Last week Edward Little’s Payton Bell defeated Camden Hills’ Jenna VanRyn to earn the individual title in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference cross country championships at Cony High School.
On Saturday, at Troy A Howard Middle School, a much flatter course than Cony, Bell knew she’d have her work cut out for her.
“Last meet she was pretty close to me and that was at Cony which is a hilly course,” Bell said. “I do better on hilly courses so I was a little nervous to see what she’d do here because I don’t like flat courses. I like hills to push up.”
Bell and VanRyn battled for the entire 3.1-mile race, with Bell the lead runner for most of the race. On the final hill before the straightaway finish, Bell kicked hard and won with a time of 20:00.65, followed by VanRyn right on her heels at 20:02.35.
“Jenna did a great job running with me. She really pushed me. I just barely beat her,” Bell said.”It’s pretty exciting.”
Three Bangor runners finished out the top five, with Katie McCarthy (20:24), Sadie Harrow (20:36) and Sophia Mazzarelli (21:05) leading the Rams to a team title with 39 points.
The runner-up team was Mt. Blue with 87 points, followed by Camden Hills with 90.
While the Class A North girls championship was the closest race of the day at Troy A Howard Middle School in Belfast, the Class C North final was the least competitive at the top with Ruth White of Orono showing out once again.
White ran alone for the vast majority of the race and finished with a time of 17:51.42.
In second place was Houlton’s Teanne Ewings (19:01.9), then Thea Crowley of George Stevens (18:14.85).
After the race, White went to the top of the hill that starts the final stretch of the race before the finish line to cheer on every runner that ran in the final race of the day. Only after the final runner ran by would she talk to the media.
When she did, it wasn’t her race on her mind but the races of her teammates.
“The team is what makes it fun every day,” White said. “I want to do well for them and get as few points as possible because they work hard every day and it’s good to have a little family.”
Orono as a team won the C North girls title with a low point total of 29. Houlton followed with 51 points for second place, then George Stevens slotted in third with 90 points.
With the state meet on the horizon, White is eager to see how her team can do at Twin Brook next weekend.
“I am excited and excited to see what our team can do,” White said. “We have a strong pack of seven and strong alternates so it will be exciting to see how we can place.”
Amelia Vandongen of Mount Desert Island won the Class B girls race with a time of 18:28.74.
The runner-up finisher was Abby Williams of Waterville (19:19), followed by Kayley Bell of Caribou (20:36) and her teammate Maggie Bell (21:03).
MDI won the B North girls championship with a point total of 56, followed by Cony (105) and Hermon (130).