The Spring of Success
The Vermont State Division III track and field championship is held at Green Mountain High School in Chester, Vt. on Saturday, June 1, 2013.
Valley News - Libby March
Rivendell golfer Alex Ussler walks to the next hole during the Vermont State Golf Championship in Woodstock recently.
Valley News - Jennifer Hauck
Vermont Division IV State track meet at Green Mountain High School in Chester, Vt., on May 31, 2013.
Valley News - Sarah Priestap
Kearsarge senior Gabriel Carter competes in the long jump during the NHIAA Division II indoor track and field championship at Leverone Field House in Hanover, N.H. on Sunday, February 3, 2013.
Libby March - Valley News
The Spring sports season came to an end this month with four local teams bringing home titles.
In track, the Woodstock girls put on a dominating performance to wrap up the Vermont Division III title, while the South Royalton boys put on an exhibition of team skill to earn the Division IV title. Meanwhile, in New Hampshire, the Kearsage boys team won its first-ever state crown in the meet’s final event of the day.
On the golf course, Rivendell won the first state golf title in the school’s 13-year history
The Kearsarge boys track and field team won its first-ever state championship in dramatic fashion, clinching a 74.5-68 win over Monadnock on the final event of the day for the New Hampshire Division III crown at Inter-Lakes High School.
The Cougars held just a 1/2-point advantage over the Huskies heading into meet-ending discus, where both Kearsarge’s Jacob Jones and Monadnock’s Nick Skrocki were poised to contend.
Jones, a senior, uncorked a heave of 125 feet, 2 inches — a personal record by seven feet — to place second, three spots ahead of Skrocki.
Senior Gabriel Carter won the 110-meter hurdles, long jump and triple jump to lead Kearsarge, which placed third in 2012 and returned most of its contributors this spring.
Cougars coach Ed Rehor felt all along that something special might be in the mix, provided the team’s effort remained steady.
“I told the kids, ‘Look, we’ve never won a title, but if we don’t give up and things fall our way, we’ve got a good shot.’ ”
Along with several top-five relay results, Kearsarge dominated the high jump. Senior Sam Vanetten (second), sophomore Zach Beltz (fourth) and freshman Troy Davis (fifth) placed behind Carter as the Cougars captured four of the top five spots in the event.
South Royalton’s boys track and field team illustrated a full team effort in the Vermont Division IV championship at Green Mountain High, winning zero events — but placing in the top six in 14 of 17 — to edge neighboring rival Chelsea, 90.75-83.
“I think it says a lot about the team,” said fifth-year Royals coach Rose Kent, whose team captured a state crown for the first time since 2008. “Some of the guys could have had easier days with fewer events. We might have ended up with an (individual) title or two that way, but probably not the team title.
Fifteen South Royalton athletes placed in at least one event, with eight scoring in multiple.
Junior Michael Dunkle was second in the pole vault, leading a dominant Royals contingent took four of the top six spots in the event.
South Royalton was also carried by its relay production as seven athletes combined to help the Royals place in all three races.
That was the difference in determining the champion as the Red Devils, toting just four athletes, placed in none of the relays.
“That was really big for us,” Kent said. “We work hard at relays.”
The Bassette sisters contributed heavily to the Woodstock girls track and field team’s fourth consecutive Vermont Division III state championship, with senior Elizabeth winning both the long jump and triple jump and sophomore sister Kathryn capturing the pole vault and placing second in both hurdles events as well as the long jump.
The sisters combined for 46 of the Wasps’ 177 points as Woodstock finished 65 points ahead of second place Bellows Falls.
Woodstock also received plenty of help at distance events from Carmen Bango, a freshman who’d championed the state cross country meet last fall.
Bango showed she was just as strong on the track as in the woods, winning the 1,500-meter run by 17 seconds and the 800 by eight seconds while also winning the 400.
The Raptors were bound to produce a Vermont boys team champion at some point. That it turned out to be this spring’s golf team was simply a matter of timing.
First alarm: A consistent program that has made visiting the Vermont Division III state tournament a regular thing, with top-three finishes five of the last six springs entering the season. Second alarm: A returning roster that lost just one senior to graduation. Third alarm: Domination of the state’s southern half while challengers of the recent past (Peoples Academy, Stratton Mountain) went through the process of rebuilding or retrenching.
The result: Only rival Mid Vermont Christian could give Rivendell serious competition during the season, but the Raptors’ first-through-fifth depth ultimately won out. With Luke Bell, Josh Marshall, Sam Kamel and Ryan Landgraf all breaking 100 in the finals at Woodstock Country Club, Rivendell rolled to a 13-stroke win and the school’s first state championship banner.
“It just feels great accomplishing something as a team,” said team captain Bell, who will return with most of the roster for a title defense next spring. “In any sport, this is our first boys state championship. That’s something to be proud of, putting a white banner up on the wall.”