by Ken Brown
MONTPELIER – Eighth grader Manny Fliegelman took home first place honors in two events for the Hazen Union Middle School Track and Field team last week, in the opening meet of the season at U-32 High School.
Fliegelman (13.6s) bested Williston Central’s Eric Weinberg by less than half of a second, along with 60 other competitors in the field to capture the title in the 100m. He took home his second title of the day with a personal best of 4 feet 8 inches in the high jump event to edge Oxbow’s Benjamin Nelson by less than half an inch. He would cap off his stellar performance with a runner-up finish in the 1500m, less than a second behind Williston Central’s Alex Jovell.
“The weather was crazy cold, so warming up for all events was critical to our team’s success. Manny really stole the show, putting up his fastest time in the 100m and his best height in the high jump. The entire team has really been practicing their running technique throughout the week and the results showed at this meet,” said head coach Kathy Fortmann.
Seventh grader Colin Gray also had a strong first meet for the Wildcats, posting a pair of runner-up finishes in the 200m and 400m events. Hazen Union’s Daniel Pougnier also had a solid fifth-place finish in the 400m. Weinberg captured the 200m title for Williston Central and Montpelier’s William Curtis took home first place honors in the 400m.
“Colin and Daniel showed up to their first ever meet and left it all on the track in their two events and their top 10 finishes really showcased how hard they have been working in practice,” added Fortmann.
On the girls’ side, sixth grader Eliza Bunten finished fourth for Hazen in the 800m behind event winner Louisa Orten of Middlebury Union. She also had a strong sixth place finish in the 200m, with Grace Goldfine of Peoples Academy capturing the title.
“Eliza and seventh grader Evelyn Molina are my track and field newbies and they really came ready to compete, with Evelyn taking on the 100m and 200m for the first time in her life. She was definitely nervous before her races, but overcame it to post some great times. Eliza is just a force of nature. She tackled both a middle-distance event and sprinting event in the same day. She made her fourth-place finish in the 800m look like she had been running in the event her whole life! We were missing two of our runners, so we’re looking forward to competing in the relays next time and I’m definitely excited for our next middle school meet,” said Fortmann.
On Thursday, Fortmann’s high school freshman traveled to St. Johnsbury Academy (SJA) for the NEK Ninth-grade Meet. Hazen Union’s Finn Burgess placed fourth in the javelin event with a personal best throw, finishing behind North Country’s Aero Brunell. Chloe Dyer gave the Wildcats a ninth-place finish in the 200m, with Brooke Hailey of Peoples Academy taking home first place honors. Lewis LaPierre finished seventh in the javelin and tenth in the 400m for Hazen on the boys’ side. Lake Region’s Adler Lahar and SJA’s Daniel Carter finished first in each event.
“Finn and Lewis have really been perfecting their form in the javelin and the results they are getting show all of their hard work! Chloe did a great job of taking on both the 100m and 200m. Her confidence as a runner is growing every day and with every meet,” said Fortmann.
The Wildcat high school team will be back in action next Wednesday at U-32 High School.