BELFAST — Cross county coaches often can sense early in a race whether their runner will have a good day. Sometimes they even know during warmups.

Yarmouth Coach Bob Morse knew hours before Saturday afternoon’s Class B state championship meet that junior Luke Laverdiere, who had such a disappointing state race a year earlier, would by OK.

“He had a big smile on his face when he got on the bus this morning,” Morse said, “so I knew he was in the right zone. He was more relaxed.”

Indeed, Laverdiere allowed Henry Jaques of Freeport to lead through a first mile in 5:02, then pulled away to win by eight seconds in a time of 15 minutes, 49.59 seconds over the 3.1-mile course at Troy Howard Middle School.

“I’ve been waiting for this for a while, training all summer and all fall,” said Laverdiere, who faded to 13th at last year’s state meet after winning his regional. “So it’s a great feeling.”

Unlike the damp conditions of the previous two weekends, which prompted the Maine Principals’ Association to push back the regional and state meets by a week, Saturday remained dry and cool, with temperatures in the mid-to-upper 40s and sun only occasionally peeking through the clouds.

“There’s really only a little bit of mud (on the course),” Laverdiere said. “It’s pretty warm out and not a whole lot of wind, so it was a good day.”

Laverdiere slowed before the finish line and saw his time surpassed later in the afternoon by the Class A champion, Tucker Barber, a Mt. Blue senior who had Cameron Meier of Mt. Ararat and Jeremiah Sands of Falmouth in hot pursuit. Barber’s winning time was a best-of-the-day 15:47.33.

George Stevens Academy senior John Hassett won the Class C race by 14 seconds in 15:56.

In team competition, Falmouth won convincingly in Class A, Greely by 15 points over resurgent Wells in Class B, and Orono by 13 over Maine Coast Waldorf of New Gloucester in Class C.

Behind the third-place finish from Sands (who held off fourth-place Paul Casavant of Hampden Academy by nine-hundredths of a second), Falmouth built its victory on the heels of John Auer (11th), Conner Piers (12th), Ben Wyman (18th) and Alex Kinley (36th).

“Midway through the race it was a dogfight,” Falmouth co-coach Danny Paul said of the competition with runner-up Deering. “They got out well.”

The final margin, however, was 44 points. Falmouth finished with 72 to Deering’s 116. Massabesic (151) won a four-way battle for third over Windham (155), Mt. Blue (158) and Hampden Academy (158). Scarborough, the two-time defending state champion, was seventh at 170.

“Our two through five (pack) has done a really good job of, in the second half of the race, moving up,” said Falmouth co-coach Jorma Kurry. “They did that again (Saturday). Jeremiah can’t move up very much because he’s already up there. He’s been a rock at the beginning of the lineup all season.”

Meier was the biggest surprise of the race. He placed fifth in last week’s North regional on the same course but ran 24 seconds faster Saturday.

“He came out of nowhere,” Sands said. “That was cool to see him out there when I don’t think he was expected to. It’s always good to have an underdog. It makes it fun.”

As a bonus, Sands said, chasing Meier down the stretch helped Sands hold off the oncoming Casavant.

“I think Casavant would have gotten me if I didn’t (keep pushing),” he said. “I looked back and he was five meters behind me. I looked again and he was literally right on my hip.”

Greely ended a two-year title run by Freeport, which held off Yarmouth by a point (100-101) for fourth place behind Greely (66) and Wells (81).

Luke Marsanskis led the Rangers in sixth place, followed by Pat Lyden (13th), Matthew Todd (14th), Max Stickney (16th) and Caleb Thurston (18th). Last weekend in the South regional, Lyden was Greely’s seventh finisher.

“He was our improved performer of the day,” Greely Coach David Dowling said. “We mixed and matched places, but it held together at the end.”

Mitch Libby (third), Wesley Moody (ninth), Griffin Allaire (12th) and Mitchell Stapleton (15th) helped Wells earn second place, and one of the three New England team berths awarded to non-champions. Deering and Windham earned the others.

In Class C, Orono jammed six runners among the top 25 to beat Maine Coast Waldorf 56-69, with Waynflete (93) third and Boothbay (100) fourth.