BELFAST — More than 1,400 high school runners took to the grounds of Troy Howard Middle School on a fall afternoon for the 14th Maine Cross Country Festival of Champions on Saturday.
The annual event was a crucial meet for the Mount Desert Island High School cross-country teams, according to Coach Desiree Sirois, as they are now turning the corner into their “championship racing season.”
The Trojan boys’ and girls’ teams notched total scores of 1,042 and 789 at the race and are honing their skills in preparation for the upcoming
PVC Championships meet.
They are focused on both individual and team improvements as a result of continued hard work in practice meets. The teams are building confidence in training and ability and acknowledging improvement of the “things in races that are controllable: pace, pain tolerance, grit, resiliency and ambition,” the coach said.
At the cross-country meet in Belfast, all Trojan athletes were asked to step out of their comfort zones and begin using what their training had afforded them physically. “The team did an excellent job at positioning themselves in the beginning of the crowded race and continuing to pass through the 3 miles,” added Sirois. “We focused on mental toughness, regrouping when faced with challenges in the race, moving past fatigue and looking forward whilst racing and continuing to move up position wise.”
In the final stretch of the course, MDI team members charged up the last hill, often passing 10 or more competitors.
“This highlighted our hill strength and perseverance that is built on our daily training runs,” said Sirois. “The team worked together to continue to build their racing confidence, strength and tactical maneuvers.”
The Scarborough High School boys’ team and the La Salle Academy of Providence, R.I., girls won the 5K races with team scores of 120 and 30 respectively.
MDI High’s cross-country teams travel to Lincoln for the PVC Championships meet at Mattanawcook Academy on Saturday, Oct. 17.
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