VTHSXC.COM Vermont HS Boys Cross Country Poll Results - Sept. 19, 2022
Boys Overall Top
2. St. Jay
Comments: “Past results do not guarantee future performance.” Despite the wisdom of this old adage, the coaches (split decision) again voted #1 U32 in the polls this week. This is a very different Raider team, new names and not as deep, compared to recent years, but many coaches seem to be giving them the benefit of the doubt. Both the Raiders and #2 St. Jay are undefeated this year but they have not raced head to head and neither team is yet to run at full strength. The Raiders, minus Cyrus Hansen, comfortably won their home Invite while St.Jay, sans Charlie Krebs, dropped a perfect 15 points in a dual meet victory. #3 CVU raced to a very impressive 4th place at the very competitive Queensbury Invite in New York. With Matt Severin running 30+ seconds faster than any other boy in Vermont, the Redhawks are certainly a threat for the top spot, especially in the larger, faster and vastly more competitive races where these teams are likely to meet up as the season progresses. Do not sleep on #4 Essex: if Luke Milkus can return from injury to the level he showed last year in both Track and Cross Country, the Hornets may be top dogs come November.
The first big regional race of the year is on tap this Saturday at the Manchester (NH) Invitational. With all five (#5 SB) of Vermont’s top ranked teams slated to run in the Big School Race this could give us the first true glimpse of how these teams actually stack up. However with injuries and COVID continuing to regularly shuffle lineups, who knows when or if we will actually see these teams at “full” strength. Injury management and minimization, squad depth, and a healthy dose of luck are key elements in coaching Cross Country and often play an outsized role in who wins at any given race and brings home the hardware in the Championship Races. #5 Craftsbury, yet to run 4 of their top 5, is a prime example of this phenomenon. A tiny school (75 students in the HS), is CA coach Mike LaVangie resting his guys for late season, a tried and true strategy, or have the Chargers been hit by the injury/illness bug? In either case, the coaches keep voting CA into the top ten, sight unseen.
#7 MMU leads the rest of the state, with #8 MHS, #9 MIDD, and #10 BFA close behind. These four teams are all good, but each will need to see either a faster pack or a couple runners raise their game before they can compete with the first tier teams. The great thing about Cross Country is that every Saturday provides a new and blank page for teams and individuals to rewrite the story. This Saturday the storied Derryfield Park course will provide many of these teams with just such an opportunity.
On the individual side, Matt Severin is running away with things. How low can he go and how will he fare at the regional (national?) level? Will Smart, Viens, Miklus, Thornton-Sherman, Burns or Hurteau find the speed and guts to run with him? With a sub 2:00 9th grade 800m and a fearless racing style, reminiscent of his older brother and Vermont legend Evan, Andrew Thornton-Sherman is sure to give it a try. Will anyone else go with him?
VTHSXC.COM Vermont HS Girls Cross Country Poll Results - Sept. 19, 2022
Girls Overall Top 10
The coaches had a little more homework this week to determine their rankings. Two different meets in two different states highlighted the weekend with the majority running at the U-32 Invitational and CVU, BHS, Rutland and Essex competing at the Queensbury Invitational. Add in an old-fashioned dual meet at Mills Riverside Park between St. J and MMU and you have lots of cross country action. The season is certainly underway and the rankings are moving!
CVU remains the constant in our poll. All the coaches agreed that the Redhawks should sit atop the power rankings. This is the third week in a row and absent some new runners surfacing at other schools, there is unlikely to be a change. CVU came in a respectable 4th at the Queensbury Invitational this past weekend. Despite being humbled by perennial national powerhouse Saratoga, CVU dominated all of the Vermont teams in attendance. Alice Kredell and Estella Laird provide a very solid 1-2 punch and coupled with some unmatched depth to separate from the 2nd ranked team. It is worth noting again that CVU’s depth goes well beyond the top seven they line up in a varsity race. Their JV squad can compete with most other VT teams. This is important as the season rolls on and injuries and illness wear some teams out.
The coaches were slightly split on 2-3 in this week’s rankings. U-32 got the nod at #2 in our rankings despite a tie-breaker loss to Harwood at their home invitational this week. Coaches noticed that the Raiders were without their top runner, Ginger Long, and considered this in their rankings. While idle for the Burlington Invitational, U-32 showed their hand at Essex with a very solid squad. The Essex Hornets climbed in the rankings from last week and come in at #3 after a solid showing at the competitive Queensbury meet, even receiving a couple of #2 votes. The Hornets were again led by Scarlet Stimson who managed a solid 14th place. Her low stick will be needed as the front of the U-32 pack seems to have a slight advantage when they meet head-to-head. Essex was again without its number 2 runner, leaving some uncertainty with the coaches.
Harwood and MMU round out the top 5. Harwood enjoyed a strong showing at U-32, knocking off the Raiders on their home course. A relatively low spread from 1-5 aided their cause. U-32 was seemingly short handed but that is how it goes in cross country. Injuries and illness have impacted most teams by this point in the season. Making it to the starting line is half the battle.
Noticeably dropping from the top 5 this week is Burlington. The Seahorses competed at Queensbury this past weekend but did not field a complete team. There are concerns that without a full squad, Burlington will be hard-pressed to make noise in the top 5.
It appears that most of our top 10 teams will be competing at the Manchester Invitational this Saturday. We will get a look at how they fare not only against each other, but against some of New England’s best. CVU, Essex, MMU, BFA, South Burlington, Burlington and Rutland will all square off in the Large School Division, while U-32 and Harwood will compete in the Small School race. Given the size of the fields at Manchester, we would expect those with competitive 5th runners to fair well. Remember that the Vermont State Championships do not have such numbers and teams built for large races may not fare as well at our small Vermont meets.
On the individual side, Alice Kredell showed her stuff versus a competitive Queensbury team. She fared well against some of Eastern NY’s best and was once again the top Vermont runner. The jury is still out on who will be the top challenger to Alice come championship time. One of those candidates is Scarlet Stimson of Essex. The Hornets #1 finished 14th about 30 seconds behind Alice and one place ahead of the second half of CVU’s dynamic duo, Estella Laird. Not much changed in this order from last week, but both Scarlet and Estella cemented themselves as legitimate challengers. Worth noting that Queensbury was once again a relatively fast course. Manchester will provide a steeper challenge given the challenging uphills and sharp downhills.
Ginger Long of U-32 was inactive this past weekend. Whether she is injured, ill or simply resting, we will have to wait and see. In her absence teammate Amy Felice took top honors at U-32 with a win over BFA’s freshman phenom, Kaitlyn Lumbra. Middlebury’s Beth McIntosh made a big leap from week one and threw her name into the mix after a close loss to Felice and Lumbra. Of course, lets not forget about MMU’s Tess Drury who handily won her home dual meet last week. Worth noting that Drury and Stimson are the only seniors in this group. Big race experience and emotions of running that championship race for the final time can’t be discounted when they all toe the line in October. Never count out a senior running with her team for what could be the final time.
It looks to be CVU’s and Kredell’s races to lose come championship season, but we will know more after this weekend. First Manchester and then, more importantly, Thetford next week. Should all teams be at full strength, Thetford’s Woods Trail will serve as a nice little preview for the big dance at the end of October. If history is any indication, Thetford’s famed hill, Morty’s Monster, will most certainly have a say in who is crowned champ on October 28th. There are few more exciting moments in Vermont high school cross country, than when the leader shows themself to the crowd as they emerge from the woods at the bottom of Morty’s. That moment is now a short 5 weeks away.