St. Johnsbury ready for return of H.S. track & field
The Hilltoppers girls are the 5-time defending D-1 state champions
BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Competitions are set to begin in the Spring high school sports seaon, with teams allowed to go head to head on starting on Saturday for the first time in nearly two years.
That includes outdoor track, the single biggest sport in the state of Vermont by participation. St. Johnsbury has had tremendous success in track and field over the last few years, particularly on the girls side where the Hilltoppers have claimed five consecutive division 1 state championships.
But the 2021 team will look very different from those title-winning teams, with many of the major contributors to the most recent crown having graduated over the past two years. All that turnover has forced athletes to step into key roles from both a competitive and leadership perspective.
“I would say that we have a really good solid group of seniors that just really, even before this year, junior year and before, they just really already were leaders to begin with.” said St. Johnsbury senior Merrick Hemond. “So I just feel like it’s even kind of grown more. It’s made people realize the need for leadership and just working I guess.”
“It’s kinda hard because I do feel a little awkward trying to like boss everyone around in a way, but it’s something I got used to.”, added senior Isabella Bostic.
One of the major questions around track and field is how meets are going to work.
Normally, you would have teams from several schools converge on one campus...which means hundreds of competitors in one place at the same time.
That can’t happen quite yet, so schedules are likely to be trimmed down and athletes who would normally have traveled with their teams won’t get the chance as often, and athletes will have to remain in designated areas when not competing. But just having any opportunity to test themselves against outside competition is an exciting prospect for the Toppers.
“I’m so excited to compete. I’ve missed it so much.”, said St. Johnsbury junior Elizabeth Jones.
“They’ll (the meets) definitely be a lot smaller, I’d say similar to cross country. A lot more dual or just in general smaller meets, capped. And I know you can’t have a lot of spectators, so it really just kinda pushes that inner mentality of working towards these goals and stuff. And I assume we’ll have states, given COVID agrees, but hopefully we’ll have a meet, but we’re just working and hoping.”, added Hemond.
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