by Jim Flint
THETFORD ̶ Along with D-III champion Craftsbury Academy, a cohort of local boys from Saint Johnsbury Academy, U-32 High School, Twinfield Union High School, Danville High School, and Hazen Union High School competed Saturday at the Vermont State Cross Country Championships.
Varsity races took place across three divisions, with 268 boys completing the iconic Woods Trail 5k course. The Challenge Race engaged an additional 178 boys from teams with more than seven varsity runners.
Saint Johnsbury Academy (SJA) edged out Champlain Valley Union High School (CVU), 65 to 75, to win their second consecutive D-I state championship. SJA placed their fastest five runners among the top 13 finishers in the D-I race. Andrew Thornton-Sherman led the way for the Hilltoppers with a third-place finish in 17:06, followed by Carson Eames (17:16) in seventh place.
Charlie Krebs, a senior transfer from Craftsbury Academy, played a vital role in SJA’s D-I state title. Krebs was spiked in his foot at the start of the race, which momentarily took him out of rhythm. Recovering quickly, he settled into a pack of eight runners chasing Matt Servin of CVU and Luke Miklus of Essex High School. Servin won the race in 16:36. Krebs placed ninth of 84 D-I runners, in 17:23.
“It didn’t feel too fast in the beginning of the race,” said Krebs. “The pace picked up after the midpoint. I dug deep going over Morty’s Monster, had some trouble with heavy legs on the last steep downhill, and pushed to the finish. I was happy to experience racing in the chase pack.”
The D-II boys race featured the closest team contest at the state meet. U-32 High School defeated Montpelier High School, 52 to 54, to repeat as D-II state champions.
Montpelier’s Avery Smart won the race in 16:55. Cyrus Hansen of U-32 was the runner-up, in 17:07.
U-32’s Sargent Burns placed fifth. The senior from Calais finished in 17:36. Tennessee Lamb, from East Calais, came through for U-32 with a 31st-place finish, in 19:46. The sophomore shaved nearly a minute off his 31st-place junior varsity finish in last year’s Challenge Race.
Ethan Parrish represented Twinfield Union High School in the D-III championship race. The senior’s race got off to a rough start, but he persevered. After pausing twice to catch his breath, he recovered to place 13th of 90 runners. His finish time was 19:38. Sam Sainz of Twinfield finished the 5k Challenge Race in 24:40.
Danville’s varsity boys team placed eighth in D-III. Senior Peter Searles led the way with a 10th-place finish, in 18:52. Fellow seniors Aiden Stillson (21:26), Thomas Edgar (22:32), Noah Roos (25:49), and Rowan Lawrence (38:08) rounded out the Danville Bears squad.
Tobias Benson was Hazen Union’s entry in the varsity boys race. The Wildcat junior saved his best effort for the season finale. Running confidently on the hilly course, Benson achieved a new personal best 5k time of 26:12. He crossed the finish line more than four minutes faster than at last year’s state meet.
The combined results across three divisions were used to rank teams statewide. The top six varsity teams in Vermont qualified for the New England Championships on November 12, in Ponaganset, R.I. Listed in ranked order, the teams are St. Johnsbury Academy, Champlain Valley Union High, Essex High School, U-32 High School, Craftsbury Academy, and Montpelier High School.