Strong Night for Hurricanes at VPA Track Meet

  • Hannah Giesing during 600 meter win

  • Meaggie Balch of Thetford keeps her eyes on leaders during the girls 1500 race at UVM.

  • Hartford senior Callum Brittain bursts out of the blocks at the start of the 4x200 race at the D2 State Championships.

  • Oxbow's Izzy Giesing rounds the corner during the 4x200 race at the D2 state championships held at UVM on Friday night.

  • Abayomi Lowe crosses the finish line and becomes a state champion in the 55 meter dash

  • Sophomore Daisy Phelps competes in the 4x200

Valley News Staff Writer
Saturday, February 10, 2018

Burlington — Kennedy Mullen is torn between two sports she loves. If anything, her success at Friday’s VPA Division II track and field championship meet at the University of Vermont has made the decision that much harder.

Hartford’s girls — their promising underclassman class, in particular — made magic happen in their 4x400 relay race, helping the Hurricanes secure second place, their best finish in program history, in Friday’s championship on the Gardner-Collins Indoor Track. Freshmen Reilly Slusser, Gretchen Josselyn, Katie Trombley and sophomore Mullen won their relay in 4 minutes, 35.03 seconds, beating a school record in the process.

“We’ve never really had a relay at all, too,” said Slusser, all smiles after the race. “All of it, it just feels really good.”

The victory came just in time. Hartford edged Lyndon by only six points, securing its runner-up spot by finishing two places and 8.27 seconds ahead of Vikings in the 4x400 finale. Hartford head coach Mike Perry hopes the victory is a sign of future success.

“That four-by-four, we knew what we needed to do,” Perry said. “The girls just stood up and delivered.”

Mullen, who also placed second in the triple jump (34 feet, 3 inches), third in the long jump (14-10) and third in the 300 dash (45.24 seconds), is the first athlete in school history to play two sports at once; she’s also a member of Hartford’s girls basketball team. Having her mind in two places at once has been draining for the sophomore. She was with the basketball team on Thursday before Friday’s state meet.

“It’s kind of chaotic; I’m super tired,” Mullen said. “I just tried to push through it as much as I can.”

Perry is more excited than he was earlier in the week to see what his team can do during spring’s outdoor season, with Mullen — his up-and-coming anchor — focused on one sport.

Senior Ileana Sirois took second (15-10.25) in the long jump, third (33-10) in the triple jump and second (9.21) in the 55 hurdles for Hartford, and its 4x200 team (Slusser, Eleanor Hinckley, Daisy Phelps and Josselyn) also placed second (2:00.69). 

The Thetford girls, in their first indoor season competing as a varsity squad, finished in fourth, and Oxbow, which finished in second place a year ago, took fifth. Hartford’s boys settled into third place, eight points behind second-place Rice. Oxbow’s boys were fourth and Thetford’s boys were fifth.

Rice’s girls collected a whopping 165 points to win back-to-back state titles. Milton won on the boys side by a much closer margin, 92-79.

Hartford junior sprinter Abayomi Lowe was once again a rock for the Canes, winning both the 55 dash (6.73) and the 300 (37.46) by wide margins. Callum Brittain finished third (2:58.81) in the 1,000, and both Lowe and Brittain — plus Lucas Benson and Hunter Noyes — helped Hartford win the 4x400 relay (3:54.09).

Izzy Giesing led the way for the Olympians, beating her own indoor 600 record with a time of 1:36.45. She slumped in the back-to-back races that followed, settling for fifth place in the 1,000 (3:33.69) and the 300 (45.87).

“When I went into the 1,000, I knew this was going to be rough,” Giesing — who plans on running the 800 for UMass Lowell next year — said of running three events in a row. “I wanted to get a win in the 1,000, but I’m overall really happy to get a win in the 600.”

Oxbow’s Jarret Rock took second (19-0) in the boys long jump; the O’s 4x200 team (Brennan Kimball, Timothy Hodges, Max Klarich, Rock) also finished second (1:43.27). 

Thetford senior Meaggie Balch took second (10:53.21) in the 3,000 and fourth (5:10.72) in the 1,500. Alex MacVeagh paced the Panther boys by placing second (9-00.00) in the pole vault.

Josh Weinreb can be reached at jweinreb@vnews.com or 603-727-3306.