Royer Shines at States for Wildcats

photo by Alden Pougnier
Hazen’s Cassandra Royer and Thetford Academy’s Ava Hayden battle for the Division II 3000m state title.

BURLINGTON – Cassandra Royer qualified for New England’s over the weekend as her young Hazen Union track and field team impressed at the Vermont TF Indoor State Championships at The Gardner-Collins Indoor Track Facility at UVM.

Royer posted a personal record and a Division II runner-up finish in the 3000m event for the Wildcats on Saturday.

The senior star finished behind state champion Ava Hayden of Thetford Academy. Royer posted the fifth best time among all competitors in both Division I and II, qualifying her for the New England Championships in early March. She posted a win and a trio of fourth place finishes in the 3000m throughout the regular season, as well as third place finish in the 1500m event.

Hazen Union’s Manny Fliegelman and Daniel Pougnier also had strong showings in their first state competition. The dynamic freshman duo posted personal bests in the 3000m, with Fliegelman finishing sixth and Pougnier tenth in the Division II final behind state champion Nicholas Kidder of Spaulding. Fliegelman posted the best time of any freshman from either division in the event.

“Our team finished the season strong at the Vermont State Indoor TF Championships. There were 27 Division II teams represented at the meet and Cassandra came in ranked tenth overall and third in our Division. This was a particularly important meet for her, since she came into the season with a sore hamstring and battling walking pneumonia for several key weeks of training. It is so exciting that she qualified for the NE Championships today,” said head coach Emily Willems.

Royer qualified for New England’s in 2022 in the 1500m and 4X800m relay after a sensational sophomore season at Hazen. She spent a year in Germany as an exchange student last year and returned to competition in 2023 for the Wildcat cross country team.

Royer won three Division III cross country titles during the regular season for Hazen Union this past fall and posted a top five finish in the NVAC High School Cross Country Run Championships. Royer will certainly be a shot in the arm for the Wildcat outdoor track and field team and head coach Kathy Fortmann this coming spring, that already will be returning a more experienced Fliegelman and Pougnier.

Royer will compete at the NE Championships on Saturday, March 2, at the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury, Mass.

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