by Ken Brown
ST. JOHNSBURY – Senior Lily Castle got the Hazen Union track and field team off to a great start in their opening meet last week, capturing the first title of her career in varsity competition at St. Johnsbury Academy (SJA).
Castle bested the field last Tuesday by nearly three meters, winning the javelin event with a throw of 18.41m. SJA’s Fernanda Bustamante earned runner-up honors and Hazen’s Finn Burgess posted a strong third place finish. Castle also joined fellow senior Ella Considine, Elizabeth Molina, and sophomore Aster Watkevich on the 4X100m relay team that came in third behind SJA’s team of Siri Dunn, Alexandra Mosher, Anasofia Perez, and Leliah Santiago.
“Lily was the star of this meet with her winning javelin throw. I had almost everyone compete in that event this time around and one of my goals is to have every athlete compete in at least one field event during the season. It looks like Lily, Finn, and Lewis LaPierre will continue to practice their javelin technique for us and it was a really good first meet of the season for Hazen,” said head coach Kathy Fortmann.
Considine also posted a solid eighth place finish in the 100m event, with Watkevich finishing just behind her in ninth. The event was won by Northfield’s Rebecca Dupere. Watkevich capped off her first varsity meet with a strong tenth place finish in the 200m, won by Randolph’s Beatrice Lake.
“Aster was great in her first ever varsity meet. She did the max, competing in four events,” added Fortmann.
On the boys’ side, Gabe Aubuchon earned an eleventh-place finish for the Wildcats in the 100m and a fourteenth-place finish in the 400m. Randolph’s Wyatt Yanker and SJA’s Gerardo Fernandez shared first place honors in the 100m and SJA’s Andrew Bugbee took home the 400m title. Aubuchon is looking to build off a sophomore campaign that saw him compete heavily in every meet on the schedule. Lewis LaPierre posted a strong ninth place finish in the javelin in his first ever varsity meet for the Wildcats. Quinn Murphy of SJA earned first place honors. The Wildcats had a tall task over the weekend in their season opener, competing against two-time Division I champion SJA and reigning Division IV champion Craftsbury Academy.
“We have several athletes who have never competed in track and field before, so the first meet is always a good one to introduce those athletes to the sport. With our experienced athletes, the first meet gives them a chance to get themselves reacquainted with the flow of the sport. Another accomplishment was to have everyone use starting blocks for their event. We will continue to practice with them, but having that first race out of the way is always a big relief and now we can focus on technique. These next couple of weeks we will keep training and focus on our speed, strength, and cardio. It will be another fun day of competition this week with our middle schoolers competing in their first meet of the season,” said Fortmann.
Hazen Union is scheduled to go back to SJA on Thursday for the Northeast Kingdom Ninth Grade Meet.