BELFAST — With the mist slowly turning to sprinkles, the Cape Elizabeth girls cross country team found shelter to gather one more time before the bus ride home.

One more hug of congratulations.

The Cape girls gave first-year Coach Andrew Lupien an unexpected gift with an impressive win in the Festival of Champions meet Saturday on the 5K course at Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast.

“It was a big surprise,” Lupien said. “I thought we’d be in the top 10. But they looked good in practice and everyone came together … a nice way to start.”

Cape Elizabeth scored 137 points, ahead of second-place Orono (166) and third-place Yarmouth (175).

In the boys meet, Cumberland High School of Rhode Island won, just nine points ahead of runner-up Scarborough, and 13 points in front of third-place Falmouth.

The Festival of Champions continues to be the highlight of the cross country regular season, this year attracting a record 79 schools and nearly 1,700 runners.

While out-of-state teams compete, this is a chance for many of Maine’s best teams, regardless of class, to face off.

“Almost everybody’s here and we really get a better picture of where we’re at,” Falmouth Coach Jorma Kurry said.

And where Falmouth is at, is right behind Scarborough. The Red Storm were well aware of who their competition is.

“We would have liked to have won the meet, but we’re glad we beat Falmouth,” said Scarborough senior Jacob Terry. “We’ll be coming back here (for the state meet) and this is good for our confidence.”

Terry was the first Maine runner to finish the boys race, taking third place in 16:00.32 (just shy of his goal of breaking 16).

Sam Nishi of Harwood Union in Vermont won in 15:50.48, followed by Cumberland’s Sean Laverty (15:54.10).

Nishi and Laverty were among a group of leaders that initially did not include Terry. He eventually reeled in most of them.

Two Cape Elizabeth runners, Mitch Morris (fourth, 16:06.11) and Kyle Kennedy (eighth, 16:17.33) finished in the top 10.

Morse junior Christopher Walfield finished 10th in 16:19.33.

Scarborough got scoring from Terry, Colin Tardiff (27th), Jacob Bloom (36th), Andrew Sholl (38th) and Connor Doherty (40th).

Falmouth was paced by seniors Bryce Murdick (18th) and Spencer Brown (19th) and a stellar performance by junior Sean Soucy (24th).

Hampden Academy finished fourth, and Massabesic fifth, paced by senior Michael Aboud (12).

In the girls’ race, four runners battled for the lead, between Cumberland’s Amy Laverty, Orono’s Hannah Steelman, Marshwood’s Maddy Doyle and Brunswick’s Tessa Cassidy.

“I took the lead for some of it,” Cassidy said. “But with about 600 meters to go, I just couldn’t keep it. But I got a PR (19:05.68) so I’m happy.”

Laverty burst to the lead at the end, winning in 19:01.02, closely followed by Steelman (19:03.65) and Doyle (19:04.70).

Cassidy called the ever-present mist “perfect weather” for the race. It did not make the course soggy and it kept the runners cool.

Cape Elizabeth did not have a runner finish in the top 10, but the Capers did not need it. Rhoen Flutak led Cape with a 13th-place finish (19:27.65), followed by Liv Palma (16th) and a pack of Sam Feenstra (37th), Emma Shedd (49th) and Madori Kwan (41st).

The meet was divided into three races per gender – a race for the top seeds, one for unseeded runners and one just for freshmen.

Gorham’s Anna Slager won the girls’ freshmen meet in 19:15.82, which was also good enough to place her seventh overall.