December 2, 2012

Boys' cross-country: Friendly rivalry helped push Ellsworth's Curts to new heights

Dan Curts narrowly edged Silas Eastman at the Telegram All-State meet, and for Runner of the Year honors.

By Glenn Jordan gjordan@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

When it was finally over, after Dan Curts and Silas Eastman had raced for the third time in five months, had pushed each other for not quite 41 minutes of carefully measured time around a track on Mt. Desert Island, through a hilly park in Manchester, N.H., and, in the rubber match, over the fields adjacent to Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast, they went off together for a cool-down jog, just the two of them.

click image to enlarge

Dan Curts, right, of Ellsworth, ended Silas Eastman’s two-year reign as Class B cross country state champion, beating the Fryeburg Academy standout by four-hundredths of a second.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

TELEGRAM ALL-STATE BOYS' CROSS-COUNTRY

Lucas Bourget, Edward Little senior

After finishing 11th at the Eastern Maine regional, dropped nearly a minute over the same Belfast course to place third in Class A in a personal-best time of 16 minutes, 47 seconds.

Dan Curts, Ellsworth junior

Class B state champion and three-time Eastern Maine champion who edged Silas Eastman for fastest time in any class, 15:47. Repeat all-New England honoree with 17th-place finish. Placed 25th at Foot Locker Northeast Regional.

Silas Eastman, Fryeburg Academy senior

Class B runner-up (by .04 seconds) and Western Maine champion who was third in New England, the state's top finisher. Two-time state champ and three-time all-New England runner.

Marc Hachey, Winthrop senior

Placed third in Class C in a time (16:45) that was 45 seconds faster than his effort earlier in the season over the same Belfast course at the Festival of Champions.

Robby Hall, Scarborough senior

Class A runner-up after finishing fourth at the Western Maine regional. Also placed ninth at the Festival of Champions and 92nd at the Foot Locker Northeast Regional.

Josef Holt-Andrews, Telstar junior

Class C runner-up in a time (16:20) faster than all but three runners, regardless of class. Also placed fifth in New England, the only non-senior among the top eight. Top Mainer (22nd) at Foot Locker Northeast Regional.

Nathan Madeira, Greely senior

Placed fourth in Class B in 16:40 after finishing second to Silas Eastman in Western Maine. Earlier in season, ran 16:29 to take seventh at Manchester (N.H.) Invitational. Seventh Mainer (52nd) at New England meet.

Cam Nadeau, Biddeford senior

Class A state champion in 16:36 after placing third in Western Maine regional. Placed 39th at New England meet, sixth runner from Maine. Earlier, finished sixth at Festival of Champions.

Jack Pierce, Merriconeag senior

Class C state champion (15:57) and one of only three runners to break 16 minutes on the Belfast course. Fourth at the Manchester Invitational and Festival of Champions, and 12th in New England -- the third Mainer.

Ben Trapani, Camden Hills junior

Placed third in Class B in a time (16:30) less than a tenth of a second behind Class A champion Cam Nadeau. Runner-up in Eastern Maine and 62nd at the New England meet, eighth among Maine runners.

Coach of the Year

Mark Crepeau, Massabesic

In his 33rd year, Crepeau guided the Mustangs to their first Class A title. An opening-meet victory over two-time defending state champ Scarborough set the tone for what Crepeau called a magical season. "From that point on, practices were easy," he said. "We never had to ask them to push."

They spoke of the unusually warm weather, of the college plans for Eastman, a senior at Fryeburg Academy who lives across the border in New Hampshire. They spoke of the repairs to the Belfast course, which had been a mud bath at the Eastern Maine championships a week earlier. They spoke of their utter exhaustion after the Class B state meet less than an hour before, when Curts, a junior from Ellsworth, leaned at the line to hold off Eastman and win the race by four hundredths of a second in 15 minutes, 47.52 seconds.

Curts has played baseball and basketball. He remembers postgame handshake lines with their quick hand slaps and "Nice game" spoken as quickly as could be spit out.

"That always seemed silly to me because you never really meant it," Curts said. "There was always some animosity. You just didn't really care for the other people on the other team."

Running, he found, was different. No bats, no balls, no trickery or attempts at fooling an opponent. Just a race to the finish with your wits, your guts and your training base.

"I think running is special in that you get to become good friends with your competitors," Curts said. "I like that aspect of the sport a lot."

Eastman was the two-time defending Class B state champion. He went on to finish third in New England and was the first runner from Maine.

But Curts, after emerging victorious on the date circled by every serious schoolboy runner in the state, is our choice as Male Runner of the Year. He won when it counted most, if only by a whisker.

Curts lived in Londonderry, N.H., before moving to Maine in first grade and got involved in running through his uncle, Andy Beardsley, and Beardsley's sons. One of them, Brayden, is a junior on the Ellsworth team, which is coached by Beardsley.

Curts forgot to use the inhaler that alleviates his sports-induced asthma and placed 17th in New England and 25th at the Foot Locker Northeast Regional. He also learned, after his conference meet, that early-season struggles were due to mononucleosis.

"I think he was over it by the state meet," Beardsley said, "but mono knocks you out."

In the end, however, it won't be mono that Curts remembers, but a dynamic duo pushing each other to places neither had gone before. 

Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at:

gjordan@pressherald.com

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH

 

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