BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. – The Bellows Falls community does not lack traditions, and one of the greatest traditions is its rich history in athletics, and more specifically cross country running and track & field. Recently a group of teenagers, aged 13-14, continued this tradition in track by competing in the USA Track & Field Junior Olympics. Dating back to the mid-1960’s, the USATF Junior Olympic program is the most visible youth athlete developmental program in the world and this group of athletes became an unprecedented group.
The athletes joined USATF local club, Wild Endurance, to compete in a series of events at Fitchburg State University in preliminary Regionals and then the Super Regional meet, with the athletes having the opportunity to advance to the National Championships in track & field and cross country.
Wild’s Junior Olympic youth team consisted of: Elijah Ghia (1500m), Harrison Gleim (100m, 200m, Triple Jump, Javelin), Izzy Stack (4x100m Relay, Triple Jump, Javelin), Birgess Schemm (800m, 4x400m Relay), Layla Maiocco (Triple Jump, 4x100m Relay), Maya Waryas (100m, 200m, 400m, 4x400m Relay), Molly Hodsden (4x100m Relay, 4x400m Relay), Abby Broadley (3000m), Abby Dearborn (Triple Jump, 800m, 4x400m Relay) and Maggie Hodgson (400m, 4x400m Relay).
At the Regional meet, held June 17, the first round of events took place. Top eight in each event would move onto the Super Regional, (also held at FSU). Wild had an amazing first meet, with all athletes either earning a new personal best in their event or All-Regional honors. The following athletes qualified for the Super Regional meet: Harrison Gleim with a victory in the Triple Jump and placing third in the Javelin, Izzy Stack placing eighth, Layla Maiocco placing eighth in the Triple Jump, Maya Waryas placing sixth in the 400m, Abby Broadley placing fourth in the 3000m, Abby Dearborn placing fifth in the Triple Jump, and Maggie Hodgson placing seventh in the 400m. Both girls relay teams also qualified with Hodgson, Stack, Maiocco and Hodsden placing third in the 4x100m Relay; and Hodgson, Dearborn, Schemm and Waryas placing third in the 4x400m Relay.
The Super Regional of July 17, which was comprised of athletes from all over the northeast again competed at Fitchburg State. From South Jersey, New York City metropolitan, northern New York and all the New England states were to battle for the top five spots in each event, which would qualify for the national meet held July 24-30 at the historic University of Kansas track in Rock Chalk Park, Kansas. Once again, Team Wild lived up to the rich traditions of Bellows Falls track and field, in which every member of the tea qualified for the national meet with their stellar performances.
Harrison Gleim placed sixth in the Javelin and third in the Triple Jump. The girls 4x100m Relay (Hodgson, Stack, Maiocco, Hodsden) placed fourth, while the girls 4x400m Relay (Hodgson, Hodsden, Schemm, Waryas) also placed fourth. Abby Broadley ran the 3000m, and ran a tremendous personal best time, 11:11.63, which also stamped her qualification to nationals with a fourth place finish. Gleim, and both girls relays were the top performances of all of the Vermont competitors with Wild as the top Junior Olympic club in Vermont.
Abby Broadley continued the unprecedented run of Wild Endurance, as she traveled to the USATF National Junior Olympic Championships in Rock Chalk Park, KS. Abby competed in the 3000m and finished an impressive 24 out of 50 entrants, and was the top performer from the Northeast Super Regional.
The tradition of track & field from Bellows Falls is deep and will continue to be a big purple machine into the future.