Thornton Academy cross country celebrated its 75th anniversary during the 2019
fall season. In 1944, H. Francis Griffith started the first boys program and guided the
Golden Trojans to a record of four wins against two losses. The first girls team was
sponsored in 1970. Today the high school program competes against other schools in the
Southwestern Maine Activities Association and Class A South. In 2008 Thornton Academy
Middle School fielded its first boys and girls cross country teams, both of which compete in
the Southern Maine Middle School Athletic Conference.
Cross country is distance running with a challenging twist. The sport involves
participants competing in a race of up to five kilometers over a variety of terrain, including
fields, wooded trails, asphalt, and outdoor track surfaces. The top five finishers for each
competing school score points with their place numbers designating the number of points
earned. The school with the lowest overall team score is declared the winner of the meet.
A number of outstanding distance runners have donned a Thornton Academy singlet and have earned honors for the Maroon and Gold. In 1957 Thornton Academy Hall
of Famer Bryce Roberts became the school’s first regional champion, a feat that was
duplicated by Conrad Sastre in 1994 and Ryan Cadorette in 2013. Ben Rumery was a
three-time SMAA all-star and was selected to the Maine Sunday Telegram All-State Team in
2005. Grace Glynn was also a three-time SMAA all-conference performer and earned all-
state honors in 2009. More recently, Katie LeBlanc was named an all-conference runner in
all four years that she competed (2012-2015) before becoming a collegiate running
standout at the University of Maine at Farmington. LeBlanc joins the 2023 coaching staff
as an assistant to former Golden Trojan standout Joshua Wynne, who was named as North
Atlantic Conference Man of the Year as an undergraduate student-athlete at the University
of Maine at Farmington.
The Thornton Academy cross country program has also boasted some outstanding
coaches who have guided the fortunes of the Golden Trojan nine. The legendary Dominic
DiBiase led the program from 1961-1970 and was followed in that role by longtime coach
Dick Parker. The winningest coach in Thornton Academy cross country history was Paul
Mondor, who coached the boys program from 1984-2006 and the girls team from 1990-
2006. Mondor’s boys teams had an overall record of 181-118 with twelve state
championship meet appearances and an SMAA championship in 1994. His girls squads
posted a mark of 168-52, including thirteen state championship meet appearances and four
regional runner-up trophies.
The typical Thornton Academy cross country season consists of a series of regular
season meets against SMAA competition as well as selected invitational events, such as the
annual Fleet Feet Classic in Gorham. For post-season purposes, the Golden Trojans are
grouped in the Class A South region; the top teams in the annual regional championship
earn an opportunity to compete in the Class A state championship meet.
All practices and home meets take place at the Thornton Academy athletic facility
and the nearby Eastern Trail, a recreational pathway that abuts the school’s Saco campus.
Participation in Thornton cross country is a five-day per week commitment. Generally
workouts take place on Monday through Thursday of each week with meets scheduled for
Friday afternoons. Thornton Academy Middle School cross country typically begins after
Labor Day and runs for an eight-week period.
Thornton Academy cross country is open to all interested participants, regardless of
their level of experience. The top seven performers on the boys and girls teams are
selected to participate in regional and state championship events.
2023 Opening Dates:
High School – August 14
Middle School – September 5
Teams: Varsity, Middle School
Varsity Coach: Joshua Wynne
Assistant Varsity Coach: Katie LeBlanc
Middle School Coach: George Mendros