at the Class A cross country meet, Bonny Eagle senior Samantha Cox stood in warm sunshine Saturday afternoon, stroking behind the ears of a chocolate lab puppy and basking in the glow of the Class A state championship, the first such title in Scots history.
“This is the first time it wasn’t muddy and terrible and cold at states,” Cox said. “These were gorgeous conditions.”
Bonny Eagle, Mt. Desert Island and Washburn won state championships Saturday over a remarkably dry 5-kilometer course at Troy Howard Middle School, where the Eastern Maine meet a week earlier had been something of a quagmire.
Eleven truckloads of stone dust, several new culverts and a tireless maintenance crew that worked from dawn to dusk not only salvaged the course, but made it better than before last weekend’s heavy rains.
“They went above and beyond what anybody could expect,” said Dan Nealey, the Belfast track coach who designed the course 15 years ago. “I never thought it was going to look this good.”
Waterville senior Bethanie Brown even challenged the 2004 course record set by Cassie Hintz of Old Town before settling for a winning time of 17 minutes, 56.32 seconds — eight seconds slower than the Hintz mark.
“That was my goal,” said Brown, who felt she had gone out too fast in the Festival of Champions earlier this season, when her time was one second slower. “I tried to make my first mile a little bit more conservative (Saturday) and I felt pretty steady during the whole thing.”
Only one of the nearly 300 competitors in three classes finished within a minute of Brown. Lawrence High senior Erzsebet Nagy won the Class A race in 18:50.87. No other girl broke 19 minutes.
Washburn junior Carsyn Koch won the Class C race by nearly a minute in 19:30 and led her team, which includes seven girls who played in Friday’s semifinal soccer victory, to a decisive victory in the team competition.
Only two points separated the second, third and fourth teams: Orono (82), Waynflete (83) and defending champion Merriconeag (84).
In Class B, MDI rebounded from a third-place finish at the regional meet. Junior Maggie Painter, who was ill last week and did not run, led a pack of five Trojans who all finished between 11th and 22nd, with only 34 seconds separating Painter from No. 5 runner Caroline Driscoll.
Greely junior Kirstin Sandreuter was runner-up to Brown in 19:01.19 with Camden Hills junior Brittany Bowman another 10 seconds back. Camden Hills took second place, 32 points behind MDI, with Waterville third followed by Greely, Falmouth and Yarmouth.
After winning Class A West by 11 points over Massabesic last weekend in Cumberland, Bonny Eagle stretched its winning margin to 21 Saturday. Cox took sixth behind junior Mary Szatkowski, who placed fourth.
“Having a front duo of Mary and Sam up front really helps in keeping a low score,” said Bonny Eagle Coach Chris Strout. “They’re one of the best 1-2 punches in the state, and having each other to work off helps each of them.”
Junior Kristen Glennie (13th), senior Lexi Vayda (16th) and junior Audrey Weyand (34th) completed the scoring for the Scots. Massabesic and three-time defending champion Cheverus tied for second, each with 87 points, but the Mustangs took home the runner-up plaque by virtue of a faster sixth runner. Strout said Glennie was the reason the Scots broke open the state meet.
“She stepped up and beat people that she doesn’t usually beat,” Strout said. “She closed the gap on the front two and just had an awesome race.”
South Portland senior Nyajock Pan held off Massabesic senior Jocelyn Acheson to take second place, in 19:01.89.
The top 25 fastest runners, regardless of class, qualified for the New England meet, which this year will be held in Cumberland in two weeks. The cutoff time was Painter’s 20:13. Maine also will send six teams. Joining the three class champions will be Massabesic, Cheverus and Camden Hills.
Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at: