Local Harriers Earn Individual and Team Wins

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photo by Mike Levangie
The Craftsbury Academy boys cross country team won the boys varsity race at the Choiniere Family Farm Meet on September 23. They were (left to right) Soren Stelma-Leonard, Alex Califano, Charlie Kehler, Silas Hunt and Matt Califano.

by Jim Flint

Runners from Craftsbury Academy and Hazen Union made their marks at invitational cross country meets last week.

Chargers Win Family Farm Meet

RICHFORD ̶ The Craftsbury Academy boys raced a five-man varsity squad at the Choiniere Family Farm Invitational on Saturday. Charlie Kehler earned his second individual victory of the 2023 season. The Craftsbury junior blitzed the 5k course in 17:37. Kehler’s effort equaled his winning time at the Randolph Invitational on September 9.

The Chargers posted 29 points to win the six-team meet handily. Lake Region High School finished a distant second with 69 points, followed by Lyndon Institute (70), Bellows Free Academy – Fairfax (83), Richford (102), and Missisquoi Valley Union (134).

photo by Netdahe Stoddard
Manny Fliegelman was the top Hazen Union finisher at the Kingdom Cup (Sept. 19) and the Mill River Invitational (Sept. 23). Fliegelman also plays soccer for the Wildcats.

Charger seniors Matt Califano (18:10), Silas Hunt (18:45), and Alex Califano (19:07) captured second, third, and fourth place, respectively. Hunt moved up from his 20:16 finish at the same meet in 2022.

Soren Stelma-Leonard (24:08) rounded out the Craftsbury boys squad with a 24th-place finish. The Charger freshman showed promise in his second varsity meet. He finished 23 seconds faster than his older brother Linden Stelma-Leonard (Craftsbury Academy Class of 2023) at the same event last year.

Royer Earns First Win at Kingdom Cup

DERBY – Hazen Union senior standout Cassandra Royer garnered her first varsity cross country victory at the Kingdom Cup Invitational on September 19. Royer ran away from the field of 55 girls to win the 5k race in 22:55. Thea Boyles, a Montpelier High School junior, was the runner-up in 24:15.

photo by Netdahe Stoddard
Hazen Union senior Cassandra Royer powered to her first cross country meet victory at the Kingdom Cup on September 19. Royer completed the 5k course in 22:55.

Off-and-on rain showers made for a cool and soggy event. St. Johnsbury Academy’s Andrew Thornton-Sherman won the boys varsity division in 16:55. Manny Fliegelman was the top finisher for Hazen Union. Running in his first varsity meet, the Wildcat freshman placed 32nd of 77 boys. His 5k time was 22:36.

Freshman Daniel Pougnier (25:26) and sophomore Lewis LaPierre (27:43) placed 53rd and 62nd for the Wildcats.

Kiah Cloutier shined for Hazen Union in the 2k middle school race. Cloutier, an eighth-grader, placed seventh of 45 boys in the race. His time was 7:29. Jake Danis, from Oxbow, won the contest in 6:57.

photo by Netdahe Stoddard
Hazen Union seventh-grader Eliza Bunten won the Mill River Invitational middle school girls race on September 23. Bunten ran the 1.75-mile course in 14:15.

Bunten Wins First Race

RUTLAND – The Hazen Union cross country team traveled south on Saturday for the Mill River Invitational. The meet was held at the former College of St. Joseph campus.

Eliza Bunten raced to her first victory in the girls middle school race. The Wildcat seventh-grader ran the 1.75-mile course in 14:15. Kiah Cloutier finished a close second in the boys middle school race. Cloutier covered the course in 12:07. Oliver Smith, from Long Trail School, earned the win in 12:02.

Manny Fliegelman placed fourth for the Wildcats in the boys varsity race. The freshman, who also plays soccer, had a personal best 5k time of 22:01. Daniel Pougnier placed ninth in 22:57. Lewis LaPierre rounded out the Hazen Union effort with a 27:01 finish.