Bucksport—Five Hancock County schools competed in the first championship cross-country meet at Bucksport October 7, and while Class B Mount Desert Island walked off with boys and girls top team honors, George Stevens Academy senior Eliza Broughton and Deer Isle-Stonington senior Brendan Penfold continued their dominance this season by crossing the finish line first, posting times nearly a minute ahead of the rest of the field. Broughton ran a 19:14 race, and Penfold posted 16:21.
The GSA girls team finished second, with four top runners absent, and the boys were third, behind Ellsworth.
“We’re starting to get healthy,” Coach Erich Reed said. “We’ve been ravaged [by illness].”
The 2.92 mile course began at the football field and wound through wooded trails, with a long, gradual incline before a slow descent around the soccer field, a half-lap around the track and a sprint to the tape.
George Stevens senior Mary Brenna Catus finished fourth in dramatic fashion as she came from behind in the last yards to pass Ellsworth’s Caitlin MacPherson by a half-second. Catus credited teammate and sixth-place finisher Grace Broughton for keeping her on pace.
“She gave me the energy to push past a few runners. I envisioned the finish line [thinking] this is the race I need to come back in,” Catus said.
Junior Oceana Ragot and freshman Josie Czuj rounded out the top five GSA girls in 13th and 14th place.
Penfold stayed well ahead of the field of 37, and beat his 2016 time by six seconds. A consistent second and third-place winner last year, “this summer I really stepped it up, increased [my] distances,” he said.
Sophomore Caden Mattson has become the top boys runner for GSA, posting a 17:44 time for sixth place, with junior Isaac Wardwell in 10th with 18:22 and senior Max Mattson in 13th at 18:27.
“Caden’s starting to assert himself some more,” Reed noted.
Rounding out the GSA boys top five were freshman Ian Renwick at 18:42 and junior Sean Schweizer in 20th at 19:19.
Deer Isle-Stonington sophomore Benjamin Penfold finished 34th, while the rest of the Mariner team ran in the junior varsity races.
The GSA team and Brendan Penfold will compete in the Penobscot Valley Conference championships October 14 in Orono, with the Northern regionals October 21 in Belfast, and the state championships October 28 in Cumberland. The GSA girls hope to repeat as Class C state champions.
“We’re focused,” Reed said. “Everyone ran considerably faster on this course [than earlier this season.]”