Over Hills and Valleys, Craftsbury Runners Romp

by Jim Flint
photo by Vanessa Fournier | Cormac Leahy (#1) and Charlie Krebs (#2) sandwich James Cilwik of North Country Union High School at the Craftsbury Invitational. Leahy won the 5K race at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center in 17:29. Cilwik was the runner up in 17:39. Krebs placed fourth in 17:58.

MORRISVILLE  ̶  Craftsbury Academy head cross country coach Mike Levangie turned the girls’ and boys’ varsity teams loose Saturday at the Peoples Academy Invitational. Racing on the flat and fast 5k course, the Charger harriers responded with a basket full of new personal best marks. 

Ninth-graders Anika Leahy and Ruth Krebs placed among the top five runners in the girls’ varsity race. Leahy ran a personal best time of 21:19. She finished runner-up to Maggie McGee, a senior at Lamoille Union High School. Krebs placed fifth in the field of 33 runners. Her finish time was 22:24. 

Rachel Bjerke stepped up with a tenth-place finish for Craftsbury. Bjerke raced to a personal best time of 23:52. Daisy Roianov’s finish in 27:26 was also a personal best. 

Cormac Leahy led the Craftsbury boys to a shutout victory over Stowe, Lamoille Union, and Danville. Leahy turned in his fastest 5k of the season to win the race in 16:29. He finished less than a second off his personal best time from the 2020 campaign. 

Charlie Krebs and Charlie Kehler placed second and third for the Chargers. Krebs broke the 17-minute barrier for the first time, finishing in 16:54. Kehler’s finish in 17:26 was also a new personal best.

Gabriel Cole of Lyndon Institute was the only non-Craftsbury runner in the front herd of galloping horses. Cole placed fourth in 17:42. Craftsbury’s Leo Circosta and Alan Moody finished close behind Cole in fifth place and sixth place. Their respective times of 17:47 and 17:51 were new personal bests. 

Matt Califano and Alex Califano rounded out Craftsbury’s top seven scoring runners. The twins placed seventh and eighth, respectively, in 18:23 and 18:30. 

Craftsbury’s Linden Stelma-Leonard and Noah McKibben also set new personal best marks. They placed 15th and 26th among 48 finishers. Their respective times were 19:37 and 21:45.

Chargers Conquer Hills at Home Meet

CRAFTSBURY  ̶ The Craftsbury Outdoor Center hosted the Craftsbury Invitational on October 6. The hilly 5k course involved two 2.5-kilometer loops, which included two climbs on the Screaming Mimi ski trail.

The Charger boys and girls raced to first place and third place team finishes, respectively. Ten full teams competed in each division, along with individual runners from schools with smaller teams.

The Craftsbury boys placed five runners in the top ten finishers. The Charger boys team score of 20 points easily outdistanced runner-up Montpelier High School’s 79 points.  

The Craftsbury girls placed two runners in the top ten finishers. The Charger girls team score of 90 points placed third behind runner-up U-32 High School’s 81 points and St. Johnsbury Academy’s 61 points. 

Junior Cormac Leahy notched his second win of the season for the Charger boys. He outpaced North Country Union High School senior James Cilwik, 17:29 to 17:39. 

Charlie Krebs (17:58), Leo Circosta (18:27), and Charlie Kehler (18:37) finished fourth through sixth for Craftsbury. 

Alan Moody (19:29) was Craftsbury’s fifth man. He finished ninth in the 98-runner field. The strong finishes of Linden Stelma-Leonard (21:27), Noah McKibben (23:42), and Dillon Cox (27:02) demonstrated the depth of the Charger boys’ squad. 

Anika Leahy (23:20) and Ava Purdy (23:57) led the Charger girls. Leahy and Purdy placed third and ninth out of 84 runners. Ruth Krebs (24:45), Rachel Bjerke (26:35), and Daisy Roianov (31:17) rounded out Craftsbury’s five scoring runners.  

“We were on cruise mode as this was a long workout day for us,” said Craftsbury Academy head coach Mike Levangie. “The team did an extended warm-up with additional miles. They ran at a controlled pace for lap one then ran at a bit faster than tempo pace on lap two. This played out well for Cormac with the win and Anika in the top three.”