Brunswick’s Joey Valliere runs during the boys cross country North regionals Saturday in Belfast. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

After the 2020 high school cross country state championships were canceled just days before the races were set to take place, runners and coaches were left with a lot of questions that would go unanswered.

That is until the 2021 season rolled around and traditional schedules were followed for the first time since 2019.

And when it came time to crown a state champion for the first time in two years, Midcoast teams were up to the challenge.

Freeport ran away with the Class B boys team state championship with 28 fewer points than second-place York to claim the program’s first boys cross country state championship since the Falcons went back to back in 2014-15.

While Freeport stole the show by winning the state title, the Brunswick boys turned out an impressive season in their own right. The Dragons took home third place in the state after winning the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference race. They also won the Festival of Champions in Belfast earlier in the season as well as the Quabacook Relays. The Dragons also qualified for the New England Regional Championships as a team.

“The season went very well, I think the biggest story for us is the improvements we made during the season,” said Brunswick boys head coach Dan Dearing. “We were able to put it all together on the day of the KVAC championships. To be the team representing Brunswick that finally won the KVACs felt like a great weight was lifted off of our program.”

Individually runners shined too. Mt. Ararat standout Grady Satterfield finished his high school cross country career with a 3rd place finish in the Class A boys race with a time of 16:00.20. Brunswick runners Eli Palmer finished 11th, Dolan Pols 19th, and Joey Valliere 28th. For the girls, Madeline Kallin of Brunswick placed 24th in Class A while Iris Hennis of Morse also placed 24th in Class B.

Other teams placed well at the state championship meets. Mt. Ararat took home 10th for the boys and 13th for girls while the Brunswick girls finished 8th in Class A. In Class B, the Freeport girls placed 9th while the Morse girls finished 10th. In Class C, the Richmond boys finished 9th.

“This was the largest Morse team that we’ve had in quite some time,” said Morse head coach Brent Luchies. “It seemed like on any given race day we’d see multiple runners set personal records.”

And some of the things coaches enjoyed most? The return of a traditional schedule with traditional team activities.

“The adjustments we had to make compared to last season were so minor,” said Luchies. “I think it took our athletes a while to get back into a routine and the swing of things, but that was it.”

Brunswick and Freeport placed 26th and 28th respectively at the New England boys championships in Thetford, Vermont. Satterfield finished 63rd in the individual race out of 263 runners.

In Class A, Hampden Academy won the boys’ state championship while Bonny Eagle earned the girls’ state title. Freeport was crowned as the Class B champions along with the Mount Desert Island girls while Orono High swept the Class C state titles.

Individually, Class A champions were Delaney Hesler of Bonny Eagle for the girls and Abbot Valentine of Hampden Academy for the boys. Connor Daigle of Medomak Valley won the Class B boys race while Hadley Mahoney of Cape Elizabeth earned the win on the girls’ side. In Class C, Ruth White won both the Maine and New England state championship while Brosnan Comeau of Monmouth Academy won the boys’ race.

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