Track team looks for success at finals
WHITINGHAM- The Twin Valley Middle High School varsity track team has had an interesting spring season, to say the least. While numbers are down and the weather has played havoc with meets and practice schedules, coach Buddy Hayford sees a lot of promise in the young squad as they head for Friday’s state championship meet.
Twin Valley coach Buddy Hayford said, “We won’t factor into the team results, but I’m hoping we can get some strong individual performances.”
Leading the way for the Wildcats is senior Cooper Pell. He is the returning state champion for the triple jump, and had a top mark for the event last week at a meet at Bellow Falls. He hopped, skipped, and jumped his way to 41 feet, seven inches. It was Pell’s second win of the season, as he had a 39’ 5” mark at Mount Anthony. He also had a third-place finish at a meet in Brattleboro.
Pell is a multiple-threat athlete who also competes in the long jump and on Twin Valley’s 4x100-meter relay team. Pell won the long jump at Bellows Falls, soaring to a personal-record 19’ 9.5” jump.
There are only two girls competing on the team, junior Morgen Janovsky and sophomore Brianna O’Hearn. Both have had a good season. O’Hearn is primarily a sprinter, although she recently took up the 300m hurdles. Janovsky is a hurdler who also runs the sprint. Both have qualified for the state meet.
O’Hearn finished third in the 100 at Bellows Falls last week, turning in a 14.6 effort. Janovsky finished 10th with a personal-best time of 15.1.
Janovsky fished sixth in the 100 hurdles at 21 seconds even. Janovsky and O’Hearn finished seventh and eighth in the 300 hurdles, each setting a personal record along the way.
Janovsky also set a personal best in the long jump, riding a 12’ 1” leap to 10th place at Bellows Falls.
“We’ve got a small team this year,” said coach Buddy Hayford. “It goes up and down from year to year.”
Rounding out the boys’ side of the team are junior Cole Cunningham, sophomore Yeongjun Yoo, and freshmen Quinlan Barber and Izaak Park.
Cunningham has competed in the 100, 200, discus, and long jump. He set personal-best numbers at Bellows Falls in the long jump and 200, while finishing 12th in the 100.
Yoo had a fifth-place finish and set a personal best in the long jump at Bellows Falls, and ran the 100.
Barber finished 10th in the long jump and set a personal best in the 200.
Park, a two-sport athlete who is also playing baseball this spring, has qualified for the state meet in the 1,500-m run. He finished sixth in the long jump at Bellows Falls.
Pell, Park, Barber, and Yoo also teamed up for a second-place finish in the 4x100 relay. That result has earned them a qualifier for the state meet.
“The bottom line is, I’ve seen improvement,” said Hayford. “That’s what you hope to see as the season progresses.”
Hayford said one of the biggest impediments to that improvement in the team has been the weather. “It’s been a tough spring. The weather messed up their schedule, we got a late start because of it. It’s a bummer for the kids.”
That opportunity for improvement will come to a culmination Friday afternoon at the D4 state championships at Green Mountain High School in Chester. The meet starts at 2.