BAR HARBOR — In all the years she’s coached, Desiree Sirois can’t remember a bigger Mount Desert Island High School cross-country team than this.
Cross-country has always been at or near the top of MDI fall sports in terms of participation with a team of 30 or so students. This year, the Trojans are 38 strong.
“I’m really excited about this team,” Sirois said. “I feel like everyone has something to contribute. … We’re going to have fun.”
On the girls’ side, the Trojans are returning six of the seven runners that competed in last year’s state championship meet in Belfast. After winning the Penobscot Valley Conference title, finishing second via tiebreaker in the Northern Maine championships and placing fourth in the states last year, MDI will be a team to watch in Class B North along with Ellsworth, John Bapst and Medomak Valley.
Katelyn Osborne, who placed third at PVCs, fourth at regionals and fifth at states last season, is back for her senior year as one of MDI’s top runners. Grace Munger and Rachelle Swanson, who took 20th and 21st at states, respectively, are also back, as are Olivia Johnson, the Trojans’ top finisher at the Hancock County championships, and fellow state championship runners Louise Chaplin and Azaria Long.
MDI also returns six state championship runners on the boys’ side with seniors Harley Brown and Calvin Partin and juniors Jon Genrich, Cody Parker and Mason Soares back for another go. The Trojans will field an unusually large group of 22 runners on the boys’ team this year.
Sirois consistently stresses emotional and mental growth as being just as important as physical growth. Last year’s team made great progress on all three counts, she said, and this group is well positioned to continue that growth.
“They know it’s about running for something bigger than themselves, and that’s something we always preach,” Sirois said. “It’s about building trust and being honest. That’s a big part of our team culture.”
MDI’s first meet of the year will be the Ellsworth Invitational Saturday, Sept. 7 at 11 a.m. at Ellsworth High School. The Trojans will host their annual trail run at 9 a.m. the following week at MDI High School.