Photo By Taylor Vortherms

MDI girls run to victory at Festival of Champions



Photo By Taylor Vortherms

BELFAST — The Mount Desert Island Trojan girls won their third consecutive Maine cross-country Festival of Champions title on Saturday.

The Trojans became the only team in race history to win three times in a row.

Nearly 1,600 runners ran the five-kilometer course of grass paths through meadows and wooded areas at Troy Howard Middle School.

The meet consisted of three boys’ races and three girls’ races, each with an unseeded section, a freshman section and a seeded section. Results in each of the six races played into overall team scores.

For the girls, the Trojans finished first among 51 teams with 95 points, with second place Falmouth High School trailing considerably with 181 points.

For the boys, Lewiston placed first of 57 teams with 87 points.

Of 246 runners in the seeded girls’ race, MDI’s Maggie Painter led the Trojans, finishing fifth in 19 minutes and 5.74 seconds.

Isabel Erickson finished 11th in 19:28, Waylon Henggeler was 13th in 19:35.21, Caroline Driscoll was 28th in 20:21.43 and Olivia Erickson was 33rd with 20:29.05.

“They should be very proud of their hard work,” MDI coach Desiree Sirois said. “We went into the meet knowing that this meet mattered, that they would be testing their physical and mental strength.

“I was very pleased with the outcome for both the boys and girls,” added Sirois. “They each committed to the team goal of going for it and facing the challenge head on.”

Ellsworth senior Aleta Looker finished fourth in the girls’ seeded race in 19 minutes and 1.13 seconds.

Behind Looker for Ellsworth in the seeded race were Hayley Lawrence, 55th in21:03.59, and Mariah Brown, 108th in 22:03.94.

In the unseeded race of 255 runners, Ellsworth’s Julia Zavaleta and Olivia Lounder finished 16th in 23:31.69 and 17th in 23:32.57. Both broke their personal career records by more than a minute, said Ellsworth coach Andy Beardsley.

As for the Ellsworth boys in the seeded race, an injury to the Eagles’ top runner, Dan Curts, altered the outcome, but the Eagles still managed to finish 12th with 416 points.

Robert Looker led the Eagles, placing 10th in 16:22.29. Following were Brayden Beardsley, 13th in 16:26.58; Cooper Holmes, 60th in 17:21.71; Frank King, 61st in 17:21.76; and Conrad Svec, 276th in 19:44.39.

“There were some good strong finishes, and that bodes well for us with a month to go before state,” said Beardsley. “I was grateful Dan pulled out. I almost wish he’d pulled out sooner, but sometimes, that’s hard.”

Curts ran with the leaders for the first two miles, but was unable to finish as a result of a right hamstring injury he acquired a week prior at the Manchester (N.H.) Invitational.

“It started bugging me after Manchester, and I didn’t run much this week,” Curts said after the race. “It definitely affected me in the race. I was kind of fighting myself in my mind the whole time.”

Just before Curts exited the course with under a mile to go, he trailed just one runner, Josef Holt-Andrews of Telstar Regional High School of Bethel.

“It was frustrating, especially watching Joe run,” Curts said. “He’s super fit right now, and he’s a great athlete.”

After losing to Curts by just four seconds the previous weekend at Manchester, Holt-Andrews placed first among the 306 runners with a time of 15 minutes and 6.92 seconds.

That shattered the previous course record of 15:26.64 set last year by Mike Tate of Dr. J.H. Gillis High School of Antigonish, Nova Scotia.

In the overall boys’ team competition, MDI placed 18th overall with 593 points. The Trojans were led by Jordan Harris, who placed 75th in the seeded race in 17:33.76.

Two George Stevens Academy boys turned in strong performances in the freshman race of 305 runners. John Hassett placed sixth in 17:40.72 and Ollie Dillon placed 11th in 18:23.16.

GSA finished 28th overall with 830 points.

The Bucksport Golden Bucks, 54th with 1,540 points, were led by Robin Doyle and Skyler Fraga, who finished 26th and 27th in the unseeded race in 19:34.

The Sumner Tigers were 57th with 1,735 points with Issiac Christiansen placing 35th in the freshman race in 19:29.26..

In the overall girls’ team competition, The Eagle girls placed 23rd overall with 648 points and GSA finished 41st with 983 points. Neither Sumner nor Bucksport fielded full girls’ teams.

The meet offered Maine teams the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the course and with their potential opponents before running the same course in the upcoming 2013 Eastern Maine Regional Championship Meet.

For Ellsworth’s Curts, that’s the race that matters.

“I’ll probably take it easy, get in the pool and do some aqua-jogging,” Curts said. “We’ve got a while before another big race.”

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