ELLSWORTH — The Ellsworth Eagles have held their own against some of the top cross-country teams throughout the state of Maine so far this season. In one of the biggest competitions to date, the Eagles were at their best.
Ellsworth claimed victory in both the boys’ and girls’ team events Friday at the Hancock County championships at Ellsworth High School. The event marked the second team victory of the season for the boys and the first for the girls.
“Our goal was to start out easier and gradually build up the entire way,” Ellsworth head coach Louie Luchini said. “Our runners did a great job of executing the race strategy, and that earned us good results.”
Matt Shea took first place in the boys’ competition for Ellsworth with a time of 17 minutes, 26.10 seconds to edge out second-place finisher Luke Barnes of Sumner. Ellsworth’s Beckett Markosian and Nick Cormier finished third and fifth, respectively, and George Stevens Academy’s Caden Mattson was fourth.
Junior Calvin Partin’s time of 18:14.13 earned him seventh place overall as well as the top spot for the MDI boys. David Hileman claimed 20th to finish as the top runner for Bucksport, and Henry Penfold placed 25th for Deer Isle-Stonington. A total of 53 boys competed.
Ellsworth’s total of 19 points earned it a decisive first-place finish over MDI, which recorded 46. GSA and Bucks-port placed third and fourth with 65 and 114, respectively. Sumner and Deer Isle-Stonington were not given team scores, as they did not meet the five-runner requirement.
The girls’ side featured a tight battle between Ellsworth and MDI runners. Caitlin MacPherson and Abby Mazgaj of Ellsworth took the top-two spots with times of 20:28.85 and 20:45.35, respectively, and MDI’s Olivia Johnson, Katelyn Osborne and Grace Munger rounded out the top five.
Tess Williamson placed 13th for GSA with a time of 23:30.49, and Rachael Hastey (21st), Ariel Larrabee (25th) and Emily Erickson (28th) were the top runners for Sumner, Deer Isle-Stonington and Bucksport, respectively. Thirty runners competed in the girls’ race.
Only Ellsworth and MDI competed in the girls’ team, event, and Ellsworth’s 26 points were just enough to beat out MDI’s 29. Both schools had five runners in the top 10.
The win was a rewarding one for both the boys’ and girls’ teams at Ellsworth. The boys finished second to MDI in the 2017 county championships, and the girls didn’t even field enough runners last year for the team competition last year after placing third behind MDI and GSA the previous season.
“It felt good because it’s been a while since we’ve won this meet,” Luchini said. “We have dedicated runners, and their hard work is paying off in these championship races.”
Next up for local runners will be the Penobscot Valley Conference championships at noon Saturday, Oct. 13, at the University of Maine at Presque Isle. Ellsworth and MDI will be competing in Class B, and Bucksport, GSA, Sumner and Deer Isle-Stonington will compete in Class C.
“The course up there is tough because it’s rolling hills the entire way and doesn’t have many trees to block out the elements,” Luchini said. “It’s going to be a long drive up there, and everyone knows they’ll have to run very well to win.”