In the fall, festivals are held for just about everything, from food harvests to music, but one special athletically-oriented one, that makes Belfast the epicenter for all things high school cross country, is held annually as nearly 1,300 runners — and hundreds of spectators — converge on Troy Howard Middle School.

That all happened for the ninth straight year Saturday as some of New England’s and Canada’s finest young runners showed their hard work, dedication, passion and skill at the Maine Cross Country Festival of Champions.

Sixty-six high schools and nearly 1,300 competitors took part in the event at Troy Howard Middle School, which used a 3.1-mile course that featured wide paths, several short and steep hills and a slight downhill for a fast finish. The races began on the THMS football field.

Among the local schools who had runners at the meet were Medomak Valley, Rockland, Camden Hills, Mount View of Thorndike, North Haven and host Belfast.

Overall, there were 730 boys finishers and 553 girls who crossed course during different races.

The races also were advantageous to a multitude of runners, as the same course will be used for this year’s Eastern Class B championship meet and the state Class B championship meet.

The Festival of Champions event is co-hosted by Belfast Area High School and Brewer High School.

Teams that participated were Bangor, Belfast, Bonny Eagle of Standish, Boothbay Region, Brewer, Brunswick, Bucksport, Camden Hills, Cape Elizabeth, Caribou, Cheverus of Portland, Cony of Augusta, Edward Little of Saco, Ellsworth, Falmouth, Foxcroft Academy of Dover-Foxcroft, George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill, Gorham, Gould Academy of Bethel, Greater Houlton Christian, Hall-Dale of Farmingdale, Hampden Academy, Hermon, Jay, John Bapst of Bangor, Kennebunk, Kents Hill, Lawrence of Fairfield, Leavitt of Turner, Lewiston, Lincoln Academy of Newcastle, Lisbon, Madison, Maranacook of Readfield, Marshwood of Eliot, Massabesic of Waterboro, Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln, Catherine McAuley of Portland, Medomak Valley, Messalonskee of Oakland, Monmouth Academy, Mount Blue of Farmington, Mount Desert Island, Mount View of Thorndike, North Haven, Oak Hill of Sabattus, Old Town, Orono, Oxford Hills of South Paris, Presque Isle, Rockland, Sanford, Scarborough, Schenck of East Millinocket, Sumner of East Sullivan, Telstar of Bethel, Waterville, Waynflete of Portland, Winslow, Winthrop and Yarmouth.

Also participating in the meet from out of state were Canton (Conn.) and Dr. J.H. Gillis (Nova Scotia).

The girls team scores were: Cheverus 74, John Bapst 196, Massabesic 209, Falmouth 244, Bonny Eagle 270, Dr. J.H. Gillis 315, Mount Blue 322, Yarmouth 327, Scarborough 340, Caribou 351, Mount Desert Island 364, Brunswick 372, Winslow 416, Hampden Academy 440, Brewer 469, Kennebunk 515, Cumberland, R.I. 517, Ellsworth 531, Medomak Valley 537, Camden Hills 572, Gorham 595, Maranacook 599, Waynflete 609, Messalonskee 636, Belfast 662, North Yarmouth Academy 666, Cony 673, Presque Isle 681, Canton, Conn. 706, Waterville 791, Lewiston 800, Catherine McAuley 854, Leavitt 862, Lawrence 883, Stanford 968, Winthrop 999, Bangor 1,002, Bucksport 1,024, Marshwood 1,034, Orono 1,039, Lisbon 1,083, Old Town 1,129, Kents Hill 1,139, Monmouth Academy 1,163, George Stevens Academy 1,261 and Gould Academy 1,356.

In the girls event, Medomak Valley runners finished with an average time of 22:32.11, Camden Hills at 22:31.93 and Belfast at 23:04.89.

The boys team scores were: Scaborough 133, Falmouth 181, Dr. J.H. Gillis 187, Caribou 232, Canton, Conn. 267, Cape Elizabeth 294, Cumberland, R.I. 323, Massabesic 335, Mount Blue 346, Hampden Academy 365, Edward Little 379, North Yarmouth Academy 381, Gorham 408, Ellsworth 412, Lewiston 498, Yarmouth 499, Winslow 519, Monmouth Academy 520, Brunswick 530, Cheverus 551, Sanford 560, Maranacook 570, Boothbay Region 590, Cony 596, Waynflete 657, Bangor 663, John Bapst 682, Kennebunk 706, Marshwood 818, Messalonskee 850, Mount Desert Island 930, Telstar 938, Lincoln Academy 1,012, Presque Isle 1,033, Lisbon 1,035, Medomak Valley 1,051, Hall-?DAle 1,093, Camden Hills 1,113, Brewer 1,115, Belfast 1,124, Winslow 1,173, Sumner 1,198, Leavitt 1,213, Oxford Hills 1,237, Hermon 1,272, Bonny Eagle 1,280, Lawrence 1,289, Old Town 1,373, Waterville, 1,404, Gould Academy 1,450, George Stevens Academy 1,470, Orono, 1,478, Schenck 1,592, Bucksport 1,603 and Kents Hill 1,688.

In the boys event, Medomak Valley runners finished with an average time of 19:48.02, Camden Hills at 19:48.24 and Belfast at 19:54.86.

The overall girls results for Midcoast runners (553 finishers), with the winner also listed, were: 1, Abbey Leonardi, Kennebunk, 17:58.35; 9, Brittany Bowman, Camden Hills, 20:01.81; 34, Gwen Moiles, Medomak Valley, 21:06.13; 39, Abby Hersom, Rockland, 21:12.22; 41, Abbie Wessels, Belfast, 21:15.67; 43, Megan Wyllie, Medomak Valley, 21:17.95; 75, Kellie Howie, Belfast, 22:01.67; 88, Lily Kassen, Camden Hills, 22:11.30; 139, Alyssa Griggs, Medomak Valley, 22:56.67; 152, Rachael Brown, Camden Hills, 23:02.34; 177, Jordan Hopkins, Medomak Valley, 23:25.15; 181, Annie Fagan, Camden, 23:30.40; 204, Gracie Sheldon, Belfast, 23:50.22; 209, Sam Miller, Camden Hills, 23:53.80; 210, Jocelyn Thames, Medomak Valley, 23:54.62; 221, Stormy Bowen, Belfast, 24:05.86; 225, Clare Olson, Belfast, 24:11.03; 236, Shannon Staples, Medomak Valley, 24:24.86; 247, Mary Caitlin Parks, Camden Hills, 24:39.88; 290, Kelsie Grady, Medomak Valley, 25:12.71; 295, Kiera Haining, Camden Hills, 25:15.73; 302, Mackenzie Meservey, Camden Hills, 25:21.98; 318, Maddie Bodine, Medomak Valley, 25:40.25; 353, Dakota Hanke-Ledwith, Camden Hills, 26:24.32; 355, Hannah Olsen, Camden Hills, 26:27.30; 356, Maria Swebilius, Belfast, 26:27.89; 357, Romy Carpenter, Belfast, 26:28.81; 379, Rayne Hanke-Ledwith, Camden Hills, 26:49.23; 397, Sam Hilt, Camden Hills, 27:12.70; 422, Brianna Gross, Medomak Valley, 27:48.41; 423, Jule Keppler, Camden Hills, 27:51.00; 429, Hannah Hill, Belfast, 28:01.31; 431, Maddie Wich, Belfast, 28:02.40; 437, Sarah Kennedy, Camden Hills, 28:11.91; 447, Missy Philbrook, Medomak Valley, 28:26.28; 452, Eliza Carter, Camden Hills, 28:39.94; 453, Bailey Black, Medomak Valley, 28:40.14; 465, Hana Berke, Camden Hills, 28:59.27; 517, Emily Smith, Camden Hills, 30:58.40; 519, Emma Conover, Camden Hills, 31:05.68; and 523, Jenny McKay, Medomak Valley, 31:36.66.

The overall boys results for Midcoast runners (730 finishers), with the winner also listed, were: 1, Matt McClintock, Madison, 16:06.07; 18, Charlie Jones, North Haven, 16:59.47; 64, Luis Mauser, Belfast, 17:57.26 61; 104, Nick Anderson, Medomak Valley, 18:27.29; 158, Brendon O’Donnell, Medomak Valley, 18:59.20; 173, Johnny Nugent, Camden Hills, 19:07.05; 220, Joe Murphy, Medomak Valley, 19:25.25; 223, Ben Trapani, Camden Hills, 19:26.32; 241, Chandler Crans, Camden Hills, 19:33.72; 292, Carl Pillitteri, Belfast, 19:58.02; 321, Davis Saltonstall, Camden Hills, 20:10.29; 325, Ari Snider, Belfast, 20:11.92; 369, Willie Hurley, Belfast, 20:37.90; 382, Matt Heath, Camden Hills, 20:43.81; 394, Karl Stearns, Belfast, 20:49.16; 401, Cole Chase, Rockland, 20:54.51; 409, Crockett Lalor, Camden Hills, 20:56.38; 419, Tucker Sturdevant, Belfast, 21:02.46; 421, Quinton Vannah, Medomak Valley, 21:03.16; 422, Ian Rixon, Medomak Valley, 21:05.16; 439, Miles Lamar, Belfast, 21:12.97; 441, Grant Richards, Belfast, 21:13.85; 473, Ivan Johnson, Medomak Valley, 21:41.52; 475, Alexander Casas, Medomak Valley, 21:41.80; 477, Jordan Hill, Belfast, 21:43.04; 513, Curtis Griffin, Mount View, 22:07.74; 516, Kyle Williams, Belfast, 22:08.89; 527, John Loxterkamp, Belfast, 22:20.61; 548, Marcel Marki, Camden Hills, 22:36.10; 562, Mike Gillman, Medomak Valley, 22:41.79; 569, Lance Parker, Medomak Valley, 22:46.52; 581, Bryan Cunningham, Belfast, 22:57.82; 582, Eddie McCluskey, Camden Hills, 22:58.26; 598, Alden Parker, Camden Hills, 23:16.03; 663, Travis Borkowski, Rockland, 24:31.25; and 721, Robert Currier, Belfast, 31:02.82.

Of note in the unseeded girls race, there were 248 finishers, with the following top-25 places for local runners: 4, Hopkins, Medomak Valley, 23:25.15; 12, Sheldon, Belfast, 23:50.22; 15, Miller, Camden Hills, 23:53.80; 20, Bowen, Belfast, 24:05.86; and 23, Clare Olson, Belfast, 24:11.03.

In the girls freshmen race, there were 132 runners, with the following top-25 places for local runners: 2, Bowman, Camden Hills, 20:01.81; 8, Hersom, Rockland, 21:12.22; and 14, Kassen, Camden Hills, 22:11.30.

In the girls seeded race, there were 173 runners, with no top-25 places turned in by local runners.

In the boys unseeded race, there were 334 runners, with the following top-25 places turned in by local runners: 2, O’Donnell, Medomak Valley, 18:59.20; and 15, Murphy, Medomak Valley, 19:25.25.

In the boys freshmen race, there were 166 runers, with the following top-25 places turned in by local runners: 3, Mauser, Belfast, 17:57.26; and 25, Trapani, Camden, 19:26.32.

In the boys seeded race, there were 230 runners, with the following top-25 place turned in by a local runner: 18, Jones, North Haven, 16:59.47.

Village NetMedia Regional Editor/Sports Director Ken Waltz can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at kwaltz@villagesoup.com.