WHITE RIVER JCT. — White River Valley splashed its green and gold colors all over Hartford’s High grueling 3.1-mile layout at the Southern Vermont League B Division Championship but there was plenty of room left for two shades of blue. Otter Valley and Hartford also had plenty to crow about.
White River Valley’s Anita Miller and Otter Valley’s Parker Todd claimed the individual titles.
The White River Valley boys and the Hartford girls ran to the team titles, the first league championship in cross country for Hartford since 1982.
The White River Valley boys showed impressive depth in earning its victory. Danny Smith, Ryan Smith and Kajiu Young nailed down the 2-3-4 spots.
Hartford also had the depth needed to win a team crown. Meg Mclaughry, Kayla Burnham, Rylee Burnham and Clementime Philip ran as a pack to give the Hurricanes the 4-5-6-7 spots and Bethany Davis came home ninth.
Miller not only won the girls race, she did it in record ime, erasing the course standard of 21:24 that had stood since 2018. Miller did it with plenty to spare, clocking 21:07.
Miller was as happy with conquering the course as winning the race.
She called the course a harder course than the challenging layout at Thetford where the State Meet will be held on Oct. 31.
“There are a lot of steep hills here in the woods and I tried to sprint up them,” Miller said.
Miller was running alone. Mill River’s Annika Heintz, the second-place finisher, wasn’t really threatening her.
Yet, even without being pushed, the freshman set a new course mark.
“A lot of running is just racing yourself and trying to beat your times,” Miller said.
Miller comes from a family of runners and is also athletic away from the cross country venues. She is a dual-sport athlete during the fall, playing for the Wildcats on the soccer pitch.
Miller loves both of her fall sports. She does see a distinct difference: When it comes to cross country, everything is on your shoulders.
“When you lose in running, it’s only your fault,” Miller said.
She is already thinking about what she wants to do on Halloween in Thetford.
“I would like to run a sub-20-minute time,” Miller said.
“It’s a big day,” WRV coach Shannon Palone said about the Wildcats winning both an individual and team title.
Heintz, who does own a win on the Hartford layout this season, clocked 23:15.19.
Todd said he was not surprised he was able to claim the trophy in the boys race.
“I actually thought I could do it. I have been training hard, running four miles after practice,” Todd said.
Todd said he won the race on the hills. That is where he passed runners to take the lead.
Todd was unaware that he had won the race until about 10 minutes after he crossed the line. There was a runner from Mid-Vermont Christian who was an unofficial entrant but he did not count.
When told of the situation, Todd looked at his card and said, “Oh, that’s why this says first on it.”
NOTES: Mill River’s Olivia Haley won the middle school race earlier in the day and her teammate Alana Smith placed second. They were not there to receive their awards because they had already left the scene to go hunting. “That’s coaching in Vermont,” Mill River coach Peter See said through a smile. ... Hartford’s Meg Mclaughry set the Hartford school record for the course with her time. ... Poultney coach Johanna DeKalb had her four freshmen boys in the race and she believes they give the program a future. “Ryan Simons and Hagen McDermott kind of lead the pack,” she said.
Boys top teams: 1. White River Valley 19; 2. Otter Valley 30; 3. Hartford 33; 4. Long Trail 94.
Girls top teams: 1. Hartford 22; Springfield 37.
Top 10 Boys: 1. Parker Todd, Otter Valley, 19 39; 2. Danny Smith, White River Valley, 20:05; 3. Ryan Smith, White River Valley, 20:40; 4.Kajiu Young, White River Valley, 20:44; 5. Jack Fornier, Hartford, 20:45; 6. Joseph Cijka, Otter Valley, 20:53; 7. Finn Sunde, Hartford, 20:58; 8. Liam Murphy, Otter Valley, 20:59; 9. Finn Wather, Hartford, 21:19; 10. Alex Madden, White River Valley, 21:22.
Top 10 Girls: 1. Anita Miller, White River Valley, 21:07.59; 2. Annika Heintz, Mill River, 23:15.19; 3. Anna Andre, Springfield, 23:38.50; 4. Meg Mclaugry, Hartford, 24:01.87; 5. Kayla Burnham, Hartford, 24:49.24, 6. Rylee Burnham, Hartford, 25:10.68; 7. Clementine Philip, Hartford, 25:03.08; 8. Alicia Ostrom, Springfield, 26:25.23; 9. Bethany Davis, Hartford, 26:41.30; 10. Kelsey Adams, Otter Valley, 26:46.63.