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Upper Valley Teams Sprint to the Finish

  • Hanover’s Max Greenwald prepares to throw the javelin during a meet at Windsor High last month. (Valley News - Libby March)

    Hanover’s Max Greenwald prepares to throw the javelin during a meet at Windsor High last month. (Valley News - Libby March) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Lebanon’s Katie Colt sprints toward the finish line to win her heat of the 100-meter dash during a meet at Windsor High last month. (Valley News - Libby March)

    Lebanon’s Katie Colt sprints toward the finish line to win her heat of the 100-meter dash during a meet at Windsor High last month. (Valley News - Libby March) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Hanover’s Max Greenwald prepares to throw the javelin during a meet at Windsor High last month. (Valley News - Libby March)
  • Lebanon’s Katie Colt sprints toward the finish line to win her heat of the 100-meter dash during a meet at Windsor High last month. (Valley News - Libby March)

It’s a positive time for Upper Valley track teams.

Normally powerful teams return with state title aspirations, while others report growing numbers of participants leading a number of coaches to predict a stronger showing for their team.

At the same time, this is a team sport made up of individuals, and the Upper Valley is loaded with individual talent. Athletes to watch include Oxbow’s Vermont D-III record-holder in 200 dash, Will Heathman, and Grant Leete, the returning high jump state champ. Woodstock is also loaded with individual state champions like Elizabeth Bassette (long jump, triple jump); Kathryn Bassette (300 hurdles); Stephanie Ambrose (400 dash); Jeff Tucker (800, 1,500, 3,000, anchor in 1,600 relay); Nathan Tolosky (shot put).

As with all spring sports, it will be a sprint to the finish line, dodging rain drops, proms and graduation. The New Hampshire state meet is May 25; Vermont is the following week.

Hanover

Coach: Tim Clark (16).

Leagues: New Hampshire Division II, Connecticut Valley Conference.

Who’s Back: Seniors — Aidan Bardos, Katherine Vincelette, Safiya Walker, Melanie Subbiah, Lydia Vogt, Liz Haas, Sophie Bartels, Parker Goss, Noah Williams, George Voigt. Juniors — Aparna Alavilli, Kalin McGowan, Lindsey White, Phil Caffry. Sophomores — Hannah Mahon, Karina Lukovitz, Susanna Penfield, Siobhan Seigne, Jonathan Klotz, Ben Chaimberg, Chris Powell.

Who’s New: Juniors — Christopher Stocken, Zach Chatot, Max Greenwald, Garrett Ruley. Sophomore — Konrad Mitchell. Freshmen — Fenner Lamm, Felix Herron.

Toughest Opponents: Lebanon, Merrimack Valley, Milford, Souhegan, Coe-Brown.

Season Forecast: “Girls team has veteran leadership and overall depth and has aspirations of doing well at the Division II state meet.”

Hartford

Coach: Heather Scudder (16).

Leagues: Vermont Division II, Connecticut Valley Conference.

Last Year: Connor White qualified for the New Englands in the triple jump. “We’re a small club,” Scudder said. “It was our second year there, so we did better than we had competing against bigger teams in Division One. We were pretty much middle of the pack.”

Athletes to Watch: Girls — Kelsey Kehoe (100, 200 dash), Jessica Barnum (jumps, hurdles, sprints); newcomer Stephanie Grobe (hurdles, sprints). Boys — Cody Mace (throws).

Team Strengths: Hartford is fielding a bigger team this year (about 20 girls, 12 boys), allowing it to enter teams in relay races

Team Weaknesses: “We are growing,” Scudder said.

Toughest Opponents: Lebanon, Hanover, Windsor, Fair Haven.

Season Forecast: “I’m very excited. We have a really good athletic bunch. They’re working hard, and I can’t wait to get them on the track to compete.”

Lebanon

Coach: Andrew Gamble (16).

Leagues: New Hampshire Division II, Connecticut Valley Conference.

Last Year: Boys finished third in the Division II championship; girls took fourth.

Who’s Back: Seniors — Kelly Ludew, Moriah Morton, Katie Colt, Liane Holdowsky, Emily Kehoe, Heather Selmer, Justin Densmore, Ben Drye, Travis Maxham, Galen Moynihan, Evan O’Reilly, Josh Rios. Juniors — Kelsie Atwater, Taylor Downs, Natasha Goodwin, Nell Houde, Heather King, Amanda Klotz, Rayne Lambert, Georgia Michalovic, Hayley Perron, Mariah Ramos, Lyssa Wright, Teddy Bessette, John Cioffredi, Martin Gradijan, Nevin Kapuscinski, Zak Kinsman, Tanner Singleton, Matt Stebbins, Kenny Weitzman. Sophomores — Josh Fontaine, Lucas Jameson, Will Merchant, Sam Ryder, Jessica Dessert, Claire Han, Emily Han, Riann Tang, Jessica Young.

Who’s New: Seniors — Mohi Gour, David Hampton. Juniors — Samantha MacDonald, Emma Greenough, Zach Liebold, Kevin Pomer, Craig Telfer. Sophomores — Jane Tangen, Cooper Lytle, Riley Sleeper. Freshmen — Lauren Anikis, Stephanie Boisvert, Kyle Grohbrugge, Emily Kovacs, Lauren Simard, Bella Vice-Van Heyde, Daroc Alden, Carter Bish, Brian Downs, Nate Herndon, Jeremiah Morton, Tyler Edwards, Lee Coogan.

Who’s Gone: Michaela Cioffredi, Hayley Falzarano, Mike Cyphers, Tyler Bunnell, Matt Ryder, Alexander Morrill.

Athletes to Watch: Teddy Bessette, John Cioffredi, Josh Fontaine, Martin Gradijan, Nevin Kapuscinski, Will Merchant, Craig Telfer, Kelly Ludew, Heather King, Moriah Morton.

Team Strengths: Boys — distances and jumps. Girls — sprints and jumps.

Team Weaknesses: Boys — throws. Girls — distances.

Toughest Opponents: Boys — Souhegan. Girls — Coe-Brown.

Season Forecast: “After graduating two top point scorers, Lebanon will rely on a combination of young talent and gifted newcomers to make a run at the top three at the state championship in May, Gamble said of his boys. With a relatively young, inexperienced team, Gamble sees the girls looking to contend for a top three position at the state championships.”

Mascoma

Coaches: Tom Warner (8), Elizabeth Warner (6).

League: New Hampshire Division III, Connecticut Valley Conference.

Last Year: Zoe Freese (12th, 300 hurdles) and Sam Hurley (javelin) performed well at states.

Who’s Back: Seniors — Aleah Judd (capt.), Kori Kosiorek, Kiah Laramie, Samantha Hurley, John Daley, Cody Battis, Keegan Caraway, Sawyer Lyman. Juniors — Meghan Meagher, Alix Hurley, Dan Brown, Ben Davis, Eddie Bianco (Capt.). Sophomores — Colton Sumner, Caleb Caraway, Jon Conley, Kyle Wilson, Shea Curley.

Who’s New: Juniors — Graeme Bignell, Ben Jones, Jeff Parsons, Justin Marsh, Katelyn Yoder, Jessica Darling, Noah Richer. Sophomores — Kaycee Lashua, Tabitha Dionne, Dani Jones, Jordyn Monmaney, Naomie Kocurek, Matt Howe. Freshmen — Emma Bianco, Brandon White, Tyler Hollis.

Who’s Gone: Hannah Arnold, Ashley Bahler, Brenna Banley-Bill, Lydia Foxall, Zoe Freese, Ben Parsons, Jason Pringles.

Athletes to Watch: Ben Jones (1,600, 3,200); John Daley (shot put, discus); Shea Curley (200 dash); Justin Marsh (100 dash, long jump); Sam Hurley (javelin).

Team Strength: Talented newcomers and strong veterans.

Team Weaknesses: Consistency meet to meet.

Toughest Opponent: Hopkinton

Season Forecast: “I expect a larger number to qualify for the division championship this year,” said Warner. “I hope to see greater consistency in individual performances as athletes focus on their specialties.”

Newport

Coach: Jeff Miller (1).

Leagues: New Hampshire Division III, Connecticut Valley Conference.

Last Year: Girls finished sixth out of 21 schools at states. Elyse Rubchinuk won the javelin and took third in the high jump, then won javelin at NHIAA Meet of Champions.

Who’s Back: Senior — Sharissa Stout. Juniors — Julia Sullivan, Hannah Merrow. Sophomore — Tom Hogan.

Who’s New: Sophomore — Riley Cook. Freshman — Stephan Nix.

Who’s Gone: Elyse Rubchinuk.

Athletes to Watch: Julia Sullivan (long jump, sprints); Hannah Merrow (300 hurdles, javelin); Tom Hogan (distances); Stephan Nix (sprints, shot put); Riley Cook (javelin, middle distances).

Team Strengths: “Willingness to learn and try new events. Enthusiasm.”

Team Weaknesses: “Experience and depth.”

Toughest Opponents: Kearsarge, Sunapee, Stevens, Fall Mountain.

Season Forecast: “Team will struggle, but should gain considerable experience for the years to come. Majority of boys team is freshmen and sophomores with talent. Girls lack numbers, but have good talent.”

Oxbow

Coaches: Emily Willems (3), Amy Cook (3).

League: Vermont Division III.

Last Year: The boys finished fifth and the girls 10th in last year’s state meet. Oxbow produced two state champions in A.J. Gillis (discus) and Grant Leete (high jump).

Who’s Gone: A.J. Gillis (shot put, discus).

Athletes to Watch: Will Heathman (Vermont D-III record-holder in 200 dash, 22.55 seconds), Grant Leete (returning high jump state champ), Dylan Hatin (state title contender in shotput with a personal indoor best of 44 feet, 0.5 inches). Girls — Sabrina French (shot put and discus), Wren Smith (pole vault), Giovanna Carlson (discus) and Shelby Rosten (distances).

Season Forecast: “We are a young and growing team!”

Sharon

Coach: Kevin Gish (4).

Leagues: Vermont Division IV, Connecticut Valley Conference.

Last Year: “With a very small team, we had several strong finishes at the state meet,” Gish said. The list included Trenton Morrison (third, 400 dash), Margaret Gish (fourth, 800 run; second, 1,500 run), Greta Binzen (seventh, 100 and 200 dash).”

Who’s Back: Junior — Greta Binzen.

Who’s New: Juniors — Emma Farrington, Ivy Arnold. Sophomores — Claire Crowley, Grace Pfeil, Eli Ruben, Claire Skogsberg. Freshmen — Gretta Stack, Clara Henderson, Luna Skeet-Browning, Carter Blanchard, Bruce Atwood, Chris Gish.

Who’s Gone: Trenton Morrison, Margaret Gish.

Athletes to Watch: “Two freshmen with some significant track experience, Gretta Stack in the 200 meters and triple jump, and Chris Gish in the mile and two-mile, are serious about competing and should do well,” Kevin Gish said. “Additionally, Ivy Arnold has some experience from her previous school in the 300-meter hurdles, which has added a new dimension to our track team.”

Team Strengths: “This year’s team has some real energy and excitement about the sport. The numbers are up, particularly girls, and the ability to field a couple of relay teams is very exciting.”

Team Weaknesses: Very few boys.

Season Forecast: “It has been tough to get a strong core of athletes going in track and field at TSA, but the group this year seems like they want to make it happen. With limited experience we are focusing on development of speed and strength and honing in on appropriate events for the newcomers. I expect to see some strong individual performances by the time the state meet rolls around.”

South Royalton

Coaches: Rose Kent Dedam (7), Ross DeMasi (2).

Leagues: Vermont Division IV, Northern Vermont Athletic Conference.

Last Year: Boys took second at states, behind Hazen. Girls finished fourth, behind Northfied, Green Mountain and Mount St. Joseph.

Who’s Back: Seniors — Eliza Phillip, Larin Cilley, Alison Zug, Jesse James, Riley Post-Kinney, Dylan Striker, Brian Striker, Eli Roy, Raymond Young, James Puopolo. Juniors — Olivia Phillip, Barbara Timian, Michael Dunkle, Dylan Orechovesky, Jason Williams, Emmett Lorette. Sophomores — Rosa Love, Faith Pease, Larissa Stride, Hannah Post, Kincaid Widli.

Who’s New: Seniors — Garrett Chase, Kenny Sypher. Juniors — Maggie Dakin, Callie Wuttke, Lucien Pease. Freshmen — Cora Honigford, Rhiannon Howe, William Wuttke, Channing George, MacKinley Geoge, Galen Ferris, Sam Thornton, Josh Kumar, Max Brown.

Who’s Gone: Parker Audsley (shot put state champion), Chris Decoteau.

Athletes to Watch: Eliza Phillip (pole vault, hurdles), Larissa Stride (pole vault, hurdles); Jesse James (javelin, high jump, throws), Michael Dunkle (distance events), Riley Post-Kinney (hurdles), boys relay teams.

Team Strengths: “Lots of returning athletes who have experience in multiple events.”

Team Weaknesses: “The girls team is small this year, which will mean that we have a harder time filling all events.”

Toughest Opponents: Boys — Hazen; Girls — Green Mountain, Northfield.

Season Forecast: “The boys team has very strong numbers, with lots of new talent joining the team. This will allow us to have a strong showing in all events while, at the same time, maximizing individual’s point-scoring potential. The girls have a strong core of returning athletes this year. They are smaller in numbers but big on talent and commitment.”

Thetford

Coach: Emily Silver (2).

League: Vermont Division III.

Last Year: Boys won D-III state title. Girls finished third, their highest finish in seven years.

Athletes to Watch: Boys — Ian Weider (sprints, long jump, decathlon), Dominic Chatot, (pole vault, triple jump), Andy Sharp (high jump, hurdles), Cole Chapman, (high jump, hurdles), Josh Jacobs-Rebhun (middle distance). Girls — Haley Grigel (sprints, triple jump), Rowan Froehlich (sprints, long jump), Maggie Pomeroy (distance), Megan Balch (shot put), Maddison Wilhite (high jump).

Team Strengths: “Strong leadership from captains Rowan Froehlich and Ian Weider, Maggie Pomeroy and Kit Norton (distance), and Megan Barton and Sanders Jurgelewicz (throws).”

Team Weaknesses: Silver cites the “lack of facilities for practicing pole vault and hurdles” as the team’s primary challenge this season.

Toughest Opponents: Bellows Falls, Woodstock.

Season Forecast: “The girls team’s goal is to place third or higher at states,” Silver said. “The boys will go for the win again.”

Whitcomb

Coaches: Sue and Tom Burgos (2).

League: Vermont Division IV.

Last Year: Girls finished seventh out of 10 schools at D-IV states.

Who’s Back: Seniors — Teresa Claughton, Mariah Ertel. Freshman — Shai Palmer.

Who’s New: Junior — Steve Davis. Freshmen — Harry Allen, Jacob Lazo, Elijah Ransom, Andrew Davis, Zoe McCormick, Spencer Taylor. Eighth-graders — Gwen Timmins, Anna Dieffenbach, Molly LaFromboise, Melanie Davis, Lydia Morris, Marcus Sheldon.

Athletes to Watch: Teresa Claughton finished fourth or higher in four events in last year’s state meet.

Team Strengths: Energy, willingness to work hard, supportive teammates.

Team Weaknesses: “ With a small team, we cannot be in every event.”

Toughest Opponents: South Royalton, Northfield.

Season Forecast: “This year, the Whitcomb team has grown to 17 high school and junior high athletes. With most of our athletes coming from the eighth and ninth grades, we hope to continue building on a program that emphasizes fun, fitness and team spirit.”

Windsor

Coach: Amber Morse (2).

Leagues: Vermont Division II, Connecticut Valley Conference.

Last Year: Boys won the D-II state championship, and boys decathlon team finished as runners-up.

Who’s Back: Seniors — Jaime Nolan, Rachel Meagher, Luke TanCreti, Leo Patenaude. Juniors — Quincey Smith, Roger Barraby, Shawn Mason, Tristian Wright, Elizabeth McCabe.

Who’s Gone: Matt Rafus, Eric Brown, Gailin Pease.

Team Strengths: Have 44 athletes this year and stronger girl athletes, including incoming freshmen.

Woodstock

Coach: Tracy Rose (11).

League: Vermont Division III.

Last Year: Girls were D-III state champions for third year running, while the boys came in third. The girls also set state division records in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter relays. Individual state champions included Elizabeth Bassette (long jump, triple jump; also set state record in latter); Kathryn Bassette (300 hurdles); Stephanie Ambrose (400 dash); Jeff Tucker (800, 1,500, 3,000, anchor in 1,600 relay); Nathan Tolosky (shot put).

Who’s Back: Seniors — Elizabeth Bassette, Denali Balser, Christy Harris, Anthony Bald, Tucker Lemmer, Harry Linowski, Dylan Stuntz. Juniors — Meg Gray, Ramona Rosenthal, Hailey Noble, Anna Ramsey, Chris Chase, Kent Dalton, Corey Decota, Luke Dupuis, Eric Lewis, Bauer Neisner. Sophomores — Kathryn Bassette, Bailee Gannon, Celia Graham, Jaym Henderson, Alyssa Rivera, Claire Spangler, Lindsey Stuntz, Ben Leavitt, Sam Linowski, Mike Rosenberger, Chris Townley.

Who’s New: Senior — Katie Leavitt. Juniors — Nolwenn Abalain, Lily Denmeade, Grace Hansen, Tessa Oliver, Rachael Surrell, Asa Amirkiaee, Mike Martel, Sam Zonay, Matt Broadwell. Sophomores — Sierra-Lynn Rowe, James Johnson. Freshmen — Lindsay Appleton, Carmen Bango, Ruth Bollinger, Rachael Emery, Elly Gordon, Lily Nickerson, Lilly Noble, Claire Martin, Nikki Sardellli, Steven Baumann, Justin Whittaker.

Who’s Gone: Griffin Thomas, Jeff Tucker, Luke Aspell, Griffin Boswell, Sean Ritchie, Sawyer Mattsson, Nathan Tolosky, Spencer Astbury, Dylan Gannon, Stephanie Ambrose, Sarah Appleton, Hannah Krawczyk, Caroline Krawczyk, Alex Beda, Katherine Tucker, Kia Amirkiaee, Melissa Croft, Tracy Whittaker, Sydney Jantos, Sydney MacDonald, Brielle Finer, Alexa Krawczyk, Finn McFarland, Shanna Blain, Tess Johnson, Sam VandeVen.

Athletes to Watch: Girls — Elizabeth Bassette, Kathryn Bassette, Carmen Bango, Rachael Emery, Elly Gordon, Denali Balser, Lily Nickerson, Anna Ramsey, Kristin Ramsey, Claire Spangler, Lindsey Stuntz, Katie Leavitt. Boys — Anthony Bald, Steven Baumann, Tom Baumann, Harry Linowski, Eric Lewis, Dylan Stuntz, Chris Townley, Justin Whittaker, Sam Zonay.

Team Strengths: For the boys, it will be the sprints and distance. Girls remain strong.

Team Weakness: “For the boys it will be the field events and hurdles. I really don’t see any weaknesses for the girls,” said Rose.

Toughest Opponents: Boys — Bellows Falls, Thetford. Girls — Bellows Falls.

Season Forecast: “The boys will have to have a strong work ethic to equal their third-place finish at states last year. Losing big point-getters like Jeff Tucker, Griffin Thomas, Griffin Boswell and Nathan Tolosky really hurts the boys. My hope is that they come back from spring break ready to work toward team goals that they have set. I also hope that they are able to come together as one team because that is what will make us strongest.”

Woodsville

Coaches: A.J. and Christina Flateau (3).

Leagues: New Hampshire Division III, Wilderness League.

Last Year: John Miller and Mike Vogt competed at states.

Who’s Back: Seniors — Mike Vogt, Luke Lamond, Phil Currier. Juniors — Kevin Cowles, Chris Hunter. Sophomores — Ryan May, Emily French.

Who’s New: Seniors — Kevin Briggs, Nara Burgess. Junior — Tom D’Angelo. Sophomores — Ally Snell, Dayne Lamond. Freshmen — Phil Cadreact, Chris Sarkis, Sam Fairfield, Grace Flynn, Madison Ricker, Lucas Townsend.

Who’s Gone: John Miller, R.J. Newell, Hunter Kiessling, Adam Toomey.

Athletes to Watch: Phil Cadreact, Micheal Vogt, Nara Burgess, Chris Hunter.

Team Strengths: “Having a small quantity of younger athletes means I can focus on individuals and watch them grow in 3-4 years to become incredible athletes.”

Team Weaknesses: “Having a majority of my athletes being young and inexperienced means that I have to spend more time going over the basics, and this creates an overall lack of performance.”

Toughest Opponents: “Many of the larger schools have bigger pools of students to pull from, and this tends to be our largest difficulty.”

Season Forecast: “ I really think that the team is too small to compete at a team level, so I really look forward to seeing individual performance from all of our younger athletes.”