Mount Desert Island High School junior Stephen Grierson competes in the 800-meter run at the Class B track and field championships June 1 in Brewer. The MDI boys finished with 40 points on the day to place third of 30 teams. ISLANDER PHOTOS BY MIKE MANDELL

Isaacs, Joyce, Olson place at states: New school records in shot put, hurdles



BREWER — The opportunity to showcase a season’s worth of progress presented itself Saturday, and the Mount Desert Island High School track team was up to the task.

Maine’s 2019 outdoor track season concluded Saturday with the MDI boys’ and girls’ placing third and 13th, respectively, at the Class B championships in Brewer. The meet marked the eighth year in a row that both Trojan squads placed in the top halves of their respective competitions.

On the boys’ side, MDI followed up last year’s state championship effort with another strong showing. Gilbert Isaacs won the state shot put crown with a school-record distance of 55 feet, 9 1/2 inches, and Elijah Joyce set a school record with a time of 15.30 seconds in the 110-meter hurdle prelims before placing second with a time of 15.36 seconds in the finals.

In the pole vault, MDI junior Elijah Denning cleared a height of 12 feet, 6 inches. That mark was good enough to give Denning, who has been sidelines for several meets this season, second in the 26-person field.

“Elijah has battled a hamstring issue all season, and he entered the pole vault at a high height hoping for one good attempt,” MDI head coach Aaron Long said. “It was a really gutsy performance on his part.”

For the girls, Zoe Olson posted a time of 2 minutes, 25.20 seconds to finish as runner-up in the 800-meter run. The Trojans also got solid performances from Loren Genrich, who placed third in the long jump with a distance of 15 feet, 8 3/4 inches, and the 4-by-800 relay team, which placed sixth with a time of 10:24.33.

“We’ve talked before about how, with a young team, it’s sometimes feast or famine, and I think we saw that a little bit on the girls’ side. “I know there are some ‘do-over’ wishes amongst that group Saturday. That said, they prepared and came out to compete, and I’m happy with that.”

The boys’ team finished behind York, with which it shared the 2018 state championship, and Greely, and the girls beat out Camden Hills, John Bapst, Ellsworth, Presque Isle, Gardiner and Foxcroft, among others. More importantly, though, the race saw the culmination of the progress the Trojans made throughout the season.

“We improved so much and saw leaders develop and skills get better and better each week,” Long said. “We had ups and downs for sure, but we grew a lot, and I’m ready to get started for next year.”

Mike Mandell

Mike Mandell

Mike Mandell is the sports editor at The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander. He began working for The American in August 2016. You can reach him via email at mmandell@ellsworthamerican.com.

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