Panthers Shine at Indoor Track State Meet

Panthers Shine at Indoor Track State Meet

By Charlie Buttrey

The Thetford Academy boys indoor track team made history on Saturday when, in just its second year as a varsity sport, they finished a very close second in the Division II meet.  The girls also had a great meet, finishing in a tie for 5th, just one point out of 4th place.

The boys scored points in 12 different events, including individual state championships by Knute Linehan whose leap of 39′ 3 1/4″ in the triple jump was a school record, and Owen Deffner, who won both the 1500 (in 4:33.34, the school’s second-fastest time ever) and the 3000 (in a school-record time of 10:00.98).  The boys 4 x 800 relay team (Tad Darrah, Deffner, Eli Kaliski and Bel Spelman) finished second in D-II and punched a ticket to the New England High School Championships, finishing in the top six among all Vermont teams.  Darrah also earned a trip to New Englands with his overall top six finish in the 1000, which placed him second in D-II, AND he finished 2nd in the 3000.  

More points came from Jason Wolstenholme (2nd in the 55 hurdles), Stephen Prunk (4th in the weight throw) and Lucas Gilman (6th in the weight throw).  In addition to his role in the 4 x 800, Spelman finished 5th in the 1500 and 3000, and was part of the second-place 4 x 400 relay team, with Darrah, Kaliski and Liam Curtis.  And, in addition to his state championship in the triple jump, Linehan finished 6th in the long jump and 300, and was part of the second-place 4 x 200 relay team, along with Curtis, Wolstenholme and Nate O’Donnell.

The girls were led by Layla Hanissian’s New-Englands-worthy second-place finish in the 1000.  Kiran Black and Samara Spelman finished 5th and 6th in the 55 hurdles, and were part of the 4th-place 4 x 200 relay team, along with Hannah Schwarz and Sophie Prescott. Hanissian combined with Morgan Gaffney, Anabel Reining and Emily Trage for a 4th-place finish in the 4 x 800 relay, and joined forces with Schwarz, Reining and Spelman for a 4th-place finish in the 4 x 400 relay. Kayla Busby’s weight throw toss of 25′ 2 3/4″ was the second-longest in school history, and earned her 6th place in that event.

What these athletes’ accomplishment all the more impressive is that T.A. was the smallest school at the D-II indoor track meet.  T.A. competes at the D-III level in every other sport.

Good job, Panthers!

Photo: L. Spelman