Kicking off X-Country with Inaugural Dan Dors Invitational

Posted by: SamPfeifle on Mon Sep 2nd, 2019 7:41 pm
Windham girls dominate, Lakes Region boys defend turf in inaugural Daniel Dors InvitationalLast year at this time, runners and their families were being asked to sign a petition to get the town of Naples to officially name a local trail the Daniel Dors Trail, in honor of the recently passed Lake Region cross-country coach. Dors was a lion of the sport, guiding the Lake Region team for years and founding an invitational at Lake Region High School that has consistently kicked off the season for area teams looking for a fun challenge. Not only do the top 25 runners, boys and girls, receive medals ó everyone loves a chance to bring home some hardware ó but the layout of the course provides spectators many views of the runners from a central location, allowing for a great way to follow the 5K as it develops. In the case of the girls, however, there wasnít much by way of development. Windhamís Estella Inman went out hot and never looked back, with a wire-to-wire finish that saw her lead an early pack with teammates Hannah Langstaff and Hailey Applebee, along with Polandís Olivia Ouellette. At Lake Region, separation often comes out of view of the spectators, when the runners enter a wooded section of the course just after the 1-mile mark. Relatively tightly grouped when they disappeared from view, the pack splintered upon exit, with Inman opening up a lead over Ouellette, who took a firm grasp on second place. [img:3h1ld03f][/img:3h1ld03f]The pair never flagged, and finished one-two, Inman winning by 10 seconds at 20:27. The Windham girls also took 3rd, 4th, 8th, and 9th, to take the team win easily, with an impressive 25 points. Ouellette was joined in the top-10 by Mia Turkington, allowing Poland to just edge out Gray-New Gloucester for 2nd place, 64 to 68. GNG missed only an elite finisher, as Madison Garcia led a pack that took 10th, 11th, 13th, and 16th, but missed Abby Dulac, who ended up a DNF with an injury, but has top-10 finishes on her resume. [img:3h1ld03f][/img:3h1ld03f]On the boys side, there was considerably more drama. Perhaps inspired by the first year the invitational was named for Dors, and an enthusiastic home crowd, Lake Regionís Nathan Casali went out like a bullet, leading the first mile with Gray-New Gloucesterís Wyatt Fessler in second and St. Domís Mark DíAlessandro and Nathan Levasseur close on their heels. [img:3h1ld03f][/img:3h1ld03f]As they entered the woods, one observer was heard to speculate: ďYou watch, the two St. Domís guys will be in front when they come out.ĒHe was half right. Emerging from the woods, Casali remained in first, but DíAlessandro had moved into second, with Levasseur in third, tightly packed, while Fessler was doing his best to keep pace. As they made the last turn through the watching crowd, the lead three picked up the pace and raced toward the courseís last section, where the runners whip down a hill, around a corner, and back up a steep incline before a race to the finish on the last quarter of the brand-new Lake Region track. [img:3h1ld03f][/img:3h1ld03f]There was one surprise left for the crowd, however: When next a runner appeared, it was Levasseur who had crushed the final hill, and he finished strong through the line, opening up a 10-second lead and beating Casali decisively, with DíAlessandro and Fessler each another 10 seconds back. However, the 1-3 finish by St. Domís belied a lack of depth, with their next teammate not arriving until 21st place; this is perhaps not surprising for a Class C school with just 162 students. Rather, it was Lake Region that defended their home turf, grabbing 7th, 9th, 11th, and 12th, showing an excellent pack time that combined with Casali to grab the win with 41 points over Poland, who scored 66 points thanks largely to Jake Twigg and Dom Antonelli finishing 5-6. [img:3h1ld03f][/img:3h1ld03f]Fryeburg Academy and GNG were simply unable to support top-10 finishes by their lead runners, while Windham couldnít quite keep its pack together, with a fifth finisher coming in at 33rd. As a lead-in to 2019ís competition schedule, it may not have heralded things to come, given traditional Class B powers like Greely, Freeport, and Cape Elizabeth were elsewhere, and Windham didnít have Class A competition, but it was an impressively organized invitational with some truly heart-felt moments for a Lake Region community that has rallied around Coach Dorsí memory.