Friday, December 30, 2016

Springfield Indoor Track & Field jumps off to solid start

Four Springfield student-athletes combined to finish second out of nine boys teams competing in the Hanover Athletic Club Field-Event-Only Meet held at Dartmouth College’s Leverone Field House Dec. 23.

The four young men represent the jumping contingent of the small (12-member) Springfield Indoor Track and Field Team, which has belonged to the HAC for the past three years.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to practice and compete at a first-class facility, with many top athletes and coaches to learn from,” said Cosmos head coach Jim Fog, of the arrangement between Dartmouth and area high schools. “We’re a club team, so we fund-raise and carpool here, especially for throwing and jumping practice.” This was the second such meet hosted by HAC in December. A third meet scheduled for Thursday was cancelled due to weather concerns.

The Springfield four earned 61.5 points, surpassed only by the 2016 Indoor Champion St. Johnsbury varsity team, with 86 points; Chelsea and Oxbow tied for third with 20 points each. The Cosmos jumpers, led by 2016 Division 2 Indoor High Jump champion and captain Elijah Pianka, made a strong showing in three of the six total events at the meet. Pianka won the HJ at 5 feet, 7 inches, reaching that height in fewer jumps than his freshman teammate, Cadence Wheeler, who took second. Junior Allan Poller finished fifth, with a height of 5-0.

Wheeler, in his first high school meet, had a day to remember, winning the long jump with a leap of 18-7, while teammates Poller and Chris Gurney finished third (17-8) and fourth (17-6 1/2) respectively. Wheeler also tied 2016 D-1 Indoor Triple Jump champion Ian Clough of St. Johnsbury with a distance of 38-4 in that event. Pianka placed third at 36-4, and Gurney came in fifth at 35-0. Wheeler also tried the pole vault for the first time, but did not clear his opener.

Asked about his feelings on the day, Pianka commented, “Our team is gaining so much, and it’s finally starting to show. I’m even more excited about this season than initially. I see great things coming ahead!”

Wheeler offered a personal response to his performance. “It made me feel empowered!”

Associate head coach Stephen Lawrence concluded, “This is a strong positive start for our program and school. We’re hoping for continued big showings at future meets.”

The full Cosmos team competes next at the University of Vermont in Burlington on Saturday, Jan. 7 from 12:30-5:30 p.m. Admission is free.


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