Orono senior Ruth White won the Festival of Champions in Belfast for the third consecutive time on Saturday, shattering her own course record by nearly 30 seconds.

White finished with a time of 16:56.9. She now has three of the top four times recorded by a high school girl at the 5-kilometer course at Troy Howard Middle School.

“I really like this course,” White said. “It has some hills, but not too many, so it’s a good place to go fast.”

It was also a 24-second personal record for White.

“I didn’t expect to go that fast,” she said. “I knew it was going to be a competitive race, and there were three girls under 18 minutes, so that definitely pushed me to go faster.”

Junior Teanne Ewings of Houlton and senior Cary Drake of York claimed the silver and bronze, with times of 17:15.4 and 17:56.6, respectively.

White had previously run 17:20 at the Manchester Invitation on Sept. 23, good for first place and a personal record. According to Athletic.net, White has not placed lower than first at any cross country meet she has participated in since the beginning of 2021, even winning the 2021 and 2022 New England Interscholastic Championships.

Saturday’s Festival of Champions featured more than 700 girls representing 61 different schools from around New England. During the award ceremony after the race, White received a standing ovation from the other runners.

Ruth hasn’t decided where she’ll go to college, but is pretty sure she wants to run at the varsity level.

In addition to White, Orono sophomores Maya Boyington and Clara White (Ruth’s younger sister) also finished in the top 35, with times of 19:41.1 and 19:58.5.

Orono head coach and Ruth’s father Lin White is really happy with the effort his runners have put forth to start the season.

“When it comes together like this, you can’t be any more proud,” Lin White said. “It’s just so exciting. All of our kids ran really well today.”

Sam Canfield is a recent graduate of the University of Michigan, and the Bangor Daily News' newest sports reporter. He loves to examine the narratives and motivations behind Maine's most exciting athletes...