It’s impossible to know whether the effort Yarmouth senior Luke Laverdiere expended while chasing an 8-year-old record at the Class B cross country state championship meet in late October affected his chances of winning the subsequent New England meet or qualifying for the nationals at the Foot Locker Northeast Regional.

Either way, Laverdiere has no regrets.

“That,” he said, “is behind me.”

The thing to remember about Laverdiere’s senior season and second straight state championship is he held nothing back in the state meet, sprinting toward and tumbling across the finish line despite a lead of more than a minute over a field of 110. His time of 15:43.89 was barely a half-second behind the state meet record at Twin Brook, set by Will Geoghegan of Brunswick (15:43.37) in 2009.

Of course, Geoghegan had been locked in a battle with Nate Hathaway of Scarborough, who finished in 15:46. The closest pursuer to Laverdiere was Wells senior Mitch Libby, who pulled in at 16:47.

“His performance at the state meet was one of the best performances I’ve seen,” said Yarmouth Coach John Rogers. “At the end he didn’t quite get the goals he wanted, but he still had one of the best years of any distance runner at the high school level in the state of Maine.”

For the second straight year, Laverdiere is our choice as the Maine Sunday Telegram Runner of the Year for boys’ cross country.

It’s not easy to run hard all by yourself, but that was Laverdiere’s challenge this fall.

He was unbeaten in September and October, including substantial victories in the Southern Maine Classic in Gorham and, for the second straight year, the Festival of Champions in Belfast, where his season-best time of 15:10 is second in course history only to the 15:06 run by Josef Holt-Andrews of Telstar in 2013.

The New England champion at Belfast this fall – Drew Thompson of Connecticut – won in 15:16 by a margin of more than a half-minute. Laverdiere wound up eighth in New England, petering out in the final 400 meters after running second to Thompson for much of the race.

In New York last weekend, where 10 runners advanced to the Foot Locker nationals in San Diego, Laverdiere placed 17th in the Northeast.

“I think I peaked at states,” he said. “The month after that, I was kind of breaking down, not being able to recover after workouts.”

An excellent student, Laverdiere plans to continue his running career at Harvard. The school’s official acceptance letter is expected Dec. 12.

Laverdiere entered his senior year having won consecutive regional titles and the 2016 state championship. Both he and Rogers knew serious in-state competition would be unlikely so they tried a different approach.

“We did a lot more tempo work than in previous years and a lot more strength work,” Rogers said.

“He was running 50 to 60 miles a week. He’s pragmatic and insightful, and knows himself better than anyone. I lay out a road map and if he doesn’t feel comfortable with something, we make an adjustment. He’s one of the more mature runners I’ve seen in my seven years of coaching.”

Laverdiere plans to compete in indoor and outdoor track. He already holds every significant distance record at Yarmouth, having finally surpassed 1996 graduate Matt Lane, a Foot Locker finalist, in the 5K.

“He’ll go down,” Rogers predicted of Laverdiere, “as one of the best runners the state has ever seen.”

Maine Sunday Telegram Boys’ Cross Country All-State team

John Auer, Falmouth junior: Auer placed seventh in the Southern Maine Classic, the Festival of Champions and the Class A state meet, helping Falmouth successfully defend its Class A team title. His best time (16:02) came in Belfast at the Festival of Champions, where he was second among Maine runners. He was sixth in the Class A South regional, within seven seconds of the winner.

Lisandro Berry-Gaviria, Mt. Ararat sophomore: Berry-Gaviria capped an unbeaten regular season with a KVAC championship. At the North regional in Belfast, he was the only runner in any class to break 16 minutes (15:53). He followed that by winning the Class A state championship at hillier Twin Brook Recreation Area in a time (16:31) faster than anyone except Class B champion Luke Laverdiere. He finished 26th at the New England meet in Belfast, the second Maine runner across the line.

Gabe Coffey, Bangor junior: Coffey placed 12th at the Festival of Champions, and was runner-up in both the KVAC and Class A North meets. His time in the latter race was a season-best 16:05. At the Class A state championship at Twin Brook, he finished fifth in a time (16:40) that was sixth-best of the day, regardless of class. He placed fifth among Maine runners at the New Englands, 34th overall.

Connor Coffin, Scarborough sophomore: After winning one SMAA meet during the regular season and placing 21st at the Festival of Champions, Coffin came on strong in late October. He placed fifth at the Class A South regional, then cut 18 seconds off his time to take fourth in the state in 16:39. Only four runners in any of the three classes ran faster.

Tristram Coffin, Scarborough sophomore: Coffin kicked off his season with a 12-second victory in the freshman/sophomore section of the Southern Maine Classic in Gorham and was 34th at the Festival of Champions in Belfast. He placed seventh in the Class A South regional before lopping 30 seconds off his time at Twin Brook to place eighth in Class A and help Scarborough rise from fourth at the regionals to runner-up in the state.

Luke Laverdiere, Yarmouth senior: Laverdiere won every race up to the New England championships, including breaking 15:20 at both the Southern Maine Classic and the Festival of Champions. He came within a half-second of breaking the state-meet record at Twin Brook (no one else was within 47 seconds of his 15:43 time), then earned regional honors by placing eighth in New England and 17th at the Foot Locker Northeast Regional.

Mitch Libby, Wells senior: Unbeaten in the Western Maine Conference, Libby was one of the three runners in Maine to break 16 minutes over a 5K course this fall when he went 15:59 in Freeport in late September. He was third at the Southern Maine Classic, and runner-up at both the Class B South regional and the state meet.

Wyatt Lord, Hampden Academy junior: After placing third in both the KVAC Championships and the Class A North regional, Lord peaked at the Class A state meet with a runner-up performance, only four seconds behind Lisandro Berry-Gaviria. Lord’s time of 16:35 was third-fastest of the day, regardless of class. At the Festival of Champions, Lord placed seventh among Maine runners, 15th overall.

Yahya Nure, Deering senior: A late-comer to cross country, Nure didn’t begin running competitively until his sophomore year. After a slow start this fall, he came on strong at season’s end, placing third in the Class A South regional and cutting 17 more seconds to place third in the state meet in 16:37. He earned all-New England honors by placing 10th at Belfast (16:01).

Henry Spritz, Waynflete junior: Spritz started his season slowly and by late October had one regular-season victory under his belt. At both the Class C South regional and the state championship races, he had powerful finishing kicks – winning the regional in 17:43 and the state title in 17:01 after reeling in Deer Isle-Stonington senior Brendan Penfold.

Alex Troxell, Deering junior: Troxell became the Class A South champion with an impressive kick that erased memories of “the worst race of my (2016) season.” Despite running faster the following week he dropped to sixth at the state meet, but rebounded two weeks later to earn all-New England honors (18th overall, third among Maine runners) in a season-best 16:05.

Coach of the Year

Garrett Martin, Lincoln Academy: When Martin took over the program in Newcastle three years ago, the Eagles had 22 boys and girls running cross country. This fall there were 51, and the boys earned the Class B state title in convincing fashion with a 58-point gap over Freeport. It was the school’s first state championship since 1945.

– Glenn Jordan

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