From third and fifth place her junior season to two state titles and a state record.
Kayla Talbot broke through in a big way this winter.
Inspired by her older brother and carrying on the family legacy, the St. Johnsbury Academy senior won the Division I shot put and weight throw titles, the latter in state-record fashion. For her efforts, Talbot is The Record’s 2019-20 Girls Indoor Track and Field Player of the Year.
The 18-year-old is the first indoor field athlete to claim the honor.
“It just shows how hard I worked to get where it got me,” she said.
Talbot won the weight throw title on Feb. 8 at the St. J Academy Field House with a toss of 39 feet, 9 ¼ inches, tying the D-I state record she set a week earlier at the I-91 Invitational when she topped the previous mark held by St. J’s Holly Brown (38-4, 2015).
She then followed her first individual state title with her second, winning the shot put a week later at University of Vermont with a throw of 32 feet, 8 ¼ inches. She was third a year ago.
“Kayla has shown steady progress over her four years in track and field,” said longtime St. J coach Chip Langmaid. “She made the transition to indoor last year and started to really blossom. Finishing near the top in weight and shot last year motivated her to take charge this year.”
Her twin titles equal that of her brother, Brodie, the recently-turned 21-year-old who won a pair of outdoor discus titles at the Academy.
“Brodie was the one to inspire me to do track and field,” Kayla said.
Kayla took up outdoor track as a freshman, and made the change from hoops to indoor track after her sophomore season.
“Basketball used to be my favorite sport. I thought I’d try something new and now I love track and field,” she said.
Talbot focused in, and made a big leap from her junior to senior season.
She went undefeated in Division I shot put and dominated the weight throw, with only one loss to a Vermont or New Hampshire competitor. Her top toss in weight throw was nearly 20 percent better from last year, and she went on to beat D-I runner-up Morgan Washburn of Mt. Anthony by 6 feet. She also came within 8 ¼ inches of tying the overall state record set by Rice’s Rebecca Chicoine (D-II) in 2018.
Parents: Anna and Jeff
Siblings: Brodie, 21
Hometown: St. Johnsbury
College destination: Undecided as of right now, but would like to pursue track and field.
Favorite moment from the season: My favorite moment was when I broke the school/state record because in that moment I knew all the hard work I put in I had accomplished.
Did you face adversity prior or during the season: How did you overcome it: When we first started track, me being one of the only girl throwers was definitely a challenge, so I had to step up the game and give it my all.
What were your expectations for yourself this season. How do you feel like it went: My expectation for this season was to PR both in the weight throw and in shot put and I did both of those! And yes, I worked hard over the season to win both in the state meet.
You finished fifth place last year. Did that result fuel you this season: Yes, last year was my first time doing indoor so I was very nervous to start something new with people that have been doing it for a couple of years. As we started this season I knew I had to step it up because we lost a lot of good girls and the team needed me to do my best as the season went on.
Who was the toughest competitor you faced this season: Maliya Sinclair of Division II Hartford.
Who inspires you in track and field and why: My brother inspires me because he did track in his high school years and was awesome at it.
What’s your favorite event and why: Indoor, my favorite event is weight throw because it can be very challenging at times and overall it’s fun.
What are you doing to pass the time now that in-school instruction is canceled: I do my online schooling in the morning, then do a workout and then relax for the rest of the day.
What are you doing currently to stay prepared physically: I work out every day during the week, I run 1-3 miles and then do core, pushups, squats and little things like that.
Which St. J thrower would win a 100-meter race: On the girls side for throwers it would be me, and on the guys side it would be Asom [Hayman-Jones].
Any regrets or anything you would change about your recent season: I think put more time into throwing, work my hardest not only during meets, but in practices as well.
What’s the best advice you can give to young athletes: If you push yourself you will end up doing great things.
The Record’s Girls Indoor Track & Field Players of the Year
2019-20: Kayla Talbot, St. Johnsbury Academy
2018-19: Jen and Lia Rotti, St. Johnsbury Academy
2017-18: Katherine Cowan, St. Johnsbury Academy
2016-17: Katherine Cowan, St. Johnsbury Academy
2015-16: Katherine Cowan, St. Johnsbury Academy
2014-15: Bettina Hammer, St. Johnsbury Academy
2013-14: Quinn Bornstein, St. Johnsbury Academy