Local Girls Run Strong at State Championships

by Jim Flint

THETFORD – May Lamb of East Calais and Camille Bolduc of Craftsbury rounded out their high school cross country careers Saturday with solid finishes at the state championships. The senior standouts were among 209 varsity girls competing across three divisions. The races were held on the storied Woods Trail 5k course.

Lamb led the U-32 High School girls to a Division II state title. Her time of 20:32 placed a close third behind juniors Ava Thurston of Harwood Union (19:40) and Maggie McGee of Lamoille (20:31). Ninth-graders Julia Thurston (21:10) of Harwood and Amy Felice (21:12) of U-32 placed fourth and fifth in the D-II race. Felice hails from Calais.

The U-32 girls totaled 29 team point to unseat defending D-II champion Harwood Union High School, which scored 42 points. The lowest team score wins in cross country. In the combined team results for all divisions, the U-32 girls totaled 96 points to place second in the state. Division I powerhouse Champlain Valley Union High School placed first overall with 75 points.

Camille Bolduc of Craftsbury Academy faced tough competition in the D-III girls championship race. The field included the two-time defending champion, Abby Broadley, a junior from Bellows Falls. The top runners settled into positions early in the race and held onto them. Broadley outpaced Emily Bloom of Rice for the victory, 19:43 to 19:49. Bolduc finished fifth in 21:04.

Craftsbury Academy ninth-grader Rachel Bjerke also ran well for the Chargers. She placed 33rd of 67 girls in the Division III race. Her finish time was 26:42.

Lamb, Bolduc, and Felice placed 11th, 15th, and 21st respectively in the combined varsity results across the three divisions. In a normal year, the three athletes would have qualified for the New England High School Cross Country Championships, which were canceled this year due to the pandemic. As an alternative, the top high school runners are scheduled to compete on November 7 in the Vermont Meet of Champions. The event will be held at the Hard’ack Ski Area in St. Albans.

“Camille is always excited to see what she can accomplish,” said Craftsbury Academy head coach Mike Levangie. “She challenges herself and is always willing to do a little more. Her work ethic and personality are positive. She helps the other girls and guys on the team. Without her, we wouldn’t have as strong a group of younger girls coming up.”

Hazen Union High School fielded a complete team of four girls in the D-III state championship race. The Wildcat girls totaled 87 points to finish fourth out of nine D-III teams. Bellows Falls (27 points), Thetford (33 points), and Northfield/Williamstown (73 points) placed first, second, and third, respectively.

Ninth-grader Cassandra Royer led the Wildcats with a 13th place finish out of 67 runners. Her time on the 5k course was 23:05. Junior Jessica Royer finished in 24:44 to claim 15th. She took 1:08 off last year’s state meet finish time and moved up 18 places. Sophomores Ella Considine (31st, 28:36) and MaryJane McKenzie (33rd, 28:41) rounded out a strong season finale for the Hazen Union girls.

“Cassandra pushed it from the beginning,” said Hazen Union’s head coach, Netdahe Stoddard. “She had a pack of six girls in front of her early in the race. Cassandra used the pack as a springboard and caught half of the girls before the finish.”

“Jessica came off an Achilles tendon injury to run at the state meet,” said Stoddard. “She finished within seconds of her personal best 5k time. Ella and MaryJane ran close to their fastest times of the season. Ella closed the gap to pass MaryJane in the last third of the race.”

During the summer, the four Wildcat teammates completed the entire Long Trail, hiking up to 14 hours a day. “The girls were in great shape all season long,” said Stoddard. “This was the first time that we placed as a team at the state level.”