With the 2008 XC season nearly upon us, it is time to look at the contenders for both team and individual glory this fall in the Eastern Maine Class A. The season is sure to provide XC fans in Maine with the opportunity to watch several top-notch athletes chase their dreams of a state title come November. The battle for the team title this fall is also sure to be a fight with several of the top teams from last fall returning key members of their squads. Lewiston, Brunswick & Mt. Blue all teams that finished in the top 3 in Eastern Regional last fall have a majority of their squads returning. Who will come out on top?
Lewiston: The defending Class A State & Eastern Maine champions will look to repeat this fall. The Blue Devils return only 2 of their top 7 from last year, but has a very deep jv squad last year. The departure of Class A State champion, Mohamed Noor will leave a void at the top, in addition to the graduation losses, Lewiston also saw #2 man Sadam Adbi move to Minnesota during the summer. Don’t feel bad for the Blue Devils though, they will be led by Robbie Leeman (Sr. 12th in 2007) and Matt Driscoll (Sr. 7th in 2007). Many may remember Driscoll ran most of the state meet last year with only one shoe, a very gutsy and important performance for his team. Behind those two there will be several newcomers to varsity led by talented sophomore Hussain Ibrahim and junior Faisal Abdillahi. Coach Putnam thinks this squad can be better than last year state champion squad.
Brunswick: The Dragons will look to build on their successful 2007 campaign (3rd in Eastern Regional and 7th in the state meet) this fall. Brunswick returns 6 of their top 7. They will rely on one of the top runners in the state to lead them this fall; Will Geoghegan (Jr. 8th in 2007) should be one of the contenders for the individual title this fall. Geohegan will look to continue the success he had during the track season, which saw him finish 2nd in the 3200 at the state meet and run a personal best 9:38.88 at the New England’s. Much improved Liam Cassidy (Jr. 11th in 2007) should be right on the heels of Geoghegan. Other returnees from last year's squad are Parker Merrill (Sr. 27th in 2007), Christian Nadell (Sr. 40th in 2007), Stephen Purcell (Jr. 32nd in 2007), Mike Slovenski (So. 55th in 2007). In addition watch out for Patrick Horan (So.) he could break into the top 5 as well.
Mt. Blue: The Cougars look to continue the success of their program once again in 2008. Returning 3 and possibly 4 of their top 7 from last fall, they are in a good position to continue their strong tradition of success over hill and dale. They will be led by Kelton Cullenberg (Jr. 6th in 2007), who is a contender for the individual title. Behind him the Cougars will have Jaron Jones (So. 17th in 2007), Adam Fissette (Sr. 47th in 2007). The real question is whether Jacob Malone (Jr. 36th in 2007) stays with xc or switches to football. Even without Malone, add in talented Brody Hines (So.) and incoming freshman Jonah Jones, along with Richie Brooks (Jr.) and the team has solid talent & depth to make a run at the title.
Other Teams to Watch
2007 Eastern Maine Regional Class A Results 1 A-Lewiston High School 43 1 5 7 11 19 43 Total Time: 1:25:04.14 Average: 17:00.83 2 A-Mt. Blue High School 83 4 6 16 22 35 46 64 Total Time: 1:28:06.69 Average: 17:37.34 3 A-Brunswick High School 88 8 10 13 26 31 39 54 Total Time: 1:28:40.40 Average: 17:44.08 4 A-Morse High School 140 2 24 25 28 61 69 78 Total Time: 1:30:53.16 Average: 18:10.64 5 A-Cony High School 153 9 29 30 34 51 65 71 Total Time: 1:31:54.47 Average: 18:22.90
Luke Fontaine (Jr. Cony)
Fontaine is one of the many talented juniors in the state that will contend for individual glory this fall. Coming off a very solid sophomore campaign, where he finished 9th in the Eastern Regional and followed that up with an impressive 10th at States, Fontaine is primed for success this fall. He's coming on a very strong track season, Luke finished 4th in both the 1600/3200 at the State meet.
Jason Kaake (Jr. Morse)
Kaake is the top returner in East & the State. Kaake is a serious threat to win it all thisfall. Coming off last fall where he was runner-up to eventual state champion Mohamed Noor at the East Regional, Kaake showed that race was no fluke as he finished 4th at the state meet. Kaake also had a solid spring on the track, running to a 6th place finish in the 3200 at states.
Will Geoghegan (Jr. Brunswick) Geoghegan is primed to contend for the individual title, after a successful fall last year which saw him finish 8th in the East Regional and a surprising 5th at the state meet. Geoghegan might have improved more than anyone during the track season. He was instrumental in Brunswick winning the indoor team title and outdoors ran 4:25.34 for 1600 (5th at states) and was runner-up in the 3200. At the New England meet, he ran to an impressive 9:38.88 clocking for 3200.
Kelton Cullenberg (Jr. Mt. Blue) Cullenberg is often overlooked in this strong junior class, but don't be fooled, he's a good as any of the others. Last fall saw him emerge as the latest in a long line of talented Cougars, Cullenberg was 6th in both the East regional and States.
Robbie Leeman (Sr. Lewiston) Leeman has been one of the Blue Devils top runners for 3 years now, and will look to take it to another level this fall. According to Coach Putnam, "Robbie's running more than 1-2 times a week this summer", this bodes well for his success. Leeman who only runs during the fall, was a key member of the state champion squad last fall, he finished 12th in the East regional and 14th at States.
Others to watch
Liam Cassidy (Jr. Brunswick)
Matt Driscoll (Sr. Lewiston)
Jaron Jones (So. Mt Blue)
Evan Piccirillo (So. Hampden Academy)
Tyler Toothaker (Sr. Mt Ararat)
Colin Popper (Sr. Bangor)
Evan Taylor (Jr. Brewer)
TOP 25 Individuals from 2007
1 Mohamed Noor SR A-Lewiston 16:06.48 1 2 Jason Kaake SO A-Morse High School 16:19.40 2 3 Riley Masters SR A-Bangor 16:22.69 3 4 Eric Marceau SR A-Mt. Blue 16:28.72 4 5 Sadam Abdi SO A-Lewiston 16:42.95 5 6 Kelton Cullenberg SO A-Mt. Blue 16:46.97 6 7 Matt Driscoll JR A-Lewiston 16:53.03 7 8 Will Geoghegan SO A-Brunswick 17:03.00 8
9 Luke Fontaine SO A-Cony High School 17:04.07 9 10 David Currier SR A-Messalonskee 17:06.57 11 Liam Cassidy SO A-Brunswick 17:08.86 10 12 Robbie Leeman JR A-Lewiston 17:24.93 11 13 Nicholas Kazar SR A-Edward Little 17:37.74 12 14 Shaun Selberg SR A-Brunswick 17:40.05 13 15 Tyler Toothaker JR A-Mt. Ararat 17:42.48 14
16 Collin Popper JR A-Bangor 17:44.17 15
17 Jaron Jones FR A-Mt. Blue 17:52.09 16 18 Stephen Salinas SR A-Bangor 17:52.78 17 19 Evan Taylor SO A-Brewer 17:54.31 18 20 Tom Tripp SR A-Lewiston 17:56.75 19 21 Evan Piccirillo FR A-Hampden Academy 18:03.48 20
22 Michael Brooks JR A-Lawrence 18:04.32 21 23 Peter Smith SR A-Mt. Blue 18:12.24 22 24 Travis Blackmer SR A-Brewer 18:12.67 23 25 Kory Scarponi SO A-Morse High School 18:15.32 24
Lewiston behind Leeman & Driscoll lead Lewiston to it's 2nd straight Eastern Maine title. Mt. Blue & Brunswick should battle it out for the next two spots, edge going to Brunswick unless Malone runs for Mt. Blue. After that Morse could challenge for a top 3 finish depending on newcomers, while Cony will have one of their better teams in recent history.
3. Mt. Blue
Geohegan coming off his strong spring, looks to have what it takes to be the top dog. Fontaine, Cullenberg & Kaake all have what it takes to challenge as well, with Kaake being the top returner. There is certain to be some great races throughout the year, with any of the above coming out on top. Others are waiting in the wings to pounce; Leeman, Cassidy & Driscoll are all top runners.