VTHSXC.COM Boys Vermont HS Cross Country Poll Results -Oct. 25, 2021
Boys Overall Top 10
6. St. Jay
The leaves are gone, the days are shorter, colder and wetter, it's time for States!
Cross Country is unique in several seemingly contradictory ways. In no sport is the regular season, from a competitive perspective, both so 1. Predictive and 2. Unimportant.
Predictive, in that distance running has no last second shots, bad calls, or hot goalies that can dramatically sway the outcome of an individual game or short tournament. More than any other sport, distance running lays bare the brutal truth, either you have the fitness and guts or you don't. Success in the big Cross Country races in November are won over countless sweaty, anonymous miles run in July and rainy, snowy 10 milers in February. No one “gets hot” and drops a fast time at Thetford out of the blue. Yes there are good and bad individual races that can sway the outcome, in a sport where every place can determine the team winner, but there are no miracles in running.
Unimportant, because no one cares if you win every dual meet or invitational in September and October, if you don't win States, you ain't won “anything”. To that point, this week's rankings are informative, and tell us that the State Meet is super competitive, but this coming Saturday at 2pm no one will recall where they were “ranked” earlier in the week or year. Let’s see how this drama is shaping up:
On the boys-and girls- side there are actually four team championship races happening this Saturday at Thetford Academy. TheGirls and Boys D1, D2 and D3 State Champs will all be crowned. In addition, the top 6 teams - in each gender and across all divisions- will qualify to represent Vermont at New England Championships against the 24 other best teams in the region. No other sport gives local teams the chance to see where they stack up against the best in New England.
D1Boys: BFA has never won a Cross Country State Championship. They have three super Seniors. If the Bobwhites have a weakness it's in their depth. Five runners score and BFA will likely be waiting for their fifth man to come across to see if they have won their first “Chip”. CVU is the most decorated program in D1. They have Matthew Sevrin and a deep squad that has been improving every week. If the Redhawks upset the Franklin County parade, it will likely be tight but it won’t be an upset. This battle is too close to call. SB and Essex would like nothing better than to crash the BFA/CVU party and its possible but its St.Jay who might yet throw a wrench into the Champlain Valley power struggle. The Hilltoppers have Evan Thorton-Sherman the presumptive winner of the individual race and Hale Boyden capable of a top 3 finish. If they are healthy and have a good day, St. Jay could bring a Cross Country State Championship back to “The Academy” for the first time since Ike was President. The big school boys race could be one for the ages.
D2 Boys: This race shouldn't be close. U32 are the five time defending champs. Last year they scored a perfect 15 points and went 1-7 at States for the first time in Vermont and as far as we can tell US history. Unfortunately for the rest of D2 this year's Raiders are even better than the 2020 edition and are getting votes in regional and even national polls. Barring injury, illness or to quote Harwood Coach John Kerrigan “a lost bus” the Raiders will bring another Championship back up Gallison Hill Rd. Montpelier’s Avery Smart and Harwood’s Ebbe LIllis are the individuals with the best chance to break up the U32 parade. Were the Raiders to lose the team race it would rank among the biggest upsets in the history of Vermont sports. The race for second is a toss up with Harwood, Montpelier, Middlebury and Woodstock all in the hunt. The race for the runner up trophy will be a very exciting one.
D3Boys : If U32 is a prohibitive favorite in D2, Craftsbury Academy is possibly an even bigger favorite in D3. More than 2 mins per man faster than the rest of the division. The Chargers, minus a bus mishap, will win this one. Thetford and Stowe will battle for second. Is Thetford top gun Tobin Durham healthy and all the way back? If he is, this race is also too close to call.
Top 6 Boys Teams Overall/New England’s berths: U32, BFA, CVU should all make it after that, it gets crazy. Over 40 teams with seven really fast teams and only six spots. Vermont could have 2 or even 3 teams with a shot for top 10 in the region making this the strongest crop of Green Mountain Cross Boys in the last decade but which six teams will it be? The huge underdog story here is Craftsbury. It's been decades (ever?) since a D3 school sent a boys team to New Englands. The Chargers with 50 or so boys in the whole high school could do it this year. If they do so they will have to unseat one of St. Jay, SB, or Essex all schools with 500-600 boys, Hoosiers indeed?
Individual Boys: Vermont has a very strong crop of individual runners this year. If it was a question of who deserves to win then Evan Thorton-Sherman will take it. He has been the best Vermont runner on any surface for the last two years. Undefeated since Cross 2020 and having dropped multiple races that are earning him accolades among the best 30-50 runners in the USA. ETS is the man. His 16;11 on the Thetford course (Woods Trail) is the second best by a Vermonter on the course in the last 20 years. Matthew Servin is the only local runner to come within 25 seconds of him this year. Cross is cruel in that “deserves” plays no role, ETS will need to prove his superiority again on Sat. U32 Coach Andrew Tripp predicts “if he is healthy, ETS will win, take it to the bank.” If not, it's Servin and a whole host of others who will be quick and certainly harbor their own dreams of victory.
Division 1 Boys Top 5
Division 2 Boys Top 5
Division 3 Boys Top 5
VTHSXC.COM Girls Vermont HS Cross Country Poll Results -Oct 25, 2021
Girls Overall Top 10
D1: What looked like a different narrative throughout the season has now shifted into a very familiar scene. The CVU girls are ranked #1 heading into states and will be looking to win their 13th state title in a row and 18 of the last 19. The Redhawks have two returners from the 2020 team but the new squad have shown they are fully capable of getting the same result come states. Burlington held the #1 position for the majority of the season but will need to regroup to win the school's first state title since 2002. When the Seahorses are firing on all cylinders they can be very tough to beat. MMU should not be overlooked by anyone. MMU (along with CVU) are entering states with the strongest momentum of any team. They have steadily been improving all season long putting themselves in a position to challenge for the state title. Essex has the ability to surprise some of the higher ranked teams. They had a small 1-5 gap in the final regular season meet and always seem to run well when it matters the most. SB rounds out the top contenders for the D1 girls race. SB showed what they have the potential to do in their home race by beating CVU.
D1: The D1 girls race is going to be highly contested and could be decided by an extremely small margin. With several teams with a very realistic chance this has potential to be one of the most exciting races of the day.
D2: State titles aren’t handed out for rankings so Harwood will need to complete the race but all results point to Harwood winning by a wide margin. The highlanders have proven they can race on hills, flats, small races and big races. The battle for the runner up position should be highly contested with U32 and Middlebury. Both U32 and Middlebury have been ranked in the top 10 and swapped positions in the ranking throughout the season.
D3: Thetford is the favorite heading into Saturday. They will have home course advantage over craftsbury their closest competition and the rest of the field.
Top 6: The overall top 6 has been consistent all season with CVU, EHS, HU, BHS, MMU and SB. There has certainly been lots of shuffling in the order of these 6 teams. The group of U32, Middlebury, St Jay, BFA and Thetford will be primed and ready to shake things up by bumping one of them out. The Thetford course has proved to be an equalizer by chewing teams up or having a team run the race of their season.
Individual girls: Ava Thurston of Harwood is the 2020 defending overall state champion and is one of the favorites on Saturday. Logan Hughes of BFA has on several occasions beaten Thurston. The two haven’t raced head to head since the early season. Fans will have to wait for the showdown since they will be competing in different divisions. Hughes will have the benefit of being pushed by Alice Kredel of CVU. Kredel has been on fire the 2nd half of the season and poses a real threat for the overall and D1 win. The next group contains Rebecca Cunningham of BHS (who 1 year ago nearly pulled off an upset win). Maggie Mcgee (Lamoille), Sierra Fisher (SB) and Estella Laird (North Branch) have all shown signs at one time or another capable of an upset.
Division 1 Girls Top 5
Division 2 Girls Top 5
Burr & Burton/Woodstock
Division 3 Girls Top 5