Indoor Track Athletes Shine at State Meet, Boys Earn 2nd in Div. II
February 01, 2024
Photo credit: Matthew Hayden
The Panthers had a stellar day at the VT High School Indoor Track Championships on Saturday – slaying school records, earning PRs, and punching a whole bunch of tickets to New Englands. The day-long competition, hosted by the University of Vermont, featured some memorable Panther performances.
On the boys side, junior Uly Junker-Boyce collected Division II titles in the 55 and the long jump. His 6.72 time in the 55 broke a 10-year school record held by TA alum Ian Weider ‘13, and was the second fastest among all divisions. In the long jump, Uly’s 20’ 10 ½: leap was both an indoor PR and division-leading performance – and only 1/2” shy of Coach Cole Chapman’s (TA 2015) record. Uly earned a spot in both events at New Englands.
Senior Ben Mattern brought his A-game, too, earning top spots in the 1500 and 3000 events. Ben and his teammate Brady Sloop took 2nd and 3rd place respectively in the 1500, earning TA a solid 14 meet points. In the 3000, Ben ran the fastest race ever completed by a TA runner with a time of 9:44, earning 7th overall.
In the 4 x 400, Uly, Ben, and Brady were all competing in their fourth event of the day, and along with teammate Owen Bicknell (who learned just a few minutes before the race started that he was being inserted into the lineup), the team “put in a remarkable, valiant effort,” according to Coach Buttrey. The team finished third to Hartford and Vergennes, and their time of 3:52.24 put them on the school record board.
The 4 x 800 competitors, Brady Sloop, Daniel Mann, Miguel Kutter-Walker, and Ben Mattern crushed their race with a 9:19.64, which placed them third in D-II and 6th overall, earning them a spot in the event at New Englands.
The girls, too, shone on Saturday. Junior Ava Hayden won the DII championship in the 3000 with a time of 11:30.96 – well short of her PR – and earned third overall in both the 1500 and the 3000. In the 4 x 800, Sarah Marshia, Alicja Perdrizet, Hanae Debo and Ceci Luce finished with an impressive 13:26.36, off their personal best, but strong enough to earn a 4th place DII finish.
In the end, the girls placed 7th overall in DII, and the boys followed Hartford for a second place finish, adding a bit of hardware to the TA collection.
Coach Buttrey shouted out the team’s seniors in his meet re-cap:
“It is time to say goodbye to a stalwart class of seniors. Maddy [Thaxton] earned us points in the shot put, didn’t complain too much when she was asked (well… told) to run in the 4 x 100 relay, and was the best teammate anyone could wish for. Ceci [Luce] brought a steady hand, a sense of humor and diligence and discipline to every practice, and she improved with every race. She leaves with her name on the school record board in the 4 x 800 relay. We missed Annie [Hesser] at the state meet, but – like Ceci and Maddy – she has been part of a steady and delightful core of track and cross-country athletes since middle school (and, in some cases, even earlier). Chase [LeFevre] not only earned himself a spot on the record board in the shot put, but eagerly and enthusiastically walked around as the Panther mascot during the state meet. Ben [Mattern] leaves us as one of the most talented indoor track athletes we’ve ever seen: his name appears in three spots on the school record board (he holds the school record in the 3000, he is third in the 1500, and today the 4 x 400 relay team of which he was a part etched their names on the board as well.”
Congratulations to TA’s indoor track and field athletes on a stellar season and thank you to our senior Panthers who have contributed so much to our teams and school community over the years. We are full of Panther Pride.