The difference between being a champion or finishing as runners-up in a talent-laden postseason high school cross-country race can come down to the slimmest of margins — sometimes one runner’s place and, ultimately, one point overall.

That is what happened Saturday afternoon when the talented Camden Hills and Mount Desert Island girls squads met for the second time this season, this time in the Eastern Class B championship meet at Troy Howard Middle School.

When the dust had settled Saturday, the Windjammers were regional champions, outdistancing the Trojans by one point. MDI was unbeaten and had bested Camden Hills in the Festival of Champions meet, held on the same course, several weeks ago. Ironically, that was the Windjammers’ only loss of the season.

It was the first regional title for a Windjammer girls squad since 1998, when then Camden-Rockport High School finished as regional champs and runners-up in the state.

This season, Camden Hills also has won the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B title, while MDI captured the Hancock County and Penobscot Valley Conference crowns earlier this fall.

Undoubtedly, the Trojans and Windjammers will battle for the state Class B championship on Saturday, Oct. 29 at Twin Brooks Recreational Facility in Cumberland. The girls race is at 2:30 p.m. and the boys at 3:15 p.m. (a change in race times for the states).

And, if the stars align, it may even come down to one point — again — one way or another.

On Saturday, Troy Howard Middle School was the venue for the Eastern Class A, B and C boys and girls championship races. The top teams and individuals qualified for the state meet.

For Midcoast teams, the Camden Hills girls and Medomak Valley boys advance to the state competition. The local individual qualifiers, those who finished among the top 30, were Camden Hills’ Brittany Bowman, Willow Parker, Emily Lopez, Lily Kassen, Samantha Morse, Ella Scott and Ben Trapani; Oceanside’s Naomi Holzhauer and Riley Simmons; and Medomak Valley’s Mason Vermilon.

Of course, all seven of the Windjammer girls and Panther boys will compete in the state races because the teams qualified.

The Eastern Class B girls team scores were: Camden Hills 51, Mount Desert Island 52, John Bapst of Bangor 96, Caribou 100, Waterville 116, Ellsworth 137, Winslow 148, Medomak Valley 233, Presque Isle 281, Belfast 291, Hermon 319, Old Town 348 and Oceanside, among others, no score.

The top six teams qualified for the state Class B championship meet, meaning Camden Hills, MDI, John Bapst, Caribou, Waterville and Ellsworth move on.

The Eastern Class B boys team scores were: Caribou 55, Ellsworth 59, John Bapst 108, Mount Desert Island 131, Waterville 150, Winslow 173, Presque Isle 179, Medomak Valley 197, Belfast 254, Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield 273, Camden Hills 284, Hermon 332, Foxcroft Academy of Dover-Foxcroft 350, Old Town 370, Washington Academy 407 and Oceanside, among others, no score.

The top eight teams qualify for the state Class B championship meet, meaning Caribou, Ellsworth, John Bapst, Mount Desert Island, Waterville, Winslow, Presque Isle and Medomak Valley move on.

Runners competed on a 3.1-mile course.

Camden Hills finished as champions by placing its five scoring runners among the top 20, while MDI had its five runners among the top 13, which would seem to give the Trojans an advantage. Ultimately, the difference was Windjammers Bowman and Parker, who were second and third respectively, thus only accounting for five points. In cross country, fewest points win.

Camden Hills’ top five runners finished in the second, third, 10th, 16th and 20th positions, while MDI’s scoring runners were in the seventh, ninth, 11th, 12th and 13th positions. The Windjammers finished with a seven-runner team time of 1:43:47.71 and an average runner time of 20:45.55. MDI finished at 1:45:14.24 and 21:02.85.

The difference in the outcome ultimately came down to Windjammer fifth runner Morse, who finished 21st in 21:49.43, just ahead of John Bapst’s Mary Carmack, who was 22nd in 21:55.03. If Morse finished 22nd, MDI and Camden Hills would have tied at 52 each, and then Scott, who finished 23rd and was the Windjammers’ sixth runner, would have been the tiebreaker to give Camden Hills the title.

Ultimately, every place among the top five was crucial for Camden Hills to finish on top.

Of course, the teams point tabulations are adjusted from the actual places of the finishers when runners from teams without five scoring athletes have runners among the finishers. Those individuals are not included in the team scoring equation and the runners from teams with five scoring runners moved up, thus, they are worth a different point total than where they actually finished.

Waterville’s Bethanie Brown (18:59.74) finished first in the Eastern Class B girls race and Ellsworth’s Dan Curtis (16:41.90) in the Eastern Class B boys race.

“The girls have had a phenomenal season,” said Windjammer coach Becky Flanagan. “The momentum has been building from the first meet at Oceanside. They have been working hard at practice and even harder during the meets. They are supportive of each other and are bringing out the best that each has to offer. I think that Festival of Champions was a turning point for them as a group. We stepped up the training after that, incorporating more hills and balancing the long-distance training with speed workouts. They have responded very well to the challenge. The KVAC championship was huge for them. They realized their strength when the jayvee runners captured the top prize in addition to the varsity girls winning.

“We have talked a lot about how important each and every place is. They now have first-hand experience. Each girl knew that she had a job to do on Saturday. They responded beautifully. Brittany Bowman had a fantastic race, as did Willow Parker. Emily Lopez was surrounded by MDI girls and managed to place ahead of their three, four and five girls. [Which is] no easy feat. Lily Kassen had a strong race, and Sam Morse passed the two girls she knew that she needed to. Ella Scott was all business, placing 23rd and Helen Carter had a solid race as well. After placing in the top seven all season, Rosie Lawson has an injury which has unfortunately sidelined her.”

The coach said her runners will need to be ready to face MDI again next weekend. “We are under no illusions when it comes to MDI,” Flangan said. “They are a very good team and they do well in the larger meets. They have worked hard all season and have been consistently ranked ahead of Camden Hills. To get close to them, and then win, is enormous for the Camden girls. We know that they will bring their ‘A’ game next Saturday. We need to be ready.”

Flanagan said the Windjammers not only want to challenge for, and win, a state title, but have another goal, namely qualifying for the New England championship meet Saturday, Nov. 12 in Rhode Island.

“This has been a spectacular season and it has been incredible to watch them become stronger both physically and mentally each and every week,” Flanagan said. “They encourage each other and have each other’s backs. Each athlete brings something positive to the team. They balance each other and have formed wonderful relationships.”

The individual Midcoast girls results (90 overall runners) were: 2, Bowman, CH, 19:23.69; 3, Parker, CH, 20:09.81; 10, Lopez, CH, 20:56.30; 15, Holzhauer, Ocean, 21:24.33; 17, Kassen, CH, 21:28.48; 21, Morse, CH, 21:49.43; 23, Scott, CH, 21:59.01; 28, Simmons, Ocean, 22:13.11; 38, Heidi Harris, Med, 23:10.63; 42, Hannah Hersom, Ocean, 23:15.28; 45, Maria Swebilius, Bel, 23:21.95; 48, Jordan Hopkins, Med, 23:44.41; 50, Abbie Wessels, Bel, 23:55.03; 51, Alyssa Griggs, Med, 23:59.12; 55, Jocelyn Thames, Med, 24:09.20; 57, Helen Carter, CH, 24:30.72; 63, Abbie Vail, Med, 25:04.33; 65, Romy Carpenter, Bel, 25:31.65; 71, Shannon Staples, Med, 26:21.69; 75, Kelsie Grady, Med, 26:45.14; 78, Lindsey Ward, Bel, 27:30.35; 81, Lilliana Mauser, Bel, 28:02.52; 89, Kimberly Eynon, Bel, 31:50.76.

The individual Midcoast boys results (105 overall runners) were: 9, Vermilion, Med, 17:56.26; 16, Trapani, CH, 18:25.79; 32 Alexander Casas, Med, 19:10.26; 37, Ari Snider, Bel, 19:18.47; 44, Gavin Felch, Med, 19:35.83; 46, Ivan Johnson, Med, 19:36.12; 52, Carl Pillitteri, Bel, 19:46.26; 53, Cole Chase, Ocean, 19:47.56; 56, Tommy Schleicher, Bel, 20:01.56; 58, Jordan Hill, Bel, 20:04.67; 59, Grant Richards, Bel, 20:05.07; 60, Aiden Ripley, Bel, 20:05.66; 61, Matt Heath, CH, 20:10.03; 62, Tucker Sturdevant, Bel, 20:14.79; 67, Davis Saltonstall, CH, 20:28.44; 71, Kyle Baubonis, Med, 20:46.61; 73, Crockett Lalor, CH, 20:51.36; 74, Nick Anderson, Med, 20:51.46; 75, Nick Mahar, Ocean, 20:51.81; 76, James Annis, CH, 20:53.81; 78, Eddie McCluskey, CH, 20:58.99; 86, Forest Priestley, CH, 21:14.31; and 87, Lance Parker, Med, 21:18.29.

VillageSoup Regional Editor/Sports Director Ken Waltz can be reached by phone at 207-594-4401 or by email at kwaltz@villagesoup.com.