Caribou High School sophomore Kayley Bell approaches the finish line to win the Penobscot Valley Conference Class B girls cross country champion at Saxl Park in Bangor on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020. Credit: Ernie Clark

Tradition was both upheld and bucked during Saturday’s Penobscot Valley Conference girls cross country championships at Saxl Park in Bangor.

Mount Desert Island of Bar Harbor placed all seven of its runners in the top 10 to win its ninth PVC Class B crown in the last 10 years while George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill, led by individual champion Thea Crowley, snapped Orono’s streak of 11 consecutive PVC titles in Class C.

MDI finished with 27 points to advance to states along with runner-up Caribou (70) and Old Town (98) among the six participating Class B schools.

MDI’s dominance featured sophomore Callan Eason, who trailed only race winner Kayley Bell of Caribou and defending race champion Anna Jandreau of Presque Isle.

“Callan took a chance and went for it,” MDI assistant coach Aaron Long said. “The girls from Caribou and Presque Isle both are excellent runners and she put herself right in there. She was patient, she ran a really smart race, and two miles in she took the lead and took a chance to find out where she was. She came within a tenth of a second of Anna and that’s awesome.”

Grace Munger and Ella Joyce placed fourth and fifth overall for MDI while Piper Soares, Olivia Johnson, Cassidy Hanscom and Azaria Long finished within 57 seconds of each other in positions 7-10.

Bell, a sophomore who placed second to Jandreau at last year’s PVCs, sped away from what had been a three-person pack 2.5 miles into the 3.1-mile race to win by 22.6 seconds in 20 minutes, 19.95 seconds.

“I was third at one point, and right after the second mile I picked it up,” she said.

Also helping the youthful Caribou squad to its second-place finish were classmates Ivy Riopelle (16th overall), Kennedy Levasseur (17th) and Tressa Salch (24th), junior Milkaela Spooner (22nd) and freshmen Laura Plourde (25th) and Audrey Wimmer (26th).

“We were ranked fourth coming in so getting second was definitely a surprise but we’ve been working really hard,” Bell said.

Senior Izabelle Trefts finished sixth and sophomore Annie Roach placed 12th to help Old Town advance to the Nov. 14 girls state meet, also at Saxl Park.

Jandreau held off Eason at the finish line to place second by 0.09 seconds in 20:42.55 and was one of two individual qualifiers to states along with Foxcroft Academy sophomore Annie Raynes, who placed 11th overall.

In Class C, Crowley, a sophomore, had the fastest girls time of the meet at 20:03.72 to win her race by more than a minute in leading George Stevens to the title.

Teammate Grace Broughton finished third and four more Eagles placed among the top 11 as GSA finished with 25 points to edge second-place Orono and third-place Schenck of East Millinocket (80).

Adding to the winners’ depth were Violet Czuj (seventh), Josie Czuj (ninth), Oceania Black (10th), June Page (11th) and Iris Kimball (18th).

Orono placed three runners among the top five in second-place Julia White, fourth-place Erin Gerbi and fifth-place Megan Gerbi.

Schenck was led by Marissa Cram in 14th place.

Individual qualifiers to states were sixth-place Rebekah Ireland of Bucksport and eighth-place Isabelle Rounds of Bangor Christian.

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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...