Houlton/GHCA prepares for Festival of Champions

Published: Sep. 29, 2023 at 7:53 PM EDT
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Houlton , Maine (WAGM) - The largest cross country race in Maine is tomorrow. The annual Festival of Champions in Belfast brings together over a thousand runners from Maine the three Maritime provinces and several other new England States.

The Houlton GHCA Shiretowners girls cross country team looks to challenge for the Class C state titlts this year and this race will be a good test for them.

(Chris Rines):”It’s always good to get to a race like this because it brings together the whole state. Even going against some of the schools in the other divisions Class A and Class B. It helps develop our kids and certainly getting the south C schools helps us know what we are going against heading into the states.”

Houlton/GHCA Junior Teanne Ewings finished 9th in the race last year and this is based on her times is seeded second behind Rith White of Orono.

(Teanne Ewings):” I am really excited to see where I compare against the other runners. I haven’t raced against a lot of them yet. I am excited to see how the team does against them as well.”

Rines says one of the keys to his teams success will be pack times. While Ewings is expected to be near the front of the field Rines says that he has talked to his team about running in pack if possible.

Rines:” Two through five are all pretty close together. Number 6 and 7 play a role in that too. They can create points for the other teams and create separation.”

This race is a great test for the teams competing. it is a gauge on how they compare against other teams, but Rines says at the same time this is a chance for his runners to see the course and work on things for the Regionals and States.

Rines:” As big of an event as this is, it is kind of low stakes. It really sets the scene for the what the regional and states could play out like. In the grand scheme of things, It is a pretty impressive meet. It is really meaningful for a runner to take part in this.”

Ewings says that the key is not to get boxed in at the start and to be able to run your own race. She has simple piece of advice for her teammates and other runners the race for the first time.

Ewings:” Just tell them to get out in a good position and try not to get trapped in and just run your own race.”