Mount Desert Island runners compete in the Penobscot Valley Conference championships Oct. 13 at the University of Maine at Presque Isle. The MDI girls won the team competition, and the boys team placed third. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE PRESQUE ISLE STAR-HERALD

MDI girls cross-country wins PVC championship

BAR HARBOR — The Mount Desert Island High School girls cross country team won at the Penobscot Valley Conference championships Saturday at the University of Maine at Presque Isle. The boys placed third in the team competition.

“Our objective was to run like a team in a championship race,” MDI head coach Desiree Sirois said. “Our goal was [for each runner] to find someone on the team to connect with and work with so they can push forward and pass throughout the race together. … We achieved that as the gaps between MDI runners were vary narrow overall.”

MDI was thoroughly dominant on the girls side, beating second-place Caribou by 43 points in the eight-team field. Katelyn Osborne finished as the top runner for the Trojans with a time of 21 minutes, 2.4 seconds, and Olivia Johnson (fifth) and Rachelle Swanson (ninth) joined her in the top 10.

Olivia Watson placed just outside of the top 10 for the Trojans with an 11th place finish and time of 21:55.2, and Grace Munger was close behind her in 13th. With freshman Azaria Long placing 26th and sophomore Cassidy Hanscom finishing 27th, every MDI girl finished in the top half of the 55-runner field.

Jon Genrich finished with a time of 18:12.50 to place 10th of 62 runners in the boys race. Calvin Partin (17th), Alex Eason (18th), Stephen Grierson (24th) and Ponce Saltysiak (25th) rounded out the rest of the top-half finishers for the Trojans.

Although Presque Isle’s course is known as a tough one — Ellsworth head coach Louie Luchini noted the course’s “rolling hills” and lack of protection from the elements last week — Sirois said the conditions made for great racing. Given the course’s difficulty, Sirois emphasized the importance of each runner competing for place rather than time.

“It’s a great racing terrain with a wide course and all grass, and there are lots of ups and downs,” Sirois said. “It was like the Belfast course with hills.”

The Trojans’ success on a course similar to Belfast, Sirois added, was a “great precursor” to the team’s next race. That’s because MDI will be headed to Belfast when it competes in the Class B North championships at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, at Troy Howard Middle School.

With only the regional and state championships to go, the season is winding down for the Trojans. Success in Belfast would add another chapter to what’s already been an excellent year.

“When times are tough and races are challenging, you work together with the same goals and objective to push each other mentally together,” Sirois said. “Team success occurs when individuals buy into the same goal and commit. It’s up to us to embrace adversity and believe in outcomes.”

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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