Week 1 Features a Class B Battle at Poland

Posted by: SamPfeifle on Sat Sep 7th, 2019 1:26 pm
Nota bene: If you're headed to a cross-country event hosted by Poland Regional High School, be prepared to head to Minot Consolidated School, which is a bit off the beaten path, but features a beautiful network of trails, perfect for a challenging cross-country course full of grassy downslopes and rooty hills that can change the face of a race. On Sept. 6, it proved the scene of a thrilling race for both the boys and girls, who came together for a Class B clash featuring traditional powerhouses Freeport and Greely, along with hosts Poland, Gray-New Gloucester, a strong Maine Waldorf, and Lake Region, looking to build on their home-course invitational victory of the previous week. In the end, both races featured sprints to the finish and winners eking out victories by less than a second.On the girls side, the headliner was Greely senior Marin Provencher, the reigning Class B state champion in the outdoor mile and runner-up in the 2-mile, and she was out in front early, as expected, leading a front group that included Waldorf junior Olivia Reynolds, Freeport junior Jane Dawson, and Dan Dors Invitational runner-up Olivia Ouellette of Poland. [img:wg37z3pw]https://portlandsbestalbums.files.wordpress.com/2019/09/09-6-poland-girls1-e1567876413449.jpg[/img:wg37z3pw]As expected, Provencher found separation quickly, but Reynolds challenged expectations by staying right on her hip pocket coming into the final mile, a full 45 seconds ahead of Ouellette, and still with plenty of gas in the tank. Another minute back, a tight pack of Greely and Freeport runners held together, shaping a battle for the team race. [img:wg37z3pw]https://portlandsbestalbums.files.wordpress.com/2019/09/09-06-poland-girls2-1-e1567876990345.jpg[/img:wg37z3pw]In the end, Provencher's experience and speed won out, as she just edged ahead of Reynolds in the sprint, finishing in a virtual tie at 20:43, but with Provencher taking the #1 popsicle stick. Ouellette held on for third, while Dawson edged just ahead of a tight pack, beating promising Greely freshman Charlotte Taylor by a second. The team results were unusually tight, but Provencher's victory, buoyed by Taylor, plus finishes at 6, 10, and 24, gave Greely the win. Freeport looked to have the edge on 2nd place, given Dawson in 4th and finishers at 7 and 8, but they were undone by Waldorf's depth and tight pack time. While Freeport's #4 and #5 finishers were at 23 and 24, Waldorf backed Reynolds' 2nd place finish with finishers at 11, 12, 14, and 16, to take second place for their team. Finally, in what's shaping up to be a rivalry, GNG avenged their four-point loss to Poland last week by finishing in a very tight pack, just 31 seconds separating their #1 and #5, to edge out Poland by 7 points, despite having a high finisher in junior Abby Dulac at just 13th place. GNG freshman Leah Cote announced her presence with a first-race finish at 15. The boys race was a huge one, with 96 runners compared to the 57 girls, and it was deep in talent, too. Especially on view was Freeport junior Martin Horne, reigning Class B cross-country runner-up and brother to Lily Horne, who won the state championship as a junior and was runner-up last year as a senior. Even better, youngest brother Henry Horne was making his debut as a freshman - did he have the family touch?[img:wg37z3pw]https://portlandsbestalbums.files.wordpress.com/2019/09/09-06-poland-boys-start-1-e1567877029778.jpg[/img:wg37z3pw]But Greely wasn't about to hand Horne the victory, and featured a strong squad that placed three runners in the Class A top 50 and was looking to establish itself as the class of Class B. Plus, there was a big Waldorf team that had won the Class C championship last year and a Lake Region team coming off a victory on their home turf. This was going to be a tight one, and the big pack at the front half-way through proved that out. [img:wg37z3pw]https://portlandsbestalbums.files.wordpress.com/2019/09/09-06-poland-boys-leaders-2-e1567876947722.jpg[/img:wg37z3pw]There was Horne, but Greely junior Sam Wilson was pushing him hard, a were teammates senior Riley Franklin and juniors Elias Leggat-Barr and Leif Harvey, while younger brother Henry kept pace. In the next group were Waldorf's Aiden Kusche and Seamus Woodruff, along with Nate Casali, who scored a second place for Lake Region last week. That lead group re-entered the woods and clearly worked well together, as they gained separation, dropping the younger Horne into the second pack and then separating again at the end of the second mile, leaving only Martin, Horne, and Franklin to battle it out.[img:wg37z3pw]https://portlandsbestalbums.files.wordpress.com/2019/09/09-06-poland-boys-leaders-last-e1567876544180.jpg[/img:wg37z3pw]As they rounded the baseball field and headed into finish, Horne burst ahead, trying to drop Wilson, but he wasn't having it, giving it right back until they came into the last 100 yards, literally trading leads four times like horses bobbing their way down a Derby stretch before Wilson ended up outlasting Horne and gaining the win at 17:50, a strong time for such a hilly and uneven course. Greely also took 3, 4, and 5, winning the team race easily, but even Henry Horne's debut 6th place finish wasn't enough to keep Freeport in 2nd. Waldorf may not have had a top 6 finisher, but 7, 8, 11, 13, and 15 - led by Kusche and good for a 34-second pack time - was more than enough to secure 2nd place overall. Casali led Lake Region to fourth place, with a 9th place finish, and he was followed by GNG's Wyatt Fessler, but a 4:25 pack time meant GNG lost out to Poland overall. In the end, it was clear that Greely and the Hornes knew they'd be seeing each other again down the line, and Wilson welcomed Henry to the cross-country fraternity with a well-earned fist bump. [img:wg37z3pw]https://portlandsbestalbums.files.wordpress.com/2019/09/09-06-poland-winners-e1567876472711.jpg[/img:wg37z3pw]On the girls side, Provencher picked up a win that will serve notice she's a contender for the state title (her 10th place finish in Class A last year would have been good for third place in Class B), but with Cape's Lila Gaudralt running elsewhere on Friday, it's hard to know how she'll stack up in the end. Find the full race results [url=https://me.milesplit.com/meets/367102/results:wg37z3pw]here