Fast Finishes for Local Harriers at Vermont Meet of Champions
by Jim Flint
ST. ALBANS – High school cross country runners from across Vermont gathered at the Hard’Ack Recreation Area on November 5 for the Meet of Champions. The field of prequalified competitors included a cohort of local student-athletes representing Craftsbury Academy, U-32 High School, and Danville High School. Seasonably mild running temperatures led to fast times on the grassy, gently rolling 5k course.
D-I state champion Champlain Valley Union High School won the varsity girls team title with 17 points. U-32 High School placed second with 61 points.
U-32’s Amy Felice was the fastest varsity girl from towns covered by the Hardwick Gazette. She finished in a new personal best time of 20:00 to place sixth in the Meet of Champions. Among 11th-grade girls, Felice placed second behind Amelie Scharf of Champlain Valley.
Felice, who is from Calais, will compete with the Raider girls at the New England Cross Country Championships on November 12, in Ponaganset, R.I.
Lilley Anderson of Danville High also set a personal best 5k time. Competing in the final cross country meet of her high school career, Anderson finished 31st of 65 runners. Her time of 22:42 placed seventh among 12th-grade girls.
Essex High School won the boys varsity team competition with 64 points. U-32 placed second with 77 points. Champlain Valley (79), Montpelier High School (100), and Craftsbury Academy (156) rounded out the top five teams. Vermont’s top-ranked team, St. Johnsbury Academy, opted out of competing at the Meet of Champions.
Craftsbury Academy’s Charlie Kehler went into the meet ranked as the second-fastest 10th-grade boy in Vermont, behind Andrew Thornton-Sherman of St. Johnsbury Academy, who did not run.
Kehler placed first among sophomores at the Meet of Champions. Breaking the 17-minute barrier for the second time this season, he finished fourth overall in 16:47. He crossed the line nine seconds shy of his personal best 5k time of 16:38, set on October 8 at the Ponaganset Covered Bridge Classic.
Craftsbury seniors Alan Moody and Cormac Leahy ran their fastest 5ks of the season at the Meet of Champions. Their respective times of 17:51 and 18:01 placed 21st and 23rd in the 99-runner field. Moody and Leahy placed sixth and seventh among Vermont 12th-graders.
Silas Hunt continued his string of solid performances for the Chargers. The promising junior placed 43rd and set a new personal best 5k time of 18:35.
Seniors Calvin Cacciamani (20:29) and Linden Stelma-Leonard (20:39) placed 78th and 82nd for the Chargers. Stelma-Leonard’s 5k time was a season’s best.
Two U-32 boys from Calais had strong finishes. Sargent Burns placed 25th in 18:03. Burns was the eighth-fastest 12th-grade boy at the meet. Tennessee Lamb placed 33rd overall and seventh among 10th-grade boys. Lamb’s 5k time of 18:17 was a new personal best.
Peter Searles of Danville rounded out the local runners competing in the Meet of Champions. The Danville senior placed 58th in 19:13 to finish out his high school cross country career.
The New England Cross Country Championships are next for the Craftsbury Academy and U-32 boys teams. Craftsbury Academy is the only Vermont team with prior experience on the Rhode Island course. The Charger boys competed in the Ponaganset Covered Bridge Classic on October 8.