Seniors Find Confidence and Community on the Track

James Steward, Staff Writer

Not only has the Essex High School Track team been a place of competition for our EHS seniors, but it has also been a place of fun and friendship. These seniors lost both their 9th grade outdoor and 10th grade indoor seasons to the Covid-19 pandemic, but came back ready to fight for state titles. After their final state meet last weekend, many will continue on to the New England Championship in Bangor, Maine on Saturday, June 10th. The Hive interviewed several of the track athletes about their experiences running for Essex.

Ashley Clark

Ashley Clark is a sprinter who was part of the winning 4×100 team at the 2023 State Championship. Clark started her track and field career in middle school and joined the indoor track team in her 9th grade year.

Ashley Clark

Clark returned to compete in track during her 10th grade outdoor season and joined the well-respected girls’ 4×100 team. Clark shares that it is her best accomplishment to have gone to Nationals in Boston once for the 4×100 relay and twice for the 4×200 relay. 

”My favorite memories on the track team have been those shared with my teammates,” Clark shared. “For instance, long car rides to meets, game days, and getting ice cream after practice with my friends.”

Ashley will be attending Bentley University this fall where she hopes to compete for the track team.

Luke Miklus

Luke Miklus is a captain of the distance team who won the 3000 meter run at States on June 3rd. Miklus started his running career on the Essex Middle School cross country team in 6th grade and joined the track team that following spring. 

Photo by VTFocused photographer: Michael Conti

Just as Miklus’s 9th grade track season was about to begin, it was canceled due to the Covid pandemic. However, while indoor track was canceled, Miklus continued to participate on the nordic ski team and rejoined the track team in the spring of 2021. 

“My biggest accomplishment was in 10th grade when I placed 6th in the 3000 meter run at the 2021 State Championship,” Miklus said.  “I also dropped 10 seconds from my personal record.” 

Miklus’s best memory is his trip to the 2022 Outdoor Nationals during his 11th grade year where he ran at Franklin Field at the University of Pennsylvania, a legendary track where many famous athletes have raced. Miklus will continue his cross country and track career this fall at SUNY Binghamton. 

Darrian Michaelides 

Darrian Michaelides is a captain of the distance team. His running career started by joining the Essex Middle School Cross Country team in 6th grade, but he didn’t start running track until 8th grade. Like others, Michalides’ 9th grade season was canceled, leaving him to train on his own throughout the pandemic. 

Darrien Michaelides

Michaelides is a dual sport athlete. He competes for the Essex hockey team during the winters, so he found it easier to keep himself active and occupied during the winter during Covid. Michalides returned to the track team in the spring of his sophomore year and has put forward lots of hard work since.

“My biggest accomplishment would be my consistent commitment and gradual improvement, as well as always being there to support my teammates,” Michaelides said. Michaelides’ team spirit was recognized at Honors Night where he won the Bruce Wheeler Spirit Award for his leadership in sportsmanship. 

Michaelides is an essential part of the Essex boys 4×800 relay team. His favorite memory was attending the 2022 New England Championships because of the experience with his friends. Darrian will be attending The University of Vermont this fall where he is on the preliminary roster to try out for the cross country and track teams.

Genevieve Brzoza 

Genevieve (Eve) Brzoza is a captain of the sprints and jumps team and was part of the winning 4×400 relay at the State Championship meet. Brzoza started her athletic career as a distance runner in 7th grade by joining the Essex Middle School cross country team. She quickly found her aptitude for sprinting instead and switched disciplines. 

Eve Brzoza

Brzoza started competing for the Essex High School track team in her 9th grade year.

Her 11th and 12th year seasons have been decorated with accolades and awards. “My biggest accomplishment was breaking the school’s 100 meter dash record,” Brzoza said. This past March, the Essex track team also broke the 4×200 state record at the 2023 New Balance Nationals. This happened only a week after breaking it at the Indoor New England Championships.

After high school, Brzoza plans to study biological sciences at the University of Vermont and compete for the track team as a multi-event athlete.

Elliot Riggen

Elliot Riggen competes for the EHS track team on the distance squad. Riggen started his running career with the intent of increasing his intensity of training for nordic skiing in his 11th grade year. His favorite memory was qualifying for the New England Championships in the 4×400 relay at the 2022 Essex Invitational with his friends. 

Elliot Riggen

Riggen’s favorite memory has been racing the 4×400 relay at the 2022 State Championship Meet. “The cheering was so loud that I couldn’t even hear my footsteps,” he said.

Elliot plans to attend the University of Vermont where he will continue his skiing career by joining the nordic club.

Scarlet Stimson

Scarlet Stimson is a captain of the distance team who won the 1500 and 800 meter runs this past weekend. Stimson found her passion for running by joining Girls on the Run and Mini-Milers. She competed in cross country and track all the way through middle school. Once she got to high school, she joined the cross country and indoor track teams but had her 9th grade outdoor season taken away due to the pandemic.

Scarlet Stimson

“Covid was really hard because I didn’t have people to run with and had to do a lot of running by myself,” Stimson said. “It was hard to stay motivated without races on the schedule.” 

Stimson says that her biggest accomplishment has been being a part of the state winning 4×400 team each year. “It’s the most fun part of the meet at the end when everyone cheers you on!”

Stimson shares that her favorite memory has been jumping into the water after big meets at Burlington High School like the Burlington Invitational and the State Championship meet. “It’s really fun to be done and stress-free while enjoying everyone’s company to celebrate the day.”

Stimson will be attending Brown University in Rhode Island this fall where she will be competing with their cross country and track teams.

Izzy Orvis

Elizabeth (Izzy) Orvis is a sprinter who competes in mainly the 400 meter sprint and 4×400 relay, with the occasional 100 and 200 meter sprints. Orvis says she started her track and field career because her mother made her do a sport during the spring of her sixth grade year. She says it was a natural choice because many of her friends were already doing it and the idea of trying many different things appealed to her.

Izzy Orvis

Orvis joined the indoor track team her 9th grade year. 

“My favorite memory was being a part of the 2022 4×400 team,” Orvis said. “There was just all-around good energy and support, so even though we were all tired from our events (4×400 is the last event), we were able to have fun and run fast”.

 “There was just all-around good energy and support, so even though we were all tired from our events (4×400 is the last event), we were able to have fun and run fast,” Orvis said. 

Izzy Orvis will be attending the University of Southern California, a school that has produced many Olympians for Team USA. Orvis says she is excited to watch them and may join the club track team next year!

Carter Davis

Carter Davis is a captain of the throwing discipline. Davis started his track career at ADL where he cites being inspired by Mr. G’s suggestion to join the track team. He left the sport for his underclassmen years of high school but came back to throwing his 11th year. Carter tells us that his biggest accomplishment has been placing top 5 in all throwing events during a meet. His most memorable moment on the track team has been his performance at the 2022 Burlington Invitational.

Carter Davis

 “I Pr’d by 9 feet in shot put at the Burlington invite my Junior year where I placed 4th,”  I then realized I was in contention to compete.” 

Carter plans to attend Clarkson University this fall. He hopes to major in mechanical engineering while competing for the football team and the club track team.

Molly Murphy

Molly Murphy is a sprints and jumps captain. Murphy joined the track team during her junior year. 

Photo by VTFocused photographer: Michael Conti

“I wanted to join my sophomore year, but it felt hard joining a brand new team and sport in the middle of Covid, when everyone still had to be separated and wear masks,” Murphy said. 

Covid affected Molly differently than other athletes because it put her at a late start, rather than losing a season like other athletes. Murphy says in hindsight, she wished she had ventured out and attempted it, but everything worked out for the best.

Murphy says her biggest accomplishment was gaining the role of captain. Since she was only on the team for two seasons, Molly says that she thought the chances of her being chosen for the position were low. 

“I was very glad that all of the efforts I had put into being a role model, having positive energy, and always looking to encourage others was recognized,” Murphy shares. “I am not one of the top point scorers at any of our meets, so being chosen as captain really showed me that continuing my positive mindset and helping others was something that my coaches recognized and wanted me to continue to spread.”

Her favorite memory of her time on the track team was a recent one. The typical practice time for the track team is 3-5 pm, which made this practice special because it took place at 7:30 pm under the lights of the stadium. 

“Everyone was dressed up in neon,” Murphy describes. “We had face paint and glow bracelets on with music blasting on the speakers. This practice also felt extra special because all disciplines were practicing together, which doesn’t happen often.”

 Murphy says that she finds this event to be her favorite because of how much energy and spirit it brought to the team.

Molly is going to be attending the University of Connecticut where she isn’t planning on joining an official track team but says, “I will definitely take up any chance I get to pole vault again!”

Nina Carmolli

Nina Carmolli is an athlete that competes with the distance team. Carmolli started her running career in grade 6 at ADL by joining the cross country team and has enjoyed the sport ever since. 

Photo by VTFocused photographer: Michael Conti

Nina says her biggest accomplishment and memory in track has been qualifying for the state meet 1500 meter run during her junior year.

 “It was at the last chance meet so it was literally my last chance to do so,” she said. “I ended up beating the qualifying time by 4 seconds and I pr’d by 8 seconds!”.

After high school, Nina plans on attending The University of Vermont with an undecided major. She is unsure of whether she will continue competing but hopes to join a running group to stay fit. 

Alexis Lyman

Alexis Lyman competes for the sprints and jumps squad where she competes in 100 and 200 meter sprints along with jumping pole vault. She started her track career by joining Girls on the Run during 3rd grade and continued running with them until 6th grade. Once she got to ADL, she joined the track and field team, where she decided to switch over to sprinting. 

Alexis Lyman

“I did some high jumps here and there,” Lyman said. “When I got to the high school where things got more intense, I started pole vaulting.” Coming to high school, Lyman competed for the Indoor track team, but Covid took away her chance to compete in her 9th grade outdoor season. She says that having to wear masks was a big adjustment to compete and practice in.

Lyman says that her biggest achievement on the track team has been being able to find herself through goals and making the qualifying marks for this year’s states meet. Her favorite memory has been having the Mini-Milers come run with the team last year, where she was able to run with her little brother.

Lyman plans to join the fire department next year with hopes of becoming EMT-certified. In the future, she hopes to travel to other countries to offer emergency medical aid and rescue.