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Running to Runner-Up: Thetford Boys and Girls Second at VPA D-III Meet

  • Woodstock’s Matt Bassette is close behind Thetford’s Tad Darrah in the 4 x 8. 6-2-18 Medora Hebert

  • Windsor’s Owen Abrahamsen competes in the 110 hurdles. 6-2-18 Medora Hebert

  • Oxbow’s Emily Carson in the finals of the hurdles. Thetford’s Elle Dixon is on the right. 6-2-18 Medora Hebert

  • Hannah Giesing, left, and her twin sister Izzy Giesing compete in the finals of the 200. 6-2-18 Medora Hebert

  • Oxbow’s Kelly Daigle ready to throw. 6-2-18 Medora Hebert

  • Faye Stevens, left, of Woodstock with Natalie Strand of Randolph in the finals of the 400. 6-2-18 Medora Hebert



Valley News Correspondent
Saturday, June 02, 2018

Chester, Vt. — Saturday’s VPA Division III state track meet ended with a tight race in the boys 4x400-meter relay. A large group of onlookers gathered along the home stretch, loudly chanting “Cliffy, Cliffy, Cliffy,” as Thetford Academy anchor Clifford Ransom overcame his Vergennes counterpart near the finish line at Green Mountain Union High School.

Ransom’s performance — along with relay teammates Malcolm Silver-Van Meter, Dylan Thorburn and Ian Spelman — put the finishing touches on a second-place finish for the Panther boys (108.50 points), their fourth consecutive runner-up to powerhouse Bellows Falls (154). The Windsor boys rounded out the podium with 61 points.

Thetford’s girls produced an equal result, taking second (124) to Bellows Falls (162). The Oxbow girls were third with 109 points.

Although claiming runner-up honors has become old hat for the Panther boys, their female counterparts were newcomers to the second spot on the podium, according to co-coach Joel Breakstone.

“It’s hard to argue with getting two second places,” Breakstone said.

“It’s the highest the girls have ever finished, so that’s quite an accomplishment — it’s the most points they’ve ever scored, and the boys, it’s their fourth year in a row coming in second, so it’s a pretty sustained level of excellence. … I can’t complain. Bellows Falls is a really, really impressive program. You just tip your hat to them.”

Meaggie Balch led the Panthers with victories in the 1,500 and 3,000, a second-place finish in the 800 and a third in the 4x400 relay with Layla Hanissian, Casey MacVeagh and Lily MacVeagh.

Balch’s win in the 3,000 (10:57.81) was her third in the last three years.

Grace Davis won the high jump (5 feet, 0 inches), took second in the long jump, third in triple jump and fifth in 100 hurdles. The Thetford sophomore knew coming in that her team could give the Terriers a run for their money.

“Definitely, it was a lot more pressure,” Davis said. “Because we knew we were closer this year, we knew that there was a possibility (of challenging for a title), and so it was definitely a more stressful track meet.”

The Panther boys team was led by Silver-Van Meter, who won the 1,500, ran on the winning 4x400 relay team and took second in both the 800 and 3,000.

Of all his exploits on Saturday, the Thetford standout said the 4x400 victory — he ran the third leg, passing the baton to Ransom — was most satisfying.

“I felt really awful in the 3,000 right before it,” Silver-Van Meter said. “And for some reason when I was getting prepped for the 4x4, I just felt like I was waking up or something, and it felt good. … (Ransom) closed it really fast.”

Ransom also won the 400, took third in the 300 hurdles and tied for sixth in the pole vault.

Thetford was victorious in both the boys 4x800 (Spelman, Eli Kiliski, Nathan Brooker and Tad Darrah) and girls 4x800 (Hanissian, Eloise Van Meter, Lily MacVeagh and Casey MacVeagh).

Oxbow had a strong showing with its girls taking third place and boys fourth (61), just one point behind Windsor.

Izzy Giesing had another dominant performance for the Olympians, winning the 200-, 400- and 800-meter races and placing second in the triple jump. Izzy’s twin sister, Hannah, won the long jump, took second in the 400 and third in both the 100 and 200.

“The 400, that was nice for Izzy and I,” Hannah said.

“Every year in states, we’ve always been 1-2, which is really awesome. Keeping the tradition alive, I guess.”

Izzy spoke to sharing the Green Mountain track with her sister.

“She doesn’t like it when I run with her, but it’s really nice to have those moments,” Izzy said, alluding to the girls’ sibling rivalry. “Especially with the 400 today, we ran together and it was a really, really special moment to me.”

Jarret Rock had a strong day for the Olympians, winning the 100 and 200 and taking second in long jump and triple jump. Oxbow’s Kelly Daigle won the girls shot put and discus.

Woodstock’s girls finished fourth, led by Grace Vollers’ win in the javelin. Olivia Brooks was second in the 1,500 and fourth in the 3,000. Claire Saunders, Hailey Napier, Anna Hepler and Vollers took third in the 4x800 relay. The Woodstock boys took 11th place overall.

Windsor’s Owen Abrahamsen claimed a victory in the 300 hurdles and was third in 110 hurdles for the Yellowjackets. Windsor’s 4x100 relay team of Vincent Moeykens, Jacob Tucker, Jacob Curtis and Abrahamsen took second. Eli Milligan was second in pole vault and third in long jump. Ethan Rhoad took second in shot put. Terry Ziccardi was third in discus. The Windsor girls finished 10th as a team.