CUMBERLAND — Mike Burleson ran for the fabled Deering High cross country program that, in the days before Maine sent teams to the New England meet, squeezed five individuals among the state’s top 30 runners.

Individually, they qualified as a team.

Now, Burleson coaches the Bonny Eagle girls, and says without hesitation that they’re better.

Paced by senior Addy Thibodeau, the Scots snagged five of the top seven spots in the Class A South cross country championship Saturday at Twin Brook Recreation Area. Longtime coaches and observers of the sport could not remember a more dominant regional performance than Bonny Eagle’s 20-point total score, which easily outdistanced runner-up Marshwood.

The Hawks finished with 81 points and didn’t cross the line until after Bonny Eagle’s fab five of Thibodeau (19 minutes, 5 seconds), juniors Allie Hesler and Kallie Warner, freshman Marina Violette and senior Gwen Catalano.

Only Portland sophomore Samantha Moore (runner-up in 19:44) and Cheverus senior Annabelle Brooks (sixth in 20:39) prevented a Bonny Eagle sweep.


“We work really hard, especially over the summertime,” Thibodeau said. “Our goal was to get all five in the top 10. Top seven is even better.”

Bonny Eagle’s sixth runner, freshman Bailey Shaw, placed 13th. Junior teammate Avelyn Walker was 39th in a field of 101.

“It’s just a special group of girls who are super close and have bought in to every single thing that as coaches we’ve asked them to do,” Burleson said. “They put in the work to get here. They’re just awesome kids and they’re smart and they race well.”

The top 30 individuals and teams finishing among the top half in each class qualified for next Saturday’s state championships, also scheduled for Twin Brook. In Class A, Falmouth, Portland, Kennebunk, Gorham and Cheverus joined Bonny Eagle and Marshwood in advancing.

The Class B meet was a much tighter affair, and included a best-of-the-day performance by York junior Cary Drake. She earned individual honors with a time of 18:57, well ahead of last year’s state champion, Cape Elizabeth junior Hadley Mahoney (19:46).

“It was encouraging,” Drake said. “I know at states, anything can happen.”


It’s hard to believe the state meet could be closer than Saturday’s regional, which showed Cape Elizabeth and Lincoln Academy tied at 60 points and York (which was missing its normal fourth runner) at 61. Tiebreaking protocol tipped the victory to Cape Elizabeth because its sixth runner, sophomore Jane Curtis, placed 30th, well ahead of Lincoln’s sixth, in 52nd place.

“That’s about as exciting as it can get,” said Cape Elizabeth Coach Andrew Lupien, who has five first-time runners among his top seven. “We were going through the scoring and saying when you pass somebody, it’s a point either way, and we talked about how the sixth runner could be the tiebreaker. It doesn’t happen very often, but you never know at a meet like this. Every place counts.”

Lincoln Academy runners were involved in two of the closest finish-line battles, one of them between Lincoln freshman Maggie Thompson and Cape Elizabeth freshman Addison Young, and the other between Lincoln junior Madeline Kallin and Greely senior Charlotte Taylor.

Thompson won her sprint by four-hundredths of a second to take 23rd place from Young, but Taylor surged ahead of Kallin to grab 10th place by 0.13. Minutes after the race, the Greely senior was surprised to learn her lean resulted in a Cape Elizabeth victory.

“I don’t know if I’m happy or sad,” Taylor said. “You feel like you’ll be the deciding factor for your team, not the deciding factor for some other team.”

Greely wound up fourth with 75 points and qualified for the state meet, along with Freeport, Lake Region and the top three teams.


Cape’s Mahoney, who has been plagued with lower leg issues, and classmate Emma Young finished second and third. Junior Ellie Mainville (12th) and freshmen Avery Palmore (19th) and Young (24th) completed Cape Elizabeth’s scoring.

“We’ve been hoping for this outcome,” Mahoney said. “Everyone except Emma and me are new to the team this year. It’s been really cool to watch all these girls grow and improve all season.”

In Class C, Maranacook senior Lina Martinez-Nocito won individual honors in 20:40, but Waynflete claimed the team title by five points, thanks to Lucy Olson (10th), Vivi Jenkins (12th), Anna Siegel (13th), Maeve Mechtenberg (22nd) and Grace Alexander (23rd).

“We’ve been fighting through some injuries, some illness, and we had a rough middle of the season,” said Waynflete Coach Steve Withers. “Our goal is always to peak at the end of the year, and today was a great showing by the team all around.”

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