Jim Flint's Runners Roundup, Sports

Year in Review: Ninth Annual Hardwick Gazette Runners’ Roundup Awards

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photo by Jamie Shanley
Mack Gardner-Morse, from Calais, and his yellow lab, Minnow, won the large dog category at the Mutt Strut. The three-mile race was held April 23 at Little River State Park.

by Jim Flint

In this final issue of the year, the Hardwick Gazette salutes local runners and endurance athletes who exemplified courage and resilience competing on the local, state, national, and world level. Here are the 2023 Runners Roundup honorees, from A to Z:

Adamant Aces

Dot Helling and Michael Giamusso hail from the tiny village of Adamant, in the town of Calais. Helling, 73, braved gusty winds and a cold driving rain to finish the 7.6-mile Mount Washington Road Race on June 17. The Run Vermont Hall of Fame inductee had her season cut short by knee surgery. Helling’s goal is to return to Mt. Washington at age 75. Giammusso, 51, placed among the top runners in his age group at races ranging from the New Year’s Eve 5k to the Leaf Peepers Half Marathon.

Back in Action

Candace Smith-Brown, from Calais, and her daughter, Julia Ljungvall, completed the Boston Marathon together on Patriots Day, April 17. Candace and Julia ran in memory of Walter Brown, Candace’s late husband, who for 23 years served as the official starter for the Boston Marathon. Smith-Brown returned to running in February from a hip injury the prior summer. She trained using the Alter G antigravity treadmill and outdoor running to prepare for the 26.2-mile race. Mom and daughter finished the marathon, hand-in-hand, in 6:19:43.

photo by Onion River Outdoors
Rose Modry, from Greensboro, was the second woman finisher at the Birdland Trail Race, held June 17 at Montpelier’s North Branch Park. Modry had several top age-group finishes during 2023.

Confident Collegians

Jessica Royer, from Hardwick, completed her first season on the University of Vermont women’s cross country team. The 2022 Hazen Union grad earned a walk-on spot on the NCAA D-I team. Royer competed in four fall races for the Catamounts. She set a new personal best 5k time of 20:47 on September 2, at the Vermont Invitational.

Charlie Krebs, from Craftsbury, completed his freshman season on the NCAA D-III Tufts University men’s cross country team. Krebs completed three races for the Jumbos. In his final race on October 14, at the Connecticut College Invitational, Krebs lowered his personal best 8k time to 28:19.

Ethan Parrish, from Adamant, capped off a stellar season for Paul Smith’s College on November 12 at the USCAA Cross Country National Championships. Parrish placed 15th of 82 runners in the 8k men’s championship race. As the team’s second man, Parrish helped lead the Bobcats to a third-place finish among nine teams. His 8k time was 30:45.

courtesy photo
Candace Smith-Brown, from Calais, and her daughter, Julia Ljungvall, completed the Boston Marathon together on April 17.

Must Love Dogs

Mack Gardner-Morse, 62, of Calais, raced in the Mutt Strutt 5k on April 24 with Ginger, his yellow Lab retriever. Ginger placed third in the large dog category. Mack’s wife Cindy Gardner-Morse won the F60-69 age group for large dog owners. Cindy and Ginger (a veteran Mutt Strutter) completed the three-mile course in 42:16.

Mack Gardner-Morse competed in eight Central Vermont Runners events during 2023. He placed first in the M60-69 age group at five of the eight races.

Energy and Enthusiasm

Rose Modry of Greensboro, 43, was the fastest local athlete at Kaynor’s Sap Run, held April 1 in Westford. Modry completed the 10k course in 47:56. She went on to place 99th of 757 entries in the Corporate Challenge 5k. Modry was the second fastest female finisher at the Birdland 5k on June 17. She finished out her racing season with age group wins at the Fallen Leaves 5k (21:17), on November 11, and the Westford Turkey Trot 10k (47:06) on November 18.

Fast Freshmen

Hazen Union cross country runners Manny Fliegelman and Daniel Pougnier pushed each other throughout the fall season. Fliegelman led the Wildcat harriers in the early contests. He notched his fastest 5k time of 21:03 at the NVAC Mountain Division Championship, on October 21. Pougnier finished a few paces behind in a personal best time of 21:10. A week later, Pougnier had the top finish for Hazen Union at the D-III boys state championship race. He completed the 5k course at Thetford Academy in 22:12. Fliegelman fought off a cramp to place 50th, in 23:42.

Going the distance

Ellen Emers, 26, completed the Vermont City Marathon on May 28 in Burlington. She crossed the finish line at Waterfront Park in 3:48:30. Running in her first marathon, the 2015 Hazen Union grad placed 25th in the competitive F25-29 age group.

Colton Niemi, 21, from Greensboro, finished sixth in the Green Mountain Marathon on October 22. Running in his first marathon, the 2020 Hazen Union graduate crossed the finish line in 3:04:57.

East Hardwick’s Matthew Millard, 37, placed fourth in the Northeast Kingdom Marathon on September 16. Millard covered the Island Pond course in 3:32:01. Abby Katz, 22, from Marshfield, placed ninth in the women’s marathon division. Her time was 4:28:45.

photo by Elizabeth McCarthy
Tim Hogeboom, from Walden, reached the podium in the 10k road race (sixth) and the 5k road race (eighth) at the 2023 National Senior Games, held during July in Pittsburgh.

Tim Noonan, 67, from Montpelier, completed the Boston Marathon, Vermont City Marathon, and New York City Marathon, respectively, in April, May, and November. He and his daughter Theresa Noonan, 23, ran the Vermont City Marathon together. The Burlington race was Tim’s fastest marathon of the year, with a 3:58:23 finish. He placed second in the M65-69 age group.

Hard to Beat

Craftsbury Masters athletes Jessica Bolduc and Damian Bolduc entered races across Northern Vermont. Jessica, 45, was the first female finisher in the Genny Tenny 5k race on May 6. She cruised the net downhill course in 24:32. At the Capital City Stampede, on June 10, Jessica was the top local female to cross the finish line. Her time of 50:22 placed first in the F45-49 age group.

Damian, 46, placed third in the Birdland 5k on June 17. He placed seventh at the Elmore 5k (20:50) on September 2 and sixth at the Kingdom Challenge half marathon (1:44:17) on October 14. Damian had a season’s best 5k time of 20:29 at the November 11 Fallen Leaves race.

photo by Jennifer Royer
Cassandra Royer had the top time among varsity girls at the Harwood Union High School Invitational on October 14. The Hazen Union senior won three cross country races this fall.

Inspiring Improvement

Brian Burns, from Calais, returned to running after a long recovery from hip replacement surgery. Burns, 47, made a strong showing during the Fallen Leaves 5k Race Series in Montpelier. He placed third in 20:55 at the November 4 race. On November 18, he lowered his 5k time to 20:39 on the fast and flat course.

Jumping into Action

Mike Levangie, 58, from Walden, raced the Stowe Ten Miler on November 5. His 1:18:45 effort placed 49th overall and first in the M55-59 age group. Levangie serves as head coach for the state champion Craftsbury Academy cross country team and assistant coach for Craftsbury Academy’s track and field team.

King of the Trails

Netdahe Stoddard of Cabot won his first men’s title in the Craftsbury Outdoor Center’s Tuesday Night Trail Race series. The Hazen Union cross country coach competed in eight of 12 races. Maxfield English, from Wolcott, placed second followed by Pete Johnson of Craftsbury.

courtesy photo
Tyler Molleur was among 95 trekkers who completed the Westmore Challenge on September 23. Molleur conquered the 26-mile mountain marathon in 12 hours, 55 minutes, and 45 seconds.

Stoddard placed third in the Kingdom Challenge half marathon on October 14. He covered the 13.1-mile course from Lyndonville to St. Johnsbury in 1:28:55.

Long Trek

The 26-mile Westmore Challenge, on September 23, had 95 finishers. Anna Ramsey, from East Hardwick, topped the women’s division in 5:49:12. Other East Hardwick finishers included Jake Lester (5:30:27), Brian Morrissey (6:55:21), and Margie Prevot (9:20:18). Scott Desjardins and Audrey Desjardins, from Stannard, finished in 10:31:29.

Hardwick Gazette correspondent Tyler Molleur conquered the 26-mile mountain marathon in 12 hours, 55 minutes, and 45 seconds. The trek coincided with Molleur’s 30th birthday.

Magnificent Milers

Evan Thornton-Sherman, from Waterford, set a new University of Maine outdoor mile record on April 14, at the Friar’s Invitational in Providence. The 2022 St. Johnsbury Academy grad seared the track oval in 4:05.63. Amy Felice, from Calais, won the women’s division at the Montpelier Mile race on July 3. Felice, a U-32 High School senior, crossed the finish line in 5:50.9. Six months after the birth of her first child, Elle Purrier, ran the Fifth Avenue Mile on September 10. The Olympian from East Berkshire placed sixth in the women’s division. Her time was 4:24.

National Seniors

Tim Hogeboom and Elizabeth McCarthy earned age group ribbons, at the National Senior Games in Pittsburgh. Hogeboom reached the podium with a sixth-place finish in the 10k road race and an eighth-place finish in the 5k road race. McCarthy, who had just recovered from COVID-19, notched a fifth-place finish in the javelin. The septuagenarian spouses from Walden competed in two dozen or more races in Vermont and other states, winning their age groups multiple times.

Over the Top

Audrey Magnan, 34, from Craftsbury, won the women’s division in the Genny Tenny Race on May 6. Magnan ran the 10-mile course from Craftsbury Village to Albany Village in 1:14:22. She was followed across the finish line by Lucy Hamel, 39, from Craftsbury, in 1:14:40. Pete Johnson, 51, from Craftsbury, was the top local 10-miler. He placed sixth overall, in 1:13:05.

Ira O’Meara-Costello, 40, from Hardwick, won the hilly Adamant Half Marathon on May 7. He set a new M40-49 age group record of 1:32:40. On October 15, O’Meara-Costello completed the rugged Trapp Lodge Mountain Marathon. His time of 3:54:41 placed 12th of 98 finishers. He logged over 4,000 feet of elevation gain during the race.

photo by Jim Flint
Charlie Kehler led the Craftsbury Academy boys to their fourth cross country state title. Kehler finished second in the D-III state championship race on October 28 in Thetford.

Peak Performers

Roger Prevot, 64, from East Hardwick, raced to the 6,288-foot summit of Mt. Washington on June 17. Running in extreme weather conditions, Prevot finished in one hour, 44 minutes, and 45 seconds. He placed seventh in the M60-64 age group. This was his first time running the Mount Washington Road Race.

Eloise Girard, 41, from Craftsbury, placed 11th of 21 women in the Bolton Valley Three Peaks Mountain Race on October 1. She completed the 25k (15.5 miles) course, with 4,000 feet of elevation gain, in three hours, 10 minutes, and 48 seconds.

Queen of the Trails

Susan Dunklee won the Tuesday Night Trails 5k series women’s title. Dunklee competed in seven of 12 contests, with women’s division wins in five races. Emma Podolin, from Stannard, was the runner-up followed by Hallie Grossman of Albany, in third. Dunklee directs the Running Program at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center. She served as race director for the Tuesday Night Trail Series, the Genny Tenny 5k and 10-miler on May 6, and the Footprints Trail Races on September 30.

photo by Christopher Kline
Maxfield English (left), from Wolcott, placed fifth at the Westford Turkey Trot. His 36:50 effort for the 10k was his eighth top-five finish during eight consecutive weeks of fall road and trail races.

Rookies of the Year

Hazen Union Middle School cross country runners Eliza Bunten and Kiah Cloutier had promising fall seasons. Bunten notched a fifth-place in the Burlington High School Invitational on September 9. At the Mill River Invitational, on September 23, Bunten topped the girls race. Cloutier was the runner-up in the boys contest. Cloutier saved his best race for the Vermont Middle School State Championships. His 3k time of 11:53 placed 34th of 304 middle school boys.

Sister Act

Calais sisters, Isobel Koger and Elsie Koger, helped the U-32 High School girls cross country team win their second consecutive D-II state championship on October 28. Isobel, a junior, placed 13th in 23:22. Elsie, a ninth grader, was 22nd in 23:55. At the Meet of Champions, on November 4, Isobel was the fastest varsity girl from towns covered by the Hardwick Gazette. She placed 14th and set a new personal best 5k time of 20:51. Elsie placed 24th and set a new personal best mark of 21:21. The Raider girls placed 17th of 29 girls varsity teams at the New England Cross Country Championships in Maine on November 11.

Top Triathletes

Donna Smyers, 66, from Adamant, had another year of multiple accomplishments, along with serving as a race director and race volunteer. Smyers completed the Boston Marathon on April 17 in 4:04:27. She also scored a perfect 600 points to top the F60-69 age group in the Central Vermont Runners 2023 Race Series.

On August 13, Smyers placed fourth in the Vermont Sun Sprint Triathlon. On September 10, Smyers garnered Vermont Senior Games gold medals in the 5k cycling time trial and 20-mile cycling road race. On September 22, at the World Age-group Triathlon Championships, in Spain, Smyers earned a gold medal in the Super Sprint Triathlon.

Sterling College grad Lance Parker, 29, from Moretown, was crowned USA Triathlon Vermont state champion. He won the Vermont Sun Sprint Triathlon on June 18. Parker also captured first place at the Vermont Sun Olympic Triathlon, on August 13. Parker finished his season by winning the Endurance Society’s Sky Run, on October 7. Held at Mad River Glen Ski Area, the 26.2-mile marathon involved over 14,000 feet of elevation gain.

photo by Jim Flint
Ruth Krebs, from Craftsbury, won two NVAC Mountain Division cross country meets. Krebs led the St. Johnsbury Academy girls to a fifth-place team finish in the D-I state championship meet.

Ultra Marathoner

April Farnham, 56, from Plainfield, completed 100-mile ultramarathoners during the spring summer, summer, and fall. On May 6-7, Farnham took on the Riverlands 100-miler. The race was a muddy affair. She completed four laps of the grueling 25-mile course in 30 hours, 28 minutes, 29 seconds. Farnham ran 114 miles, in muggy weather, at the Notchview Ultramarathon on July 7-10. She set a new personal best 100-mile time at the Ghost Train 30-hour Trail Race on October 14-15. Farnham reached the century mark at Ghost Train in 26 hours, three minutes, and 32 seconds.

Vermont State Champs

On October 28, the Craftsbury Academy’s boys cross country team won their fourth consecutive D-III Vermont State Championship. Due to a rule change by the Vermont Principals Association, the top five runners for each team counted this year in the D-III scoring, versus the top-four scoring format used in prior years. The challenge was on for the defending D-III champs coached by Mike Levangie.

Craftsbury junior Charlier Kehler led the way to victory. His 5k finish, in 18 minutes flat, placed second to Thetford’s Ben Mattern. Craftsbury seniors Matt Califano, Alex Califano, and Silas Hunt placed fourth, sixth, and eighth, respectively. Running in his first state championship, sophomore Soren Stelma-Leonard secured the Chargers’ victory with a 28th-place finish. First-year runners Theo Alexander and Owen McKibben rounded out the varsity team effort. Craftsbury won with 43 points followed by Thetford with 50 points and Stowe with 55 points.

photo by Barb Flint
Hazen Union cross country coach Netdahe Stoddard, from Cabot, placed seventh at the 2022 New Year’s Eve Race, in Montpelier. This year’s race starts at 2 p.m. on December 31.

Winning Streak

Maxfield English, 47, from Wolcott, spent the spring recovering from a hip/groin injury. English was first on crutches, then walking with a cane, during April. The second-year design and technology education teacher at Hazen Union returned to running stronger than ever during the summer and fall. During an eight-week span, from September 17 to November 18, English had eight consecutive top five finishes in races ranging from 5k to a full marathon.

X Country Excellers

Hazen Union senior Cassandra Royer powered to her first cross country meet victory at the Kingdom Cup on September 19. Royer went on to earn individual wins at the Lyndon Institute home meet, on September 27, and the Harwood Invitational, on October 14.

Like Royer, St. Johnsbury Academy junior Ruth Krebs returned to cross country after taking a year off from competition. Krebs, who lives in Craftsbury, led the Hilltopper girls with individual wins at NVAC meets on September 13 and October 11. She ran a personal best 5k time of 20:38 at the Manchester Invitational on September 23.

Royer and Krebs faced off at the NVAC Conference Championship Meet, in Stowe, on October 21. Fighting to the finish line, Krebs edged out Royer, 21:09.2 to 21:09.7. They placed fourth and fifth, respectively, among 80 varsity girls.

Zest of Youth

Scarlett Podolin and Ruthie Podolin placed first and second, respectively, in the Tuesday Night Trail Race Series 3k division. The Stannard sisters competed in eight (Scarlett) and seven (Ruthie) of the summer races at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center. The girls are following in the footsteps of their mom, Emma Podolin, and their dad, Josh Gould. Emma placed second in the women’s 5k division of the Tuesday Night Series, while Josh placed fourth in the men’s 5k division.

New Year’s Eve Race in Montpelier

Congratulations to all the dedicated athletes who train and race on the streets, roads, and trails of the greater Hardwick area. Central Vermont Runners’ 2024 race calendar kicks off with the New Year’s Eve 5k, at 2 p.m. on December 31, in downtown Montpelier. For details, visit cvrunners.org.

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