If Midcoast high school cross-country runners have their sights set on challenging for state championships on Saturday, Oct. 27 at Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast, they now are going to have to get their legs and feet moving a little earlier in the day.

Due to the threat of inclement weather on Saturday, the Maine Principals' Association has pushed the start of the state Class A, B and C championship races ahead in an effort to beat the worst of the conditions.

Thus, locally, the Camden Hills of Rockport and Medomak Valley of Waldoboro girls teams, along with  individuals Hayden Thibeault of Camden Hills and Eamon Goscinski and Caitlin Maddocks of Belfast, will be affected.

The Windjammer and Panther girls probably will include the same seven runners who participated in the regional meet the weekend before at the same venue, but sometimes others are mixed in from meet to meet, especially for the extremely talented, deep Windjammers, who are unbeaten this season.

The Camden Hills girls, the defending state Class A champions (and among those favored to win again), include: Augusta Stockman, Elsie Hildreth, Claire Wyman, Miranda Dunton, Phoebe Root, Rose O'Brien and Lauren Rothwell.

The Medomak Valley girls include: Serena Blasius, Mackenzie Emerson, Emily Mahoney, Alexis Parent, Reese Hesseltine, Jayla Robinson and Rhiannon Gould.

According to a release from the MPA on Friday, Oct. 26, the new start times for the state races: Class A boys, 10 a.m.; Class A girls, 10:35 a.m.; Class B boys, 11:10 a.m.; Class B girls, 11:45 a.m.; Class C boys, 12:20 p.m.; and Class C girls, 12:55 p.m.

This means also there will be little time between races with a condensed schedule.

In the MPA release, Mike Bisson, assistant executive director and the cross-country liasson, said, "Over the past two days we have received numerous inquiries about the MPA state cross-country meet at the Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast. We have been monitoring the weather closely and just communicated with the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine. We are aware that the conditions are not going to be ideal, but the NWS prediction was that the worst weather would be about 2 to 8 p.m. in the Belfast area for Saturday. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. there is a chance of 1/10-inch of rain and cold temperatures.

"The feeling of many coaches is that they would run in these conditions and there is a gym near the course for the athletes and spectators to warm up in. In looking at the long-term forecast, next Saturday [Nov. 3] is not guaranteed to be a lot better. In weighing all of our options the cross-country committee has decided to start the races an hour early and to condense the schedule to a race every 35 minutes to try to beat the worst of the weather."

The previous times were: Class A, 11 a.m. (boys) and 11:45 a.m. (girls); and Class B, 12:30 p.m. (boys) and 1:15 p.m. (girls), with the Class C races to follow, but the schedule now has been moved up an hour across the board.