Last modified Oct. 24, 2015, at 10:20 p.m.
BELFAST, Maine — When seven of Paul Casavant’s 11 varsity teammates graduated last year, the Hampden Academy junior didn’t think the 2015 cross country season would produce championship results.
But the last two weekends have yielded two titles, first the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A crown and on Saturday the Class A North regional championship at the Troy A. Howard Middle School.
Led by Casavant’s second-place finish, the Broncos edged runner-up Bangor 75-85. Lewiston (105), Mt. Blue of Farmington (131), Brewer (144) and Brunswick (154) also qualified for next Saturday’s state meet at Cumberland.
“I thought we were going to have more of a building year this year, but we’ve had some new talent that has really stepped it up,” said Casavant, a junior. “A lot of our guys really put in a lot of effort this summer, and they really pulled through today.”
Casavant, who finished 25.52 seconds behind race winner Osman Doorow of Lewiston (15 minutes, 40.9 seconds) on the 3.1-mile course, was one of three Hampden runners in the top 10 along with Wyatt Lord (sixth) and Will Webb (seventh). Josh Stanley (24th) and Wyatt Lataille (36th) rounded out the Broncos’ scorers.
Bangor was led by junior Mathias Ract’s ninth-place finish, while Gabe Coffey (13th), Adam Schwendt (14th) Patrick Fraser (16th) and Colin Glencross (33rd) also scored for the Rams.
Doorow’s time was a personal best and the seventh-fastest time ever recorded on the course.
Caribou and Orono used pack running to successfully defend their regional titles in Classes B and C, respectively.
Caribou placed its best six runners among the top 11 overall in overwhelming runner-up Waterville 28-85. Belfast (110), Camden Hills of Rockport (146), Erskine Academy of South China (148), Mount Desert Island of Bar Harbor (160) and Old Town (167) also qualified for states.
Waterville’s Nick Dall won the Class B race in 16:42.84, followed 11.25 seconds later by Camden Hills’ Caleb Love-Webb.
Caribou’s Chathu Karunasiri was third in 17:05.73, and by the time teammates Tsion Mcleod (fifth), Evan Desmond (sixth), Elijah Verhoff (eighth), Caleb Hunter (10th) and Daniel Randolph (11th) all crossed the finish line, just 33.03 seconds had elapsed.
“Every workout we do, we’re all right next to each other,” Karunasiri said. “It could be absolutely anything, a long run or something else, and we’re right together working together. Our main focus, especially since last year, is pack running. That’s been our advantage.”
Orono placed its seven runners within a 55.44-second window to edge second-place George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill 29-32. Washburn (122), Fort Kent (139) and Lee Academy (156) also advanced to the Class C state meet.
“Our entire team was under 18 (minutes) today, and for our team I think that’s huge,” said Orono senior Tristan Butterfield, who finished second behind race winner John Hassett of GSA (16:20.09).
“It really shows our depth and what we’re capable of.”
Butterfield and Matt Keresey finished 2-3 overall for the Red Riots with Will O’Neil sixth and Gavin McDonald, Lowell Ruck, Jonathan Steelman and Jonathan Spencer 12th through 15th.