Mt. Ararat’s Lisandro Berry-Gaviria leads the way as Brunswick’s Will Shaughnessy tries to keep pace during last week’s KVAC cross country championship meet in Augusta. Joe Phelan / Kennebec Journal  

BRUNSWICK — When the Brunswick and Mt. Ararat High School boys cross country teams compete in the Class A championships at the Twin Brook Recreation Center on Saturday, both will be led by accomplished seniors, racing in their last Maine high school race. 

Mt. Ararat’s Lisandro Berry-Gaviria and Brunswick’s Will Shaughnessy finished one and two, respectively, in both the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference and the Class A North regional meets, and hope to duplicate those efforts this weekend. 

“It’s been a great season for us. In the past injuries have hurt us, but this year we’re eating better and resting while fine-tuning our training,” Lisandro, who finished with a time of 15:40.67 at the regionals, said. 

“We have challenged ourselves this year to be competitive and accomplish the goals we have set for ourselves,” Will, who trailed Lisandro by less than three seconds at the regionals (15:43.93), said. “We’ve improved a lot this year. We won the Festival of Champions again and that really has helped our team with confidence. 

The Eagle captured both the KVAC and the regional team titles. And like the individual results, the Brunswick squad finished second to Mt. Ararat on both occasions. 

Two teams, two runners, one relationship 

Brunswick’s Will Shaughnessy turns a corner at the beginning of a race at Brunswick High School during a KVAC cross country meet. (Eric Maxim / The Times Record)

“We have a good relationship between the two teams,” Will, a tuba player as a member of the Brunswick High School music program, said. “We’ve gotten together for a few long runs over the years. A group of my friends are friends with some of the Mt. Ararat runners and Lisandro has friends on our team.” 

While the team has tight bonds, Will has known Lisandro for years and has built a friendship with him over that time. 

“I first met Lisandro in the seventh grade. We ran races against each other, and I beat him, and I can truly say that is the last time I have beaten him,” Will said. “We communicate over social media and talk about running.” 

“He did beat me,” Lisandro said. “I was new to running and he was faster than me. It’s been great seeing how each of us has developed since then.” 

Will runs cross country in the fall, indoor track in the winter and outdoor track in the spring. He credits his training with the indoor team in the winter in helping to keep him on his game. 

“A lot of people don’t do a winter sport,” Will, who won the two-mile event at the State Class A championships last February, said. “It’s a fun time and a great way to stay in shape during the winter months.” 

He also relies on his teammates, as well as his coach Dan Dearing to push him harder, both while training and on the course. 

“My teammates Tyler (Patterson), Joey (Valliere) and Andrew (Chingos) really push me to be a good runner. They’re always there on the course with me,” Will said. “Coach Dearing is a really knowledgeable guy. He always says ‘It’s better to under train than train over. Do what needs to be done, take things light.’”

Mt. Ararat’s Lisandro Berry-Gaviria runs through the No. 3 hole at the Highland Green Golf Course during Friday’s KVAC XC meet in Topsham. (Eric Maxim / The Times Record)

Will is motivated by competition and always trying to improve on his personal-best times and places,” Dearing said. “He is now running incredibly well while doing 20-30 miles less per week than the competitors he races.  Over the last two years we have had him change his focus from endurance to becoming a faster runner. He has developed incredible speed where he now can race well from 400 meters to 5 kilometers.  He has set three course records this fall while smashing his previous best times on every course he has competed on.”  

And lastly, Will looks at Lisandro as a big motivator. 

“We motivate each other. He’s such a brilliant racer and knows how to win,” Will, who hopes to qualify for the Nike Cross Nationals with a high place at next week’s New England’s, said. “Any type of race, he knows how to go up there and win. He’s knowledgeable of what he’s capable of doing.” 

For Lisandro, the two-time defending State Class A champ from the last two falls, takes a more methodical look at his training, studying other training and running methods while adapting them to his own. 

He is a student of his sport,” Mt. Ararat coach Diane Fournier said. “This became evident when he worked on even the smallest idiosyncrasies on form. His form helped make him the efficient runner he’s become.  He did the summer workouts, started lifting, and spends a great deal of time focusing on proper stretching, not just going through the motions. He does a great warm-up and cool-down and mentally prepares himself before each race and I’m sure, dissects his race of where he did well and what he could improve upon.” 

He also reiterates that Will is not only a great competitor, but a good friend. 

“We’ll talk training once in a while,” Lisandro said. “We definitely have a good relationship outside of running. We have similar mindsets, work ethics and attitude about running. He is the competitor that most pushes me to be the best possible runner. He’s my biggest motivator whenever we race. Ever since eighth grade, he’s been right there behind me, pushing me. I see me in him and that pushes me.” 

Both Dearing and Fournier explain that their runners are big self-motivators and see that the attitude spills over onto their teams. 

His work ethic for the sport and leadership for his team is impressive,” Dearing said about Will. “He sets an example not only to his teammates but also to other runners around the state. He has become friends with so many of his competitors and has so much respect for their successes.” 

Fournier had similar things to say about Lisandro. 

There is no question Lisandro is a self-motivator.  I’ve always felt he’s the kind of runner who does not focus on the competition because he can’t control them, he can only control how he runs,” Fournier said. “He wants to be the best. I believe he already has a plan for each race he runs before the gun goes off.  I’ve always felt he was the type of athlete who would have his race plan in mind, and I would just ask if he was ready.” 

And Lisandro is ready to help lead his team. 

“Lucas (Bergeron), Nate (Cohen), Andrew (Chamberland) and Jace (Hollenbach) have been key cogs on what we’ve accomplished. This is a great group of guys. We’re not only teammates, we’re good friends,” Lisandro said. “We understand each other well and have a lot of respect for one another. Makes me less concerned about my individual time, it’s more about focusing on the team.” 

“Lisandro is a silent model for the other runners, sometimes I wish they would pay a bit more attention,” Fournier said. “He has not attained his accomplishments by ignoring ‘detail.’ They have the ‘we want to win states’ and be part of a team that not only took part in three championship meets but won them.” 

Come Saturday, both will conclude successful Maine high school cross country careers and most likely, people will pay a bit more attention to both. 


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