CHESTER, Vt. – Coach Jon Rice knew he had some talent on this years Green Mountain Girls Track and Field team. In fact, he believed he had enough talent and depth to finish near the top. He just wasn’t sure how high though.
“I thought we were going to be in the top three. I knew if everyone went and tried their best and some could have their personal bests, we might move up a place or two,” the Chieftain’s coach reasoned.
Rice most likely never figured the 2017 Vermont State Meet would come down to just one-half point, but that is exactly what happened and when dusk fell upon Chester last Friday night, it was one-half point that separated this spring’s GM tracksters from the rest of the Division IV track world and allowed this group to call themselves champions.
Forever etched in record are the final numbers of the day, which lead with the totals Green Mountain 97 and Northfield 96.5. The rest of the field has Richford 78.5, Whitcomb 65, Craftsbury 47, Stowe 32, South Royalton 28, Twin Valley 27, Arlington 24, Hazen 17, Chelsea 14,Winooski 10, Williamstown 3 and Sharon 1. By the way, while I look closely at those numbers, every Chieftain should send a card to Christina Jewett. You see Jewett, may not realize how important she is in Chester, but it was her fourth place tie in the high jump, that created the one-half point, which was the difference. She should also be sent a Chieftain letter.
Looking for the why of this championship, you obviously need to look at every one who scored a point, as well as half point, like Richford’s Jewett. The 300 Hurdles was the Chieftains main route to the title. They scored 16 points in that event, even though they placed no one higher than third. Three Green Mountain runners finished on the board and amazingly, all three were freshmen. Alyssa Ripley was third, Maizy White was fourth and Erin Otis fifth. What a parade that must have looked like! Coach Rice actually remembers parts of the meet in a close finish, which in many ways just kind of run together, mentioning to us while glancing back, “it still seems like a maze to me.”
There was a pressure free throw in the meet as well. It was a free opportunity, which had to be made. It came down to the 4 x 400 relay team. Green Mountain’s entry had to finish third or above or Northfield would go home with the Division IV title. Junior Clara Martorano toed the starting line and contributed her quarter followed by three freshmen in order, Ripley, Erin Otis and Zoe Svec and when all swished their opportunity, the Chieftains were third in the event and the celebration was now in order.
Prior to the relay points accumulated in the 4 x 400, senior Riley Karl won both the Triple Jump and the Long Jump and garnered a second in the 400 and a fifth in the 200. The teams’ other first place finish came in the 100 Hurdles as Ripley won the event and White placed fifth. Sophomore Brigid Karl came up with two seconds, finishing high in the High Jump and being the lead runner in the 4 x 100 Relay. Joining Karl in the second place Relay event were sophomore Deirdre Moore, freshman Jacquelyn Parker-Jennings and White.
Additional points were contributed by freshman Abigail Williams, who had a third in the Discus, a fourth in the Shot Put and a fifth in the Javelin. The 4 x 800 Relay team of freshman Ahna Perry, junior Brianna Luman, senior Julia Howard and Moore picked up a fourth place finish, while additional points were added by Svec, who had a fifth in the 400, Parker-Jennings, who had a fifth in the Long Jump and Howard, who finished sixth in the Javelin.
Rice says, “things get kind of crazy when you win by a half point, but with so many personal bests, I am not surprised things turned out this way.”
The Chieftains are champions!