LISANDRO BERRY-GAVIRIA of Mt. Ararat, here running in a track meet in Bath in the spring, won the individual State Class A cross country title last season. The junior returns to lead a strong Eagles squad as the season opens today in Augusta. ERIC MAXIM / THE TIMES RECORD

LISANDRO BERRY-GAVIRIA of Mt. Ararat, here running in a track meet in Bath in the spring, won the individual State Class A cross country title last season. The junior returns to lead a strong Eagles squad as the season opens today in Augusta. ERIC MAXIM / THE TIMES RECORD

TOPSHAM

The 2017 high school cross country season was one to remember for then Mt. Ararat sophomore Lisandro Berry-Gaviria, who captured the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference, Class A North Regional and State Class A individual titles last season.

Berry-Gaviria returns, this year as a junior, and will be looking to combine the individual wins with more team success as his Eagles open the season today at Cony High School in Augusta in the annual Laliberte Invitational.

Longtime coach Diane Fournier has 40 athletes one year after her squads found success, as her girls claimed second place in the KVAC and regional meet, and finished seventh at states. The boys were third in both the KVAC and regional, and claimed eighth-place at states.

Her squad is young.

“With so much youth, I don’t want to push them so they experience injury, get sick and disappointed with their performances,” said Fournier. “I think there is enough leadership on the team to help, so (success) can happen. Returnees, it’s a chance for them to help build the team, with all members working together.”

Mt. Ararat hosted the annual “Alumni” race last weekend.

“It is a pretty tough course, the weather — but I thought all three teams (Brunswick and Morse) and the alum did very well. We learned where we need to work with some of the firsttimers at the high school level, and tune-ups on technique for the established.”

Eagle girls returning this fall are seniors Caitlin Chambers, Cassandra Kane, Zoe Stevenson, Sara York, juniors Libby Boutin, Anna Jackson, Katie Lynch, Fay O’Donnell, Caroline Wheeler, and sophomores Jackie Brochu, Ella Carter, Camila Ciembroniewicz, Madeline Dauleiro, Alexandra Kennedy and Karli Leighton.

On the boys side, returnees are seniors Tyler Bernier, Jack Mathieu, juniors Lucas Bergeron, Berry-Gaviria, Nathan Ickes-Coon, Josiah Langworthy, Jeffrey Remis, and sophomores Andrew Chamberland, Nate Cohen and Andrew Pulsifer.

Fournier also has a solid mix of newcomers that look to add to the point totals this season.

Morse

Co-coaches Dane Dwyer and Paige Gallagher, along with Morse track and field coach Brent Luchies, are excited on what this year might bring in Bath.

The Shipbuilder girls are coming off a solid 2017 campaign, finishing second in KVAC Class B. A solid seventh place showing at the State Class B meet ended the year.

At the top are seniors Sydney McCarren and Jenny Wilbraham, along with junior Lorelei Pryor.

“Sydney, Jenny and Lorelei provide a solid top three, with newcomers (freshman) Iris Hennin and (junior) Emily Adams demonstrating the potential to provide the Morse girls with quality depth at the fourth and fifth spots,” said Dwyer.

Rounding out the lineup for the Morse girls is freshman Liv McDonough.

The Morse boys claimed fifth at the KVAC meet and return a solid group of sophomores in Connor Freeman, Ben Brewer, Caleb Avery and Liam Scanlon, along with sophomore newcomers Aidan Pryor and Connor McNish, and freshman Finn Thelen.

“Although a bit on the young side, the team returns the nucleus and top four runners from last year’s team, including Connor Freeman and Ben Brewer, who both qualified for the 2017 state meet,” Dwyer said. “The three newcomers — Finn Thelen (second at 2017 Triple C Championship cross country meet), Aidan Pryor and Conner McNish — have demonstrated the ability to run at the front of the Morse pack. The team should be a strong running squad, with very little time separating the number one runner down to the number seven runner on any given day.”

The addition of Gallagher, according to Dwyer, has provided running knowledge to the young Shipbuilders.

“Paige is an avid runner and brings a wealth of experience, having run cross country and track and field throughout her high school years and as a four-year member of the University of Maine Black Bears. Her coaching resume includes coaching most of this year’s team members when they participated on the Bath Middle School teams,” said Dwyer, whose Shipbuilders are at Augusta today.

Richmond

First-year coach Libby Ladner takes over the Bobcats this season, with a small group looking for some individual success.

The boys have two solid returnees in senior Ford Strout and junior Spencer Soule, with newcomer Owen Stewart (sophomore) looking to progress.

Junior Abigail Johnson is the only returnee on the girls side, with sophomore newcomers Erika Dickey, Leah Wescott and Meg Scott in the mix.

“Our goal is to work hard during practice and focus on making progress each week,” said Ladner, whose Bobcats head to Hall-Dale for its opener Sept. 5. “I’m really excited to see how hard the runners are working during practice. Both effort and attitude is positive, and I am looking forward to how this translates during races.”

Brunswick

Coach Dave DeLois returns a solid core of runners this season.

The boys will lean on seniors Cam Ashby, Dan Lyons, Nick DeRosa, Chris Tucker, Logan Holt and Webster Taylor, along with juniors Andrew Chingos and Will Shaughnessy. Sophomores Adam Nussbaum, Tyler Patterson and Aiden Simmons look to be in the mix.

“Barring injury, the boys look to be very competitive in the KVAC and will make it as a team to the state meet,” said DeLois, who also features freshmen newcomers in Connor Ashby, Felix Battle, Simon Carney, Dolan Pols, Joe Valliere and Jacob Van Kampen.

On the girls side, senior Desiree Tanner, juniors Micaela Ashby and Caitlin Kelly, and sophomores Adeline Dolley and Margaret Johnson are back, and are joined by freshmen Margaret Chingos, Kaeden Green, Lillian Hatrick, Aela Hemberger and Fiona Brown. Junior Maelys Biot is also running.

“The girls are led by the upperclassmen and complimented by the freshmen,” said DeLois, who feels his Dragon runners will compete for the KVAC title.

Brunswick runs in the Laliberte Invitational today.

Lisbon

Jeremy Williams returns to lead the Greyhound boys.

For the third straight season, Lisbon will not field a girls team. However, Williams feels his squad is one year away from that changing.

“Our middle school girls have not made their way to high school yet,” said the Lisbon coach, whose squad opens today at Maranacook. “We are looking to rebuild the girls program in the coming year.”

The Lisbon boys, which finished sixth in the Mountain Valley Conference last year but failed to advance to the State Class C championship, have a strong contingent of runners.

Seniors Geoffrey Shambarger and David Schlotterbeck are joined by juniors Alex Cole, Corbin Hall, Michael Ray, Dave Poulin, Izaya May and Kadrian Rugullies. Sophomore Max Boulet also returns, and Williams has newcomers in senior Gregory Morris and freshman Aidan Lavioette.

“With the entire team from last season returning, the addition of the newcomers and return of David Schlotterbeck, the Greyhounds are looking for a very strong season,” Williams said. “The junior group has gained a lot of confidence and experience from the last couple years. The keys are to remain healthy and move our strong pack higher up in the meets and make a move for a title run. Our veteran seniors have a lot of experience in big meets and the younger guys are looking to follow their lead.”

Freeport

Last year’s Falcons were led by Lily Horne, the Western Maine Conference champion and runner-up at the Class B South regional.

However, head coach Brian Berkemeyer’s boys seemed to fly under the radar. That is until the WMC championship, when the boys captured the title. The Falcons continued that roll, taking second in both the Class B South regional and State Class B championship.

The top of Freeport’s order seems solid, with senior Alex Les, Paul Biberstein, John Giddens, Nick Mitch, Dawson Pillow and Tanner Morrison returning, along with juniors Jeremy Brogan and Heath Cockburn, and sophomore Martin Horne. Freshmen newcomers include Sam Robinson and Blaine Cockburn.

“We have a solid team with Alex Lex and Martin Horne leading the way,” said Berkemeyer. “It may come down to the person that wants to be that fifth runner. We have a lot returning, and with a group of nine freshmen it will be interesting to watch who emerges this season.”

Lily Horne, a senior, returns to defend her WMC title. Classmates Katie Morrissey and Jessica Minieri are back, along with juniors Caroline Doyle and Sadie Southhall, and sophomore Elsa Blease. Sophomore Jane Dawson and freshman Katie Whittier are among the newcomers.

“We have high hopes for Lily as she continues to develop as a solid runner,” said Berkemeyer, whose Falcons hosted the Falcon 4K on Thursday. “Putting together another four or five runners to compete as a team looks promising. We have a lot returning from last year and have gotten a great group of freshmen girls.”

Wiscasset/Boothbay

Things have changed a bit for Warren Cossette’s Wolverines, who will combine forces with rival Boothbay this season.

“We have five kids, and our scores will be combined with Boothbay’s, which is a good thing for both programs,” said Cossette, whose squad opens at Hall-Dale on Sept. 5. “We are looking forward to working with (coach) Nick Scott and (AD) Alan Crocker over at Boothbay. We are 100 percent behind this.”

From Wiscasset, look for senior Gage Varian and sophomore Nate Gilliam on the boys side, while junior Maria West, and sophomores Lily Yeaton and Gabby Leavitt return for the girls.

“We have five kids now, but we are hoping to recruit more,” said Cossette.

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