2022 VT HS XC State Meet Preview
VT XC State Meet Preview
Girls Team Race and Individuals:
This race should be pretty anticlimactic. Unless something went VERY wrong there is no team who can compete with CVU. The question is how low can they get their score to be. With a high level duo of Alice Kredell and Estella Laird leading the team they should get 2 very low sticks early. They then are followed by some solid group pack running with their 3-7 coming in close together. The interesting battle will be for the 2-4 spots in the team race. Essex seems to have moved into the #2 spot. Scarlet Stimson gives them their low stick and their next pack comes in pretty tight to offset the top 3 from MMU. Tess Drury and MMU certainly are in the mix. Tess has had a great season and will be in the bottle for the overall individual title as well. Ella McEntee and Seven Bowen give them a solid 2&3 but there is a pretty solid gap until we get to their 4&5. That gap is where the majority of runners in the race will be coming in and will probably hurt their overall score pretty significantly. Burlington and Gillian Fairfax will be in the mix. Gillian always runs well at Thetford and if they can close the gaps behind her they could challenge the top 3. All of these teams will also be looking to solidify their New England Championship berths by finishing in the top 6 overall for the day.
The individual race should be a barn burner. Alice Kredell and Tess Drury have had some battles this season. This should be a very good race and it will be interesting to see who will end up with the upper hand BUT there are a couple of other possible contenders lurking within reach if either one falters. Scarlet Stimson and Gillian Fairfax will be in position to take advantage of any situation that may boost them into the top 2. This top 4 will make the individual race an exciting one.
As the divisions get lower they less I know about these teams but it’s not hard to know that this will come down to the normal rivals U-32 and Harwood. U-32 led by Ginger Long and Amy Felice look to have the upper hand but these two teams have had some upsets over the years. U-32 has shown they can handle the pressure with their impressive 3rd place finish in their letter race at Manhattan and have a nice pack in their 3-5 spots. Harwood is led by Charlie Flint and Julia Thurston. They are pretty close with U-32 through 3 runners and the question will be can their 4&5 move up to challenge the U-32 4&5 runners. This is a race where I hope the teams are healthy. I know that sickness has ripped through some teams and this is a race that I hope can be settled on the course and not by teams missing a runner or two. Both of these teams are definitely in the mix for a spot in the New England Championship so their battle will also be for one of those six spots.
This race looks like the home team and home course advantage puts Thetford Academy in the driver's seat. Madelyn Durkee has always run well at the State Meet and will be looking to guide her team to another state championship. Running on the course definitely can not be discounted as a factor considering how challenging the course is. Stowe and Rice look to be battling it out for the 2nd spot. This race is where the different scoring in D3 may come into play. In D3 they only score the top 4 and not the top 5 like in the other two divisions. Using a virtual meet function Rice would beat Stowe when you score top 5 but it flips when you only score 4 and then Stowe vaults over Rice. BUT it is close! It doesn’t look like any of these teams can compete for a New England Championship spot. When the meet is merged they score the top 5 finishers and it is really hard for them to then compete with the higher division teams.
New England Qualifiers PREDICTION!
FYI!!! This was just for fun and South Burlington will be trying to stick their nose into this group also. It could come down to who is completely healthy and who handles the pressure of the day the best. Essex seems to be running well at the right time of the year which is why I had them in front of U-32 but I do think that U-32 could easily finish in the 2nd spot based on the season they have had so far. It also is going to be a free for all in the rest of the top 6. Who knows what is going to happen! Just giving my best guess. Can’t wait for it to be settled on the course this Saturday.
Boys Team Race and Individuals:
OH NELLY!!! This could be a good one! St Johnsbury, CVU and Essex could have a battle royal to determine the D1 champion. St Johnsbury seems to have solidified themselves as the favorites led by their trio of Andrew Thorton-Sherman, Carson Eames and Charlie Krebbs. They also have the memory of winning the championship to help guide them through the nerves, etc of a State Meet day. They have to be considered the favorites BUT(yes another big BUT) CVU and Essex are in striking distance. There have been so many upsets at Thetford because little mistakes can be amplified because of the difficulty of the course. Then add in the pressure of the race and it is a recipe for the favorites on paper to not end up being the actual champions. CVU is led by the favorite for the individual title in Matt Servin. Matt has normally been clear of the field in VT by at least 30 seconds so he is the clear favorite. The thing that will determine the outcome for CVU is what happens behind Matt. Jack Crum has been very impressive all season as their #2 but their championship hopes will be determined by their 3-5 runners. Can they keep their gaps tight and move forward to threaten the St Johnsbury 4-5 runners. Essex is led by the surging Luke Miklus. Luke is coming back into form at just the right time. He has run well at the State Meet before so he will put them in position to have a low number right away. Kelton Poirer gives them a solid 2nd runner so their situation is very similar to the situation CVU is in. Can their 3-5 move forward and keep the gaps close enough to battle it out with St Johnsbury. This has the makings to possibly be the race of the day.
The mistake runners will make when they need to make up a time gap on their opponents at Thetford is they will run the first kilometer too fast. This is what is a little nerve wracking with the position CVU and Essex are in. They need to find the sweet spot to stay in touch with St Johnsbury but not go out too fast to have the dreaded 3rd and 4th kilometers make them pay for the early aggressiveness. The thing I hear so often is “but the first K is almost all downhill!” “How can you go out too fast!” Well the 2nd K climbs from the lowest part on the course to the start area so if they went out too fast, even going downhill, that 2nd K could put them in a load of hurt heading into the 3rd K which has some of the most changes of positions of any area on the course not called Morty’s Monster! I was always stunned at how much the race changes from the 2K marker to the 3K marker but after reflecting on it, that is the point that any pacing mistakes start to rear their ugly head. Heading into the 4th K and Morty’s Monster can only make those mistakes even worse!
This race is so hard to know what is going to happen. Is U-32 healthy? I have no idea! They haven’t been for weeks and if they still are struggling with illness this could open the door for a team like Montpelier or Middlebury to pull off the upset. If the quartet of Cyrus Hansen, Sargent Burns, Taggart Schrader and Wilder Brown are healthy then U-32 should repeat as D2 champions but if even one of them is out it could put the championship in play. Montpelier is led by D2 individual favorite Avery Smart. Avery has had a great season and allows Montpelier to start their team scoring with a very low number. After Avery, Montpelier has the duo of Ezra Merrill-Triplett and Noah Rivera. Both should solidly finish inside the top 10 to give them a very competitive top 3. It is after this trio that there is a pretty big gap to there 4&5 runners. This is where the championship could be decided. Middlebury also has a solid top 3 in Baxter Harrington, Ben Seaton and Baker Nelson but without the top end finisher that U-32 and Montpelier have. They also will have to overcome a pretty big gap from their 3rd runner to their 4&5 runners. This race will most likely be decided by the health of the U-32 top 5.
If everyone is healthy this race is probably the easiest to call…Craftsbury Academy in a repeat. Obviously some injuries…some poorly timed illness…and that could change things but it looks pretty clear that they are the top team in D3 if healthy. There would have to be a lot of things going wrong with CA for Stowe or Thetford Academy to be in a position to upset them but that is why you run the race. The big question for Craftsbury may be can they repeat their impressive New England qualification from last year? Right now they are definitely in the mix and it will definitely be one thing to watch this Saturday.
New England Qualifiers PREDICTION!
Ok this was hard! I could have had at least 2 different teams in the top 6 so it could be a battle for the final 2 spots in this top 6. I used Thetford Invitational results to make my predictions along with looking at a virtual meet between all divisions of VT. Remember this is all for fun because I don’t feel completely confident in this prediction. It really could go a lot of different ways!! That is what makes this weekend so much fun. Who will deal with the State Meet nerves and perform at their best. Good luck to everyone and the only thing you can do is to do your best and be proud of that performance. Leave it all on the course on Saturday!!!