Brunswick’s Will Shaughnessy runs the course at Cony High School during the Laliberte Invitational this past August. (Eric Maxim / The Times Record)

Brunswick — After finishing in last place as a team in the 2017 State Class A Cross Country meet in Cumberland, the Brunswick High School boys team put together a mindset to return in 2018 with a state title in mind.

“Towards the end of last year after the kids lost, we talked about it,” Dragons coach Dave DeLois said. “We also talked about it when some of them were freshman, like seniors Cam Ashby and Daniel Lyons. It’s always been a goal to reach the states.”

Other than the two seniors, DeLois credits his team’s success to the depth of a healthy mixture of underclassmen that include Will Shaughnessy (junior), Tyler Patterson (sophomore), Andrew Chingos (junior), Joseph Valliere (freshman) and Aiden Simmons (sophomore) and their desire to compete.

“We have a good mixture of kids, with a couple of strong-willed seniors, with some juniors, sophomores and freshman,” said the longtime coach. “They worked hard this summer. The kids got together and ran, going out and putting in their mileage along with their mindset, ‘we want to do this.’”

Shaughnessy also pointed to the work that was put in during the summer months leading up to the season.

Tyler Patterson of Brunswick looks ahead while he runs at the Laliberte Invitational at Cony High School early in the season. (Eric Maxim / The Times Record)

“We had a lot of guys put in a lot of work over the summer, we had big expectations coming into the season,” Shaughnessy said. “Our biggest goal was to win the state championship, which I think will be really tough, but possible.”

In the Class A North Regionals, Shaughnessy (16:19.20) finished third, less than 20 seconds behind winner Lisandro Berry-Gaviria of Mt. Ararat. Patterson cracked the top-10 with a 10th-place finish with a time of 17:11.10. Valliere (11th), Chingos (13th), Ashby (16th) and Simmons (20th) finished in the first 20 spots, with Lyons finishing 27th.

“Our depth in general really helps us, we had a really strong top eight at the meet,” Patterson said.

“Heading into the meet, we knew it would be stiff competition. Bangor (fourth) gave us a good fight the previous week and we knew Hampden (second) had a good team and maybe even Mt. Ararat (third) could be up there, so we knew we had to be on our game,” said Shaughnessy. “We were pretty confident we had a good shot because of our depth.”

With last year’s defeat and the goals set for states, Chingos feels the team’s training and mindset has helped them tremendously.

“This year we’ve been really preventive, training over the summer and making sure not to build up mileage too fast and get the injury prevention going,” Chingos said. “It’s pretty much worked out for us so far this year.”

DeLois looked back at the team’s meet in Hampden (Sept. 14), as well as the Festival of Champions meet in Belfast (Sept. 29), as building blocks and confidence builders for his squad.

“We had a setback back in Hampden, I think the kids thought they were going to win that one,” DeLois said. “The kids realized then that they still have to put in the work. The Festival of Champions meet was a surprise for us. I scored it out before the meet and knew we would do OK, top four or five, not necessarily win it. They have teams from Connecticut and some Canadian teams that are pretty strong teams. The kids did great.”

The boys and girls State Class A, B and C Championships are being held at Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast on Saturday. The Class A boys will start at 11 a.m. with the girls following at 11:45 a.m. The B boys start at 12:30 p.m., girls at 1:15 p.m., while the Class C boys and girls will run at 2 and 2:45 p.m.

As the team ‘runs’ to Saturday’s meet, the Dragons have plenty of familiarity with the course as it will be their third time running it this season … And for the most part, are familiar with their opponents.

Brunswick’s Andrew Chingos (105), Mt. Ararat’s Andrew Chamberland (358) and Brunswick’s Joseph Valliere (116) all run during the Laliberte Invitational at Cony High School in August. (Eric Maxim / The Times Record)

“Going into the meet, it’s going to be some of the same teams competing, along with some of the stronger teams in the south, it should be a good meet,” DeLois said. “The boys are familiar with the course and know what they need to do.”

As for the week of practice, despite the cool and wet weather, it’s been business as usual as they prepare.

“It’s basically a big meet, the one we’ve practiced for all year. We’ll do less mileage this week and less intense workouts to be a little more fresh for Saturday,” Patterson said.

And DeLois agrees, it’s the same preparation this week.

“We took it easy for pretty much of the week, same as last week before the Regionals,” added DeLois. “We’re ready.”

Comments are not available on this story.