It was a good day to be a Highlander at the Vermont Division II Track and Field State Championships held at Fair Haven High School on June 5. A total of 41 student athletes competed for Harwood, one of the larger teams participating.
The boys were returning 2009 State Champions, feeling the pressure of having graduated 21 boys from last year's team. Led by the three horses of Tim Shepard, Thomas Jacobs-Moore and Thomas Fuller, the boys captured a back-to-back State Championship, winning the title by 11 points over Fair Haven.
Senior Tim Shepard won the grueling 3,000- and 1,500-meter runs. Senior Thomas Jacobs-Moore showed his ups, as his coach Tom Strasser would say, by placing second in the high jump, then going on to win the 400-meter dash. Meanwhile junior Thomas Fuller took control in the throws by winning the shot put and the discus by 15 feet over the second-place finisher.
The relay teams did an excellent job, scoring with all three relay teams. The 4x100 took fifth with Sam Boylan, Zak Williams, Colin McGlyn and Jimmy Hermanowski. The 4x400 team took third place with Thomas Jacob-Moore, Colin McGlynn, Zak Munro and Patrick Markley. The 4x800 team started the day with an amazing race to place second with teammates Zak Munro, Patrick Meany, Nathan Cutler and Patrick Markley.
There were also individual performances that helped with the win, including Nick Wisniewski, who fought through the heat and placed a very respectable third place in the 1,500. In the shotput, Chris Degray placed fifth with teammate Seth Naikus edging out the seventh-place finisher by two and one-half inches to place sixth. Freshman Mitchel Kuiper moved two places from his seeding to capture sixth place in the discus. Other boys who came up short of placing but gave an outstanding effort include Simon Butler in the 300 hurdles and pole vault, Jacob Pitman in the 300 hurdles, Dylan Thompson in the 1,500- and 800-meter run and Nick Montgomery in the triple jump.
The girls had an uphill battle waiting for them with Fair Haven coming off an indoor track championship win and just as strong with the outdoor season. At one point Harwood closed the gap within 22 points but just could not take over Fair Haven. The girls' team placed a very respectable second place, outscoring the third-place team of Middlebury by 36 points.
Two state champions were crowned for the girls: Naomi Koliba continued to show her dominance in the high jump by clearing five feet for the win while freshman Jaime Thomas put it into another gear passing the second-place finisher in the 1,500-meter run for the win. As with the boys, the girls had their supporting cast, starting again with the relays.
An amazing performance by the 4x800 team led to a second place to start the day with Yana Lotspiech, Hailey Robinson, Kate Stevens and Olivia Nishi. The 4x100 team also placed second with Paige Cleary, Carrie Johnson, Sophia Lasius and Laura Moore. The 4x400 team, being cheered on by what has now become the traditional fourth-turn wave by the entire Harwood team, placed third with Laura Moore, Sophia Lasius, Mariah Eilers and Carrie Johnson. Individual points were contributed by Paige Cleary in the 100-meter dash, Mariah Eilers placed fifth in the 800-meter run, Jill Mendes placed sixth in the 1,500 and fifth in the very tough 3,000-meter run along with Laurel Whitney who placed third, and Laura Moore showed her talent by placing third in the very demanding 300-meter hurdle race.
Girls who did not place but gave everything they had include Renate Isak and Anna Hofman in the 100-meter dash, Julia Simoes in the 100-meter hurdles, Ally Baitz in the 100 and 300 hurdles, Liza Mackey in the 800-meter run, Shannon Maloney in the 300 hurdles, Hannah Woodruff in the 3,000-meter run, Kelsea Shea in the long jump and Amanda Haslam in the javelin and shot put.
As always, it was a group effort that gave these teams success; they working as hard as they could not only for their own success but more importantly their teammates' success. The coaching staff of Taggert Haslam, Eric Eley, John Kerrigan and Tom Strasser wished the seniors the best of luck.