Members of the Mount Desert Island High School boys’ cross-country team pose for a photo with their first-place plaque after winning the Class B North championship meet Oct. 26 in Belfast. It was the first regional title for the team since 2002. PHOTO COURTESY OF MIKE JOHNSON

Trojans sweep Northern Maine XC meet

BELFAST — Add two more trophies to the 2019 Mount Desert Island High School cross-country team’s seemingly endless list of achievements.

The MDI boys and girls rolled to first-place finishes Saturday at the Northern Maine championship cross-country meet in Belfast. The wins marked the first time in school history that the MDI boys and girls have both won regional titles in the same season.

“[Our runners] bought in to the team-wide expectations of working hard, having fun and doing your best for your team,” MDI head coach Desiree Sirois said. This core belief radiated on Saturday; each runner stepped up to the line, believed that they could win together and got to work.”

Members of the Mount Desert Island High School girls’ cross-country team pose for a photo with their first-place plaque after winning the Class B North championship meet Saturday in Belfast. The Trojan girls finished with 37 points to beat the nearest competitor (Medomak Valley) by 70 points. PHOTO COURTESY OF MIKE JOHNSON

MDI’s first win of the day came on the girls’ side as the Trojans topped a strong field of 13 teams. MDI racked up 37 points, far ahead of second-place Medomak Valley (107 points), third-place Ellsworth (117 points) and fourth-place Waterville (134).

Individually, Katelyn Osborne was the top runner for the Trojans with a time of 20 minutes, 39.12 seconds. Osborne had a fierce battle to the finish with Ellsworth’s Caitlin MacPherson, who she topped by one one-hundredth of a second to claim third place.

Osborne was not MDI’s only runner to finish in the top 10 as Olivia Johnson, Callan Eason, Rachelle Swanson and Grace Munger rounded out places 7-10, respectively. Sophia Taylor (14th place) and Piper Soares (24th place) also produced top-25 finishes for the Trojans.

On the boys’ side, MDI topped a large field of 15 teams to claim its first regional title since 2002. The Trojans’ 39 points were enough to seal a relatively comfortable victory over second-place Caribou (67 points) and third-place Hermon (70 points).

Ponce Saltysiak placed third of 106 finishers for the MDI boys with a time of 17:21.68. Close behind him was fellow junior Jon Genrich, who crossed the finish line in 17:26.53 to place fourth.

Freshman Sam York placed seventh for MDI with a time of 17:29.70. That time marked the fastest for any MDI freshman since at least 1991, beating William Fletcher’s 2011 mark by 12 seconds.

“This group of athletes had the winning combination of will and skill,” Sirois said. “They stepped up their summer training, they stepped up their drive and, most importantly, they stepped up their confidence and belief in themselves and each other this season.”

MDI will look to add the ultimate prizes, a pair of state championships, to its trophy haul when the teams compete in the Class B meet Saturday, Nov. 2, at Twin Brook Recreation Area in Cumberland. The Class B girls’ meet is set to begin at 11 a.m., and the boys’ meet will follow it at 11:30.

A win on the boys’ side would give MDI its third state title and first since 1973. On the girls’ side, MDI can clinch its ninth Class B crown and first since 2013.

No matter what happens, Sirois is one proud coach.

“This team is a legacy team not because they are good athletes, which, believe me, they are, but even more so because they are tremendous teammates,” Sirois said. “Their dedication to each other and their community has been incredible.”

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]