by Ken Brown
SOUTH BURLINGTON – The Hazen Union track and field team kicked off its season last week, with several personal best performances as they gear up for a promising 2022 for the up-and-coming program.
Senior Jessica Royer ran a sub-three-minute 800m time to post a fifth-place finish behind event winner Elizabeth Cunningham of Rice. Sophomore Cassandra Royer ran her fastest outdoor time ever in the 1500m event to post a respectable ninth-place finish.
Reigning state champion Ruth Brueckner of Missisquoi Valley took home first place honors in the event. German exchange student and three-sport athlete Lisa Velten anchored both the 4X100m (fourth place) and 4X800m (runner-up) relay teams for the Wildcats. Lila Meyer, Ella Considine, and Lily Castle joined Velten on the 100m relay and Considine and both Royer sisters set the pace for Velten in the 800m relay. Meyer and Castle also posted personal best times in their first ever 100m event. Isabel Moustakas of U-32 took home first place honors. Castle also tried her hand at the challenging discus event with a personal best throw. First place honors went to Laura Hoak of Rice Memorial.
“We are striving for a sub-one-minute time in the 100m relay by the end of the season and the girls continue to work hard on practicing our handoffs for this event. Cassandra and Jessica performed like seasoned athletes in their first event of the season. The discus has a complicated technique and a couple of our athletes showed interest in it, so we really started working on throwing this week,” said head coach Kathy Fortmann.
On the boys’ side, sophomore Gabe Aubuchon and freshman Jasper Regan were impressive in their first varsity meet for the Wildcats. Regan ran his best time in both the 100m and 200m event, with Will Ilsley (Oxbow) and Kimario Lee (South Burlington) besting the field in the two events. Regan also posted an impressive eleventh-place finish in the long jump, with Aidan Parascando of South Burlington taking home first place honors. Aubuchon also competed in the 200m event and posted his best-ever time.
“We had some first timers out there for us with Jasper, Gabe, and Lily and, overall, it was a great first meet of the season for us. It is always good to get out there and be with the other athletes from different schools to get a feel for how everything works and runs, especially in the field events. Jasper really excelled in the long jump and is approaching 16 feet already. Gabe ran all of the sprint events, quite a feat in his first meet. We have broken out and started practicing on our starting blocks this week so we should see some personal records in the near future. We are taking a semi break during Spring Break vacation, with just a few practices thrown is this week, but we’ll be ready for our Week 6 of training and our next meet at Lyndon,” said Fortmann.
Hazen Union is scheduled to travel to Lyndon Institute next Tuesday and a freshman meet at North Country on Thursday.