“We’re a young team, just getting our feet wet,” said coach Buddy Hayford. “We’ve got some kids who’ve never done track before. But I’ve got to give them credit, they’re putting in lots of time and working hard at practice.”
Hayford is back on the cinders this spring, taking over the track team after coach Russell Mayhew left Twin Valley last spring. Two years ago, Hayford and Mayhew shared the coaching duties. Hayford had hoped to find a new coach this year, but when he couldn’t find anyone to take on the job, he decided to do it himself. “It’s a great group of kids,” he said. “I’m happy to be able to offer it again this spring.” Hayford noted he missed Mayhew, who left to take a teaching job at another school.
Three athletes return from last year’s squad. Junior sprinters Keegan Littleton and Hunter Therrien will man the boys’ 4x100 meter relay and also compete in the 100- and 200-meter individual dashes. Therrien will also try his hand at the long jump, something new for him.
Junior Alex Kennedy was a top middle-distance runner last spring, finishing fifth in the 400 at the state championships and medaling as a member of the third-place girls’ 4x100 relay team. She hopes to return to form again this season. Kennedy recently returned after spending the first three-quarters of the school year on an exchange program in Germany.
New to the boys team this season are sophomores Jeremy Hunt and Jared Lambert and freshmen Evan Therrien, Connel Sullivan, and Jacob Hicks. Sophomore Jade Waters and freshman Cassie Bratton will round out the girls team.
Lambert and Evan Therrien will concentrate on the weight events: discus, shotput, and javelin. Hunt and Sullivan will work on the sprints, rounding out the 4x100 relay and competing in the 200 and 400. Sullivan also plans to throw the javelin. Hunt plans to compete in the long jump as well. Hicks is hoping to find his niche, but Hayford expects he will long jump and run sprints or middle distances.
Bratton has an ambitious schedule planned. She hopes to compete in the 200 meter sprint, the 3,200 meter run, pole vault, and hurdle. Waters plans to pole vault, long jump, throw the javelin, and run the 100.
The team has been working out at Brattleboro Union High School, getting ready for the upcoming season. It’s an arrangement that has helped the Twin Valley track team develop over the past four years. Hayford gives a lot of credit to the kids’ work ethics, and also to the help the team’s getting from the coaches at BUHS. “The Brattleboro coaches work with our kids,” he said. “They help them with their technique.”
As for the upcoming season, Hayford is ever the optimist. “I’m hoping we can put something together,” he said of his unproven group of athletes. The team will travel to three meets next week. On Monday, they are scheduled to compete at Mount Anthony Union High School. On Tuesday, they are scheduled to compete in Bellows Falls, and then they have a “home” meet at Brattleboro on Thursday, April 12.