THIS & THAT

The Bellows Falls Terriers have been the way of life for Vermont Division III Track for some time now. The boys had captured the last six DIII titles and the girls had three. It did make sense that the Terriers would move up a division, but what would that mean? What would it actually look like?

You see, Division II had its own champions too. Union 32 had a string going of their own on the boys’ side and Rice was the girls’ defending champion. Then there was the matter of Hartford, who Bellows Falls Coach Tim Eno felt was a solid contender to unseat the defending champions of both genders.

Eno felt that his program still had numbers and would still have to be reckoned with, but coming a long ways to victory in Division II would be a much bigger hill to climb than the hill in DIII had been over the years. Eno thought if everything went just right, his girls’ team could catch the perfect storm and win, but the boys string of state titles was in all kinds of jeopardy. In fact, Eno wasn’t even sure they were in striking distance of having two chances: slim and none.

Then somehow it happened. Both teams won again. I accused Eno of stringing me along about his chances beforehand, but other coaches back up the coach’s claim. Most saw a tremendous program moving up, but no one saw either team as this tremendous.

How tremendous were they?

Well, one team won by 24 points and the other won by two. Wow! The girls didn’t just figure out a way to win, they clobbered the competition, huh? And somehow, the boys put it all together to eke out their seventh title in a row.

state meet
Row 1: Captains Julian Christiansen, Connor Smith, Drew Elliott, Reno Tuttle, Ian Wallace. Row 2: Coach Clark, Logan Comstock, Jacob Howarth, Harrison Gleim, Elijah Ghia, Gabe Hakimoglu, Dylan Clark (in back), Tim Salter-Roy, Hunter Smith, John Donovan, Issac Wilkinson, Collin Robertson, Tylar Stanley, Owen LaRoss, Mac Ross, Ryan Kelly, Noah Johnson, Stone Bradbury, Quinn Farmer, Jon Carrington, Coach Eno. Photo by Marcy Smith

What do you mean I have it all mixed up? You say the boys won by 24 and the girls won by two? I do understand the girls if that’s right, but the boys winning by 24? That’s going to take some explaining. They were not supposed to be in the picture.

“I’m as surprised as anyone else,” Eno confessed. “I really don’t have an answer. I work out the numbers for all the events and I couldn’t see how we could compete with either U-32 or Hartford, but an incredible number of [personal records] and performances from some that there really was no way of projecting, combined with the fact that some individual performances from other Division II schools broke up the projections I had made, set up an incredible day. This was one of my favorite days of my career.”

And that career is something else I will mention later. Eno has announced that this was his last day coaching a Terrier state champion because he is hanging up that coaching hat.

Back to the boys’ title. Eno tells me, “Ryan Kelly and Dylan Clark had a day you just couldn’t imagine. Ryan won both the hurdles and the high jump and Dylan won the javelin. They both gave us important points we didn’t expect.”

Bellows Falls also had firsts from Reno Tuttle in both the shot and the discus with the shot being his third straight state title, and he has been medaling in discus every year he has been in high school. A first place finish was also achieved by the 4 x 100 relay team of Drew Elliott, Gabe Hakimaglu, Connor Smith, and Harrison Gleim. “And then with all the PRs, we put together something I just didn’t see happening,” the coach went on to say.

The boys had plenty of points to spare and additional points were scored by second place finishes by Hakimoglu in the 100 and the high jump, third place points for Hunter Smith in the javelin and the 4 x 800 relay team consisting of Collin Robertson, Tylar Stanley, Tim Salter-Roy and Elijah Ghia, fourths for Clark in the 110 hurdles, Jonathan Carrington in the shot, Owen LaRoss in the discus, Ian Wallace in the 800, and Tuttle in the javelin. Fifth place finishes went to Connor Smith in the 100, the 4 x 400 relay team of Elliott, Stanley, Connor Smith, and Wallace, pole vaulter Hunter Smith, Elliott in the long jump, and John Donavan in the triple jump. Then sixth place points were added to the total from Clark in the discus and Julian Christiansen in the javelin.

Then there is the girls’ story, which Eno said, “Couldn’t have been this good if you had written it up.”

state meet
Row 1: Captains Haley Covillion, Jasmine Boucher, Megan Banik, Brigid Hodsden, Lia Clark. Row 2: Abbe Cravinho, Brenna LeDuc, Jaden Luebbert, Abby Broadley, Asylynn Boucher, Madisyn Illingworth, Johanna Parker, Leanna Mader, Stephanie Ager, Breanna Stockman. Row 3: Amber Murray, Madie Haskell, Halle Dickerson, Emma Lawrence, Macie Streeter, Michelle Marchica, Coach Bennett, Maya Waryas, Molly Hodsden, Meagan Kelly, Abby Dearborn, Kayleigh Illingworth, Molly Kelly, Coach Eno, Coach Clark Photo by Marcy Smith

Scores were tough to keep track of on the day and although Eno and his Terrier girls knew they were in the mix, there was no way to tell exactly how things stood. The State Meet’s last event got underway and Eno was searching for updated results to see just what his relay team might have to do to possibly win or finish second. Bellows Falls’ Abby Dearborn shot off to a good start in the 4x 400 relay knowing something was expectantly on the line. Dearborn passed the baton to Halle Dickerson and the race and the pace went on. While Dickerson was running, Eno was aggressively pursuing the totals and found out his Terriers were tied with Rice 103-103. He quickly charged in motion to get in a legal position to pass the information on to his runners that whatever happened, Bellows Falls had to finish in front of the Rice runner, who had been seeded ahead of the team.

Then it was all over, but the shouting. First, it was Eno, who was doing the shooting, barking loudly in hopes that Maya Waryas, Bellows Falls’ third runner, could pick up the pace, as the Terriers were needing to pass the Rice contingent at the time. Waryas picked up ground and made the no problem hand-off to Jasmine Boucher, the senior of this interesting relay team, which contained one runner from every class in the school. Boucher definitely heard Eno, who said, “Rice was in third place at the moment and we were in fifth. Jasmine then ran the 400 of her life. She had run a 64 in her individual 400 earlier, but this time she ran a 60 and passed the Rice runner.” There was then much more shouting to be done.

The most bizarre thing about the girls’ victory was that Bellows Falls captured only one first place. Usually a championship team captures several firsts. Jaden Luebbert won the pole vault, but she was the lone winner. The Terriers managed to place second in four events, which gave a big boost as well. Abby Broadley was second in the 3,000 and seconds also went to Michelle Marchica in the triple jump, Brigid Hodsden in the 100, and Brenna Stockman in the javelin. The depth of Eno’s team found third place finishes from the 4 x 100 relay team of Hodsden, Dickerson, Cravinho and Waryas, the 4 x 800 team of Dearborn, Molly Hodsden, Megan Banik and Dickerson, and Emma Lawrence in the shot put. Fourth place points went to Abbe Cravinho in the 100, Hodsden in the pole vault, Boucher in the triple jump, and Dickerson in the javelin. Fifth place placements were led by a tie for fifth in the high jump with Molly Kelly and Marchica. Cravinho in the 300, and Macie Streeter in the javelin also placed fifth. Lawrence had the lone sixth in the javelin.

When did Eno decide to step down? Would you believe it was way back in April? He sat down and told Principal Chris Hodsden and Athletic Director Ian Fraunfelder this would be it. He let a few others know along the way, but the only public announcement of any kind came on the eve of the State Meet last Friday, when coach met with the seniors to let them know. Many of the Terriers on both teams still didn’t know that he was done until after two more titles were captured.

The seniors are now riding off into the sunset with consecutive titles filling their pockets.

state meet
Girls and Boys are Division II State Champions. Photo by Marcy Smith
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