Mount Anthony preps for state track meet

BENNINGTON — The Mount Anthony indoor track team has had a bunch of obstacles to deal with this season — and not just hurdles.

Finding practice space can be a challenge and dealing with sickness has been particularly rough for the Patriots.

But as the state meet looms on Saturday at the University of Vermont, there are lots of chances to score points and to send athletes to the regional championships.

"I feel like our team has been extremely adaptable, we've had so many sicknesses, and with the [bad] weather, it's hard with indoor track, because you're dealing with an icy track and long jumping in the hallways," said MAU coach Amanda Mullen. "The middle school has been letting us use their facilities, which has really helped us, especially in the field events. We're actually able to high jump, long jump, weight throw. We wouldn't have been able to without the middle school."

A couple of weeks ago, Mount Anthony got its first taste of in-state competition, choosing to compete in either New York or New Hampshire instead. Both the boys and girls teams finished third in Division I, behind St. Johnsbury and Essex.

"We're starting to get more depth, that's how the northern schools are always so dominant. We're slowly growing and that's nice," Mullen said.

The girls team will be led by sophomore Rebecca Crosier, who is seeded in the top 6 in three different events. She is third in the 300 at 44.32 seconds and she missed the New England qualification by one one-hundredth of a second last year.

"I get really nervous because I want to do really well," Crosier said. "Last year, I was third at states, but I want to do better than that. It stresses me out beforehand but then you feel great after it's done."

Crosier said she divides the race into three 100-meter sections and works on her speed and timing at practice.

"I aim to be at the front of my heat and I'm usually seeded in the fastest heat," Crosier said.

Crosier is also seeded fifth in both the long jump (15 feet, 3 inches) and in the triple jump, an event that she set the MAU record in with a mark of 32 feet, 9.5 inches. She'll also compete in the 4x400 relay as the anchor leg.

"She's one of those kids who does any [event] I ask [her to do]," Mullen said. "She could score points in three of the four events."

Other top six seeds include Paige Greenawalt, seeded fourth in the 1,000 meters and Alison Simmons, seeded fourth in the weight throw with a school-record toss of 28 feet, 3 inches.

"Paige came off of her cross-country season strong, but suffered an injury around Christmas time," Mullen said. "She's been working to get her times down ever since and at the Last Chance meet, she was within a second of her time. She definitely could score points for us. And Alison has been tremendous for us in a [newer] event."

On the boys side, Skyler Hoyt is the lone Patriot seeded No. 1 in an event. He's tops in the state this year in the long jump with a leap of 20 feet, 2 inches, the only one in the state to reach 20 feet. But things are tight behind him with three others within five inches of his mark.

"He is ranked No.1 going into states, but there's lots in the high 19s," Mullen said. "He's got a good shot to make it back to New Englands which would be great for his senior year."

He'll also compete in the weight throw and the 4x200 and 4x400 relays.

Evan Page, along with Hoyt, were the two New England qualifiers for MAU last season and he'll have a chance to do it again as he'll compete in both the 1,500 and 3,000 meters. He's seeded sixth in both events.

Mattheu Longtin is seeded fifth in the 1,000 meters as well.

Another possible event where the Patriots could get a lot of points is the boys 4x800 relay. The team — consisting of Longtin, Shawn Tobin, Cooper Mason and Aneesh Kamath — isn't seeded, but its best time of 9:22.72 would put them fourth overall.

"I feel like the team is in good shape, we've been improving all year, a lot of people are still setting personal bests," Tobin said. "If we can get top three [overall], it'll be a very good day."

Mullen said she knows that while the depth is not there with the St. Johnsbury and Essex teams, the Patriots have a good chance to make some noise on Saturday.

"My No. 1 goal is to qualify kids for New Englands and then after that would be personal bests," Mullen said. "If we got one of the relay teams [to New Englands], I would be really pumped."


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