The Maine Principals’ Association has moved up the times for the cross country state championships Saturday in Belfast in hopes of beating much of the heavy rain forecast for the afternoon.

The Class A boys will kick off the meet at 10 a.m., with five subsequent races starting every 35 minutes until the Class C girls wrap up the proceedings with their race at 1:30 p.m.

Even so, conditions are likely to be cold and damp. Temperatures are forecast in the high 30s.

“I think it may slow the pace of the leaders down a bit, and potentially (there will be) some larger packs up front,” Bonny Eagle Coach Mike Burleson said of the rain. “Not many hard turns to navigate on the course, but times will be slower for sure due to the conditions.”

The Scots are looking to win their third Class A girls’ title in four years, having dropped to fifth last fall before an influx of ninth-graders – Delaney Hesler, Emmaline Pendleton and Hannah Stevens finished 8-12-14 at the South regional – returned Bonny Eagle to the top echelon.

Seniors Ami Beaumier (sixth) and Kayla Raymond (seventh) bring talent and experience, and junior Emma Abbott and senior Abigail Nelson provide such depth that the Scots’ entire lineup placed in the top 25 last week at Twin Brook Recreation Area.

“Our upperclassmen have been consistent all year,” Burleson said, “and our freshmen continue to thrive under pressure.”

The Scots also have experience on the flatter course at Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast, where they won the Festival of Champions in late September over a field of 58 schools.

Camden Hills, the defending Class A champ, won the North regional in Belfast by 19 points over Mt. Ararat, but the Windjammers were sixth at the Festival, behind Bonny Eagle and Class A South runner-up Falmouth (fourth).

“On paper, it looks like Falmouth will be our biggest concern,” Burleson said, “but anything can happen at a state meet.”

Falmouth sophomore Sofie Matson is the defending champion and remains head-and-shoulders above all other Maine schoolgirl runners. Gorham junior Kate Tugman and the North’s top three – Jillian Richardson of Edward Little, Kahryn Cullenberg of Mt. Blue and Augusta Stockman of Camden Hills – will battle for second place.

Here’s a look at the other five races:

Class A boys: Scarborough won the South and Brunswick – by virtue of a tiebreaking sixth runner – won the North over Hampden Academy. Brunswick also won the Festival, with Scarborough third and Bangor second. Expect this meet to be close, with Greely and two-time defending state champion Falmouth also in the mix.

Junior Lisandro Berry-Gaviria of Mt. Ararat, senior Gabe Coffey of Bangor and senior Alec Troxell of Deering are most likely to lead the way.

Class B girls: Yarmouth is the defending champ, but the Clippers finished third in the South behind York and Cape Elizabeth. Ellsworth won the North in a tiebreaker over Mt. Desert Island. Any of the five has a shot at the title.

Cape sophomore Lila Gaudrault and Freeport senior Lily Horne finished 1-2 at Twin Brook, in times faster than any of the North Class B girls, so expect another head-to-head battle for individual honors. Horne is the defending champion.

Class B boys: Defending champ Lincoln Academy was fourth in the South last weekend, as York, Cape Elizabeth and Freeport finished within two points of each other. York’s depth proved decisive. Hermon won a second straight North title, as its top five runners broke 18 minutes and finished among the top 11.

Sophomore Martin Horne of Freeport and juniors Jack Bassett of Cape Elizabeth and Griffin Allaire of Wells are likely to contend for top honors.

Class C girls: Orono has won four of the past five years and shows no signs of slowing. Maranacook and Maine Coast Waldorf will give chase. Sophomore Olivia Reynolds of MCW looks to defend her individual title.

Class C boys: A third straight state title appears likely for Orono, although Maine Coast Waldorf has a solid shot and George Stevens Academy will be in the mix. Senior Henry Spritz of Waynflete is a formidable defending champion who may be challenged by Jonesport-Beals senior Evan Merchant.

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH

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