Video: Oxbow Girls Run Off With Another Title

  • The Oxbow girls cross country team repeated as the Division III team champion at the Vermont Cross Country Championship in Thetford, Vt., on November 5, 2016. Team members include Leanne Burgess, Emily Carson, Jessica Daigle, Alexandria Giesing, Hannah Giesing, Isabella Giesing, Evelyn Mace, and Cassidy Pryer. (Ben DeFlorio photograph) Ben DeFlorio photograph

  • Woodstock freshman Justice Bassette runs through the final stretch of the Division II boys 5k race and finished 46th with a time of 20:37.7 at the Vermont State Cross Country Championships in Thetford, Vt., on November 5, 2016. (Ben DeFlorio photograph) vn

  • Woodstock junior Matthew Bassette pushes through the final stretch of the Division II boys 5k race and finished 19th with a time of 18:34.7 at the Vermont State Cross Country Championships in Thetford, Vt., on November 5, 2016. (Ben DeFlorio photograph) Ben DeFloriophotograph

  • Oxbow junior Hannah Geising receives congratulations for her 10th place in the girls Division III 5k race. She finished with a time of 22:19.5 at the Vermont Cross Country Championships in Thetford, Vt., on November 5, 2016. (Ben DeFlorio photograph) Ben DeFlorio photograph

  • Thetford junior Malcolm Silver-VanMeter pushes through the final stretch of the Division II boys 5k race and finished 3rd with a time of 18:15.5 at the Vermont State Cross Country Championships in Thetford, Vt., on November 5, 2016. (Ben DeFlorio photograph) vn

  • Oxbow senior Puffer Jon runs in the Division III boys 5k race and finished 40th with a time of 20:21.8 at the Vermont State Cross Country Championships in Thetford, Vt., on November 5, 2016. (Ben DeFlorio photograph) vn

  • Thetford sophomore Ian Spelman runs in the Division III boys 5k race and finished 17th with a time of 19:23.8 at the Vermont State Cross Country Championships in Thetford, Vt., on November 5, 2016. (Ben DeFlorio photograph) vn

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 11/5/2016 11:53:28 PM
Modified: 11/7/2016 10:10:09 AM

Thetford — Officials at Saturday morning’s Vermont Principals Association cross country championships at Thetford Academy posted the results from the Division III girls race first, calculating that Rice Memorial had edged Oxbow by only the slightest of margins.

But Olympians coaches Katherine Chobanian and Vicky Carson had kept their own tallies and knew better. When a revised result was posted on the bulletin board, they weren’t surprised that their Olympians had finished on top.

Oxbow’s girls went home with their second straight D-III state championship, finishing four points ahead of Rice in the final standings and a combined 1 minute, 8 seconds ahead on the clock. Thetford, Saturday’s host for the 25th consecutive year, took third, finishing 15 points behind the Green Knights. Rivendell finished 10th in the D-III standings.

“We had some idea of where the placements were, and we knew it was going to be close,” Chobanian said. “I felt more bad for Rice because the teams were so close, to go up to the results board and see you’ve won when you didn’t, I think that’s kind of cruel.”

Woodstock’s girls took fourth with 140 points in D-II behind Harwood (first, 21 points), Montpelier (second, 67 points) and Middlebury (third, 127 points), led by junior Grace Vollers, who finished sixth among 82 runners.

On the boys side, Oxbow led the Upper Valley pack by finishing fifth with 85 points in D-III. Thetford finished eighth in D-III with 124 points, and Woodstock’s boys were 10th out of 11 teams in D-II with 247 points.

U-32 (D-II boys), Harwood (D-II girls) and Rice (D-III boys) also took home state titles on Saturday. CVU’s Tyler Marshall led all boys with a 16:13.9 finish, and Green Mountain Valley’s Rena Schwartz walked away ahead of all girls runners at 19:04.9.

Saturday’s cold and damp conditions made Thetford’s Daniel Grossman 5K Woods Trail muddy and slow. But it was sicknesses and injuries that held back some of Thetford’s and Oxbow’s top performers.

Thetford junior Meaggie Balch, one of the Panthers’ best, could feel her body start to give out as she entered the woods, succumbing to a fever that she had been dealing with over several days. Balch, who still managed to finish sixth among D-III’s 76 runners, collapsed at the finish line and was guided away by the event’s medical staff.

“I went out feeling good, with adrenaline and everything,” Balch said. “But I could definitely tell I was not on my game today. I felt that pretty early on in the race.”

It was a performance that had Thetford head coach Joe Deffner overly impressed.

“She spent a lot of time with the EMT. She kind of collapsed,” Deffner said. “She ran a courageous race. … She’s determined. Whether she should have raced or not, I don’t know. But she was determined. She’s that kind of kid.”

Oxbow junior Izzy Giesing led the Olympians, finishing fourth in girls D-III in 21:01.08. Senior Leanne Burgess finished eighth (21:58.3), ahead of Olympian standout Hannah Giesing, who finished 10th.

“Every single girl on the team has been struggling with some kind of injury, personal things, just a lot happening,” Chobanian said. “We didn’t know how it was going to turn out today. I knew we had a chance, but it could have gone either way.”

Thetford’s Malcolm Silver-Van Meter was left in a similar state of disappointment on Saturday despite finishing third in a field of 109 runners in 18:15.5, though the Panther junior said he’s grateful to have another year to make up for it.

Hartford individual Cecilia Spaulding finished 69th out of 82 runners among D-II girls, and Lucas Benson finished 48th out of 87 in the D-II boys race. Sharon’s Dillon Buttner (48th, 20:48.4), Sami Husain (80th, 22:30.9) and Sophie Chesnut (55th, 29:06.4) also competed as individuals in D-III.

For Oxbow’s coaches, the championship meant more the second time; after a close race with Thetford and Rice, this year’s win feels like it’s been earned.

“This year, though, the win means, to me, a lot more than last year’s win,” Chobanian said. “Last year’s win, they were a little bit head and shoulders above the other ones. They kind of ran away with the title. This one, we knew it was going to be close.”

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




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