Athletic News

Girls' Track Dominates Decathlon

(L-R) Lia Rotti, Grace Cooke, Katherine Cowan, Hannah Wescott, Hannah Ryan, and Neva Bostic pose with their hardware after the Vermont state decathlon championship.


Article by Caledonian-Record Staff Writer

Vt. state decathlon: Cowan, Hilltopper girls dominate at UVM

BURLINGTON — Talent and depth have carried the St. Johnsbury Academy girls to four straight Division I track and field titles.

For the past two days at the University of Vermont, the Hilltoppers reminded the state they have no plans to leave their perch.

Rising juniors Katherine Cowan and Grace Cooke, and rising sophomore Lia Rotti claimed the top three spots after Tuesday's final day of the Vermont state decathlon championship. Senior-to be Hannah Ryan, meanwhile, moved up from seventh to finish fifth, giving St. J four of the top five spots in a meet featuring many of Vermont's premier track and field athletes.

The Hilltoppers won the girls team event over runner-up Essex and third-place CVU.

Cowan, who won three state titles at the D-I state outdoor meet June 4, finished with a two-day total of 5,156 points to outpace Cooke (4,848) and Rotti (4,569). Ryan compiled 4,193. Rising junior Hannah Wescott also performed well, finishing 10th with 4,096 points.

Cowan, who won four events — the 100 meters, 100 hurdles, 400 and high jump, the latter two in a meet and personal record — became the first female to surpass the 5,000-point mark since in the first event in 1976. The 1-2-3 sweep for the Hilltoppers was also a first.

The last St. J female to win prior to Cowan was Antonia Armstrong-Laird, who triumphed in heptathlon in 2006. Former Hilltopper Danielle Lewis also won back-to-back heptathlon crowns in 1992-93.

"In a track sense, this is what determines the world's greatest athlete, the decathlon," said SJA coach Chip Langmaid. "It was dominant performance from Katherine. It was fantastic performance from Grace as well."

Last year's winner had 4,200 points.

"It was an incredibly stacked field this year," Langmaid said.

"Hopefully the girls will continue on. It's a really fun event. The athletes get to try new things and find some things that they are good at. It helps them get out of their comfort zone."

Cowan finished the 400 in 59.29 seconds and went 5-5 in high jump. Ryan finished second in the 1,500 behind Oxbow's Izzy Giesing in the final event the day. Her finish helped her vault from 11th to fifth.

Tuesday's girls events included the 100 hurdles, long jump, shot put, high jump and ended with the 1,500. Five other events, the 100 meters, discus, pole vault, javelin and the 400, were Monday.

St. J's Neva Bostic and Lyndon's Camryn Heath, both sophomores next year, finished in 16th and 23rd place.

Bellows Falls' DJ Snide won the boys competition with 4,763 points, besting MMU's Jonathan Fisher (4,393) and Woodstock's Bill Wood (4,366).

St. J junior to-be Asher Solnit moved up from 18th to finish ninth. Rising St. J sophomores Lance Abella, the state high jump champ, finished 21st and Dylan Ryan was 23rd.

"A really strong performance for Lance to do that as a freshman," Langmaid said. "Hopefully it was a good experience for those guys."

Tuesday's boys events included the 400, the 110 hurdles, discus, javelin, pole vault and the 1,500.

Six Hilltoppers will leave this morning for Greensboro, North Carolina for the New Balance Nationals (high school nationals), to be held at North Carolina A&T.

Cowan, Cooke, Ryan and Bettina Hammer will compete in the sprint medley relay (200, 200, 400 and 800). They are the Vermont state record holders. Cowan will also compete in high jump. Peter Mulcahy will be in javelin and Alex Carlisle will compete in the freshman-level triple and long jump. The meet runs Friday-Sunday.

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