EAST MONTPELIER — Twenty-eight points out of a possible 30 in the relays and individual state titles by Brandon Racine and Carson Bianchi led Milton to second place in the Division II track and field championships Saturday at U-32 H.S.
Bianchi’s spectacular finishing kick was among the biggest reasons Milton finished far ahead of third-place Harwood (86-51), even as host U-32 dominated the meet for a fifth consecutive boys crown with 195 points.
The Yellowjackets started the day taking second in the 4×800 relay behind U-32 in the day’s first event, then senior Brandon Racine scored 10 points with a state championship in the pole vault. Racine cleared 11 feet in the vault, long after his final two rivals went out after making 9-6.
Nick Johnson’s second in shot put and Andrew McQuinn’s third in the discus added 14 points for a team total of 24 from the field events.
But it was on the East Montpelier track that the Jackets did most of their damage — scoring in five of the eight individual events.
Mike Ferro and Joseph were fifth and sixth in the 1500 to pick up three points in the last event of the first track session, and then Bianchi went to work.
After the first three legs of the 4×100-meter relay Nick Kelm, Jarek Cyr and Emilio Desouza had Milton a step or two ahead. Bianchi took the last handoff from Desouza and immediately put the race away, blazing away from Middlebury’s fourth runner to win by a commanding 6-tenths of a second.
A short 10 minutes later, Bianchi was back on the track to defend his 400-meter title. The Milton junior edged past Seth Beard on the outside of the Highlander as they came out of the turn and onto the home straightaway, then blew away from the field to win by 8-tenths of a second for 10 of his 18 individual points.
Cyr added two points with a fifth in the 300 hurdles, and Zach Popke finished third and Ryan Joseph fourth in the 800 for 10 more.
Bianchi missed out on a second championship by a hundredth of a second when Abayomi Lowe of Hartford edged him at the finish line 23.56 to 23.57, then closed out his day with another big anchor leg in the 4×400.
Dueling again with Middlebury in the last event of the meet, Popke, Cyr and Desouza once more had the Yellowjackets slightly in front at the final exchange. By the time Bianchi sprinted back around to the home stretch, there was nothing slight about the lead as he crossed the line 1.5 seconds in front of the Tigers.
Senior Caroline Coleman provided the highlight of the day for the Yellowjacket girls when she broke the school record in the shot put on a qualifying-round throw, and then broke the mark again two minutes later on her next throw, setting the Milton all-time mark at 94 feet, 1 inch.
Coleman went on to take second in the event, which Molly McCreey of U-32 put away early with a 128-8 throw to win by more than 30 feet.
Camille Hanna had Milton’s top finish of the day, taking second in the high jump to Missisquoi’s Jenna Bourdeau. Magdalena Lelito took third in the pole vault, Carlie Reen was fifth in the 400, and Alyson Sheehan scored a point with a sixth in the shot put. Milton also took sixth in the 4×400 relay.
The Yellowjackets were without one of their top athletes as senior Tre Sherwood was taking college-entrance exams on Saturday. Sherwood qualified for the New England Championships in the triple jump and was a contender to win the 100 and long jump in the state meet.
ABOVE: Emilio Desouza starts the third leg of the 4×100 relay as he takes the baton from Jarek Cyr in last Saturday’s Division II track and field state championships at U-32 High School in East Montpelier. Milton won the 4×100 and 4×400 relays along with individual state championships for Brandon Racine and Carson Bianchi. (Photo by Josh Kaufmann)