ORONO — Championship season has begun for indoor track, and it started off Saturday morning with some strong results for Mount Desert Island.
MDI athletes competed Saturday in the Eastern Maine Indoor Track League Large-School championships at the University of Maine’s New Balance Field House. The Trojans got three event wins and a number of other podium finishes to roll into the season’s final meet with some added momentum.
On the girls’ side, Amelia VanDongen earned a victory for MDI as she finished the 800-meter run in 2 minutes, 30.31 seconds to win the event with ease. VanDongen also had a strong showing in the triple jump as she recorded a distance of 31 feet, 9 3/4 inches to place third.
In other MDI girls’ action, Sophia Taylor placed third in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:41.29 to give the Trojans two of the top-three places in the event. Azaria Long ran the 400-meter dash in 1:06.86 to place fourth for the MDI girls, who placed fourth with 33 points.
On the boys’ side, Miles Burr continued his outstanding season as he won the 200-meter dash in 23.22 seconds. Burr also took second in the triple jump with a distance of 42-8 3/4 and ran the fourth and final leg for MDI’s runner-up 4-by-200 relay team (Daniel Freudig, Ieuan Howell, Noah Daigle, Burr, 1:38.47).
“Miles is a really great person, so his success on the track and in the jumps starts there,” MDI head coach Aaron Long said. “He’s just a sophomore and still learning, so his potential is extremely high. I know that Miles isn’t satisfied with just potential and will work hard for the remainder of his high school career to make that into a reality.”
In addition to his help on the relay team, Daigle had a winning individual performance as he cleared 9 feet to finish in a three-way tie for first in the pole vault. Howell took fifth in the long jump (18-3 1/2) for the MDI boys, who racked up 37 points to place sixth.
Long, who is now in his fourth year as head coach of the MDI indoor team, will be stepping down from the position at the end of the year. Seeing a veneer of normalcy return to indoor track after last winter’s bizarre season has made it worthwhile, as has the outstanding efforts, both from his team and others throughout region.
“We got back to really competing indoors again, [and] a great number of records were broken at our school and at other schools,” Long said. “There were several league records broken and fieldhouse records, too. It was great to see fast times and big jumps and throws despite the minimal restrictions we had this season.
Although the EMITL awarded various championships last season, this was the first traditional championship meet the conference has held since prior to the pandemic. Yet the basics of the meet – competing at UMaine on the weekend – wasn’t much different from what MDI has done all season, and that mindset helped Long’s team deliver on Saturday.
“Honestly, this meet felt like all the others,” Long said. “The awards presentation for each event and following a time schedule was really the only thing that felt different. As such, we tried to treat it as any other meet. If you make it bigger than it is, then you could be swallowed up by it.”
MDI will conclude the season with the state championship meet at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 21, at the University of Southern Maine.