Chargers set Division IV State Record in Relay Event…Twice!

by Ken Brown

Some members of the Craftsbury Academy boys’ varsity cross country team who celebrated winning the 2021 Vermont D-III state championship, recently set records at meets at Lyndon Institute and South Burlington. They are, (left to right) Charlie Krebs, Matt Califano, Cormac Leahy, Charlie Kehler, and Alex Califano.

LYNDONVILLE – The Craftsbury Academy (CA) track and field team had a stellar week with several personal bests and individual titles at Lyndon Institute and South Burlington last week, highlighted by the relay teams of Cormac Leahy, Charlie Kehler, Charlie Krebs, Mathew Califano, and Alexander Califano, who shattered their own Division IV state record that they had set earlier in the week. 

The talented team of Leahy, Kehler, Krebs, and Califano broke the ten-year state record in the 4X800m relay held by Hazen Union by over five seconds, posting an official time of 8:43.90 at Lyndon Institute last Tuesday. They were only bested by the Division I St. Johnsbury Academy (SJA) team on the day.

Leahy also won his second individual title of the season with a personal best time in the 3000m event, with fellow teammate Kehler finishing second. Senior Noah McKibben also captured his second title with his best distance in the long jump event, edging Alejandro Orozco-Kuri of SJA. McKibben also earned a runner-up finish in the 110m hurdles, less than a half second behind event winner Andrew Thornton-Sherman of SJA. He also finished fourth in the 200m event, with teammate Cole VanWinkle posting a personal best time and an eighth place finish. VanWinkle also finished fourth in the 400m with Kehler (fifth), Linden Stelma-Leonard (sixth), Matthew Califano (seventh), and Silas Hunt (11th) all posting personal best times for the Chargers.

Matthew Califano also finished fifth in the 1500m with brother Alexander also posting a record time and a seventh place finish behind event winner James Cilwik of North Country. Dalton Gravel also starred in the field events for CA, with a personal best throw in the javelin event, earning him a fourth place finish. He also was sixth in the discus and seventh in the shot put, with Bryon Noyes of Lyndon Institute winning both events.

On the girls’ side freshman Anika Leahy posted a runner-up finish in the 3000m event for the Chargers with a personal record time behind Wisteria Franklin of SJA. Sophomore Ava Purdy had a strong third place finish in the 1500m with freshman teammate Ruth Krebs finishing fifth. Ida Eames ran a personal best time in the 200m, finishing fifth behind Charlie Schumar of North Country. Rachel Bjerke finished sixth in the 400m event and Daisy Roianov and Verna Stoddard posted several personal records throughout the day for CA. 

Matthew Califano, Alex Califano, Cormac Leahy, and Charlie Krebs shattered the 4X800m relay state record that CA set on Tuesday by seven seconds on Saturday at the South Burlington Twilight Meet, putting their overall ranking now at third in the entire state. McKibben continued to soar for CA, recording personal bests in every event he competed in, including a fourth place finish in the 110m hurdles and seventh in the triple jump. McKibben is now ranked fifth in the state in the 110m hurdles and tenth in the long jump.

Krebs also shone with personal bests in the 800m and 1500m, placing fourth and sixth in each event. Leahy posted a strong fifth place finish in the 1500m as well. The boys’ team was one of the smallest schools to place within the top ten overall on the day.

The girls’ team also finished within the top ten overall with only seven girls competing, led by senior Ida Eames who won the triple jump event with a personal record of 9.61m, ranking her fourth in the state. Eames also took home a third place finish in the 100m hurdles and a seventh place finish in the 300m hurdles. Anika Leahy also posted a strong fourth place finish in the 800m and ran her best time in the 1500m event as well. 

“We had an outstanding warm-up on Tuesday and all of our athletes showed up again on Saturday in what was a huge and competitive meet. We had some strong personal performances all week along with breaking a state record twice. We look forward to continuing to compete and race and chasing down our fastest times,” said head coach Abby Schaible.

Schaible’s Chargers will be back in action on Wednesday at North Country before heading to relays at St. Johnsbury Academy on Saturday.