BELFAST — A year after his promising, championship-driven 2020 fall running season was cut short due to the pandemic, Medomak Valley’s Connor Daigle shrugged off that disappointment and went back to work to achieve his high school cross-country goals as a senior in 2021.

The Panther accomplished those in spades as he won the league individual title two weeks ago, regional crown a week later and, on Saturday afternoon, Oct. 30, on the rain-soaked, slippery and plenty muddy 3.1-mile Troy Howard Middle School course, captured the coveted state Class B individual championship.

Medomak Valley’s Connor Daigle comes down the home stretch of his state championship trek. Photo by Ken Waltz

“Connor is a once-in-a-generation athlete,” said longtime Panther coach George Gould. “I give him all the credit. He has worked extremely hard to become a KVAC, regional, and now, state champion. He has an amazing running future in front of him. Once again, Connor deserves all the credit. I was fortunate to be along for this exciting ride.”

Gould said he believes Heather Fogg and Kara Karvounis were the only other Panthers to capture individual state cross-country titles.

Camden Hills’ Cassie Middleton, middle. Photo by Ken Waltz

The Classes A, B and C state championships, which included six races — three boys and three girls — on the day, mostly in rain and heavy mist, also included qualifying runners from Camden Hills of Rockport and Belfast, who turned in solid performances.

In the Class B boys race, Daigle finished first at 16:35.75, with a 5:20.5 per-mile pace. He bested runner-up Logan Ouellette of Leavitt (16:48.01) by 13 seconds.

Camden Hills’ Walker Hedrich, left, takes off as his coach and teammates look on. Photo by Ken Waltz

Besides Daigle, other Midcoast distance runners who qualified for the state races were the Camden Hills girls, who included Jenna VanRyn, Cassie Middleton, Lauren Howland, Zoe O’Brien, Lola Black, Lucy O’Brien and Matilda Schroeder.

Additionally, Camden Hills’ Walker Hedrich, along with Medomak Valley’s Kassi Soule and Noah Morris, and Belfast’s Meara McVearry, Juniper Fowler, Will Robbins and Westley Dyer, qualified.

Medomak Valley’s Kassi Soule, left. Photo by Ken Waltz

When the mud stopped flying and final runners, mostly covered with muck and mire after a trek across the sloppy 5-kilometer course, crossed the finish line, the girls from three races (Classes A-C) and boys from three races (Classes A, B and C) were combined with their times to determine the top 25 male and female runners who qualified for the New England championships on Saturday, Nov. 13 at Thetford Academy in Vermont.

Among the Midcoast contingent, Daigle, VanRyn and Middleton ran fast enough to finish among the top 25 and qualify for that prestigious event.

Camden Hills’ Jenna VanRyn is exhausted at end of her muddy run. Photo by Ken Waltz

On Saturday, in tough, rain-soaked conditions, there were nearly 600 competitors, with 99 Class A girls, 118 Class A boys, 100 Class B girls and 103 Class B boys. Overall, there were 320 boys and 266 girls who trekked across the course.

In the Class A girls race, Bonny Eagle’s Delaney Hesler finished first in 18:28.29

The Windjammer finishers in that race were: 6, VanRyn, 19:40.87; 8, Middleton, 19:43.14; 46, Howland, 22:12.16; 78, Zoe O’Brien, 23:38.77; 80, Black, 23:45.99; 87, Lucy O’Brien, 24:11.11; and 89, Schroeder, 24:17.44. The O’Briens are siblings.

Belfast’s Meara McVearry. Photo by Ken Waltz

The Class A girls team scores were: Bonny Eagle of Standish 51, Marshwood of Elliot 112, Gorham 115, Bangor 118, Falmouth 151, Mount Blue of Farmington 165, Portland 181, Brunswick 190, Camden Hills 196, Cheverus of Portland 211, Thornton Academy of Saco 242, Kennebunk 270 and Mount Ararat of Topsham 324.

The winning Scots finished with a total team time of 1:38:52.86 and an average runner time of 19:46.58, while Camden Hills finished at 1:49:00.93 and 21:48.19.

In the Class A boys race, Hampden Academy’s Abbott Valentine finished first in 15:34.44, while Windjammer Hedrich was 55th at 18:27.88.

Medomak Valley’s Connor Daigle pulls his shirt out to showcase his school as he crosses the finish line as the 2021 state Class B boys high school cross-country champion on Oct. 30 at Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast. Photo by Ken Waltz

For teams, Hampden Academy finished first at 69, with Bangor second at 115.

In the Class B girls race, Cape Elizabeth’s Hadley Mahoney finished first at 18:46.85, while, for the Midcoast student-athletes, McVearry was 41st at 22:28.06, Fowler 47th at 22:58.99 and Soule 74th at 24:18.84.

Among the teams, Mount Desert Island finished first at 46, with Cape Elizabeth second at 102.

In the Class B boys race, among Midcoast runners, Robbins finished 21st at 18:17.18, Morris 53rd at 19:05.51 and Dyer 79th at 20:08.56. Morris and Dyer fell at points of the race.

Among the teams, Freeport finished first with 86, while York was second at 114.

When girls from the three classes were combined, Orono’s Ruth White was first at 17:31.92, while for Midcoast runners, VanRyn finished 13th, Middleton 15th, Howland 99th, McVearry 117th, Fowler 141st, Zoe O’Brien 181st, Black 186th, Lucy O’Brien 210th, Schroeder 214th and Soule 215th.

Bonny Eagle finished first among with 95 points among 31 teams, while Camden Hills was 17th at 412.

When the boys from the three classes were combined, Hampden Academy’s Valentine was first at 15:34.44, while Daigle was ninth, Robbins 87th, Hedrich 105th, Morris 184th and Dyer 251st.

Hampden Academy was first at 108 among 40 teams.