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Monday, November 15, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Members of the Mount Desert Island High School cross-country team gather for a team shot after the race, their last of the season.—BRIAN HUBBELL

BAR HARBOR — The Mount Desert Island High School girls’ cross-country team participated in the New England Championships in Thetford, Vt. over the weekend.

“The girls’ goal was to race hard, have fun, learn from talented runners, and appreciate the opportunity to run in such a prestigious event, and that is exactly what they accomplished on Saturday,” said head coach Desiree Sirois.

The girls finished third at the Maine Class B Championships at the Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast two weeks ago. The Class B girls’ state title went to the John Bapst Crusaders, with 72 points, six in front of runner-up Cape Elizabeth, with the MDI Trojans third with 112 points.

The top five scoring teams in all classes in Maine got to go to Vermont. MDI originally was in sixth place behind Cheverus of Portland, Mount Ararat, Massabesic, John Bapst and Cape Elizabeth.

According to Coach Sirois, the course at New Englands was extremely difficult. “Essentially it is a 1.2-mile downhill, a 2-mile uphill, and a steep 1/2-mile descent that dropped you to the finish line,” she said.

MDI Senior Kailyn Russell, running in the last race of her high school career, lost a shoe in the first 800 meters. She stopped, put it back on, only to have the other shoe fall off two steps later. “At that point she reached down took the other shoe off, threw both in the woods, and ran the rest of the slippery muddy course in her socks,” said Coach Sirois.

MDI Freshman Nora Hubbell had the fastest time for her team, finishing 143rd with a time of 22:26.4. She was followed by freshman Olivia Erickson at 22:57.0, sophomore Malia Demers at 23:57.0, Russell, at 24:08.5, freshman Maggie Painter at 24:12.4, freshman Paige Klausky at 24:20.7, and junior Catie Smith at 25:06.7.

MDI ended up 28th of 30 teams at the competition, with a total of 721 points. The meet was won by Champlain Valley of Vermont, with 88 points. The highest-ranking team from Maine was Mount Ararat, in 12th with 325 points.

It was estimated that the course average time was about 2 minutes slower than in Belfast. The course was slippery and muddy, which made for a challenge. According to the coach, the girls were impressed by the sheer number of runners, and the talent surrounding them. “The large crowd, the music, and the stampede of runners really made the experience exciting, nerve-wracking, and memorable,” she said. “Just being able to participate was a huge win, and the exposure to this type of running event priceless.”

The event really made all the hard work during the season pay off, the coach added. “The speedwork, the hills, the long runs, were the tough stuff they endured to get to this point, and the event made them all worthwhile. The race really made them proud of how far they have come as individuals and as a team.”

For more sports news, pick up a copy of the Mount Desert Islander.


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