CUMBERLAND — The Pain Cave, as the last steep drop-and-climb in the woods of the Twin Brook Recreation Area course is known, is marked by a white sign with thickly painted red letters, dripping in the manner of blood.

Dreaded by some, that part of the course proved inspirational for Falmouth junior Ben Greene, in his first autumn of cross country after switching from soccer.

In fifth or sixth for much of the race, and third with a half mile remaining, Greene lit the fuse for his finishing kick as he emerged from the woods for the final time.

“I went up the Pain Cave and I was like, it’s Go Time,” he said. “I went down that hill, made the left turn, and I just took off.”

Greene’s mad dash not only earned him the Class A South boys’ title in a time of 16 minutes, 32.20 seconds, but coupled with teammate Ben Potter’s second-place finish (in 16:34) ahead of a pair of Scarborough runners, helped Falmouth edge the defending state champion Red Storm, 90-92.

Had either Tristram Coffin or Zach Barry of Scarborough managed to beat either Greene or Potter, the Red Storm would have won by virtue of the sixth runner tiebreaker. Only five seconds separated the top four finishers.

The remainder of Falmouth’s scoring came from Michael Smoluk (21st), Logan Ross (31st) and Faran Igani (35th).

“Everyone on the team, they all did great,” said Greene. “And Sofie (Matson) and Karley (Piers) killed it in the girls’ race. The whole team did amazing.”

Nine of the 17 Class A teams advanced to next Saturday’s state meet, also scheduled for Twin Brook. Kennebunk, Bonny Eagle, Gorham, Westbrook, Deering, Sanford and Massabesic will join Falmouth and Scarborough.

Greene’s time was the fastest of the day in Cumberland, where the individual races in Class B and C also were up for grabs until the homestretch.

In Class B, Cape Elizabeth senior Jack Bassett used a late surge to emerge from a lead trio that included Jarrett Gulden of Lincoln Academy and Griffin Allaire of Wells. Bassett won by less than three seconds in 16:39.77, with Gulden second and Allaire third.

Each of the other two seniors led for a significant chunk of the race.

“Those two were battling and I was just trying to hold on to them as long as possible,” Bassett said. “Then I just gave it my all at the end. That’s usually my strategy, to stay back and then try and kick.”

Sam Wilson, Riley Franklin, Elias Leggat-Barr and Leif Harvey placed fourth, fifth, ninth and 12th to lead Greely to the team title over defending state champion York. The Wildcats placed five runners in the top 20 but came up three points shy of Greely, 64-67. Lincoln, Cape Elizabeth, Freeport, Yarmouth and Wells also qualified for the state meet.

In Class C, Maine Coast Waldorf claimed five of the top eight spots to easily outdistance Boothbay, 27-86. In another three-way individual battle, Boothbay senior Will Perkins pulled away from Maine Coast junior Seamus Woodruff and Lisbon sophomore Aidan Laviolette to win in 17:16.69.

On one muddy turn, Laviolette fell and Woodruff leaped over him.

“It was an exciting race,” Perkins said. “It wasn’t easy by any means.”

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