SOUTH BURLINGTON — Bellows Falls track and field bumped up a division and laid down the law during Saturday’s state championships.
The Terriers swept the Division II meet in dramatic fashion following years of dominance at the D-III level. Bellows Falls claimed its seventh straight boys title, knocking six-time champ U-32 off its throne with a 24-point victory. The Bellows Falls girls claimed their fourth consecutive crown by securing a two-point victory over two-time defending champ Rice.
Throwing star Reno Tuttle racked up 24 points for BF after winning shot put and discus and placing fourth in javelin. Tuttle’s shot put distance of 48 feet, 9.5 inches was over 6 feet better than anyone else. His discus heave of 168 feet, 3 inches was good enough to prevail by over 39 feet. Sprinter Gabe Hakimoglue was second in the 100 and 200 for the Terriers and teammate Dylan Clark won javelin.
“Our kids did better than they were supposed to do, it’s just that Bellows Falls did a lot better than they were supposed to do,” U-32 coach Mark Chaplin said. “Sometimes it’s out of your control.”
During the previous six years, the Raiders were mostly unchallenged while building their D-II dynasty. But once Bellows Falls joined U-32’s division this spring, the stage was set for a clash between two six-time champs. The Raiders and Terriers entered the state meet in a virtual dead heat based on the seeding, and BF overachieved in several key events to take control.
“We knew it was tied on paper,” Chaplin said. “We knew we had to come through for all the points we were supposed to and probably get a few more, and we did. We got about 10 more points than we were supposed to, but unfortunately (Bellows Falls) got about 30 more points they were supposed to. A lot of it was events that we are just not competitive in. They just really cleaned up in the field events, and we had no answer there. And they had no answer for us in the distance.”
Andrew Crompton, Waylon Kurts, Jed Kurts, Trevor Patterson, Patrick Cioffi and Leo Cioffi all competed in three or four running events to score big points for the U-32 boys. Crompton won the 800 (2 minutes, 1.09 seconds) and placed second in the 1,500 (4:17:45) and the 3,000 (9:31.68). Kurts finished second in the 800 (2:01.18) and claimed victories in the 1,500 (4:15.96) and 3,000 (9:31.11). Both runners finished the day by completing legs on the fourth-place 4x400 relay team along with Patterson and Martin McMahon.
“The distance crew for the boys was dominating and they did what they were supposed to do,” Chaplin said. “With Andrew Crompton, you can’t look at individual performances because we had him in the 1,500, 800, 3,000 and 4x400. And so he was just trying to be near the front and expend as little energy as possible. While he could have probably won both the 800 and 1,500, he and Waylon kind of traded off on the two — and in the 3,000 as well. Andrew was just a little better at gearing down than Waylon was, and Andrew had the fastest split in the 4x400 as a result. He could have easily had three individual firsts today. He just spent the day tying to get points for the team.”
U-32’s 4x100 relay team placed second, thanks to strong efforts by Maxwell Fair, Eric Scharf, Zai Gluck and McMahon. McMahon was third in the 100 (11.97 seconds), while Gluck was sixth in the 100 (12.14 seconds) and 200 (24.72 seconds).
“We were supposed to almost get shut out in the boys sprints, so they did a lot better than they were supposed to,” Chaplin said. “Our sprint relay got second when they were supposed to be third, so they performed better than they had all year. Martin McMahon got third in the 100 and third in the hurdles, a brand new event for him, and did well in both relays. He had the second-fastest split on the 4x400. And he is the fastest guy, our anchor, on the 4x100 as well. He had a very good day today.”
Cioffi, Jed Kurts, Carter Little and Alexander Saunders teamed up on the winning 4x800 team (8:35.28). The Raiders will send their 4x800 squad to the upcoming New England Championships, where Crompton plans to compete in the 1,500. Teammate Julia Oliver will represent the U-32 girls at New Englands in both the 100 and 300 hurdles. Oliver swept the hurdles at states for the fourth-place Raiders, winning the 100 in 16.89 seconds and winning the 200 in 48.73 seconds. She teamed up with Zoe Barbero-Menzel, Sage Hannon and Shams Ferver on the fourth-place 4x100 relay team.
She capped the day by helping the 4x400 team place third, joining forces with Ferver, May Lamb and Kestral Weyant.
“Julia Oliver had a great day,” Chaplin said. “She had two school records in the hurdles, and then she did well in the relays as well.”
Lamb won the 1,500 (4:52.93) and finished second in the 800 (2:26.02). Earlier this year she was also one of the stars for the state championship Nordic ski team.
“In the 1,500, May Lamb had an awesome come-from-behind kick that won the thing,” Chaplin said. “And then she almost pulled it off in the 800 as well. She just got outleaned at the tape and she lost by two-hundredths of a second.”
Although the Raiders’ track and field reign has ended, many of the U-32 boys distance runners will attempt to keep another dynasty intact this fall.
Chaplin’s cross-country running team is gunning for its fourth straight boys crown, and for most of the top athletes summer vacation will be all about preparing for another title run.