Chargers Outstanding in Near Repeat at States

photo by Jim Flint
Alan Moody (photo far right) led the Craftsbury Academy boys to a third-place team finish at the Vermont D-IV State Championship Track and Field meet, on June 2 in Manchester. A two-point margin separated the winning team, Green Mountain Union High School, the runner-up, Northfield High School, and Craftsbury Academy in third. 

by Ken Brown

MANCHESTER – The Craftsbury Academy (CA) track and field team made their mark once again last week at the Division IV State Meet in Manchester with several individual titles and a near repeat for the boys’ team as defending state champions.

Senior Alan Moody ended his high school track and field in style for the Chargers last Friday with a pair of individual titles in near ninety-degree heat at the state championships at Knapp Field. Moody claimed the 800m state title over Sharon Academy’s Luke Miller by over one and a half seconds. He then joined teammates Matthew Califano, Silas Hunt, and Alex Califano to dominate the 4X800m relay by nearly 30 seconds. Sharon Academy’s Bryce Rikert, Gabe Malloy, Ira Ferro, and Caleb Benjamin finished second.

Matthew Califano claimed his second state crown of the afternoon for CA in the 3000m, besting his brother Alex Califano by over eight seconds. The Chargers were dominant in the event, placing five runners in the top eight.

Senior Cole VanWinkle also went out in style in a Charger uniform, claiming his first career state title in the discus event, edging teammate Roean McLellan. McLellan would not be denied in the shot put event as the junior captured his first state title over Forest Garvin of Green Mountain. Senior teammate Dalton Gravel finished a respectable fifth for the Chargers.

photo by Jim Flint
Roean McLellan won the D-IV state title in the shot put and placed second in the discus. The Craftsbury Academy junior moved up from a tenth-place (shot put) and ninth-place (discus) at the 2022 state championship meet.

Sophomore Charlie Kehler (3rd), Moody (4th), Hunt (5th), and Alex Califano (6th) also represented CA strong in the 1500m event. Richford’s John Viens bested the field for the state title.

The Chargers finished third in the boys’ overall title standings with 90 points, one point behind Northfield and two points behind 2023 state champion Green Mountain. CA claimed their first boys’ Division IV state title in school history last spring.

On the girls’ side, sophomore Anika Leahy dusted her nearest competitor by nearly 28 seconds to claim the 1500m state title for CA. She also had a strong runner-up finish in the 800m, with Green Mountain’s Colie Roby taking home the title.

Senior Verna Stoddard finished her Charger career on a high note with a runner-up finish in the grueling 3000m event behind Northfield’s Rachel Wilson.

Junior Sadie Skorstad had a pair of solid third place finishes in the 400m and 100m hurdle events for CA, won by Arlington’s Grace Diedrich and Sidney Herrington.

photo by Jim Flint
Anika Leahy captured an individual state title for the Craftsbury girls in the 1500m race. In the 800m contest, Leahy finished second behind Colie Roby of Green Mountain Union High School.  Leahy had a full day for the Chargers as she also was a member of the 4 x 100m and 4 x 400m relay teams.

Senior Rachel Bjerke posted a fourth-place finish in the 300m hurdles for CA and fellow senior Ella Gillespie finished fifth in the javelin and seventh in the shot put.

Adelina Augsberger joined teammates Skorstad, Bjerke, and Leahy to finish third in the 4X400m relay. Arlington’s Taylor Wilkins, Sidney Herrington, Avrie Aldrich, and Piper Guy-Crosslin claimed the title. CA finished fifth overall in the girls’ standings, with Green Mountain edging Northfield by four points to win the title.

“We battled through a few season-altering injuries in the state meet in what was a super close contest for the boys’ state title. The boys were disappointed in the moment, but all-in-all we are very proud of what they were able to accomplish this season. I was also very happy with what the girls were able to accomplish with only six girls on the team this year. Seniors Alan Moody, Cole VanWinkle, Dalton Gravel, Linden Stelma-Leanard, Calvin Cacciamani, Cormac Leahy, Ella Gillespie, Rachel Bjerke, and Verna Stoddard will all be leaving us and will be missed. While we’re losing most of our experienced runners and throwers on the girls’ team, we have a number of eighth graders coming in with new talents and strengths next season. We have a strong core coming back for the boys’ team and we should remain relatively strong,” said head coach Jess Barber.

photo by Jim Flint
Of the individual events, Craftsbury Academy scored the most points in the boys 3000m race. Matt Califano, Alex Califano, Silas Hunt, and Charlie Kehler placed first, second, fifth, and sixth, respectively in the packed field.  

photo by Jim Flint
Craftsbury Academy senior Rachel Bjerke finished fourth in the 300m hurdles. She was also a member of the Chargers’ 4 x 100m and 4 x 400m relay teams, which placed third.

photo by Jim Flint
Matt Califano passes John Viens of Richford to take the lead in the boys 3000m race, as Alex Califano trails in third. Matt went on to win the race. Alex caught Viens and went on to place second for Craftsbury. 

photo by Jim Flint
Craftsbury senior Dalton Gravel placed fifth in the shot put for the Chargers.

photo by Jim Flint
Craftsbury Academy senior Verna Stoddard (photo foreground) placed second in the 3000m race. Despite the temperature being in the high 80s F, Stoddard achieved a personal best time in the grueling 7-1/2 lap race.   

photo by Jim Flint
Senior Alan Moody led the 800m race from start to finish and was a member of Craftsbury’s first-place 4 x 800m relay team. Moody also placed fourth in the 1500m race and anchored the Chargers’ fourth-place 4 x 400m relay team.

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