ELLSWORTH — The Mount Desert Island cross-country team began the second half of the 2020 season with another solid meet Saturday at Ellsworth High School.
The MDI boys notched a perfect score of 15 points to edge the host Eagles for first place. The Trojans also notched 15 points on the girls’ side, though none of the opposing teams fielded enough runners to qualify for a team score.
For the boys’ team, Ponce Saltysiak earned his second race win of the season with a time of 14 minutes, 55.79 seconds. The senior had previously finished first in MDI’s season-opening meet at Searsport District High School and placed fourth in the Festival of Champions the following week.
“[Ponce] is one of the hardest-working, most respectful athletes I have ever coached,” MDI head coach Desiree Sirois said.
Fellow senior Cody Parker finished as runner-up for MDI with a time of 15:20.15. Jon Genrich (15:49.79), Sam York (15:51.77) and Spencer Rose (16:26.42) rounded out the top five for the Trojans.
On the girls’ side, Callan Eason finished in 18:47.95 to post her second meet win in three events this season. Eason won the girls’ race at Searsport to open the season before finishing seventh of 61 runners in the Festival of Champions.
Junior Grace Munger finished in 19:11.69 to claim second place for MDI. Ella Joyce (19:34.01), Olivia Johnson (19:45.77), Cassidy Hanscom (19:53.69) and Piper Soares (20:21.22) gave the Trojans a sweep of the top six.
Saturday’s meet saw the entire MDI team come together to compete as one for the first time in two weeks. The Trojans could only bring 14 runners — seven boys and seven girls — to the previous week’s Festival of Champions in Belfast.
“The Ellsworth meet was the second time our entire squad was able to come together as a team on race day,” Sirois said. “Fittingly, it was also a great example of a double–loop course that enabled runners to vividly assess mid-race standings and use that assessment to gain momentum in the second half of the race.”
The team’s success, Sirois said, has boiled down to a training regimen that began all the way back in July. Three months later, that hard work over the summer is beginning to pay dividends for an MDI squad looking to build off last year’s Northern Maine championship runs.
“Over 90 percent of the squad completed the summer training goals,” Sirois said. “This training catapulted them into race-ready form once the season began.”
MDI’s next meet will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at Bucksport High School. The Trojans will take on runners from Ellsworth, Bucksport, George Stevens Academy, Deer Isle-Stonington and Searsport.
“The team continues to train hard and challenge themselves and continues to learn and reflect upon past races to improve future success,” Sirois said. “In the weeks ahead, our focus will be on continuing to build race intuition and confidence alongside our solid conditioning base.”