Athletic News

Can't Top This: Hilltoppers Sweep Indoor Track and Field Titles

Junior Hannah Westcott and Sophomore Riley Higgs celebrate their medals.

From the Caledonian-Record
Michael Beniash, Sports Editor
Feb 6, 2017

NORWICH — Junior Katherine Cowan and senior Ian Clough combined to win seven individual events and the St. Johnsbury Academy Hilltoppers boys and girls swept the team titles at the Division I state track and field championships at Norwich University's Shapiro Fieldhouse on Saturday.

The Hilltopper girls continued their recent dominance, outpacing runner-up Essex by 72 points (206 to 134) to claim their third straight indoor title (fifth consecutive, including outdoor track and field).

They won 10 of 16 events, scoring in all but the shot put, and surpassed the 200-point mark for the second consecutive season — the only team, boys or girls, in Vermont indoor history to accomplish the feat.

The boys, meanwhile, thumped rival South Burlington 170 to 108 to earn their first crown since the Dage Minors-James Fitzhugh-led squad in 2012, marking the first Division I sweep in school history, indoor or outdoor (In the 1981 outdoor season, the SJA girls won Division II and the boys triumphed in D-I).

The twin victories for the Hilltoppers wrapped up at 1:30 early Sunday morning, as celebratory team photos capped a 12-plus-hour championship event that began at 1 on Saturday afternoon.

"We just have a great group of kids who really worked their butts off," said St. J coach Chip Langmaid. "I am just happy to be able to share it with them. It was really emotional last night. Just elated."

It was a banner day for the entire track and field program, and Cowan and Clough spearheaded the charge.

Cowan won four events, the 55 dash, 55 hurdles (8.82) 300 meters (43.96) and high jump (5-3), giving the most decorated SJA track and field champion 15 state titles, 14 as an individual. She broke her own school record by .08 seconds in winning the 55 meters, topping Essex's Sade Hankey with a time of 7.52 seconds.

"It was special because I had never done a 55 in any big meet before," said Cowan, our reigning indoor track and field athlete of the year and the reigning Gatorade outdoor track and field athlete of the year. "It was kind of surprising."

As was Clough's Herculean performances.

Clough won long jump (20-9), the 55 meters, 55 hurdles and was second in the 300. His repeat victory in the 55 dash was a special moment as he tied the state record in the 55-meter dash (6.50 seconds), first set by Rutland's Eric Groce in 2002. Groce, one of Vermont's best-ever sprinters, ran his mark at New Englands that season, taking second by .01.

"I can't even describe it. I feel so excited. There's so much adrenaline pumping through my veins right now," Clough said after being mobbed on the track by his teammates. "I am really happy about the state record."

Prior to that, Clough won the 55 hurdles in a school-record 7.80 seconds.

"What an unbelievable season he's had," Langmaid said. "He's a great athlete, but nobody expected that state record."

"The fact that I can be a big contributor to this team is something I've been aiming to do since I was a freshman," Clough said. "To be part of being a really good team and to get this title is amazing."


Cowan wasn't the only Hilltopper to make an impact. Much like the past three seasons, St. J flexed its depth and talent early and often, winning the first six events Saturday to set the tone.

Senior Quinnae Outerbridge delivered four victories. Her first individual wins came in the 1,000 meters and 1,600. She was also part of St. J's winning 4x400, 4x800 teams. Junior Hannah Wescott broke her own school record by 6 inches in winning the pole vault at 9-6. She was also fourth in high jump, part of the winning 4x400 and part of the runner-up 4x200 squad.

"They had great days," Langmaid said.

The sophomore Rotti twins were invaluable, racking up 50 combined points. Lia was second in pole vault, second in the 300, second in long jump, and broke Grace Cooke's school record in triple jump for second place.

Jen was second in the 4x200, third in long jump, second in the 600, a new event for her, and fourth in hurdles.

"Hopefully the Rottis don't get overshadowed," Langmaid said. "They are really who we build a team around. They are so talented."

Senior Hannah Ryan was fourth in 1,000 and 1,600 and was part of both winning relays, including anchoring the 4x400 in the meet's final event.

"Hannah just did an outstanding job," Langmaid said. "We moved her to new events, took her out of her sprints and jumps that she loves and put her in the middle-distance events. She was sick at the meet and she hung in there. She's gutsy, tough and she sacrificed so much in what she's done to help build this team.

"A lot of the younger girls really stepped up too. Just a great group across the board."


"Spirited is a good word to describe the boys team," Langmaid said. "They were fired up all week. They really came together."

Led by Clough, Ben Hammer and an arsenal of strong throwers, the Hilltoppers blew past South Burlington.

Ben Hammer won the high jump at 6 feet and was second in triple jump, breaking the school record with a leap of 41-8 (old record was 41-4 held by Clough).

The Academy throwers combined for 41 points in two events, the shot put and weight throw, the latter held on Jan. 21 in St. J.

Ethan Roberts was runner-up in shot put while Brodie Talbot was fourth and Dillon Ryan fifth. Ryan won the weight throw, while Collin Urie and Roberts took third and fourth.

"Ben stepped up," Langmaid said. "Urie ran great. He came to this team and and made a impact. Brodie and Ethan were big in the throws. Our first-year guys made a big difference. And Tre Wofford showed some leadership.

"We had a nice group of new seniors step up and boost us."

Wofford was second and Sajan Harvey third in the 1,000 and Justin Mach took second in the 600.

"Credit Justin, who was a great recruiter. He challenged his friends to come out for the track team. It was contagious enthusiasm," Langmaid said.

"It's really satisfying to have the boys back on top."

For Clough, his rise to the top was a long time coming. An outdoor track and field athlete since he was a freshman, Clough's second season running indoor could not have ended any better. Despite winning the 55-meter indoor crown last winter, he battled injuries during the meet, which also persisted into the spring season.

The St. Lawrence University-bound sprinter vowed to find better habits for his final high school season.

"I've taken a lot better care of my body, including stretching and cooling down," Clough said. "I learned a lot more about being a true competitor. This year I was really careful in being able to use my body to its full potential. I've been injured every year since freshman year. It's been a learning experience, but it's really paid off."

In the final two weeks of the indoor season, Clough went from good to great.

In the 55 hurdles, Clough's winning time of 7.80 was four-tenths of a second faster than his mark two weeks ago. He also shaved a tenth of a second off his 55 dash time in the last two weeks.

"It has to do with confidence and drive," Langmaid said. "He's worked hard. He always has. But he's really starting to believe. He was a little more relaxed and he just let it flow."

"He's really gone beyond what anyone would have thought. It was a coming out party. He was dominant."



The top-six finishers and team scores in Division I and II from Saturday's indoor track and field state championships.

Saturday, Feb. 4

At Norwich University

Division I girls team scores: 1. St. Johnsbury 206; 2. Essex 134; 3. S. Burlington 100; 4. Mt. Anthony 16; 5. Mt. Mansfield 11; 6. Burlington 10; 7. Rutland 6.

Division I boys team scores: 1. St. Johnsbury 170; 2. South Burlington 108; 3. Essex 73; 4. Burlington 58; 5. Mount Mansfield 54; 6. Mount Anthony 21; 7. Rutland 6.

Division II girls team scores: 1. Rice 195; 2. Oxbow 80; 3. Lyndon 52; 4. Hartford 34; 5. Fair Haven 22; 6. Middlebury 21; 7. Missisquoi 20; 8. Whitcomb 18; 9. Milton 14; 10. Spaulding 13; 11. Vergennes 8; 12. Woodstock 4; 13. Windsor 3; T14. Bellows Falls, Randolph, Williamstown 1.

Division II boys team scores: 1. Fair Haven 75; 2. Oxbow 61; 3. Milton 51; 4. Rice 39; 5. Hartford 36; 6. Missisquoi 33; 7. Spaulding 29; 8. Rivendell 26; 9. Middlebury 24; 10. Bellows Falls 22; 11. Lyndon 21;12. Randolph 20; 13. Chelsea 18; 14. Vergennes 11.

Division I girls top 6 finishers

55-meter dash: 1. Katherine Cowan, SJA 7.52; 2. Sade Hankey, Essex; 3. Cora Kakalec, SB; 4. Madison Fornasier, SB; 5. Jenna Puleo, Essex; 6. Tess Hastings, Essex.

300: 1. Katherine Cowan, SJA 43.96; 2. Lia Rotti, SJA; 3. Rebecca Crostier, MAU; 4. Katie James, Essex; 5. Cora Kakalec, SB; 6. Olivia Dickinson, SB.

600: 1. Katie James, Essex 1:41.80; 2. Jen Rotti, SJA; 3. Guilia Eddy, Essex; 4. Emma Kimmel, Rut; 5. Riley Higgs, SJA; 6. Josie Ford, SB.

1,000: 1. Quinnae Outerbridge, SJA 3:22.46; 2. Katie James, Essex; 3. Iris Lewis, MMU; 4. Hannah Ryan, SJA; 5. Siniah Yates-Moses, SJA; 6. Paige Greenwalt, MAU.

1,600: 1. Quinnae Outerbridge, SJA 5:43.50; 2. Hannah Brisson, Essex; 3. Madison Druzba, SB; 4. Hannah Ryan, SJA: 5. Rory Young, SJA; 6. Callahan Beck, SJA.

3,200: 1. Rosalie Lacroix, CVU 12:23.09; 2. Hannah Brisson, Essex; 3. Charlotte Khamnei, BHS; 4. Callahan Beck, SJA; 5. Iris Lewis, MMU; 6. Rory Young, SJA.

55 hurdles: 1. Katherine Cowan, SJA 8.82; 2. Jenna Puleo, Essex; 3. Olivia Dickinson, SB; 4. Jen Rotti, SJA; 5. Maria O'Leary, SB; 6. Sadie Chapman, SJA.

4x200: 1. South Burlington (Pape, Fornasier, Peyko, Kakalec) 1:53.41; 2. St. Johnsbury; 3. Essex; 4. Mount Anthony; 5. Rutland; 6. Burlington.

4x400: 1. St. Johnsbury (Outerbridge, Higgs, Wescott, Ryan) 4:28.83; 2. Essex; 3. South Burlington; 4. Mount Anthony.

4x800: 1. St.Johnsbury (Outerbridge, Yates-Moses, Ryan, Neuharth) 10:57.01; 2. South Burlington; 3. Essex.

High jump: 1. Katherine Cowan, SJA 5-3; 2. Sade Hankey, Essex; 3. Hannah Neddo, Essex; 4. Hannah Wescott, SJA; 5. Lilly Leach, SJA; 6. Maria O'Leary, SB.

Long jump: 1. Jenna Puleo, Essex 17-0.5; 2. Lia Rotti, SJA; 3. Jen Rotti, SJA; 4. Katherine Yang, SB; 5. Sade Hankey, Essex; 6. Abbie Crosier, MAU.

Triple jump: 1. Amelia Pape, SB 36-1; 2. Lia Rotti, SJA; 3. Sade Hankey, Essex; 4. Odessa O'Brien, SB; 5. Jenna Puleo, Essex; 6. Chloe Zinn, SB.

Pole vault: 1. Hannah Wescott, SJA 9-6; 2. Lia Rotti, SJA; 3. Lizzy Gilmartin, SJA; 4. Hannah Neddo, Essex.

Shot put: 1. Megan Kronoff, SB 30-8.25; 2. Sophie Jarvis, SB; 3. Mariah Jollie, SB; 4. Grace Bodykevich, SB; 5. Maria Campos, Essex; 6. Suzan Hoffman, BHS.

Weight throw: 1. Bridget Webber, SJA 28-7; 2. Breanna Fearon, SJA; 3. Claudia Berman, Essex; 4. Taryn Tremblay, SJA; 5. Maria Campo, Essex; 6. Aubrey McKEnna, Essex.

Division I boys top 6 finishers

55-meter dash: 1. Ian Clough, SJA 6.50 (ties state record); 2. Chike Asanya, Essex; 3. Ismail Liban, BHS; 4. Silas Diamond, MMU; 5. Caleb Schimer, SB; 6. Patrick O'Hara, SB.

300: 1. Ismail Liban, BHS 36.85; 2. Ian Clough, SJA; 3. Korey Simons, SJA; 4. Eli Ogilvie, MMU; 5. Made Madey, BHS; 6. Ryan Croxford, SB.

600: 1. Eli Ogilvie, MMU 1:27.66; 2. Justin Mach, SJA: T3. Jacob Daigle, MMU, Steven Garcia, MMU; 5. Jan Ntakirutimana, BHS; 6. Connor MacDonald, SB.

1,000: 1. Kent Ford, BHS 2:45.16; 2. Tre Wofford, SJA; 3. Sajan Harvey, SJA; 4. Justin Poulin, Essex; 5. Tom Dustira, SB; 6. Abhi Dodgson, SB.

1,600: 1. Kent Ford, BHS 4:41.37; 2. Trevor Houtchens, SB; 3. Tre Wofford, SJA; 4. Lucas Calcagni, SB; 5. Patrick Fogarty, SJA; 6. Evan Page, MAU.

3,200: 1. Trevor Houchens, SB 10:10.20; 2. Lucas Calcagni, SB; 3. Evan Page, MAU; 4. Patrick Fogarty, SJA; 5. Peter Alden, Essex;x 6. Henry Farrington, Essex.

55 hurdles: 1. Ian Clough, SJA 7.80; 2. Kristian Baird, SJA; 3. Nick Knudsen, SB; 4. Jamaal Hankey, Essex; 5. Matthew Sibley, MMU: 6. Matt Saraceno, Essex.

4x200: 1. South Burlington (Schirmer, Steele, Croxford, O'Hara) 1:37.92; 2. St. Johnsbury; 3. Essex; 4. CVU; 5. Rutland; 6.Mount Anthony.

4x400: 1. MMU (Ogilvie, Garcia, Haenel, Daigle) 3:40.98; 2. Burlington; 3. South Burlington; 4. Mount Anthony.

4x800: 1. South Burlington (MacDonald, Moran, Hauman, Dustira) 8:40.08; 2. St. Johnsbury; 3. Essex; 4. Mount Mansfield; 5. Rutland; 6. CVU.

High jump: 1. Benjamin Hammer, SJA 6-0; 2. Sam Velasquex, Essex; 3. Jackson Baker, Essex; 4. Matthew Sibley, MMU; 5. Chike Asanya, Essex; 6. Zane Buckminster, SJA.

Long jump: 1. Ian Clough, SJA 20-9; 2. Skyler Hoyt, MAU; 3. Ryan Croxford, SB; 4. Skye Douglas-Hughes, MMU; 5. Brandon Lee, SB; 6. Skylar Lamphere, MMU.

Triple jump: 1. Destine Brown, BHS 42-7; 2. Benjamin Hammer, SJA; 3. Brandon Lee, SB; 4. Korey Simons, SJA; 5. S. Douglas-Hughes, MMU; 6. Jackson Baker, Essex.

Pole vault: 1. Kenneth MacKillop, CVU 12-0; 2. Finley Killeen, SB 9-6; 3. Michael Baker, Essex; 4. Jackson Baker, Essex; 5. Orrin Olmstead, SJA; 6. Kyle McLane, SB.

Shot put: 1. Isaac Girouard, SB 46-4.5; 2. Ethan Roberts, SJA; 3. Tim Gray, NC; 4. Brodie Talbot, SJA; 5. Dillon Ryan, SJA; 6. Eric Imobersteg, SB.

Weight throw: 1. Dillon Ryan, SJA 52-11; 2. Breyer Sinor, Essex; 3. Collin Urie, SJA; 4. Ethan Roberts, SJA; 5. Michael Langham, SJA; 6. Jeremy Brennan, Essex.

Division II girls top 6 finishers

55-meter dash: 1. Sonia John, Rice 7.38; 2. Chloe Kane, Midd; 3. Phoebe Weller, Rice; 4. Sophia Buonomo, Rice; 5. Alex Dostie, Rice; 6. Ileana Sirois, Hart.

300: 1. Sonia John, Rice 42.59; 2. Sophia Buonomo, Rice; 3. Chloe Kane, Midd; 4. Jenna Jerome, U-32; 5. Maren Altadonna, Rice; 6. Phoebe Weller, Rice.

600: 1. Sonia John, Rice 1:40.89; 2. Maren Altadonna, Rice; 3. Jenna Jerome, U-32; 4. Cailey Comisky, MVU; 5. Grace Vollers, Wood; 6. Emily Colby, Lyn.

1,000: 1. Izzy Giesing, Oxbow 3:11.18; 2. Dina John, Rice; 3. Tyrus Rosten, Oxbow; 4. Sadie Kass, Verg; 5. Anna Senesac, Rice; 6. Amelia Canney, Rice.

1,600: 1. Izzy Giesing, Oxbow 5:36.26; 2. Meaggie Balch, Thet; 3. Alexandra Timmins, Whitcomb; 4. Theresa Noonan, Mont; 5. Holly Gordon, Mont; 6. Leanne Burgess, Oxbow

3,200: 1. Alexandra Timmins, Whitcomb 12:48.41; 2. Zosia Prince, Lyn; 3. Leanne Burgess, Oxbow; 4. Mary Guyette, Rice; 5. Jasmi Baillargeon, Lyn.; 6. Matey Thygesen, Williamstown.

55 hurdles: 1. Lydia Pitts, MTA 8.87; 2. Ileana Sirois, Hart; 3. Alex Dostie, Rice; 4. Emily Carson, Oxbow; 5. Abigail Mattoon, Lyn; 6. Hadley Murphy, Rice.

4x200: 1. Rice (Lynn, Murphy, Altadonna, Plunkett) 1:58.23; 2. Lyndon; 3. Thetford; 4. Oxbow; 5. Vergennes; 6. Milton.

4x400: 1. Rice (D. John, Altadonna, Rouleau, S. John) 4:20.74; 2. Oxbow; 3. MVU; 4. Lyndon; 5. Milton; 6. Fair Haven.

4x800: 1. Rice (Guyette, D. John, Senesac, Plunkett) 10:38.59; 2. Oxbow; 3. MVU; 4. Lyndon; 5. Thetford; 6. Fair Haven.

High jump: 1. Hannah Miller, Rice 4-10; 2. Camille Hanna, Milt; 3. Alex Dostie, Rice; T4. Emily Smith, Windsor, Cathryn Senesac, Rice, Grace Clement, Thet.

Long jump: 1. Lydia Pitts, MTA 16-11; 2. Alex Dostie, Rice; 3. Ileana Sirois, Hart; 4. Kiana Plouffe, Midd; 5. Jenna Jerome, U-32; 6. Phoebe Weller, Rice.

Triple jump: 1. Lydia Pitts, MTA 35-5; 2. Ileana Sirois, Hart; 3. Sophia Buonomo, Rice; 4. Hannah Harkins, Thet; 5. Kady Erwin, Spa; 6. Hadley Murphy, Rice.

Pole vault: 1. Sophia Rampone, Fair Haven 8-6; 2. Abby Perlee, MTA; T3. Nicole Blackwood, Fair Haven, Hannah Harkins, Thet; 5. Kady Erwin, Spa; 6. Moria Haehnel, Thet.

Shot put: 1. Molly McCreedy, U-32 37-2.25; 2. Camryn Heath, Lyn; 3. Rebecca Chicoine, Rice; 4. Zea Macris, Lyn; 5. Kylee Beaucage, Hart; 6. Alyson Sheehan, Milt.

Weight throw: 1. Rebecca Chicoine, Rice 35-3.25; 2. Claire Cook, Oxbow; 3. Grace Clement, Thet; 4. Fiona Noonan, Rice; 5. Sarah Stevens, Oxbow; 6. Lana Wood, Oxbow.

Division II boys top 6 finishers

55-meter dash: 1. Abayomi Lowe, Hart 6.72; 2. Hunter Tardy, MVU; 3. Owen Pelletier, Rivendell; 4. Carson Bianchi, Milt; 5. Mason Leonard, Lyn; 6. Trent Holmes, MVU.

300: 1. Seth Beard, Har 37.99; 2. Abayomi Lowe, Hart; 3. Carson Bianchi, Milt; 4. Jon Puffer, Oxbow; 5. Sage Whitecloud, Thet; 6. Damien Morris, Midd.

600: 1. Henry Ganey, Midd 1:28.65; 2. Noah Stommel, Thet; 3. Joshua Melen, Fair Haven; 4. Wade Mullin, Verg; 5. Max Ratti-Bicknell, Verg; 6. Emilio Desouza, Milt.

1,000: 1. Mike Ferro, Milt 2:52.72; 2. Richard McClintock, Rice; 3. Tristan Touchette, Har; 4. Clifford Ransom, Thet; 5. Callum Brittain, Hart; 6. Avery Paull, Mont.

1,600: 1. Isaac Kaplan, Rand 4:52.47; 2. Ross Crowne, Midd; 3. Daniel Bevacqui, Har; 4. Tristan Touchette, Har; 5. Kieran Edraney, U-32; 6. Zach Popke, Milt.

3,200: 1.Isaac Kaplan, Rand 10:41.73; 2. Daniel Bevacqui, Har; 3. Kieran Edraney, U-32; 4. Richard McClintock, Rice; 5. Cody Tallent, BF; 6. William Douglas, Oxbow.

55 hurdles: 1. Steven Reed, Fair Haven 8.98; 2. John Abbott, Lyndon; 3. Trent Holmes, MVU; 4. Christopher Toborg, Spa; 5. Riley Kehoe, Hartford; 6. Joe Wray, Lyn.

4x200: 1. Milton (Bianchi, Cyr, Desouza, Kelm) 1:43.14; 2. Spaulding; 3. Oxbow; 4. Rice; 5. Lyndon; 6. Fair Haven.

4x400: 1. Thetford (Haehnel, Ransom, Stommel, Whitecloud) 3:53.50; 2. Oxbow; 3. Hartford; 4. Fair Haven; 5. Lyndon; 6. Spaulding.

4x800: 1. Milton (Ferro, Popke, McNeil, Outama) 9:17.33; 2. Oxbow; 3. Rice; 4. Thetford; 5. Fair Haven; 6. Spaulding.

High jump: 1. Owen Pelletier, Rivendell 5-10; 2. Hunter Tardy, MVU; 3. Gabe Hakimoglu, BF; 4. Elijah Pianka, Spring; 5. Davis Lavoie, Rice; 6. John Abbott, Lyn.

Long jump: 1. Owen Pelletier, Rivendell 21-0.75; 2. Hunter Tardy, MVU; 3. Jarret Rock, Oxbow; 4. Devon Spaulding, Fair Haven; 5. Cadence Wheeler, Spring; 6. Davis Lavoie, Rice.

Triple jump: 1. Cadence Wheeler, Springfield, 38-6.75; 2. Elijah Pianka, Spring; 3. Seth Hoenes, Fair Haven; 4. Chris Gurney, Spring.

Pole vault: 1. Jon Puffer, Oxbow 12-0; 2. Harley Wescott, Oxbow; 3. Sage Whitecloud, Thet; 4. Max Haehnel, Thet; 5. Victor Maldonado, Spa.

Shot put: 1. Reno Tuttle, BF 45-8.75; 2. Tristan Larocque, Chelsea; 3. Caleb Davidson, Thet; 4. Seth Hoenes, Fair Haven; 5. Jake Turner, Fair Haven; 6. Jack Waterman, Midd.

Weight throw: 1. Tristan Larocque, Chelsea 50-4.5; 2. Caleb Davidson, Thet; 3. Seth Hoenes, Fair Haven; 4. Eric Ray, Fair Haven; 5. Jacob Messineo, Rice; 6. Andre Slauterbeck, Rice.

Editor's note: Weight throw competition took place at St. Johnsbury on Jan. 21.

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