CUMBERLAND — If there’s safety in numbers, as Falmouth cross country coach Danny Paul preaches, his boys were feeling plenty secure Saturday.

Only 40 seconds separated Falmouth’s second through seventh runners – all of whom crossed the finish line in the top 25 – to give the Yachtsmen a decisive victory in the Western Class B cross country championships at Twin Brook Recreation Area.

“Keeping that … margin is magic,” Paul said. “I mean, you can’t beat that. They get a little spread out now and then, but they’re never really very far apart.”

Nick Morris of Scarborough, Silas Eastman of Fryeburg Academy and Matt McClintock of Madison won individual titles in Class A, B and C, respectively.

McClintock turned in the day’s fastest time, covering the muddy 5-kilometer course in 16 minutes, 0.23 seconds.

“I was shooting for sub-16,” said McClintock, who sprinted to the finish and leaned at the line despite a comfortable 46-second margin over the Class C runner-up, Chase Brown of Boothbay.

“It’s almost a club, being in the sub-16. I’ve done it a few times in road races and some meets at home, but I’ve never done it at a big meet in front of everyone.”

Eastman enjoyed a similar cushion in the Class B race, the last of the six run Saturday. His cruised home in 16:18, with Tim Follo of Falmouth following at 16:55.

“It was a bit slower,” said Eastman, aware of McClintock’s time, “but I’m not going to complain about that, especially with all this mud.”

Eastman said he wished he had worn spikes longer than half an inch on the slippery slopes, but shorter than that on the harder-packed trails through the woods.

Running in the morning, when dew and the absence of sun or wind made for mushier footing, Morris won the Class A race in 17:03. Chris Dunn of Kennebunk was second in 17:21.

“This course usually takes water well,” said Morris, his red hair dye trickling down his neck, “but we’ve had so much rain this week that there’s a lot of muddy patches. And especially going up hills, the grass was all ripped up.”

So what’s a runner to do?

“You slow down before you go around corners, make sure you don’t slip,” Morris said. “You take it a little slower up hills. It just slows the race down a little bit because everyone has to run cautiously.

“If you fall, it’s worse than just slowing down.”

Scarborough won the Class A team title, 61-101, over runner-up South Portland and a dozen other SMAA schools. Teammates Ian Morris, Robby Hall, Jack Sullivan and Wout Moulin all finished in the top 30.

“They did just what we wanted them to do,” said Scarborough Coach Jim Harmon. “They ran hard but saved just a little bit for next week. I’m very pleased.”

From each race, the top 30 individuals and half the teams qualified for next Saturday’s state championships, also scheduled for Twin Brook.

The North Yarmouth Academy boys, sporting silver-and-orange mohawk haircuts, romped to victory in Class C, with all seven runners breaking the top 30, led by Cam Regan in sixth.
Abshir Horor of Waynflete paced the Flyers to second place, 33 points behind NYA’s total of 59.

In Class B, Cape Elizabeth was closest to Falmouth but still 38 points back.
Peter Doane (sixth) led the Capers to the runners-up plaque by two points over York and six over Greely.

Behind Follo, Falmouth found room for Jay Lesser (seventh) and Thomas Edmonds (ninth) among the top 10. They crossed within a half-second of each other. Henry Briggs was 17 seconds behind in 13th and Conor McGrory was another nine seconds back in 19th. Colby Howland (21st) and Spencer Brown (23rd) finished within 14 seconds of McGrory.

“It’s safety in numbers, almost, because you see where your buddies are around you,” said Paul, the Falmouth coach.

“They know each other. They look out for each other. I don’t care who wins the race, cross country is pack running. It always is.”

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

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