Caribou High School senior Jordan Duplessie nears the finish line en route to winning the Penobscot Valley Conference Class B boys cross country championship at Saxl Park in Bangor on Oct. 31, 2020. Credit: Ernie Clark

Competitive races were the rule in the two boys divisions of the Penobscot Valley Conference cross country championships Saturday at Bangor’s Saxl Park.

Hancock County entries eventually captured both crowns, with Mount Desert Island High School of Bar Harbor winning its second straight Class B title while George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill ended Orono’s run of eight consecutive PVC Class C championships via tiebreaker.

Senior Ponce Saltysiak led three MDI runners to score top-five finishes as the Trojans totaled 33 points to best runner-up Caribou (45) and third-place Hermon (77) in the eight-school Class B field.

Saltysiak finished second in 16 minutes, 42.47 seconds for the 3.1-mile course, less than five seconds behind individual champion Jordan Duplessie of Caribou (16:37.96).

“We were together the whole time, we were pushing each other through,” said Duplessie, also a senior. “He was trying to pass me and I wouldn’t let him. We were both pushing as hard as we could. Toward the end I just tried to pull ahead and managed to do it, even though he stayed strong.”

Cody Parker and Sam York placed fourth and fifth, respectively, for coach Desiree Sirois’ MDI club, with Spencer Rose ninth and Jon Genrich 13th to round out the Trojans’ scoring.

“I think all of us ran well as a team,” Saltysiak said. “The race definitely started out really fast and that kind of played with some of the boys at first, but we were able to dig down really deep and pull out the win.”

Caribou’s second-place finish also was aided by Michael Cyr and Brady Miller, who finished seventh and eighth overall, while Dylan Fowler (third) and Ian Meserve (sixth) led Hermon to its third-place effort.

The top three teams qualified for the Nov. 11 boys state championship meet, also at Saxl Park, along with the top two individual finishers from non-qualifying teams in the PVC race, Ethan Roach and Philip Alyokhin of Old Town.

In Class C, George Stevens Academy and Orono were locked in a 40-40 stalemate through their top five runners, but GSA won when Eagles’ sixth finisher John Gray placed 18th overall while Orono did not have a sixth runner.

Bucksport, led by individual race winner William Hileman, finished third in the six-school field with 58 points and joined GSA and Orono in qualifying for states.

Orono placed three runners among the top five finishers in Kyle McClellan (second), Thorin Saucier (third) and Colby Pawson (fifth), but GSA’s depth was the difference.

The Eagles were led by fifth-place Clark Morrison, with Andrew Hipsky (eighth overall), Ian Renwick (10th), Sol Lorio (11th) and Oliver Tenney (15th) also contributing to the winning score. Teammate Ira Buchholz finished right behind Gray in 19th place.

Hileman, a freshman, raced to a 19.27-second victory over McClellan with his time of 16 minutes, 57.73 seconds.

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Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...