Bonny Eagle sophomore Kialeigh Marston and Telstar senior Josef Holt-Andrews emerged victorious at Saturday’s Cross Country Festival of Champions in Belfast, where more than 1,400 runners and 108 teams gathered to compete at Troy Howard Middle School.
Holt-Andrews, beaten last week by Dan Curts of Ellsworth in the Manchester (N.H.) Invitational, lopped 20 seconds off the course record to win in 15 minutes, 6.92 seconds. Curts dropped out late in the race because of hamstring issues.
Marston, who played soccer last fall, stayed behind a lead group of three through the first mile of the 5K race, and won in 18:42.94. Runner-up Shannon Conley of South Portland and Anne McKee of Kents Hill were the only other girls to break 19 minutes.
“She didn’t get caught up in all that excitement,” said Bonny Eagle Coach Chris Strout of Marston, normally the Scots’ second runner behind Mary Szatkowski, one of many seniors taking the SAT Saturday.
“Kialeigh has the talent, obviously, to win meets like that. It’s a matter of getting her ready for that and getting her to believe that she could do it.”
With Curts dropping out, the rest of the boys’ top five comprised a pair of Mt. Blue runners, a Vermont runner and, in fifth, Cape Elizabeth senior Liam Simpson (16:00.08).
In team competition, Lewiston’s boys and Mt. Desert Island’s girls finished on top. Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough and Falmouth placed third, fourth and fifth among boys, after runner-up Harwood Union of Vermont.
For girls, Falmouth was second, Cape Elizabeth fourth and Massabesic fifth.
SOUTH PORTLAND stayed in the thick of the Western Maine Class A football race with a come-from-behind 21-10 win over Sanford on Friday.
Coach Steve Stinson’s Red Riots (4-1) rallied from a 10-0 deficit to get off to their best start in four seasons.
The combination of quarterback Duncan Preston, running back Joey DiBiase, wide receivers Jordan Susi and Matthew Stearns, and the defense all contributed to the win.
The Riots had trouble stopping Sanford (2-3) in the early going. The Spartans scored on their opening series and then kicked a field goal.
But the Riots made some defensive adjustments and got their offense rolling.
The next test for South Portland is this Friday night against Scarborough, which won a key game Saturday over Biddeford.
Eastern Maine Class A appears to be between unbeaten Cheverus and once-beaten Portland, with the Stags having the inside track via their opening-game win over the Bulldogs.
Western Maine Class A more closely bunched, with Bonny Eagle, Thornton Academy, South Portland and Scarborough at the top.
TALK ABOUT a full day. The Scholastic Aptitude Test, the dreaded SATs, were held Saturday morning, pushing back high school sports start times to mid-afternoon. Then came the Red Storm’s homecoming football game against Biddeford, followed by the homecoming dance.
“It was a typical SAT Saturday,” Scarborough Coach Lance Johnson said with a smile. “Like everyone else, we had kids rolling in 45 minutes before the game, walking around dazed. But the guys did a pretty good job of getting ready to go.”
That included senior running back Dan LeClair, who sat for the test Saturday morning. “It went OK, I guess,” he said.
His afternoon ended more than OK. He capped the Red Storm’s opening drive with a 17-yard touchdown run and he finished with 16 carries, 117 yards, two rushing TDs and one pass reception for a TD in the Red Storm’s 41-21 win over the Tigers.
AS A VETERAN quarterback, senior Kyle Heath knows how big a role the fullback plays in Westbrook’s wing-T offense. So he had no problem when Coach Jeff Guerette opted to move freshman Bailey Sawyer to quarterback and slide Heath in at fullback after the Blue Blazes’ 1-1 start.
They felt some growing pains in a 41-8 loss to Greely on Sept. 27. But the move paid off Friday night in the Blazes’ 44-22 victory over Falmouth.
“At fullback, I’m able to get a lot more involved in blocking,” Heath said. “It keeps the defense honest on inside runs, and it helps (tailback Collin Joyce) run that sweep well.”
Heath’s right about that. He ran for 104 yards and two TDs, and Joyce got loose for 152 yards and three rushing TDs against the Yachtsmen.
TEACHING YOUNGER players to execute plays is a matter of repetition. The same can be said of learning to compete at the varsity level. Lopsided scores make the task all the more difficult.
“Part of the process is learning to maintain focus and intensity the whole game,” said Falmouth Coach John Fitzsimmons.
The 3-2 Yachtsmen have had big wins over Gorham (48-0) and Oceanside (55-6), and big losses to York (34-0) and Westbrook (44-22). The lone close game was a 7-0 win over Morse on Sept. 13.
“We’re good enough to be a playoff team,” Fitzsimmons said.
“We need to be ready to match the intensity that better teams like York and Westbrook bring into the game and keep throughout the game. It’s a process and we’ll get there.”
– Staff Writers Glenn Jordan, Tom Chard and Correspondent Greg Reid contributed to this report.