Night meet a highlight of local cross country season

9 years ago

    CARIBOU, Maine — One of the more unique cross country races in the state took place Friday as Aroostook County squads congregated for an “under the lights” event at Caribou High School.

“This is one of the best events we do,” said Viking boys’ coach Roy Alden. “The energy and the excitement of a night meet — with music and all the fans — is just a lot of fun.”
It also helped that the hosts featured the fastest individual in both the girls’ and boys’ races and also captured the team titles.
Winning the girls’ 2.9-mile competition, which included 47 runners, was Caribou’s Julia Page with a time of 20 minutes and 2.63 seconds. She was followed by Mandy Graham of Presque Isle in 20:23.45 and Emilia Churchill of Washburn in 20:34.07. Emma Belyea of the Vikings was fourth in 20:41.31 and Jordan Tanguay rounded out the top five, just 1/10th of a second behind Belyea in 20:41.41.
Caribou was the champion with a low score of 29, thanks to five runners among the top 12 overall. The Wildcats took second with 57 points and Washburn was third with 83. Limestone-MSSM (90) and Houlton (104) followed.
The Vikings’ depth was evident as Madeline Gudde took seventh (20:55.59), Simone Michaud eighth (20:58.52) and Anya O’Meara 12th (21:44.26). Sheridan Blackstone and Sarae Greenier also placed among the top 15.
“It was one of our best races of the season even though we had a tough week of training,” said Viking coach Thomas Beckum, who was pleased with the 1:52 gap between his team’s first and seventh runners.
Rylee Warman of Houlton came in sixth overall in 20:49.58 to lead her squad.
Allison Johnson of Limestone-MSSM was ninth in 21:06.91.
The other runner in the overall top 10 was Presque Isle’s Madison Jandreau (21:20.92).
In the boys’ race, which used the same 2.9-mile course, Caribou’s Chathu Karunasiri topped the field of 56 runners with a time of 16:08.5.
“It was especially exciting to see him win his first race,” Alden said. “This week, he completed 100 consecutive days of running at least four miles and obviously the hard work is paying off and he is becoming extremely fit.”
Karunasiri finished less than three seconds ahead of Houlton’s Isaiah Brown, who took the runner-up position in 16:11.26. Caleb Hunter of the Vikings was third in 16:39.53, Derek Baker of Washburn grabbed the fourth spot in 16:48.95 and Tsion MacLeod of Caribou placed fifth in 16:55.68.
With Daniel Randolph (17:03.32) and Evan Desmond (17:12.47) taking the next two positions for Caribou, the Vikings were able to compile a meet-low 18 points.
“The boys continue to improve as the base times get lower and lower,” Alden said. ”I feel like the guys are buying into the program and if we can continue healthy and motivated, it should be a lot of fun when we get to the championship part of our season.”
Presque Isle’s Jason Bartley was eighth in 17:24.51, followed by Wesley Ganglfinger of Greater Houlton Christian Academy in ninth in 17:39.28 and Charles Parham of Fort Kent in 10th in 17:58.29.
Keith Languet paced Limestone-MSSM with his time of 19:11.81, good for 20th overall.
In the team results, Washburn was the meet runner-up with 75 points and Fort Kent was third with 77. GHCA (113), Presque Isle (115) and Limestone-MSSM (127) followed.
Caribou and Presque Isle next compete in Saturday’s Old Town Sectional Invitational Meet, which gets underway at 1 p.m.