Mount Desert Island’s Grace Munger competes in the Penobscot Valley Conference cross-country championships Oct. 16 at Bucksport High School. Munger posted a time of 19 minutes, 49.940 seconds to place second for the MDI girls, who scored 20 points as a team to breeze to the PVC title. PHOTO COURTESY OF KARIN BOS

MDI boys, girls win PVC cross-country titles

MDI’s Jay Haney competes in the PVC cross-country championships Oct. 16 at Bucksport High School. The MDI boys, who had the individual winner in Sam York (16:22.19), racked up 59 points as a team to prevail over Caribou (61 points) in a tight battle for the PVC Class B crown.

BUCKSPORT — The Mount Desert Island cross-country team’s complete command of the 2021 season continued in the first championship meet.

The MDI boys’ and girls’ teams both claimed titles in Saturday’s Penobscot Valley Conference championship meet at Bucksport High School. The Trojans also had a strong day individually with one boys’ runner claiming a race win and six girls finishing in the top 10.

“Athletes are beginning to assemble the pieces of season-long training and racing together to create performances that display the best abilities,” MDI head coach Desiree Sirois said. “This weekend’s results reflect this championship vision and mentality. The majority of the team achieved season and lifetime bests and, together, brought home dual PVC championship wins.”

Sam York posted his fourth race win of the season for the MDI boys’ win. The junior, who previously earned victories in the George Stevens Academy Invitational, Old Town Invitational and Pendale Invitational, posted a time of 16 minutes, 22.19 seconds to place first in the 49-runner field.

Tucker James finished just inside the top fourth of the field for MDI with a time of 18:13.83, and Liam McKernan (18:16.70) finished one spot back in the 13th. Callahan Bryer (16th place, 18:32.31), Sam Craighead (17th place, 18:35.25) and Jay Haney (23rd, 19:04.80) also finished in the top half of the field for the Trojans.

Grace Munger placed second of 39 runners for the MDI girls’ team, which won for the fifth time in six meets this season. The senior posted a time of 19:49.40 to finish under the 20-minute mark and finish as runner-up to Caribou’s Kayley Bell.

The MDI girls placed five more runners in the top nine as AyliGrace Munro (20:26.59), Callan Eason (20:48.32), Ella Joyce (20:49.44), Meri Rainford (21:10.57) and Piper Soares (21:27.87) rounded out sports 5-9. Azaria (22:17.55) placed 11th to ensure the Trojans placed all runners in the top third of the field.

The win marked the fourth consecutive PVC championship win for the MDI girls, who notched 21 points to easily beat out Caribou (71) and John Bapsy (79) for the team title. On the boys’ side, the Trojans (59 points) won their straight title by prevailing over Caribou (61) in a tight battle.

Callan Eason (right) and Ella Joyce compete in the PVC cross-country championships Oct. 16 at Bucksport High School. The Trojans will compete in the Northern Maine championships at 1:40 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23, at Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast.

Not to be outdone, MDI’s junior varsity girls’ team also claimed a team title. The Trojans got a perfect score as Carolina Graham, Sophia Taylor, Emma Simard, Lexi Simard, Lily James, Lillian Beckwith and Fiona St. Germain completed a sweep of the top-seven places.

With the season now seven weeks old, managing fatigue is a crucial part of the strategy for Sirois and the Trojans. Runners are exerting themselves less on a daily basis in an effort to ensure they’re well-rested ahead of the season’s biggest races.

“We are in the ‘race, recover and repeat’ mode [of the season],” Sirois said. “Quality performances are the result of reduced training quantities and an increased focus on rest and personal improvements.”

MDI runners will travel to Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast on Saturday, Oct. 23, for the Northern Maine championships. MDI will compete in the afternoon Class B portion of the race starting with the girls’ race at 1:40 p.m. and concluding with the boys’ race at 2:20.

Sirois named PVC Coach of the Year

Desiree Sirois was announced Monday as the PVC Large-School Coach of the Year for both boys’ and girls’ cross-country.

Sirois, who took over as the school’s cross-country coach in 2010, has cultivated MDI into one of the state’s premier cross-country programs. In addition to leading the Trojans to their recent aforementioned titles, she also coached the girls’ team to three consecutive state championships from 2011-13.

This is Sirois’ third selection as PVC Large-School Coach of the Year. She previously received the award in 2017 and 2019.

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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