BELFAST — Having one of the state’s youngest teams hasn’t hampered the Mount Desert Island cross-country team throughout the 2018 season. Racing for one last time as a team Saturday, the Trojans once again had the look of one of top teams around.
The MDI girls and boys teams placed fourth and 10th, respectively, at the Class B championships at Belfast’s Troy Howard Middle School on Saturday. Nearly a dozen runners set personal records (PRs).
“The team of 14 male and female varsity runners we brought to the meet was challenged to achieve at least 10 season PRs collectively,” coach Desiree Sirois said.
“They more than reached this goal with huge personal bests that provided for strong team finishes on both the male and female squads.”
On the girls side, MDI competed as part of a strong Class B field that included Cape Elizabeth, Ellsworth, Yarmouth and York. The Trojans proved capable of taking on that field, finishing with a team score of 101 points.
Junior Katelyn Osborne was the top runner for MDI on the girls side with a time of 20 minutes, 29.98 seconds. That earned her a fifth-place finish in the 108-runner field.
Although Osborne was the team’s only runner to place in the top 10, the Trojans had a large pack finish in the 20-40 range. Grace Munger and Rachelle Swanson finished 20th and 21st, respectively, followed by Olivia Watson in 26th and Olivia Johnson in 33rd.
Jon Genrich placed 30th to finish as the top runner for the MDI boys squad with a time of 17:46.95. Calvin Partin also finished in the top half of the 100-runner field with a time of 18:14.55 to place 47th.
In the week leading up to the meet, Sirois challenged her runners to use tenacity to overcome the mental and physical obstacles they’d faced all season.
The individual bests, she said, resulted from the team’s ability to “embrace and accept the pains and pressures of running” as the ultimate test of the skills and techniques that had been emphasized throughout the season.
“Early-season meets served as training meets to learn to race, to develop strategies and build physical speed, power and endurance,” Sirois said. “The state meet is the application of these principles and the opportunity to test these skills both physically and mentally.”
Although MDI runners were left disappointed earlier in the week after the scoring error from the Class B North championship meet was discovered, the Trojans refused to dwell on that experience. Instead, the team returned to Belfast determined to produce another strong performance.
“You just have to focus on the things you can control,” Sirois said. “Always do the right thing, and put yourself in someone else’s running shoes.”
The season was a successful one for MDI, which had strong performances from the boys and girls teams throughout the season. In addition to their strong performance at states and runner-up finishes at the Northern Maine and Hancock County championships, the Trojans also won the Penobscot Valley Conference championships Oct. 13 in Presque Isle.
The Trojans are set for another strong season in 2019 as well. With all but two of the 14 runners who competed at the state championship meet this year returning, the team will be back among the contenders at both the regional and state levels.
“The commitment to team was a cornerstone of the MDI cross-country team this year,” Sirois said. “The team culture emphasized hard work, integrity and resilience, and athletes raced not solely for individual success, but more importantly for the resulting betterment of the team.”