BENNINGTON — Mount Anthony indoor track is sending a small yet mighty group to this weekend's state championship meet at the University of Vermont.
A couple of new school record holders highlight a group of eight girls looking to make some noise at the state level.
Freshman Ella Palisano broke the MAU high jump record of 5 feet, 2 inches during a meet last month and figures to be in the mix this weekend.
She said there are some nerves heading into the state championship meet, but they are met with confidence.
“I feel like it really clicked for me this last meet,” Palisano said.
Part of that confidence has to do with the competition MAU has faced this winter. They’ve attended a lot of out-of-state, larger meets aimed to really challenge the athletes in a way that’s not possible staying within the borders of Vermont.
“I wasn’t really introduced to big meets last year in middle school,” Palisano said. “(This year) I jumped against (athletes) who jumped higher than me; it was really good to have that competition versus jumping against me, myself and I last year.”
She also has multiple top 10 finishes in the 55 meter hurdles, 55 meter dash and 300 meter race throughout the winter. She’s decided to not run the hurdles or 55 meter dash, but will compete in the 300, along with anchoring the 4x200 relay team.
Having run the 300 only once, the Patriots freshman feels a little more nervous about that event Saturday and is hoping for a top-three finish.
Joining Palisano on the Patriots 4x200 relay team is Abby Hodges, Gianna Farry and Alexa Sprague.
MAU coach Paul Redding says the unit should factor in anywhere from second to sixth in the event.
“I’d be disappointed if we finish out of sixth,” he said.
The MAU girls go into the weekend with 1 team point already thanks to Sprague. The throwing portion of the state meet was held last weekend at St. Johnsbury Academy and the Patriot took sixth in the shot put with her toss of 8.74 meters (28’8”). Tess Adams of Essex won the individual championship with her mark of 9.69 meters, or 31’8”.
Cara Rockwell tied MAU’s pole vault record of 7 feet even in a Jan. 14 meet. While there is no pole vault event in Vermont, she joins Maddie Barrett, Tiffany Carey and Teagan Currier as the remaining Patriots competing at the state level this weekend.
Thomas Scheetz is the lone representative for the MAU boys, and has decided to focus solely on the 3000 meter race despite qualifying for multiple events.
“I think if I go into that event not having run anything beforehand, I’ll be able to put everything towards that one event and place really well,” Scheetz said.
The Patriots distance runner says he feels like he’s reaching his peak as the season nears its conclusion, and feels like his best effort could result in a fourth or fifth place finish.
Palisano also said she feels like she’s reaching new heights at the right time and is excited to see where she lands.
“I feel like I’ve had a really good season,” she said. “I think I performed well, and I’m hoping to carry that through states.”