by Jim Flint
Craftsbury Cross Country Team
HIGHGATE CENTER ̶ Craftsbury Academy’s boys’ and girls’ cross-country teams scored their first double victory Saturday at the Choiniere Family Farm Invitational. The four-team meet was hosted by Richford High School. Weather conditions were cool and damp with overcast skies.
Competing in her first cross country meet, Craftsbury eighth-grader Amelia Circosta established herself as one of the premier middle school runners in northern Vermont. Circosta won the girls’ 3k race by three minutes and set a new course record. Her time of 11:53 paced at a blazing speed of 6:22 per mile. Circosta finished 14 seconds faster than the top middle school boy in the race.
The Craftsbury girls’ varsity team started their 5k race in a pack. Anika Leahy and Ruth Krebs stuck together to place second and third in the 27-runner field. Their times of 22:18 and 22:21, respectively, were just a few strides behind Ruth Brueckner of Missisquoi Valley UHS, who won the race in 22:06.
Ava Purdy set a new personal best 5k time of 22:51 in her second cross country meet. Her fifth-place finish was 95 seconds faster than her race a week earlier at the Randolph Invitational. Rachel Bjerke (25:41) and Daisy Roianov (28:06) rounded out the Chargers’ team effort. Among the two scoring teams at the meet, the Craftsbury girls defeated Bellows Free Academy – Fairfax, 18 to 37.
The Craftsbury boys’ varsity runners donned pink running shorts for the meet. Cormac Leahy returned to action after a fall in the apple orchard at the Randolph Invitational. Leahy led Craftsbury’s pack of hounds across the farm fields as they chased the hare, John Viens of Richford High School. Viens won the meet in 17 minutes flat. Leahy was the runner-up in 17:14.
Charlie Krebs (17:47), Leo Circosta (18:11), and Alan Moody (18:34) placed third, fourth, and fifth for the Chargers. Charlie Kehler turned his ankle mid-race, kept on going, and placed seventh for Craftsbury. His time was 20:13. Linden Stelma-Leonard ran to a tenth-place finish, in 20:47. Craftsbury Academy bested BFA Fairfax, 21 to 48, to win the team competition.
The Craftsbury boys continue to be ranked first for D-III teams in Vermont. The steadily improving Craftsbury girls’ team is ranked second in D-III. The Charger boys are tied for sixth in the state high school power rankings with Division-I St. Johnsbury Academy.