Masked members of the Bucksport boys’ cross-country team pose for a photo with a buck statue following the Festival of Champions on Oct. 3 in Belfast. Runners from Bucksport, Ellsworth, Mount Desert Island and George Stevens Academy were among those competing in Saturday’s event. BUCKSPORT HIGH SCHOOL PHOTO

Cross-country season continues with Festival of Champions



BELFAST — Local cross-country teams continued their 2020 seasons Saturday with this year’s Festival of Champions at Troy Howard Middle School.

On the boys’ side, Mount Desert Island registered 73 points as a team to finish third behind Bangor and Hampden Academy. Also competing from Hancock County were George Stevens Academy (sixth place; 168 points), Bucksport (ninth place; 190 points) and Ellsworth (10th; 220).

Hancock County had two runners finish in the top 10 on the boys’ side with Ponce Saltysiak claiming fourth with a time of 16 minutes, 49.02 seconds and Bucksport’s William Hileman placing ninth with a time of 17:24.76. GSA’s Clark Morrison (14th place; 17:48.91) and Ellsworth’s Calvin Nelson (25th place; 18:54.50) also finished in the top half of the 66-runner field.

In the girls’ team event, MDI (second place; 69 points), GSA (third place; 111 points) and Ellsworth (eighth; 174) highlighted a strong day for Hancock County teams. Runners from Bucksport also competed, though the Golden Bucks did not field enough runners to receive a team score.

GSA’s Thea Crowley placed second with a time of 19:37.91 to finish as the top Hancock County girls’ runner. MDI got top-20 finishes from Callan Eason (seventh place; 20:59.73), Ella Joyce (10th place; 21:21.52), Grace Munger (11th; 21:36.91) and Piper Soares (18th; 22:28.13), and Rebekah Ireland (22nd; 23:01.68) and Abby Mazgaj (32nd; 24:02.81) finished as the top runners for Bucksport and Ellsworth, respectively.

With new restrictions in placed aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19, the race, which typically draws teams from across Maine, New England and Atlantic Canada, was limited to local runners. Whereas last year’s race drew 1,644 runners, only 128 competed in Saturday’s edition of the event.

Bucksport and GSA will compete in their next meet at 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9, at Searsport District High School. Ellsworth will host MDI and Deer Isle-Stonington at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 10.

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