Members of the Mount Desert Island girls’ cross-country team and assistant coach Aaron Long celebrate with their first-place plaque after winning the Penobscot Valley Conference Class B title Oct. 31 at Saxl Park in Bangor. MDI claimed both boys’ and girls’ titles in the hybrid conference and Northern Maine championship event. PHOTO COURTESY OF AARON LONG

MDI boys, girls win PVC cross-country championships

BANGOR — Another week, another set of wins for the Mount Desert Island cross-country teams.

The MDI boys’ and girls’ cross-country teams both claimed team titles Saturday afternoon in the Penobscot Valley Conference championships at Saxl Park in Bangor. The meet served as a hybrid conference and Northern Maine championship event as well as a qualifier for the upcoming state championships next week.

MDI began the afternoon by claiming the boys’ team title in the eight-team Class B field. The Trojans racked up 33 points as a team to top second-place Caribou (45 points), third-place Hermon (77 points) and fourth-place Old Town (96).

The MDI boys’ top runner on the day was Ponce Saltysiak, who finished second overall in the 56-runner field with a time of 16 minutes, 42.47 seconds. Cody Parker (fourth place; 17:06.29) and Sam York (fifth place; 17:33.93) joined Saltysiak in the top five, and Spencer Rose earned a top-10 finish with a time of 17:51.26

Jon Genrich (13th place; 18:27.14) and Mason Soares (15th place; 18:34.88) also finished in the top third of the field for thee Trojans. Freshman Liam McKernan finished 22nd with a time of 18:59.51 to place in the top half.

MDI later added another team championship with a win in the girls’ team event. The Trojans placed seven runners in the top 10 to breeze past runner-up Caribou (70 points) and third-place Old Town (98 points) for first place.

Standout sophomore Callan Eason finished with a time of 20:42.64 to place third for MDI in the 45-runner field. MDI teammates Grace Munger (fourth place, 21:09.35) and Ella Joyce (fifth place, 21:36.75) joined Eason in the top five.

MDI then provided another stretch of top finishers that began with Piper Soares (seventh place; 22:01.00). Olivia Johnson (22:36.11), Cassidy Hanscom (22:47.86) and Azaria Long (22:56.67) rounded out the top 10 for the Trojans.

The Saxl Park venue was a new one for MDI runners, none of whom had competed on the 5K course before. That didn’t hinder the Trojans, who won for the fourth time this season in both the boys’ and girls’ team events.

“They are realizing their potential and the effects of both their summer and season long training volume and intensity, and [they are] transferring that effectively on the race course,” Sirois said. “They race with sportsmanship and respect for their competitors, teammates and themselves.”

MDI runners will return to Saxl Park next week to compete in the state championship meets. The boys’ race is set to be held Wednesday, Nov. 11, and the girls’ race will be held next Saturday, Nov. 14. Both Class B meets are scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m.

“Ninety-nine percent of the training has been completed at this point,” Sirois said. “Now is the time focus on team — focus on keeping ourselves healthy, centered and positive and then get ready to get to work at the state championships.”

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 [email protected]

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