May 27, 2017 – essex, Vt
Each year there is only one opportunity for the best athletes high school athletes in the state of Vermont to come together during outdoor track. The Essex Invitational serves as the New England qualifying meet. Athletes from all divisions fight for just six spots in each event, and a chance to represent Vermont at the New England Championship. This year’s edition of the most talent heavy competition of the season did not disappoint.
In 1969, Nixon succeed Lyndon B. Johnson as president, NASA launched Apollo 9 through 12, and Tom Titus (CVU) long jumped 22-06.25 inches to set the Vermont state long jump record. Many things changed over the next 48 years. One thing that persisted was that long jump record… until Saturday. Bill Wood (Woodstock) soared off the board on his final attempt of the competition to a mark of 22-09.50. When he landed, it was as if a shock wave emanated from the sand as onlookers rose to their feet in anticipation. When the final measurement was taken, Bill and his competitors jumped up and down screaming – a very fitting way to celebrate a record leap. In addition to his first place finish in the long jump, Bill also picked up a pair of fourth place finishes in the 100m and 200m dash.
In our last post, we made the claim that Sonia John (Rice Memorial) does not lose. She witnessed Bill’s performance and thought, “Anything you can do, I can do better!” Sonia competed in three events (100m, 200m, and 400m), and she won three events. She also set a new Division 2 state record in the 200m (25.47), and a new overall state record in the 400m (56.45). Sonia will be one of the top overall sprinters going into the New England Championship.
There were other standout performances on Saturday. Tyler Marshall (CVU) doubled up with wins in the 800m and 1500m runs, setting a new meet record in the 1500m with a time of 3:57.54. Molly McCreedy (U-32) is arguably the best overall thrower in the state. She won the discus with a meet record throw of 131-08, about 30 feet farther than second place. She was also third in the shot put with the top three throwers only separated by 4 inches.
Sade Hankey (Essex), DJ Snide (Bellows Falls), and Ismail Liban (Burlington were all double event winners. Ian Clough (St. Johnsbury) set a new meet record in the 100m with a time of 10.90. St. Johnsbury boys swept all three relays to display their considerable depth. Maddie Khamnei (Burlington) was a surprise winner in the long jump. The senior sprinter started jumping seriously only about a month ago.
Essex Invites was about individual achievement. Next up are the state championship meets where the focus is on team performance and collective sacrifice. Division 4 will be first out of the blocks on championship weekend. That meet will be Friday night at Green Mountain Union. The same site hosts the Division 3 championship on Saturday. Simultaneously, Division 2 will be competing at U-32, and Division 1 will be at Burlington High School. Check out our calendar for more details about the state championship meets.