Members of the Mount Desert Island boys’ track and field team show off their first-place trophy after edging York to win the Class B title June 5 at Morse High School. PHOTO COURTESY OF RODNEY EASON

MDI boys win second state track title in four years

(Clockwise, from top left) Jon Genrich, Ponce Saltysiak, Walker St. Germain and Baylor Landsman.

BATH — After a down-to-the-wire final meet, the Mount Desert Island boys are again kings of Maine high school track and field.

MDI edged York in a thrilling finish Saturday to claim the Class B crown for the second time in program history. The Trojans, who split the title with York in 2018, won this year’s crown outright as a win in the final event lifted the team to a come-from-behind victory at Morse High School.

Trailing York by four points in the final event, MDI got a win from Baylor Landsman, Ponce Saltysiak, Jon Genrich and Walker St. Germain (3 minutes, 31.64 seconds) in the 4-by-400 relay. The Trojans’ 10 points in the event put the team on 88, enough to beat out the Wildcats (84 points) for first in a neck-and-neck battle.

“York has a first-rate program, and to be competitive with them is a huge honor for us,” MDI head coach Aaron Long said. “I told my boys that we didn’t need them to be superheroes to be successful; they simply need to believe in themselves, trust their teammates and their training and go be who they are — because who they are is pretty darn good.”

MDI also won the 4-by-100 (Landsman, Henry Lester, Ieuan Howell, Miles Burr, 44.69) and 4-by-800 (Parker, Genrich, Saltysiak, Sam York, 8:31.71) to complete a sweep of the relay events. St. Germain added an individual win for the Trojans with a time of 50.34 seconds in the 400-meter dash.

Burr (200-meter dash, 23.44 seconds) and Landsman (300-meter hurdles, 42.00 seconds) claimed second-place finishes for MDI. The Trojans got third-place efforts from St. Germain (200-meter dash, 23.60) and Archer Hill (discus, 141-7; shot put, 45-8 1/4).

The MDI boys entered Saturday having won three of their six meets on the season. The Trojans were among the favorites after finishing just a point behind Class A Bangor in the Penobscot Valley Conference Large-School championships, and Long’s team lived up to the billing by winning a meet that took on extra meaning after last year’s lost campaign.

“To bring back a team title and a number of individual titles to the island means something extra special after the last 16 months,” Long said. “It means more to each of them, to the coaches, to our school and to our community. I truly believe they know and understand what a gift they’ve earned and what a gift they’ve given to all of us.”

With the win, the MDI boys have now finished third or better in a state championship meet in four of Long’s five seasons as the team’s head coach. In addition to their 2018 and 2021 state title wins, the Trojans placed second in 2017 and third in 2019.

“It takes time to build a culture and we’ve had a lot of the same coaching staff for a very long time to help build that,” Long said. “I’ve been fortunate to have some incredible student-athlete leaders over my time here, and they help set the standard for the next generation on a daily basis.”

MDI’s Sarah Weaver competes in the 200-meter dash during the Class B track and field championships June 5 at Morse High School. The MDI girls notched 37 points to place sixth of 29 teams.

MDI’s girls’ team racked up 37 points to tie Old Town for sixth place. Cony won the girls’ team title with 95 points, and York (69 points), Belfast (51 points), Cape Elizabeth (47) and Gray-New Gloucester rounded out the top five.

Callan Eason claimed an event win for the MDI girls with a time of 59.57 seconds in the 400-meter dash. The Trojans also got two second-place efforts on the girls’ side with Olivia Johnson placing second in the 3,200-meter run (11:48.25) and the 4-by-800 relay (Johnson, Eason, AyliGrace Munro, Grace Munger, 10:06.44).

With the Bucksport boys winning the Class C crown and the Bangor girls breezing to victory in Class A, the long day concluded with two state titles going to Hancock County and three going to PVC teams. The MDI and Bucksport wins mark the first time that multiple Hancock County teams have won state track championships in the same season.

“What a day for our region,” Long said. “I love how our sport has continued to grow in our area, and we are so incredibly proud to be a part of it.”

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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