SOUTH BURLINGTON — A cooperative spirit in Franklin County track and field led to four state championships in Saturday’s indoor championships at UVM, where Trey Poquette of Bellows Free Academy-St. Albans (BFA) and the Missisquoi Valley Union (MVU) relay teams each won a pair of titles.
Anna Kaigle of Milton won a championship Saturday along with two spots in the upcoming New England-wide championships, joining Poquette, Callie Parks, Ruth and Anna Brueckner, Cailey Comiskey, Danielle Cummings, and Riley Maher in qualifying for the regional meet in Boston next month.
Poquette, competing as an independent in the state meet along with the other BFA athletes, won the overall 50-meter and 300-meter dash titles.
Division II Missisquoi started the day at Gutterson Fieldhouse with another overall championship, when Parks took the lead with two laps left to win the 4×800-meter relay. The Thunderbirds finished the same way, with Danielle Cummings crossing the line first for another D-II and overall state title in the 4×400.
There was much to be proud of from coach Jody Medor’s perspective.
“It is exciting to see the kids succeed, because I have watched many of them for years. Watching the team accomplish something they worked so hard at is extremely rewarding,” said Medor, whose MVU varsity program welcomes the handful of athletes from BFA for training and coaching.
Medor enjoyed watching the rival schools’ athletes form a connection.
“We came together beautifully as a team this year. I mean, you are asking BFA and MVU to come together, and like each other the whole season,” she said.
Medor, now the head coach for cross country and both track and field programs, aims to build a program that succeeds beyond the Division II level. Saturday, both relay winners did just that by outrunning everyone in the field, including D-I champ St. Johnsbury and runner-up Essex both times.
She largely attributes that success to the atmosphere at indoor practices, which are heavy on competition and light on actual track.
“We do a lot of relays with each other, and I think that pushes the team. We compete against each other all the time. We take two athletes and run them around the theater. I am constantly injecting competition the whole time. It is even girls against boys. Sometimes we relay against the MVU boys basketball team, too,” she said.
“We are great about motivating each other. If one kid is doing better than another, we still push each other. I have one kid that pushes one of my slower kids to run faster because he stands behind him and runs the whole time. The motivation is key.”
Making numerous sacrifices along the way and overcoming competitive fields to win state championships in the 55- and 300-meter sprints was worth the effort, Poquette said. The BFA-St. Albans senior displayed flashes of brilliance throughout his entire high school running career, but his dream of a title finally came to fruition last weekend.
“At the time, it made me feel really excited. Right now, I am just trying to take it all in. I worked really hard for the state championships, and wanted it so bad. There were a lot of times where my friends would be hanging out and I would be off sleeping because I had a meet the next day, or I would be at the gym, or running. I missed a lot of social events, but in the end, it was all worth it,” he said.
Poquette lunged across the line in the 55 meters in 6.64 seconds, just .07 in front of Mt. Mansfield’s Silas Diamond and Hartford’s Abayomi Lowe. In the 300, Poquette’s 36.28-second time was more than half a second faster than Essex’s Jamaal Hankey.
Find the full story in this Tuesday’s Messenger. Click here to subscribe.