by Ken Brown
ST. JOHNSBURY – The Craftsbury Academy (CA) track and field team picked up right where they left off from a stellar 2021 campaign last week with strong showings from both their girls’ and boys’ teams at the Raymond Frey Track at St. Johnsbury Academy (SJA).
First year head coach Abby Schaible had no problems getting her talented Charger squad ready for their first meet of the season last Friday as the girls’ placed fifth overall and the boys’ placed eighth among a talented multi-divisional field, despite not having a full squad.
Freshman Anika Leahy captured her first ever varsity title in the 800m event, besting Wisteria Franklin of SJA by two seconds. Leahy also ran a personal best time in the 1500m, good enough for a runner-up finish behind U-32’s Ginger Long.
Senior Ida Eames wasted little time capturing her first title of the season, winning the triple jump event with a distance of 9.36m. Peyton Qualter of SJA came in second with a jump of 8.97m. Eames also ran a personal best time in the 100m hurdles, placing fourth behind event winner Desiree Mendez of SJA.
Sophomore Sadie Skorstad ran her best time in the 100m event, placing sixth behind Lexy Shannon of Montpelier who took home first place honors. Skorstad also posted a seventh place finish in the shot put, with Hannah Angell of SJA outlasting the field with the longest toss of the day.
Rachel Bjerke posted her best times in the 200m and 400m events for CA, with Katie Prine (Peoples Academy) and Rebecca Dupree of Northfield capturing the titles. Leahy, Bjerke, Eames, and Skorstad also earned a third place finish in the 4X400m relay event won by Hazel Fay, Mendez, Franklin, and Katie Ryan of SJA.
“Ida and Sadie started their seasons really strong and that was an outstanding way for Anika to start her varsity career. All three girls and Rachel came together for an outstanding performance in the relay as well,” said Schaible.
Junior Cormac Leahy picked off the first of what may prove to be many individual titles in 2022 by steamrolling the field in the 1500m event by six seconds. Sargent Burns of U-32 earned runner-up honors. Leahy also took home a second place finish in the 800m with a personal best time behind Andrew Thornton-Sherman of SJA.
Senior Noah Mckibben had a strong day as well for the Chargers, placing second in the long jump with a personal best leap behind Governor Robb of Lake Region. Mckibben also had personal records in the 110m hurdles and the 200m event, good enough for fourth and sixth place on the day. The event titles went to Noah Burnham of Lamoille and Jaden Thomson of SJA respectively.
Dalton Gravel and Roean McLellan also posted their best throws in the shot put and Gravel duplicated the same feat in the discus event for CA. Leahy, Charlie Kehler, Alan Moody, and Linden Stelma-Leonard also ran a record time in the 4X400 relay event, won by Gerardo Fernandez, Alejandro Orozco-Kuri, Aidan Brody, and Andrew Bugbee of SJA.
“The boys’ team also had a huge day with several personal records along with Cole McNaughten also achieving a personal best throw in the javelin event. Cormac was commanding in his win, was dominating in his anchor leg of the relay, and Charlie had a great first 1500m as just a freshman. We didn’t quite have our full team, but it was a stellar performance in our first meet of the season,” said Schaible.
The Chargers were scheduled to compete at Lyndon Institute on Tuesday and will travel to South Burlington on Saturday.