Scarborough’s boys’ cross country team is back on top. For the first time since 2006, Cape Elizabeth’s girls are not.

That, in a nutshell, were the lead local stories from state championship meet Saturday in Belfast.

After a one-year hiccup, the Red Storm tallied 71 points to defeat Mt. Ararat by 25. South Portland (284 points) was 13th out of 14 teams taking part.

On the girls’ side, while Cheverus repeated as champion with 45 points, Scarborough placed eighth (220) and South Portland was ninth (224).

In the Class B girls’ meet, Cape Elizabeth hoped to make it four titles in a row, but competing without the guidance of longtime coach Mary Ann Doss, the Capers were a close second to John Bapst (72-78).

In the boys’ competition, won by Caribou with 92 points, Cape Elizabeth couldn’t quite catch rival Falmouth (100) and wound up third (109).

Back to the pinnacle

Scarborough came in first for the sixth time since 2003 (a year which saw the Red Storm forfeit the title to Deering for using an ineligible runner). After placing second to Cheverus a year ago, Scarborough had no peer in 2010.

Saturday, the Red Storm were paced by junior Nick Morris, who was first individually on the 5-kilometer course with a time of 16 minutes, 25.15 seconds. Senior Tom Hague (sixth, 16:48.25), sophomore Robby Hall (18th, 17:16.22), senior Zach Brown (20th, 17:26.67) and junior Wout Moulin (26th, 17:39.55) also scored.

“We had a pretty good meet,” said Scarborough coach Jim Harmon. “It went mostly according to plan. We were very, very happy.

“Next year, we’re looking good. We’re losing Zach and Tom, but should be strong again.”

For South Portland, appearing in a second straight meet after a five-year absence, sophomore Ryan Tuttle led the way with a 43rd-place showing (18:14.42). Sophomore Austin Gotts (52nd, 18:20.98), senior Tom Redstone (57th, 18:35.41), freshman Robert Graff (64th, 18:46.67) and sophomore Max Knutsen (68th, 18:51.93) were the other scorers.

“I was extremely pleased with our efforts at the state meet,” said Red Riots coach Andrew Lupien. “We didn’t have expectations in mind, as we were the final team to qualify from our region and we knew we were going into the meet without two of our runners from the regional meet. Nevertheless, the boys who were there ran wonderfully. Once again, our top five ran well as a pack, separated by only 35 seconds.

“Five of our top six finishers in the state meet were freshmen and sophomores, so our team should be getting stronger over the next year or so. If the boys continue to work hard and improve, we should be back at the state meet next season, and hopefully finishing in the top half.”

On the girls’ side, Scarborough and South Portland were very close in the final accounting.

The Red Storm, who finished in the top 10 for an eighth straight year, featured senior Sarah Dugas (18th, 20:15.41), along with senior Abby Chick (46th, 21:51.03), sophomore Marisa O’Toole (47th, 21:51.07), junior Andrea Tolman (52nd, 22:15.64) and junior Maggie Smith (57th, 22:21.99).

“I was pleased with team’s finish,” said longtime Scarborough coach Ron Kelly. “It was a great race by Sarah Dugas. We’ll have a solid team next year.”

South Portland, which placed in the top 10 for a second consecutive year, was paced by its talented sophomore, Nyajock Pan (sixth, 19:14.09). Also scoring were senior Annelise Donahue (36th, 21:06.82), sophomore Bridget Mulligan (48th, 21:57.31), sophomore Angela Tirabassi (66th, 22:45.27) and senior Maria Latourneau (68th, 22:46.49).

“Except for Annelise, this was the team’s first time on the Belfast course and they are a young group,” said Red Riots coach Karen Reardon. “The team ran pretty well for where we were at going into the race. Bridget ran a much improved race and considering the amount of time that she lost due to her back injury, it was a big leap forward. Maria had a much better race from a week ago. Angela was experiencing the regionals and state meet for the first time this year and did a great job. Unfortunately, she also twisted her ankle in the middle of the race, so she struggled a bit in the second half of the race. She still ran hard, but probably would have been right with Bridget had she not had the ankle issue. Jackie Merrill ran another solid race for us, improved again this week, and helped Nyajock get to the front of the pack when she was caught in back of everyone at the start – good teamwork. Danica Gleason ran her best 5K of the season. She is another one who has been improving each race throughout the season.

“Annelise was competing in her fourth consecutive state meet, the first two as an individual and the last two on a team in the state meet. She ran another real strong race for the team. Nyajock had a great day. She asked me what I thought it would take to qualify for New Englands and I told her probably the top 15. From the very start, Nyajock put herself in a position to place high. She went right out in the top 10, after that minor snafu at the start of getting caught behind everyone, and really stayed in the top 4-7 runners throughout the race. It was her fastest race over a 5K course and she competed real well. It was a good comeback after not running as well at the regional meet and was good racing on a much bigger stage. She really did a nice job.

“Overall the girls were really happy with their races. I think they felt like they gave it a good run and as a team we did about the best that we could do on that particular day. While I thought we might have been a couple spots higher on the scoreboard, afterwards looking at how close the results were, I could see that we had a good day and I felt good about their efforts.”

Close, but not quite

Cape Elizabeth’s girls have dazzled for several years and simply had no peer while winning three straight Class B championships between 2007 and 2009. This fall, the Capers dominated every single in-state race they took part in. They won the regional championship without Doss, who was also away from the team last week.

Doss didn’t reply to a request for comment.

Cape Elizabeth athletic Jeff Thoreck replied in an e-mail:

“The only information that I can share with you is that Mary Ann notified me last week that she would not be attending the state championship meet in Belfast and she wished the team well.”

Thoreck added that Capers boys’ coach Derek Veilleux also served as the girls’ coach at regionals and states and is expected to do so for New Englands as well.

On the course, Cape Elizabeth had several strong showings, but couldn’t catch John Bapst.

Leading the way were top 10 finishers senior Rachel Nichols (fifth, 20:08.56), senior Kelsey Barton (sixth, 20:10.85) and junior Catherine Tierney (ninth, 20:21.98). Also scoring were sophomore Emma Inhorn (21st, 20:51.59) and freshman Emily Lobosco (37th, 21:37.41).

For the boys, junior Thomas Bottomley led the way (eighth, 17:06.82). Other scorers included senior Leo Ledman (10th, 17:13.36), senior Reid Douty (17th, 17:22.92), freshman Peter Doane (31st, 17:45.24) and senior Paul Trantina (43rd, 18:05.29).

“I was very pleased with our performance at the state meet,” said Veilleux. “While we were aiming to win, we ran just about as well as we could. All seven guys had a seasonal best for 5K and additionally, six of seven runners had personal bests. Not much more you can ask for. Caribou and Falmouth just ran better.

“Our development over the course of the year was outstanding. We had three freshman in our top seven by the end of the year, no other team in the state was relying on their young kids like we did. We return four of our top seven next year. Losing three seniors in the top five will present its challenges, but I’m confident that the returners we have will be hungry to come back even better in 2011.”

New Englands

The New England championships are Saturday, Nov. 13 in Vermont. The Scarborough boys and both Cape Elizabeth teams will take part, as will South Portland’s Pan.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]

Sidebar Elements

Cape Elizabeth’s Leo Ledman (left) and Reid Douty run in tandem during Saturday’s Class B state championship meet. Ledman finished 10th and Douty 17th as the Capers were third as a team behind Caribou and Falmouth.

Scarborough senior Sarah Dugas came in 18th in the Class A girls’ race.