One’s good; two’s better: Thetford sweeps VPA D-III state track meet

  • Thetford's Elle Dixon, center, takes the flag from Gabriel Gaetz after the girls team was announced at the VPA Division III track and field champions in Windsor, Vt. on June 1, 2019. Both Thetford boys and girls took home the title. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to Valley News photographs — Jennifer Hauck

  • Woodstock's Faye Stevens, center, leads the pack in the 100 meter hurdles during the VPA Division III track and field championship in Windsor, Vt., on June 1, 2019. Thetford's Kiran Black, left, Grace Davis, Samara Spelman, and Woodstock's Nova Conway are just behind her. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to

  • Windsor's Eli Milligan competes in the discus during the VPA Division III Division IV track and field championship in Windsor, Vt., on June 1, 2019. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to Valley News —Jennifer Hauck

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 6/1/2019 10:08:06 PM
Modified: 6/3/2019 1:23:36 PM

WINDSOR — Thetford Academy’s Madison Powers felt a presence, named Maddie Cholewa, coming up behind her on the final leg of Saturday’s 4x400 relay at the VPA Division III-IV state championship track and field meet.

Cholewa, a BFA-Fairfax senior, was gaining ground in the final 200 meters. Powers, a freshman, remembered what was at stake: TA down by three points in the team standings, needing a victory to edge Woodstock in the last event of the afternoon.

Powers rounded the corner and turned on the jets, beating Cholewa by 0.86 seconds. Her teammates swarmed her at the finish line. Woodstock’s girls watched in shock. The Panthers had just made history.

Thetford, for the first time in its 200-year history, won twin boys and girls state crowns at Windsor High’s Murphy-Morse Track Complex. The boys won their first title since 2014; the girls had never previously won a championship.

“We knew we were ahead by a little between the next person (Cholewa). I knew it was going to be close,” Powers said. “In the last 200, I could see her behind me. That’s when I pulled away. … We knew were down by three or five. We were all excited. We knew we could do it. I think we did better knowing that we were behind.”

Added Thetford co-coach Emily Silver: “After the boys winning several times, it started to feel like, ‘If the boys win that’s great, but it’s not enough. We needed the girls to win, too.’ I’m super happy for them.”

The Panthers took a victory lap following the trophy ceremony, singing school songs as they circled Windsor’s football field. This time, the girls team joined in the celebration.

The Wasps ran in the second heat of the 4x400, finishing in 4 minutes, 40.78 seconds for third place and six team points. Thetford and BFA-Fairfax ran in the final heat; the Bullets took second place in 4:32.71 for eight points, and Thetford won the event in 4:31.85 for 10.

The 0.86-second difference pushed TA over the top, edging the Wasps, 126-125.

“If we lose to BFA-Fairfax, that’s it,” said Thetford co-coach Joel Breakstone. “It comes down to that, needing the home stretch to get there.

“I think it was just a great mix of girls. They were super excited and fired up to try and win. They had a great mix of more-experienced kids and brand-new folks. … It’s everything from the stars to the people making it happen on the bottom. It was a really great group.”

Woodstock took a lead, 107-104, after the girls 800, with Victoria Bassette and Anna Hepler finishing in first (2:27.50) and third (2:38.47), respectively. Lola Dorsogna’s third-place finish in the 200 (28.05) and Hepler’s third-place finish in the 3,000 (12:09.40) gave the Wasps a cushion midway through the meet.

Bassette took second in the long jump (15-4) and the 400 (1:03.31). Faye Stevens won the 100 hurdles (17.37) and the 300 hurdles (48.73) for Woodstock.

“I’m super proud of them, regardless. Most of these kids PR’d today, so for them to come so far and show Thetford that we’re here and we can do it, it’ll only make them stronger,” said first-year Woodstock head coach Susannah Colby. “We built a really good foundation. Now they know what to expect and know what they need to do.

“(Thetford) shaved 20 seconds off of what was expected. They really brought it in that 4x400.”

A second-place finish in the 3,000 by Eloise Van Meter in the 3,000 (12:01.62) helped cut Thetford’s deficit to just three points before the 4x400 team of Layla Hanissian, Casey MacVeagh, Van Meter and Powers helped the Panthers to a title.

Grace Davis won three events for Thetford — the long jump (16-0.5) the triple jump (34-6) and the high jump (5-2). Powers also took second in the 300 hurdles (52.96), and Hanissian took second (2:31.36) in the 800. TA’s 4x800 team of Abigail Berard, Olivia Sayers, Hanissian and MacVeagh also won, beating second-place Woodstock by 12 seconds.

“It feels awesome, especially since we only won by one point,” said Davis, a junior. “We didn’t know (at) the end.”

Thetford’s boys were led by their depth, beating out second-place Springfield by 55 points. Knute Linehan won the high jump (5-10) and took third in both the long jump (20-6) and triple jump (39-4.25). Tad Darrah won the 800 (2:01.29). Owen Deffner finished second (9:36.99) in the 3,000 and third (4:14.91) in the 1,500, and Riley Burkins was second in both the 200 (23.88) and the high jump (5-8).

“There were really impressive performances across the board,” Breakstone said. “Everything went according to plan, and there were some really nice surprises.”

Oxbow’s boys took third in D-III. Jarret Rock won the 100 (11.43), 200 (23.45), long jump (22-0.25) and was second (40-7) in the triple jump.

Windsor’s Owen Abrahamsen won the 110 hurdles (16.08) and the 300 hurdles (42.39). Sharon’s girls placed third in D-IV (63 points), led by Laila Reimanis victories in the 1,500 (5:12.55) and the 3,000 (11:22.85). Rivendell freshman Lyle Rinehimer won the long jump (18-0.25) in D-IV. The Raptors and TSA tied for ninth (16).

D-III boys team scores: Thetford 141, Springfield 86, Oxbow 79, Windsor 68, Mill River 44, Vergennes 40, Lake Region 36, Woodstock 20, White River Val ley 17, Randolph 16, Enosburg Falls 8, BFA-Fairfax 2.

D-III girls team scores: Thetford 126, Woodstock 125, Mill River 68, Randolph 42, Lake Region 41, White River Valley 34, Oxbow 33, Sprinfield 32, BFA-Fairfax 19, Vergennes 14, Enosburg Falls 13, Windsor 10.

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Josh Weinreb can be reached at or 603-727-3306.

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