NEW GLOUCESTER, ME – The women of the Owls cross country program had much improved showings in Saturday's Maine State Championship meet hosted by Bates College at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester. The Owls finished ninth.
All UMPI runners ran season's best times on a course that was much hillier than those where previous best marks had been recorded, an indication of definite improvement. Chenoa Jackson (SO, Wilton, ME) was the leading runner for the UMPI group. A well-paced opening mile of 7:16 saw Jackson 21 seconds behind Brianna Lesperance (FR, Embden, ME) (6:55) before she gained and ultimately passed her teammate by the two-mile mark. Throughout the remainder of the convoluted and hilly course Lesperance gained on Jackson, and her strong finishing kick brought her to within a second of her teammate at the end of the 5K (23:48 to 23:49). Jackson finished in 80th spot with Lesperance 81st. Elise Gudde (SO, Caribou, ME) followed in 104th position (27:01), a big improvement over her previous best performance on the track-flat course at Bowdoin College three weeks ago. First time harrier Mariah Lafleur (FR, Oxford, ME) ran a strong race at 28:08, and was followed by Brynn Staples (FR, Presque Isle, ME) (34:55).
The Bates College women won the meet with 29 points on the strength of their first three runners finishing in second through fourth places. Bowdoin's Sarah Kelley was the race winner with a time of 18:38, an average of 6 minutes per mile. Bates was followed by Bowdoin College (41), Colby College (83), U-Southern Maine (94), St. Joseph's College (164), UM-Farmington (168), Maine Maritime Academy (225), Unity College (240), and the Owls (261).
The Owls will be traveling to Thomas College for a meet this Friday. A return to Johnson, VT on the 29th is in order where the North Atlantic College championship will be contested.