Wednesday, March 12, 2014
From Staff Reports
(Continued from page 1)
For all the baseball and softball state championships hosted by St. Joseph’s College, the largest high school athletic event on the Standish campus remains the Western Maine Conference cross country championship meet.
A total of 445 runners took part in four 5-kilometer races Friday afternoon, with varsity and junior varsity competitions for boys and girls. Add coaches and parents (and a few dogs) to the mix and the crowd easily exceeded 1,000.
York senior Heather Evans and Gray-New Gloucester senior Will Shafer turned in the fastest times. The most obvious absence, aside from a Yarmouth boys’ team reduced to three runners because of a disciplinary issue, was that of Greely senior Kirstin Sandreuter, the 2012 WMC champion.
Sandreuter held a clipboard Friday and cheered on her teammates, who finished third behind Falmouth and Freeport. She hasn’t raced since winning the small-school division race at the Manchester (N.H.) Invitational in late September.
What was originally thought to be tendinitis in her fight foot turned out to be inflammation. She said she jogged a little Friday and is hopeful of returning for the Western Maine regional meet Saturday at Twin Brook in Cumberland.
“I was kind of hoping she would (run),” said Evans, who finished third behind Sandreuter and Greely’s Eva Bates last year, “because I knew that she would push me. But at the same time, I’m kind of happy, because I know that I can do it by myself. I don’t need someone in front of me to push me.”
Shafer, who had never been in contention at the WMC meet until this year, traced the roots of his victory to an impressive run at Belfast two weeks earlier, when he not only broke 17 minutes for the first time over 5 kilometers but came within eight seconds of breaking 16 minutes.
“I’ve never thought I’d be this good at cross country,” said Shafer. “But getting through it mentally made the physical part much easier, after knowing and believing in myself that I could do it.”
SOUTH PORTLAND missed the playoffs last year, but the Red Riots won’t miss them this year. The Riots are 5-2 after Friday’s 55-24 win over Biddeford.
An impetus for this year’s season was last year’s Battle of the Bridge game with Portland. For the Riots, that was their playoff game, and they upset Portland at Martin Memorial Field. South Portland has carried the momentum from that victory into this season.
The Red Riots finish their regular season Friday night at Portland, and you can bet the Bulldogs (6-1) will remember what happened last year. It should be a great game with the possibility of a lot scoring, as both teams have dynamic offenses.
The Riots returned veterans at the skill positions, but their line was untested when the season began. Quarterback Duncan Preston has been the key to the offense with his passing and running ability. He passed for six touchdowns against Biddeford. Preston also handles the punting and kickoffs.
He credits his receivers for his aerial success. Having a choice of throwing to wideouts Jordan Susi and Hayden Owen, tight end Jaren Muller and halfback Joey DiBiase, Preston has a lot of weapons from which to choose.
Over the next week or two, South Portland will want to tighten its defense. The Red Riots allowed four touchdowns against Biddeford after giving up 58 points a week earlier in a double-overtime loss to Scarborough.
TWO WEEKS ago, Greely quarterback Matt Pisini had a forgettable game in a 42-14 loss at Kennebunk, throwing four interceptions and losing two fumbles.
Friday night, however, he outdueled Cony’s Ben Lucas – considered one of the best in the state – while leading the Rangers to a stunning 35-21 victory.
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