by Ken Brown
NEWPORT – The Hazen Union varsity and middle school track and field teams wrapped up their 2023 season last week with signs of a lot of growth and promise of young talent for years to come.
Eliza Bunten and Colin Gray led the Wildcat middle school team last Sunday at North Country High School in their season finale. Bunten had an impressive runner-up finish in the 800m behind Peoples Academy’s Genevieve Graves. Bunten also finished eighth in the shot put event, with teammate Evelyn Molina right behind her in ninth place. Bishop Marshall’s Patricia Stabach was the event winner. Bunten capped off her stellar day for Hazen by beating more than half of the field of 60 in the 100m, with Katerina Lemelson of Peoples Academy claiming first place honors.
Colin Gray led the boys’ side for the Wildcats with a strong third place finish in the 100m. He also finished seventh in the discus event. Barton Academy’s Dyion Lacouise and Peoples Academy’s Micah McDonald were the event winners.
The Wildcat varsity team started their week at St. Johnsbury Academy (SJA) in the regular season’s last chance meet. On the boys’ side, freshman Lewis LaPierre put a bow on his first varsity season with a pair of personal bests in the 100m and 200m.
Elizabeth Molina had her strongest meet of the season on the girls’ side, highlighted by a runner-up finish in the javelin. Teammate Finn Burgess was close behind in third place, with Oxbow’s Noell Koslowsky claiming the title. Molina also posted a ninth-place finish in the 100m behind event winner Adelina Cannella of U-32.
Ella Considine (seventh) and Aster Watkevich (eighth) finished off a strong day for the Wildcats in the 200m. Adelina Cannella bested the field for her second title of the afternoon.
The Wildcats put a bow on their impressive season of growth and development with a trip to the Division IV State Meet at Manchester. Lily Castle saved the best throw of her Wildcat career for the biggest stage in the javelin event, good enough for a third-place finish behind Sidney Herrington of Arlington.
Sophomore Aster Watkevich was impressive in her first varsity state competition, finishing seventh in the long jump, tenth in the 200m with her best time of the season, and twelfth in the 100m. Teammate Ella Considine finished 17th in the 100m respectively. Rivendell Academy’s Sydney Schoenbeck took home the state titles in both the 200m and long jump.
“Lily’s throw of a lifetime and Aster cutting over a second off of her best time is a really big deal on that stage,” said head coach Kathy Fortmann. “It amazes me how much each and every athlete has improved throughout the season. They all took on so much during practices and came to every meet with the goal of attaining their personal best. I look forward to the future of Hazen track and field,” added Fortmann.