BELFAST — In one sense, the girls of York High School successfully defended their Class B cross country title Saturday morning at Troy Howard Middle School.

In another, they extended a streak of running dominance to five consecutive seasons. Beginning in the spring of 2022, the Wildcats have won state championships in outdoor track, cross country, indoor track, outdoor track again and, on Saturday, cross country once more.

“It’s a group,” said York Coach Fergus Cullen, “that has become accustomed to winning.”

Cary Drake earned individual honors in a time of 18 minutes, 8.47 seconds, and fellow senior Molly Kenealy placed seventh. York also received plenty of support from sophomores Madelyn Hutchins (ninth), Karianna Hultstrom (16th) and Madelyn Herman (31st).

“It’s not just the Cary and Molly show,” Cullen said. “That’s one of the nicest things about this win. We needed all five of our girls to win. We’re good, but we’re not super deep.”

Bonny Eagle in Class A and Orono in Class C also repeated as state champions. It was a fifth consecutive title for Bonny Eagle and a sixth in a row for Orono.


Orono senior Ruth White, the two-time defending New England champion, narrowly missed breaking her own course record. She won the Class C race in 16:57.95, ahead of Greater Houlton Christian Academy junior Teanne Ewings (17:22).

No other girl from any class broke 18 minutes.

Runners who posted the 25 fastest individual times, regardless of classification, qualified for the New England championships, also scheduled for Belfast next Saturday. The three team champions qualified as well, as did the next three best teams when organizers combined all times into one large meet. Camden Hills, Portland and Hampden Academy were the other team qualifiers.

Drake fended off an early challenge from Mt. Desert Island junior Amelia Vandongen to win the Class B race by 43 seconds.

“She’s been out for a little bit (with an ankle injury), so I wasn’t really sure where she was going to be,” Drake said of Vandongen. “She was definitely very close to me for a little bit, which got me more anxious than I thought I was going to be, but it was really nice to have her competition.”

Hutchins, York’s third runner, missed two weeks in October because of a hip injury and was questionable at regionals until 15 minutes before the race began. On Saturday, she broke 20 minutes for the first time (19:50) and gave credit to Kenealy for pulling her through the 5-kilometer course.


“She helped me pace my whole run,” Hutchins said. “We kind of knew we were going to win, but we weren’t sure, so it’s really exciting to know we were all able to come through and win.”

Greely was a surprising runner-up. The Rangers placed fifth in the South regional on their home course of Twin Brook two weeks ago but finished with 87 points on Saturday to York’s 57. Lincoln Academy was third at 98.

The Class A race was the tightest individual battle, with Portland junior Samantha Moore pulling away late from Bonny Eagle senior Addy Thibodeau after running shoulder to shoulder for nearly three miles. Moore finished in 18:30, and Thibodeau in 18:40.

“I hadn’t really trained this week because I was sick,” Moore said. “I had the flu at the end of last week. I was a little nervous, but it ended up working out. I wasn’t as tired at the end.”

Thibodeau helped the Scots fend off a spirited challenge from Camden Hills, which was the first school with five girls across the line. Bonny Eagle prevailed, 62-67, with Thibodeau taking second, sophomore Marina Violette seventh, senior Allie Hesler 13th, sophomore Bailey Shaw 21st and senior Kallie Warner 25th.

“It means everything, especially because it’s my senior year,” Thibodeau said. “I wanted to do one last good run with these girls. When times got tough in the race, we all thought of each other, and we all wanted the best for each other.”


Portland wound up third, 20 points behind Camden Hills.

In Class C, White and Ewings showed why they are the two best schoolgirl runners in the state. Slightly over a minute passed between the time Ewings crossed the line and South champion Soren Stark-Chessa, a Maine Coast Waldorf sophomore, completed her race in 18:23.

White was there to greet Stark-Chessa, offering a hug and a cup of water before jogging back out on course to cheer on those still running.

“That’s kind of the good part about cross country,” said the Boise State-bound White. “Everyone is really supportive.”

White’s younger sister, Clara, a sophomore, placed fourth in 19:19, a significant personal best. Sophomores Maya Boyington and (eighth) and Tilly Puleo (17th) and freshman Ruby Beane (28th) completed the scoring for Orono, which finished with 43 points. Waynflete edged Houlton/GHCA for runner-up honors, 73-77.

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