by Jim Flint
EUGENE, Oregon / PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – A cohort of Northeast Kingdom athletes extended their high school track and field seasons, June 16-19, at national championship events.
Craftsbury Academy’s Charlie Kehler finished off his freshman year with a trip to the Nike Outdoor Nationals. The meet was held at the University of Oregon’s historic Hayward Field.
Kehler competed in the freshman one-mile run. The field of 51 qualifying milers was divided into four heats. Josiah Tostenson, from Oregon, had the fastest time among the freshman boys. He won the event in 4:20.88.
Kehler went out quickly, leading his heat with a 67-second first quarter-mile. He paced the next three laps at 74s, 75s, and 78s. He finished the mile run in 4:53.73.
St. Johnsbury Academy sent their ace flyers to the New Balance Outdoor Nationals, held at Philadelphia’s iconic Franklin Field. Representing the Hilltoppers were seniors Evan Thornton-Sherman and Hale Boyden, junior Gerardo Fernandez, and freshman Andrew Thornton-Sherman.
The foursome earned All-America status with a fourth-place finish in the Distance Medley Championship race. The relay is composed of 400, 800, 1200, and 1600m legs. Their combined 4k time was 10:09.57.
Andrew Thornton-Sherman came into the New Balance meet as the top freshman hurdler in Vermont. Leaping over the final hurdle of the Vermont D-I 300m state championship race, he tripped and fell hard to the track. With grit and determination, he propelled himself across the finish line in second place.
Moving up to the 400m hurdles for the New Balance Nationals, Thornton-Sherman finished in 56.59 seconds to place second in the freshman finals. He capped off an impressive meet performance by winning the freshman 800m run in 1:58.64.
Thornton-Sherman ran a perfect race as the number-one seed. He paced the first lap in fourth place at 59 seconds. On the backstretch of the second lap, he moved into the lead, just before the final corner, then held off the chase pack for the win.
Evan Thornton-Sherman entered the New Balance meet as the fastest 1500m runner in Vermont high school history. At the start of the 2022 season, only six Vermont boys had broken the four-minute barrier for the 1500. At the D-I state championship meet on June 4, Thornton-Sherman set a new state record. His 3:51.51 effort led the way as five fellow competitors also broke the four-minute barrier.
Thornton-Sherman challenged himself at the New Balance Nationals. He ran the 5000m race on Thursday, a 1600m leg of the distance medley on Friday (in a time of 4:07), and the mile run on Sunday.
Thornton-Sherman pushed himself to the limit in the 5000m race, finishing tenth in 15:00.53. On the final day of the meet, he lined up for his heat in the mile run. He placed 23rd of 58 athletes with a 4:13.27 finish. Gary Martin, a sub-four-minute miler from Warminster, Pa., won the event in 4:03.57.
With a stellar high school career now behind him, Evan Thornton-Sherman heads to the University of Maine this fall to continue his education. He will compete for the NCAA D-I Black Bears in cross country and track and field. The St. Johnsbury Academy Hilltoppers are sure to remain a top state contender next year with his younger brother Andrew Thornton-Sherman leading the charge.