BAR HARBOR — One of the best seasons in Mount Desert Island cross-country history concluded with a rewarding end-of-season meet.
MDI runners competed Saturday in the New England cross-country championships at Thetford Academy in Thetford, Vt. The meet pitted the MDI girls’ team and one boys’ runner against the best of the best from Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.
“It was a real honor to be able to represent our school, our community and our state at an event like this,” MDI head coach Desiree Sirois said. “It’s very special when you’re able to compete against that level of athletes, and our runners really rose to the occasion.”
The state champion MDI girls’ team competed in a field that included 28 teams and 259 runners. The Trojans took 20th place overall in the meet and places second among the six Maine high schools competing.
Amelia VanDongen posted a time of 21 minutes. 3.7 seconds to place 49th and finish as the top runner for the MDI girls’ team. AyliGrace Munro finished in the top third of the field for the Trojans as she posted a time of 21:43.5 and an overall place of 84th.
Grace Munger (135th place, 22:25.0) and Ella Joyce (194th place, 23:11.1) finished in the top 100 for the MDI girls. Rounding out the list of competitors for the Trojans were Callan Eason (207th, 23:21.1), Meri Rainford (209th, 23:23.6) and Piper Soares (221st, 23:38.5).
The Trojans’ Sam York, winner of the PVC Class B title as well as three regular season races this season, competed in the 263-runner boys’ field in Thetford. The MDI junior placed in the top half of the field as he posted a time of 18:25.92 to come in 128th overall.
As was the case when MDI took to the Troy Howard Middle School course in Belfast for the regional championships, the course conditions Saturday afternoon were wet and muddy following rain in the area. Competing on those conditions on an unfamiliar course forced the Trojans to be flexible in their approach to the race.
“I think it was very similar to the course conditions in Belfast, but then you throw in the hills and the hard terrain as well,” Sirois said. “That’s where being adaptable and being prepared comes in as an advantage, and our runners did that.”
The meet marked the end of a season in which MDI won seven meets, including Penobscot Valley Conference, Northern Maine and state championships on the girls’ side as well as conference and regional titles on the boys’ side. Ending the year with a bonding trip was a rewarding conclusion for the Trojans, whose season will go down among the school’s all-time bests.
“When I look back, I think I’m going to remember this as a golden season,” Sirois said. “We had a lot of success, but this team was also the gold standard in terms of sportsmanship and dedication and class. All of them are such great representatives of our team and our community as a whole.”