Because of its wonderful venue, fan-friendly atmosphere, somewhat central location on the coast and challenging, but fair course, Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast often is chosen as the place for the largest and most important high school cross-country meets during the fall season.

That again was the case this year as the annual Festival of Champions, which attracts 1,300 runners, was held at that venue, along with the Eastern regional championships Oct. 23. On Saturday, the trifecta was completed as the state championships were held at the course.

When the day’s races were done, nearly 600 young distance runners, including 311 boys and 282 girls, had competed in six races — including Class A, B and C boys and girls events.

Midcoast student-athletes from Medomak Valley, Camden Hills, Belfast and Rockland competed. Among local runners who qualified as individuals or with their team for the Class B portion of the meet were Medomak Valley’s Gwen Moiles, Megan Wyllie, Joceyln Thames, Alyssa Griggs, Heidi Harris, Jordan Hopkins and Shannon Staples; Belfast’s Luis Mauser and Abbie Wessels; Rockland’s Abby Hersom; and Camden Hills’ Brittany Bowman.

It was the sixth straight state championship meet appearance for the Medomak Valley girls squad, the only local team to qualify this fall.

In Class C, North Haven’s Charlie Jones qualified.

The runners competed on the rain-soaked 5-kilometer, or 3.1-mile course.

There were many fast times and top performances by local runners, including top-10 efforts from Bowman, Jones and Hersom and top-25 performances by several other local student-athletes; however, the highlight was Bowman, a Windjammer freshman, who qualified for the New England High School Cross-Country Championships on Saturday, Nov. 13 in Thetford, Vt., time to be announced.

Hersom missed qualifying for the New Englands by two places and Jones by three spots.

The individual girls and boys champions from Class A, B and C qualify for the New Englands, along with the next 22 top finishers, regardless of class. Thus, 25 boys and girls, along with a handful of teams, including the three boys and girls class champs and the next best teams after the meet is reseeded, qualify for the New Englands.

However, according to Herb Parsons, Jones’ high school coach, three of the state’s male runners have opted not to attend the New Englands, thus, Jones has moved up to the top-25 and will participate in that meet.

The state Class B girls team scores were: John Bapst of Bangor 72, Cape Elizabeth 78, Mount Desert Island 112, Falmouth 141, Yarmouth 146, Hampden Academy 180, Caribou 195, Winslow 224, Greely of Cumberland 227, Maranacook of Readfield 241, Medomak Valley 243, York 244 and Presque Isle 269. The Panthers finished with a total team time of 1:49:57.11 and an average runner time of 21:59.42.

The state Class B boys team results were: Caribou 92, Falmouth 100, Cape Elizabeth 109, Hampden Academy 113, Greely 124, York 153, Ellsworth 170, Winslow 214, Yarmouth 231, Maranacook 241, Erskine Academy of South China 267, Fryeburg Academy 271, Presque Isle 339, John Bapst 352 and Mount Desert Island 386.

The individual state Class B girls results for local runners, with the winner also listed (101 total finishers), were: 1, Dacie Manion, Old Town, 18:50.41; 3, Bowman, CH, 19:31.73; 9, Hersom, Rock, 20:09.16; 21, Gwen Moiles, Med, 20:38.04; 25, Abbie Wessels, Bel, 20:44.90; 42, Megan Wyllie, Med, 21:32.41; 75, Heidi Harris, Med, 22:30.93; 77, Alyssa Griggs, Med, 22:37.10; 78, Jocelyn Thames, Med, 22:38.62; 92, Jordan Hopkins, Med, 23:37.20; and 96, Shannon Staples, Med, 23:57.41.

Of the 282 overall girls who ran in races Saturday, Bowman had the 10th fastest time, Hersom the 25th, Moiles the 44th and Wessels the 50th

The individual state Class B boys results for local runners, with the winner also listed (108 total finishers), were: 1, Silas Eastman, Fryeburg Academy, 16:02.44; 18, Luis Mauser, Bel, 17:22.04.

The individual state Class C boys results for the local runner, with the winner also listed (100 total finishers), were: 1, Matthew McClintock, Madison, 16:00.91; and 7, Jones, NH, 17:06.18.

Of the 311 overall boys who ran in races Saturday, Jones had the 28th fastest time and Mauser the 48th best time.

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