When Danielle Hutchins decided to go out for indoor track and field this winter, Mount Desert Island coach Ian Braun got an early Christmas present.
“That was nice. I mean, it’s always good to have talented athletes, and she is [one],” said Braun.
Hutchins, a senior who owns Penobscot Valley Conference outdoor records in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, had participated in basketball her first three years of high school but will join the Trojans track team this season, giving them a 30-point threat needed to challenge the likes of Brewer and Bangor.
“She’s certainly very good in outdoor track. We’ll see how that translates into the indoor season,” Braun said.
Hutchins joins Kira Giroux of Brewer, Kendra Lenz of Bangor, Brittney Chapman of Bangor and Mackenzie DeGraff of Brewer as some of the Eastern Maine Indoor Track League’s top sprinting threats.
Hutchins is also strong in the long jump, having won individual PVC titles in that event in addition to the 100, 200 and 400 as a freshman and sophomore, and the 100, 200 and long jump during her junior campaign.
Unlike in outdoor track, runners can only participate in three events – including relays – indoors, so Braun will have to figure out how to use her on a weekly basis, particularly in the league championship.
“We’ll have to see what we can figure out for points and what helps us the most team-wise,” he said. “Danielle is a team player. She goes where she’s going to help the team.”
Her presence will make the Trojans a tough commodity in the EMITL this winter.
They also have one of the state’s top distance runners in Heather Spurling, a senior coming off an outstanding cross country campaign. She also placed second among female runners at the Brewer Turkey Trot 5K road race recently.
“Like Danielle, she’s a very-team-oriented person willing to do several different events,” Braun said. “She is tough as nails.”
Spurling will give MDI’s distance team a formidable boost, along with cross country teammates Kaylin Russell, a sophomore, and Kymry Brooks, a senior.
That trio should make the Trojans’ distance team one of the top in the league, and they should have solid 4×800 relay teams for each meet.
“We can put together several different combinations and have a successful relay team,” Braun said.
Spurling, along with Brianne Dunn of Ellsworth, John Bapst’s Kim Spencer and Brewer’s Michelle Haluska should have some great battles this winter.
Other key athletes for MDI include Kristin Bartlett, Destiny Kanu and Marlena Reed in the sprints, Alexis Baxter in the pole vault and Katie Prestinari in the long and triple jumps.
Braun feels that Brewer, the defending EMITL champion, is the team to beat.
“[With] the outstanding job that [coach] Jamerson [Crowley] does, they’ll be real strong,” he said. “They scored [over] 100 points last year, that’s pretty good for a championship meet. They’ve got tremendous depth, they would have to be the favorites.”