RUNNERS BEGIN the Festival of Champions 5K at Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast on Saturday.

RUNNERS BEGIN the Festival of Champions 5K at Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast on Saturday.

BELFAST

Isaiah Harris could feel his legs tightening up approaching the third mile, but upon entering the final straightaway and seeing all the fans cheering at the finish line, the pain dissipated.

The Lewiston High School senior crossed the finish line in fifth place out of 870 runners, completing the 5K Festival of Champions in 16:12.46 on Saturday at Troy Howard Middle School. Harris shaved off nine seconds from last year’s race, when he finished eighth.

BRUNSWICK HIGH SCHOOL cross country runner Ruth Van Kampen competes in the Festival of Champions at Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast on Saturday.

BRUNSWICK HIGH SCHOOL cross country runner Ruth Van Kampen competes in the Festival of Champions at Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast on Saturday.

Harris held off Mt. Blue’s Aaron Willingham, finishing less than a second in front of the Cougars’ senior. Harris averaged a 5:13 mile.

Harris’ teammate, Osman Doorow, finished 11th in 16:20.69 as the Blue Devils took 12th as a team with 424 points.

Harris said the weather conditions, which consisted of a light mist throughout the race, was more of a help than a hindrance.

“I don’t mind this weather at all,” Harris said. “I think it’s good racing weather. It’s not too hot and the mist kind of cools you down when you’re heating up in the race. It was good weather.”

Despite 72 teams from all around Maine competing, the boys’ race belonged to those from out of state. Sam Nishi of Harwood Union (Vt.) won the race in 15:50.48, a second faster than Cumberland High School (R.I.) junior Sean Laverty.

Scarborough’s Jacob Terry (16:00.32) and Cape Elizabeth’s Mitch Morria (16:06.11) rounded out the top five.

Cumberland took the team crown with 135 points. Its top six runners all placed in the top 55. Scarborough took second with 144 points, followed by Falmouth with 148. Mt. Blue, which had the sixth- and seventh-place finishers, was eighth with 397 points.

Morse runner Christopher Walfield finished 10th overall in 16:19.33. The Shipbuilders were 43rd overall with 1,251 points. Balt von Huene (19:01.46) and Ben Willertz (20:26.83) were the top-three Morse finishers.

Brunswick and Lisbon also competed, with the Dragons taking 22nd overall (717 points), while the Greyhounds were 41st (1,154).

The top-three finishers for the Dragons were John Murphy

(17:18.87), Christopher Tanner (18:01.33) and McKinley Stinson (18:09.83).

Lisbon’s Nicholas Harriman ran the 5K in 17:51.94 to complete the course as the top Greyhound runner. Teammates Jordan Cole (18:59.46) and Jeff Willey (19:05.13) also ran well.

Cassidy second

Nobody enjoys the rainy weather quite as much as Brunswick High School’s Tessa Cassidy. The misty conditions were exactly what the junior runner was hoping for.

She made good on Mother Nature’s plans, finishing fourth in 19:05.68, setting a personal record by one second. Cassidy was one of four runners in the first group to cross the finish line. She finished four seconds behind the leader and within two second of the second- and third-place finishers. More than 700 runners started the race.

“I took the lead for some of it and had a one-second PR,” Cassidy said. “Missed my seed place by one but still happy with my time.”

Cassidy said she lost the lead with approximately 600 meters remaining. Cumberland junior Amy Laverty crossed the finish line first at 19:01.02. Oreno’s Hannah Steelman (19:03.65) took second and Marshwood’s Maddy Doyle (19:04.70) grabbed third.

The Dragons cracked the top 10 as a team, placing 10th with 428 points. Brunswick’s Ruth Van Kampen and Tiffany Tanner finished 34th and 73rd, respectively.

Morse’s Maeve Carlson (21:37.14), Kelsea Albertson (22:15.64) and Whitney Durgin (23:42.24) were the top three finishers for the Shipbuilders, who ended up 39th with 1,103 points.

Caitlyn Bundy of Lisbon also competed, finishing in 24:27.80.

“We were pretty pleased where we ended up,” Brunswick coach Dave Delois said. “We finished 10th and were probably first in the Eastern region. Most of the girls had personal bests. Cassidy had a great race, but the girls behind her did very well.”

Cape Elizabeth took the girls’ team title with 137 points as its top five runners placed in the top 40. Orono (166), Yarmouth (175), Cumberland (175) and Harwood Union (181) rounded out the top five.


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