MDI cross-country hopes to contend again in 2021

BAR HARBOR — There’s never a year when the Mount Desert Island cross-country team doesn’t have high expectations.

Year after year, the MDI boys’ and girls’ squads have consistently posted team and individual meet wins and put themselves in the running for championships. No matter the faces or the year, the Trojans plan to contend.

“We just have a culture of doing our best and making no excuses,” MDI head coach Desiree Sirois said. “We have the camaraderie and culture where it’s a team atmosphere – a rising tide lifts all ships – and I think it shows.”

The 2021 season is no different for MDI, which is just nine days away from the start of its new campaign. The Trojans aim to build on the success of past years, including a 2020 season in which the team posted prolific results despite the unusual circumstances.

MDI sports one of the state’s stronger girls’ teams this year with five of the top-seven runners from last year’s campaign returning. The Trojans have a strong junior trio in Callan Eason, Ella Joyce and Piper Soares and two dedicated seniors in Azaria Long and Grace Munger.

A year ago, those runners combined to win five team events, including the Hancock County and Penobscot Valley Conference Class B titles. The Trojans took seven of the top-10 places in the PVC Class B meet, which they won by a whopping 43 points.

MDI also claimed three regular season wins and Hancock County and PVC titles on the boys’ side. After graduating five seniors from that team, the Trojans will have a roster that includes a pair of state championship qualifiers, Liam McKernan and Sam York, as well as Max Friedlander and Tucker James.

Although MDI had state championship ambitions last year, those hopes were dashed after changes in state guidelines forced the cancellation of the Class B title meet. A pandemic-affected season had its share of disappointments, but MDI’s returning athletes, Sirois said, became tougher through the challenges.

“They learned they could power through the tough times and do tough things,” Sirois said. “I think, if anything, they were happy to be together, and now that things are a bit normal this year, we’re going to appreciate it even more.”

MDI will open the season with the Ellsworth Invitational at 11 a.m. next Saturday, Sept. 4, at Ellsworth High School.

The Mount Desert Island cross-country team poses for a photo at team picture day Aug. 24 in Bar Harbor. MDI, which has been a perennial championship contender in recent years, looks to field a strong team once again in 2021.

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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