Had two fewer students enrolled at Greely High in Cumberland, cross country coach David Dowling likely would be anticipating another Class B state title or two for the Rangers this weekend on their home course at Twin Brook Recreation Area.

Instead the Rangers are one student over the cutoff mark of 655 and competing for a top- three finish in a deep Class A pool for the boys’ and girls’ championship races Saturday.

“Ah, well,” Dowling said. “Life is not always easy street.”

One week after summer-like conditions for the Southern Maine championships, Twin Brook will present a different challenge for the six state races, beginning with Class C girls at 11 a.m. and concluding with Class B boys at 2:35 p.m.

Two days of rain should bring mud into the equation, and make the final grassy hairpin turn an adventure in remaining upright.

“The thing with Twin Brook is the trails are very hard,” said Dowling, cautioning against spikes any longer than 3/8 inch. “(The course) should handle the water OK. It will be a little sloppy in the start area and at the turn (before the home stretch), but it’s cross country.”

Here’s a look at each race:

CLASS A GIRLS: The regional champions are Gorham from the South and Camden Hills from the North. Two-time defending state champion Bonny Eagle, South runner-up Falmouth, 2016 Class B state champ Greely and a balanced Deering squad will also be in the mix. Still, Augusta Stockman and Grace Iltis lead a strong young Camden Hills team that ran more than a minute faster 1-4 than their Gorham counterparts, albeit on the faster Belfast course.

As for individuals, this may be the meet unbeaten Falmouth freshman Sofie Matson finishes with someone else in sight. Then again, she may have to wait until the New Englands.

CLASS A BOYS: Falmouth won the South and Hampden Academy the North, but this shapes up as a Southern affair. Even with the flatter course at Belfast, which usually runs 30 to 40 seconds faster among the top boys, two of Falmouth’s top five runners posted quicker times than their counterparts from Hampden.

“I’m counting on sending my guys after Falmouth again,” Dowling said of Greely, which came within eight points of Falmouth in the regional. Deering, with Alec Troxell and Yahya Nure placing 1-3 last weekend, is the darkhorse. All three should finish ahead of Hampden.

Eight runners have a legitimate shot at the individual title, with Lisandro Berry-Gaviria of Mt. Ararat and Gabe Coffey of Bangor thrown in the Southern mix of Troxell, Nure, Luke Marsanskis of Greely, Conner Piers and John Auer of Falmouth, and Connor Coffin of Scarborough.

CLASS B GIRLS: This is another race in which the Northern champ (Caribou) isn’t likely to contend. Anneka Murrin and Sophia Laukli of Southern champ Yarmouth both ran more than a minute faster at Twin Brook than their Caribou counterparts at Belfast. York, Cape Elizabeth and possibly Fryeburg Academy will give Yarmouth a battle as well as jockey for one of the three team at-large New England bids.

Individually, Murrin and Lily Horne of Freeport are likely to reprise their regional tussle. Murrin pulled away late to win by three seconds.

CLASS B BOYS: The regional champs are Lincoln Academy (South) and Hermon (North), and the state meet shouldn’t be close. One through five, Lincoln runners ran faster on a harder course at the regionals, and the score for runner-up Freeport was more than double that of Lincoln, with Wells, Yarmouth and York not far behind the Falcons.

As the sixth race of the day, conditions may be a factor, but it’s hard to imagine anyone coming close to Luke Laverdiere of Yarmouth, who recently committed to Harvard.

CLASS C GIRLS: The opening race of the day may be close between Northern champ George Stevens Academy (defending state champion) and Southern champ Maranacook, which had long been competitive in Class B before dropping down this fall. Orono and Maine Coast Waldorf are also in the mix should either regional champion stumble.

Individually, expect Eliza Broughton of George Stevens and Olivia Skillings of Maine Coast to compete with freshmen Olivia Reynolds (Maine Coast) and Erin Gerbi (Orono) with Molly McGrail of Maranacook a darkhorse.

CLASS C BOYS: Barring catastrophe, Orono will win, and win big. At the regionals, all five Orono runners ran faster at Belfast than anyone from Maine Coast Waldorf, the Southern champ, at Twin Brook. Brendan Penfold of Deer Isle-Stonington, and Jonathan Steelman of Orono get the individual nod over Henry Spritz (Waynflete), Troy Hendricks (Sacopee Valley) and Luke Bartol (Maranacook), but whoever copes best with the hills is likely to win.

The three individual champions and the next 22 fastest runners regardless of class qualify for the New England meet Nov. 12 in Belfast. Also qualifying are the three team winners and the next three lowest-scoring teams when all three races are combined and scored as one meet.

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or

[email protected]

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH

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