Boston High School: BFA-Fairfax

New England Roundup: Vermont

March, 29, 2013
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March was a pretty good month for Missisquoi Valley Union's Matt St. Amour.

VermontAfter being selected as Vermont's Gatorade Player of the Year for boys basketball, St. Amour finalized his college plans by choosing to continue his basketball career at Division III Middlebury College. St. Amour's other options included walking on at the University of Vermont.

"I've always been a Vermont kid and I felt I always wanted to continue to play in front of my Vermont fans," St. Amour told the Burlington Free Press. "UVM would have been a great opportunity, always been one of my dreams to play for them, but I feel Middlebury was a better fit."

St. Amour, a 6-foot-3 guard, was also named the state's Gatorade Player of the Year as a junior. He averaged 30.7 points, 11.9 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 3.4 steals per game as a senior, when he helped the Thunderbirds (13-9) reach the Division I quarterfinals. He completed his high school career as the No. 3 scorer in state history (2,064 points).

Middlebury has qualified for the NCAA Division III tournament in each of the last six years. The Panthers reached the quarterfinals this season, and finished with a 25-4 record.

"Middlebury told me I was their No. 1 option all along,” St. Amour said. “I know I can be an important role on their team. I felt they were interested in wanting me to play there," St. Amour said. "Middlebury doesn't like to lose that much and that's something that I enjoy.

"I plan on having a successful career and win a national championship -- that's definitely a goal."

TWIN-STATE GAMES MAY RETURN
After the Vermont boys and girls played New Hampshire in the 2010 Twin State All-Star Senior Basketball Classic, many thought the event was dead and buried.

The games lacked interest – primarily on the New Hampshire side – and sponsors became hard to find. Vermont recently received a commitment from the New Hampshire Basketball Coaches' Association, however, and the event may return as soon as this summer. Representatives from each state are scheduled to meet in April in an attempt to bring the games back to life.

The Twin State Classic has always been a doubleheader with the top girls basketball players from each state facing one another before the boys game. The games were last held at the University of Vermont's Patrick Gymnasium.

The New Hampshire boys and girls teams each hold an 18-12 edge in the series.

SHRINE ROSTER RELEASED
There are still three spots to fill on the Vermont Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl team, but a preliminary roster was released in mid-March. Vermont will play New Hampshire on Aug. 3 (5:30 p.m.) at Dartmouth College's Memorial Field. It will be the first night game in the event's history.

Jason Thomas of Burr & Burton Academy is Vermont's head coach. Mascoma Regional's Ray Kershaw is coaching New Hampshire's.

New Hampshire won last summer's game 62-24 to extend its winning streak to 12 games. New Hampshire leads the series 44-13-2.

Vermont roster: Zachary Rawling (Bellows Falls), Zachary Tarvit (Bellows Falls), Darren Callan (BFA-St. Albans), Dylan Callan (BFA-St. Albans), Lucas Kelsey (BFA-St. Albans), Doug Saffo (BFA-St. Albans), Ryan Wimble (BFA-Fairfax), Tyler Higley (Brattleboro), Billy Katon (Burlington), Chris Redding (Burr & Burton), Jake Stalcup (Burr & Burton), Alec Distler (Champlain Valley), Harvey Ottinger (Champlain Valley), Bobby Brigante (Colchester), Noah MacGillivary (Essex), James Olsen (Essex), Joey Picard (Essex), Joseph Ramada (Essex), Cody Bradish (Fair Haven), Dakota Euber (Fair Haven), Josh Claflin (Hartford), Nolan Frechette (Hartford), Taylor Potter (Hartford), Walter Odell (Middlebury), Wade Steele (Mount Abraham), Carter Glenn (Mount Mansfield), Dan Warnecke (Poultney), Billy O'Brien (Rice), Matthew Hock (Rutland), Jon Kilian (Spaulding), Ed Doton (Woodstock), Travis Gault (Woodstock), Jalen Peterson (Woodstock).

WINTER RECAP
Scores from the championship games in basketball and hockey:

Boys' basketball
Division I: Rice 48, St. Johnsbury
Division II: Vergennes 62, Burr & Burton 49
Division III: Williamstown 63, Thetford 39
Division IV: Rochester 68, West Rutland 43

Girls' basketball
Division I: Champlain Valley 47, Rice 42
Division II: Mount Abraham 44, BFA-Fairfax 28
Division III: Winooski 52, Williamstown 48
Division IV: Proctor 55, Arlington 38

Boys' hockey
Division I: South Burlington 4, Champlain Valley 2
Division II: U-32 5, Burr & Burton 2

Girls' hockey
Division I: BFA-St. Albans 3, Essex 0
Division II: Harwood 1, North Country 0

Roger Brown is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader and has been covering high school sports throughout New England since 1992.

New England Roundup: Vermont

January, 25, 2013
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The Hartford High School football team won the Division I state championship last season, but the team's accomplishments didn't end there.

VermontUSA Today High School Sports recently crowned Hartford as the People's Champion – the top high school football team in the nation for 2012.

The competition began Jan. 7 with 64 schools vying for a $500 prize and the chance to be named the top high school football team – as chosen by fans – of 2012. Each state, plus Washington D.C., had a representative in the competition. The highest-ranked champion in each state, as determined by the Massey computer rankings, automatically qualified for the contest. In addition, the USA Today High School Sports editorial staff chose 13 at-large teams.

Sixteen teams advanced to the second round. Hartford received 43 percent of the votes in the final round, which ended Jan. 18.

Maine Endwell (Endwell, N.Y.) finished second, Archbishop Moeller (Cincinnati) was third and Jordan (Sandy, Utah) ended up fourth.

"When you look at the numbers, you had to do well enough to get to the next round and once that happened, everyone’s imaginations started taking off," Hartford athletic director Joe James told USA Today High School Sports. "I was sending out regular email updates to folks and trying to rally the troops. The comments on the website were from all over the country. We’re such a small town and a close-knit community. There's a tremendous amount of pride."

Hartford went 11-0 last season and won their third consecutive Division I title. The Hurricanes beat Middlebury 42-6 in the championship game to cap a season in which they outscored their opponents 508-112. Hartford has won five of the last six Division I championships.

"There was a lot of buzz all over the community," James said. "We live on the border between Vermont and New Hampshire, and really, in this whole Upper Valley, there was buzz about this."

MANWARING REACHES MILESTONE
Jason Manwaring, a 6-foot-1, junior forward, became the latest Vermont player to reach the 1,000-point plateau when he tossed in 24 points during a 73-5 triumph over Rochester on Jan. 15. Manwaring also had 11 rebounds and blocked four shots in the victory.

Manwaring was averaging 18.8 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.7 blocks through 11 games this season. Williamstown, last year's Division III champion, got off to an 11-0 start.

Manwaring became the sixth player in the program's history to score at least 1,000 points.

U-32 LOOKS LIKE A CONTENDER
The U-32 girls basketball program is coming off three consecutive losing seasons, but that streak will end this year.

U-32 opened the season with a loss to Division I Hartford, but has won nine in a row since then. Junior Madison Bennett tossed in a game-high 18 points in the team's most recent victory, Monday's 52-13 triumph over Randolph.

U-32 is one of two Division II teams with one loss. Mt. Abraham (10-1) is the other. BFA-Fairfax (10-0) is in sole possession of first place.

FAST TRACK
The South Burlington girls indoor track 4x800 relay team set a state record at the Dartmouth Relays earlier this month.

Anne-Marie Farmer, Allie Flaherty, Kayla Gilding and Katherine Cook posted a sixth-place finish in 10 minutes, 2.38 seconds. Mount Mansfield set the previous record (10:07.97) in 2011.

WOODSTOCK'S WANNOP RESIGNS
Wendy Wannop announced that she was stepping down as Woodstock's field hockey coach on Jan. 15.

Wannop had a 198-76-16 record in 30 seasons as Woodstock's coach. She guided the Wasps to three state championships, and four runner-up finishes.

Roger Brown is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader, and has been covering high school sports throughout New England.

New England Roundup: Vermont

January, 9, 2013
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When Jason Thomas became Burr and Burton Academy's head football coach in 2008, the Bulldogs had suffered through nine consecutive losing seasons. Four years later he guided Burr and Burton to the Division II championship game.

VermontThomas will face a similar challenge this summer, when he coaches Vermont's Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl team.

New Hampshire has won the last 12 meetings with Vermont, and has outscored Vermont 433-145 in those 12 games. New Hampshire set a record for points in a game last summer, when its posted a 62-24 victory and increased its lead in the series to 44-13-2.

“I'm a Vermonter, and I have a lot of pride in our state,” Thomas said. “We're small, but we have some really good football players here.

“When you look at the size difference we don't have the linemen to line up and pound it at New Hampshire. I want to play at a tempo New Hampshire is not used to.”

Thomas, who played football at the University of Massachusetts, said he learned the basics of his fast-paced offense while he was an assistant coach at the University of New Hampshire, and current Oregon head coach Chip Kelly was UNH's offensive coordinator..

“Chip really laid the foundation for me in terms of offense and what I wanted to do,” Thomas said.

Mascoma Regional's Ray Kershaw will be New Hampshire's head coach. Mascoma, which began playing varsity football in 2008, had never posted a winning record until last season, when the Royals lost to Franklin in the Division VI championship game. Kershaw became Mascoma's head coach in 2010.

“Being named New Hampshire's Shrine coach was very exciting for me,” Kershaw said. “It's a great honor because of what the game is all about [raising money for the Shriners' hospitals].”

This year's Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl will be played Aug. 3 at Dartmouth's Memorial Field. The Vermont and New Hampshire rosters will be released later this month.

One of the first players Thomas selects will likely be quarterback Jake Stalcup, a three-year starter at Burr and Burton. Stalcup was named Vermont's Gatorade Player of the Year in 2011, following his junior season.

Stalcup passed for 2,613 yards and 31 touchdowns (nine interceptions) last season. He also threw 31 touchdown passes as a junior.

“He's as steady as they come,” Thomas said. “He doesn't really get rattled. He's 6-2, 200 pounds and has a live arm. He has 'it' as a quarterback.”

Practice for this year's game has been shortened from nine days to seven. There have also been added restrictions placed on how New Hampshire must select its roster. New Hampshire's initial roster before any injuries) must feature six players from each of the state's six divisions. In past year's New Hampshire was allowed to take more players from its larger schools.

New Hampshire has 57 schools with varsity football. Vermont has 34.

“To be honest I don't care about their selection process,” Thomas said. “I want their best against our best. This seems like it gives them an excuse if we do beat them.”

ROBERE NETS 1,000TH POINT
Brianna Robare became the second Winooski girls basketball player to score 1,000 career points when she tossed in 20 during a 53-42 loss to BFA-Fairfax on Saturday.

Robare reached the milestone when she made a 3-pointer with 2:06 left in the first quarter. Robare's sister Bobbi also scored 1,000 points for Winooski.

Chace Carpenter (17 points), Kayla Baczewski (15) and Meghan Bochanski (11) scored in double figures for BFA-Fairfaix, which improved to 6-0. The Bullets trailed by two points entering the fourth quarter, but outscored Winooski 17-4 over the final eight minutes.

The loss dropped the Spartans to 5-2.

TOOF REACHES CENTURY MARK
Mount Mansfield-South Burlington girls hockey coach Mickey Toof earned his 100th career coaching victory when MMU-SB defeated Colchester last week.

Toof is in his ninth season as a head coach. He was Burlington's head coach for four years, and is now in his fifth season with South Burlington.

Toof has an overall record of 100-64-15 in nine seasons.

VERGENNES BOYS OFF TO STRONG START
The Vergennes boys basketball team made 26 of 29 two-point field goal attempts during an 87-59 triumph over U-32 during the first round of the Fran Pinard tournament on Dec. 28.

Vergennes, which lost to Mount St. Joseph in last year's Division II championship game, is off to a 10-0 start this season. The Commodores picked up victory No. 10 by beating Montpelier 53-43 Saturday.

Roger Brown is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader, and has been covering high school sports throughout New England since 1992.

New England Roundup: Vermont

November, 28, 2012
11/28/12
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Recapping Vermont's three state championship football games:

VermontDivision I - Hartford 35, BFA-St. Albans 27: The top-seeded Hurricanes received 149 yards rushing and three touchdowns from Josh Claflin and stretched their winning streak to 26 games. Hartford has won the last three Division I titles, and five of the last six.

Hartford, which has gone 11-0 in each of the last two seasons, led 35-19 after Claflin scored his third TD with 6:08 to play, but the Bobwhites responded with a 21-yard touchdown pass from Nick Jaslowich to Darren Callan. Jaslowich added the two-point conversion to make it 35-27.

BFA-St. Albans (9-2) made things even more interesting when it recovered the onside kick, but the Bobwhites turned the ball over on downs with 2:11 remaining. Callan finished the game with six receptions for 69 yards.

Hartford became the first team to win three consecutive Division I championships.

Division II - Rice 23, Bellows Falls 14: Billy O'Brien rushed for 111 yards and two touchdowns to help top-seeded Rice complete an unbeaten season (11-0).

O'Brien's second touchdown came on a 46-yard run that increased Rice's lead to 23-14 with 5:48 to play. The Green Knights won their second championship in three years despite three fumbles and an interception in the first half.

Second-seeded Bellows Falls (9-2) trailed 16-6 before Ian McKeen scored on a 16-yard run midway through the fourth quarter.

Rice beat Bellows Falls 8-0 during the regular season.

Division III - Woodstock 38, BFA-Fairfax 18: Top-seeded Woodstock (11-0) repeated as the Division III champion, but it wasn't as easy as the score would indicate.

The Wasps trailed 12-0 before they ran an offensive play from scrimmage, and were down 18-14 entering the fourth quarter. Fullback Ed Doton scored two TDs in the fourth, the first of which gave Woodstock the lead for good with 11:51 to play. Doton rushed for 117 yards and three touchdown on 17 carries in the victory.

Kris Wehner led BFA-Fairfax (9-2) with 125 yards on 16 carries. The Bullets were making the program's first appearance in a championship game.

SOUTH STARS SHINE
Burr and Burton quarterback Jake Stalcup passed for 308 yards and four touchdowns to lead the South All-Stars to a 39-36 victory over the North All-Stars in the 12th Annual Senior Bowl at Castleton State College.

Stalcup's fourth touchdown pass came with 1:25 left in regulation and gave the South its first lead in the second half. Fair Haven's Dakota Euber caught passes for 178 yards and two TDs, including the go-ahead touchdown for the South in the fourth quarter.

The victory gave the South a 7-5 lead in the series.

Woodstock's Ed Doton (3-yard run), Hartford's Josh Claflin (10-yard run) and Rutland's Kyle Arnold (3-yard catch) also scored for the South, which trailed 36-20 with 12:05 to play.

BFA-St. Albans running back Doug Saffo rushed for 158 yards and two TDs on 26 carries to lead the North offense. Mount Abraham's Cody Alexander also scored twice.

PURRIER REMAINS ON FAST TRACK
Champlain Valley Union's Elle Purrier won her second consecutive New England high school cross country championship earlier this month in Cumberland, Maine.

Purrier, a Richford resident, completed the 3.1-mile race in 18 minutes, 42.44 seconds. CVU's Taylor Spillane ran second in 19:03.11.

Autumn Eastman, who finished eighth (19:22.68), was the only other CVU runner who placed in the top 10. The CVU girls finished third in the team competition. Barrington, R.I., won the team championship.

Mount Anthony's Marc Brandmeyer was the top finisher among Vermont boys. Brandmeyer finished sixth in 16:29.75. South Burlington's Malcolm Plunkett (eighth/16:37.34) and Montpelier's Daniel Grosvenor (10th/16:38.16) also placed in the top 10.

Bishop Hendricken of Warwick, R.I, won the boys team championship. South Burlington, Vermont's top team, ran 10th.

Roger Brown is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader. He has been covering high school sports throughout New England since 1992.

New England Roundup: Vermont

November, 9, 2012
11/09/12
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Three Vermont football teams will try to complete unbeaten seasons Saturday, when the state's three championship games will be held at South Burlington High School. Saturday's schedule:

VermontDivision II: No. 2 Bellows Falls (9-1) vs. No. 1 Rice (10-0), 11 a.m.

Division III: No. 2 BFA-Fairfax (9-1) vs. No. 1 Woodstock (10-0), 2 p.m.

Division I: No. 2 BFA-St. Albans (9-1) vs. No. 1 Hartford (10-0), 5 p.m.

BELLOWS FALLS VS. RICE
Noteworthy: Rice is making its second appearance in the Division II championship game in the last three years. … The Green Knights beat fourth-seeded Burr and Burton, 36-14, in the semifinals. Burr and Burton led 14-6 in the third quarter, but allowed 30 points in the second half. Casey Tipson (134) and Billy O'Brien (121) each rushed for more than 100 yards in the victory. … Bellows Falls earned a spot in the championship game by beating third-seeded Milton in the semifinals. … Rice beat Bellows Falls 8-0 during the regular season. … Each program won a state championship two years ago. Rice defeated Middlebury to win the Division II title, and Bellows Falls defeated Windsor in the Division III championship game.

BFA-FAIRFAX VS. WOODSTOCK
Noteworthy: This will be the first championship game appearance for the BFA-Fairfax program. … Although it had three punts blocked, BFA-Fairfax beat third-seeded Mill River in the semifinals. Kris Wehner returned the second-half kickoff 87 yards for a TD, and threw a halfback pass for a touchdown in that victory. … Woodstock, which won last year's Division III championship, received three touchdowns from Ed Doton in a 58-7 triumph over fourth-seeded Mount Abraham in the semifinals. Doton ran for two touchdowns and caught a TD pass when Woodstock opened the season with a 48-19 victory over BFA-Fairfax.

BFA-ST. ALBANS vs. HARTFORD
Noteworthy: Hartford owns a 24-game winning streak and is seeking its third consecutive state title, and its fifth in the last six years. … Hartford won the regular-season meeting, 33-7, at home. … BFA-St. Albans advanced to the championship game by beating Essex, 35-6, in the semifinals. Hartford posted a 42-6 triumph over Middlebury in the semifinals. Hartford beat Middlebury in last year's championship game. … Hartford running back Josh Claflin has scored at least three touchdowns in each of the last three games, and has 20 TDs this season. … BFA-St. Albans is the last team that beat Hartford (42-0 in 2010). Hartford avenged that loss by beating the Bobwhites in the 2010 championship game. … Hartford has outscored its opponents, 372-100.

CORNER KICKS
No team dominated the competition like the Peoples Academy girls did this season. Katie Stames scored four goals as top-seeded Peoples completed an 18-0 season by beating second-seeded BFA-Fairfax 9-0 in the Division III championship game. Stames finished the season with 43 goals. Junior Hannah Merriman collected three goals and two assists for the Wolves, who won their fifth title in the last seven seasons. Peoples owns a 32-game winning streak and has outscored its opponents 174-11 in those 32 contests. ...Burr and Burton defeated Montpelier 2-1 to win its second consecutive Division II boys soccer championship. Each team entered the championship game with a 17-0 record. It was a 1-1 game until sophomore Reid Conde scored his team-high 16th goal of the season with 10:04 to play. … Champlain Valley Union won the boys and girls Division I soccer championships. Shane Haley scored 1:15 into overtime to lift the second-seeded CVU boys to a 1-0 victory over fifth-seeded Burlington. CVU finished the season with a 16-1-1 record and outscored its opponents, 70-7. The Redhawks didn't allow a goal in 11 of their 18 games. The second-seeded CVU girls claimed the title when Emma Davitt scored on a penalty kick in overtime to give the Redhawks a 2-1 victory over top-seeded Essex. Each team finished 16-1-1.

Roger Brown is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader and has been covering high school sports throughout New England since 1992.

New England Roundup: Vermont

June, 25, 2012
6/25/12
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Frank Pecora's last season as the Northfield High School varsity baseball coach ended like many others: with a state championship.

VermontTop-seeded Northfield defeated second-seeded Blue Mountain 10-1 in the Division III championship game earlier this month. The victory gave Pecora his 15th state championship during his 38-year coaching tenure at Northfield.

After the contest Pecora made it clear that this season was his last.

“That [the 15 titles] says a lot for all the kids who played in this program,” Pecora told The Burlington Free Press. “I coached half their parents. Well, I always said that the first kid that walked up to me and said, 'My grandfather played for you.' I was handing him the keys.

“We haven't gotten to that point, but we're pretty close. It's been an awesome ride.”

Northfield's Billy Whaley pitched a complete game against Blue Mountain. He allowed two hits, and struck out 10.

Zach Daley collected three hits and had three of Northfield's seven stolen bases.

Northfield completed its season with a 17-1 record, which pushed Pecora's career record to 488-157-1. The Marauders had one losing season during his 38 years as the program's head coach.

Recapping Vermont's other state championship games:

Division I: Champlain Valley Union pitcher Curt Echo didn't allow a baserunner until the fifth inning as second-seeded CVU beat fifth-seeded BFA-St. Albans, 5-0.

CVU (18-2) scored four of its five runs in the third inning. Echo went the distance and allowed three hits.

Division II: Second-seeded Vergennes overcame a 3-0 deficit by scoring four runs in the sixth inning and hung on to defeat 13th-seeded Missisquoi Valley, 4-3.

Devin Hayes scored the go-ahead run on Tommy Shea's infield single. Vergennes finished with a 15-5 record. Missisquoi Valley, the first 13th seed to reach the Division I championship game, ended up with an 8-12 record.

Division IV: Top-seeded Danville scored during five of its six at-bats and repeated as the Division IV champion by beating third-seeded Mount St. Joseph 12-0.

Scott Remick, Brett Elliot and Erick Remick each had two hits and scored twice for Danville, which finished its season with a 13-5 record. Danville's Kyle Johnson pitched a three-hit shutout and struck out 10.

SOFTBALL: PROCTOR GIRLS FIND A WAY
Fifth-seeded Proctor scored four runs in the first inning without a base hit and hung on to defeat third-seeded Whitcomb 4-3 in the Division IV championship game.

Proctor's first inning featured three walks, one hit batter and two Whitcomb errors. Proctor completed its season with a 17-3 record. Whitcomb finished 15-3.

Division I: Jordi Begin broke a 2-2 tie by hitting a home run in the bottom of the fourth and top-seeded Essex went on to beat second-seeded BFA-St. Albans 6-3.

Division II: Freshman Kayla Mathieu struck out 13 and held Lyndon to three hits to help BFA-Fairfax post a 4-1 victory. It was the program's first Division II state championship, and first title since 1981 (Division III).

Division III: People's did all of its scoring in the sixth inning and won its second title in as many years by beating Windsor 3-1. It was the program's 11th state championship.

BOYS' LACROSSE: REBELS SHOW GOOD TIMING
Second-seeded South Burlington lost to top-seeded Essex twice during the regular season, but the Rebels defeated the Hornets 9-7 when the teams met in the Division I championship game.

Dan Cone scored three goals for South Burlington, which finished with a 17-2 record. Essex, which beat South Burlington 5-4 and 6-3 earlier in the year, ended its season 16-3. The team's two other losses came against out-of-state competition.

In the Division II title game, Hans Halvorsen tied the game by scoring with less than a second remaining in regulation and teammate Graham Quisenberry scored 23 seconds into overtime to give second-seeded Green Mountain Valley an 8-7 triumph over fifth-seeded Colchester.

GIRLS' LACROSSE: REPEAT PERFORMANCE IN DIVISION I
Anne-Marie Farmer and Sarah Fisher each collected three goals and an assist to lead top-seeded South Burlington to a 14-11 victory over second-seeded Middlebury in the Division I championship game.

South Burlington also beat Middlebury to win last year's Division I title. The teams split two regular-season meetings.

In the Division II title game, top-seeded Rice extended its winning streak to 13 games by beating seventh-seeded BFA-St. Albans 13-11. Junior Emily Cutting scored five goals for the Green Knights.

GRIBBON JUMPS FOR JOY
South Burlington's Mollie Gribbin won the triple jump (39 feet, 4.75 inches) at the 67th New England Track and Field Championship, which was held June 9 at Thornton Academy in Saco, Maine.

Gribbin also finished fourth in the long jump (17-9.25), sixth in the 100-meter dash (12.29) and sixth in the 200 (25-11).

St. Johnsbury's Elijah Doerfler picked up Vermont's other victory. Doerfler won the javelin (185-10).

Roger Brown is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader and has been reporting on high school sports throughout New England since 1992.

New England Roundup: Vermont

February, 15, 2012
2/15/12
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Colchester High School's Lauren Bernard was selected as Vermont's Gatorade Player of the Year for girls' soccer when she was a junior. She may have been an even easier selection for the award following her senior season.

VermontIt was announced last week that Bernard, a senior forward, was named the state's top girls soccer player for the second consecutive year.

“She’s very strong technically and her left foot is deadly,” Vergennes coach Dwight Irish said. “If she has a little bit of room and she’s anywhere near the goal, she’s going to change the game.”

Bernard collected 24 goals and five assists last fall, when she led Colchester to the Division I quarterfinals. She is a two-time All-American (selected by the National Soccer Coaches' Association of America), a former member of the U.S. Soccer Federation Under-15 Girls National Team and is currently in the USAF's Under-18 player pool.

Bernard has signed a national letter of intent to play soccer at Boston College.

By winning at the state level, Bernard became a candidate for the Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year Award, which will be announced in May.

Previous winner of the award include Brittany Pfaff (2009-10, Rice), Natalie LeClair (2008-09 and 2007-08, Essex), and Emily Milbank (2006-07, CVU).

MCCORMICK, HOLBROOK SELECT SCHOOLS

Former Rice quarterback Christian McCormick and Milton lineman Jamie Holbrook have each decided where they will play football next season.

McCormick, who is currently spending a year of prep school at the Berkshire School in Sheffield, Mass., accepted a preferred walk-on spot by the University of New Hampshire. Holbrook signed a national letter of intent to play at Southern Connecticut University.

"What really stood out is the campus reminded me of being at home, but with football," McCormick said. "I'm excited about UNH. I know it's the right place for me."

McCormick was named Vermont's Gatorade Player of the Year following his senior season, when he threw for 2,619 yards and 37 touchdowns and led Rice to the Division II state championship. He was also Vermont's quarterback in last year's Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl.

McCormick helped Rice win state championships in basketball in his sophomore and senior seasons.

He also had an opportunity to join UNH as a walk-on last year, but opted for a year of prep school instead.

"Neither me or my dad thought I was ready for college academically," he said. "Holy Cross showed some interest and Wagner did too. There were also some Division III schools interested, but I wanted to try and compete at the highest level I can. [UNH] felt like a winning atmosphere."

Holbrook, who plays on both sides of the ball, also looked at UNH and several prep school options before he chose SCSU, a Division II school that competes in the Northeast-10 Conference.

ESSEX WINS SHOWDOWN

Second-period goals by Steve Morse and Steve Jurkiewicz helped the Essex boys' hockey team extend its regular-season unbeaten streak to 29 games (27-0-2) by beating South Burlington 4-2 Saturday in a battle between the state's two best ice hockey teams.

Essex raised its record to to 14-0-1. The Hornets haven't suffered a setback since they lost to Champlain Valley in last year's Division I championship game.

South Burlington, which entered the contest with a 13-game unbeaten streak, fell to 14-2-0.

After Pat Abbott handed Essex a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal, South Burlington responded with goals by Eric Craig and Sam Finkelstein. Essex regained the lead on goals by Morse and Jurkiewicz, and then J.T. Begnoche added an empty-net goal to complete the scoring.

Essex received 17 saves from Pat Campbell. South Burlington's Nathaniel Young stopped 29 shots.

SHOOTING STARS

Winooski point guard Devon Rollins and Lake Region point guard Kylie Atwood each scored the 1,000th point of their varsity careers recently.

Rollins reached 1,000 points when Winooski defeated Northfield, 67-41, on Feb. 1. Atwood tossed in her 1,000th point during Lake Region's 44-32 triumph over BFA-Fairfax on Monday night.

Rollins, a senior, entered the game six points shy of 1,000, and reached the milestone when he connected on a 3-pointer in the first quarter. He finished the game with 22 points.

Atwood needed 16 points against BFA-Fairfax to reach 1,000. She finished with 17, 13 of which came in the second half.

Roger Brown has been reporting on high school sports in New England since 1992. He publishes the New Hampshire Football Report, and covers high school football recruiting in the Northeast for ESPN/Scouts Inc.

New England Roundup: Vermont

November, 16, 2011
11/16/11
5:47
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Woodstock Union High School football coach Jim McLaughlin won the 200th game of his coaching career Saturday, and it couldn't have come at a better time.

VermontMcLaughlin guided top-seeded Woodstock to a 27-7 victory over third-seeded Windsor in the Division III championship game at Castleton State College. It was the eighth state title McLaughlin's teams have won in his 30 years as a head coach.

Junior fullback Ed Doton did most of the damage for Woodstock, which began the season with back-to-back losses before winning nine in a row. Doton rushed for 255 yards and three touchdowns.

“If you look at it as a puzzle, the pieces really came together for us as the season went along,” McLaughlin said.

Woodstock, which led 14-0 at halftime, held Windsor running back Matt Rafus to 40 yards on 14 carries. Rafus finished the season with 1,881 yards rushing and 27 touchdowns.

Windsor's only touchdown came on a blocked field goal attempt that Ethan Hill returned 75 yards. Windsor completed its season with a 7-4 record.

In Saturday's other championship games top-seeded Hartford beat third-seeded Middlebury 42-6 to win the Division I title; and third-seeded Fair Haven outscored fourth-seeded Burr and Burton 57-34 to win the Division II title.

Hartford 42, Middlebury 6
Hartford dominated on both sides of the ball and won its fourth championship in the last five years.

Miles Latham rushed for 102 yards and two touchdowns, and Troy Bell ran for 109 yards to help the Hurricanes completed an unbeaten season (11-0). Hartford scored four second-half touchdowns.

Middlebury (9-2) played without quarterback Dillon Robinson, who was injured in the team's semifinal victory over BFA-St. Albans. Middlebury's only touchdown came when Marshall Hastings returned a kickoff 79 yards for a score.

Hartford, which had a 444-88 edge in net offense, outscored its opponents 508-112 this season.

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New England Roundup: Vermont

September, 9, 2011
9/09/11
4:22
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Super conferences may be the thing of the future in college football, but the concept is getting a test drive at the high school level in Vermont this fall.

VermontFour teams – Champlain Valley Union, Colchester, Middlebury and Mount Mansfield – moved from Division II to Division I in the offseason, which created a 14-team league at the top of Vermont's three-division format.

“In the past we always tried to have an even number of teams in each division,” CVU coach Jim Provost said. “What was happening is there were schools in Division II that started to do well and belonged in Division I.

“In the last two years, from top to bottom, there was more parity in Division II than there was in Division I. I think there's better balance across the division now.”

The following alignments will be in place through the 2012 season:

Division I:
Essex; Champlain Valley; BFA-St. Albans; Rutland; Mount Mansfield; Colchester; Middlebury; Spaulding; Mount Anthony; Hartford; Burlington; Brattleboro; South Burlington and St. Johnsbury.

Division II:
North Country; U-32; Lyndon; Milton; Springfield; Bellows Falls; Burr and Burton; Fair Haven; Rice Memorial and Otter Valley.

Division III:
BFA-Fairfax; Windsor; Mount Abraham; Mill River; Woodstock; Poultney; Montpelier; Oxbow; Winooski and Mount St. Joseph.

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New England Roundup: Vermont

June, 17, 2011
6/17/11
5:00
PM ET
Wednesday’s Division I baseball championship game was all about finishing strong.

VermontFourth-seeded Rice held a four-run lead after two innings, but faded after that. Mount Anthony Union, the tournament’s seventh seed, scored the game’s final 10 runs – including eight in the last three innings – to post a an 11-5 victory.

Mount Anthony took control by scoring four runs with two outs in the fifth. Nicholas Lloyd’s three-run home run was the big blow in the inning.

Tony Baldic struck out seven in four innings to earn the win. Mount Anthony received three scoreless innings from Tyler Kinzeman.

Rice, which was trying to win its first state championship since 1964, built a 5-1 lead through two innings. Rice’s biggest hits were Nicky Elderton’s two-run home run in the first, and Joe Boardman’s two-run double in the second.

Rice committed six errors in the loss.

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New England Roundup: Vermont

November, 10, 2010
11/10/10
2:51
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Vermont will hold its three state championship football games Saturday at Castleton State College. It will be the first year all three games will be played on the same day at the same location.

VermontThe schedule:

Division I
No. 1 BFA-St. Albans (10-0) vs. No. 2 Hartford (8-2), 2 p.m.

Division II
No. 1 Middlebury (10-0) vs. No. 3 Rice Memorial (9-1), 5 p.m.

Division III
No. 1 Bellows Falls (7-3) vs. No. 2 Windsor (9-1), 11 a.m.

Windsor will be trying to avenge its only loss – a 20-0 setback to Bellows Fall on Oct. 9 – in the Division III matchup. Another shutout seems unlikely, since Windsor running back Matt Rafus gained 437 total yards and scored six touchdowns in last weekend’s 55-28 semifinal victory over BFA-Fairfax.

Rafus gained 375 yards and five touchdowns on the ground, and caught a 62-yard TD pass from quarterback Austin Soule. Rafus has rushed for 1,701 yards and scored 28 touchdowns this season.

“Matt is probably one of the two fastest kids in the state,” Windsor coach Jim Taft said. “He’s a track guy, but he’s really a football guy who does track. A lot of his runs have been for 40 yards or more.”

“If you don’t get (Rafus) right away he’s gone,” Bellows Falls coach Bob Lockerby added. “They have other weapons, but it all starts with him.”

Windsor, last year’s Division III champion, is playing in the Division III title game for the fourth consecutive year.

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New England Roundup: Vermont

October, 27, 2010
10/27/10
9:50
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Vermont will wrap up its high school football regular season this weekend. Among the big games: a Division I matchup between Essex and South Burlington that will earn the winner a playoff berth.

VermontEssex (4-2) and South Burlington (4-3) will enter the weekend third and fourth respectively in the Division I standings. The winner will secure the No. 3 seed, but the loser will drop to the fifth spot. Four teams qualify for the playoffs in each of Vermont’s three divisions.

“It’s pretty complicated to figure out because we don’t all play the same number of league games, but I think there’s a scenario where Rutland can finish in the third spot,” South Burlington coach Joe McDonald said.

“We’re running the same offensive system (as Essex) and pretty much the same defense too. Both teams have good passing attacks and we’re playing at home on turf, so weather is not an issue. Who’s favored? I suppose that depends on who you ask. It should be interesting. It should be a good game.”

Rutland will conclude the regular season with a game against Division II Mount Mansfield. Because it’s not a league game, the outcome of that contest will not factor into Rutland’s Quality Point Rating, the formula Vermont uses to determine playoff teams.

Both Essex and South Burlington are coming off losses. Essex, which won last year’s Division I championship, dropped a 35-14 decision to Rutland last weekend. South Burlington lost to BFA-St. Albans 26-14.

BFA-St. Albans (8-0) and Hartford (5-1) have already clinched Division I playoff berths.
  • Middlebury (6-0), Champlain Valley Union (6-1) and Rice (5-1) have earned Division II playoff berths, but four teams will enter the weekend with a chance to finish as the No. 4 seed. Fair Haven, Milton, Colchester and North Country are all 3-3. One of the four will complete the Division II playoff field.
  • Bellows Falls (5-1), Windsor (7-1) and BFA-Fairfax (5-1) have clinched postseason berths in Division III. Woodstock (5-2) can extend its season by beating Windsor on Friday night. A Woodstock loss would open the door for Oxbow (4-2).
BOYS SOCCER: U-32 REACHES HIGH GOAL
Offense wasn’t a problem for top-seeded U-32 in the first round of the Division II boys' soccer tournament.

U-32 received four goals and an assist from Jack Shea and three goals from Carter Austin-Bradley in an 8-0 victory over 16th-seeded Fair Haven on Tuesday.

Elsewhere Tuesday, Ricky Carroll collected three goals and Keegan McDonnell contributed two goals and an assist to help top-seeded Proctor defeat Craftsbury 6-0 in the Division IV tournament.

Top-seeded Champlain Valley (Division I) and top-seeded Leland & Gray (Division III) each earned a bye and will begin postseason play on Friday. Here are Friday’s playoff pairings by Division:
  • Division I: No. 1 CVU vs. No. 8 Harwood; No. 4 Rutland vs. No. 5 South Burlington/No. 12 Mount Mansfield winner; No. 2 Brattleboro vs. No. 7 Colchester; and No. 3 Burlington vs. No. 6 Essex.
  • Division II: No. 1 U-32 vs. No. 9 Hartford; No. 4 Springfield vs. No. 5 Green Mountain Valley; No. 2 Mississquoi vs. No. 7 Woodstock; and No. 3 Milton vs. No. 6 Rice.
  • Division III: No. 1 Leland & Gray vs. No. 8 Enosburg; No. 4 Thetford vs. No. 5 Stowe; No. 2 Peoples vs. No. 7 Northfield; and No. 3 Winooski vs. No. 6 BFA-Fairfax.
  • Division IV: No. 1 Proctor vs. No. 9 Rochester; No. 4 Rivendell vs. No. 5 Long Trail; No. 15 Black River vs. No. 10 Danville and No. 3 Sharon vs. No. 6 South Royalton.
GIRLS SOCCER: VIEW FROM THE TOP
CVU (Division I), Montpelier (Division II), Mill River (Division III) and Rivendell (Division IV) are the top-seeded teams for the girls soccer tournament, which begins Wednesday.

CVU, which has won nine games in a row and outscored its opposition 37-2 during that span, drew a first-round bye, and will meet either No. 8 Spaulding or No. 9 Burlington on Saturday.

Montpelier, which is unscored upon in its last seven victories, also earned a first-round bye and will face either No. 8 Lamoille or No. 9 Woodstock on Saturday.

Mill River and Rivendell will each play first-round games Wednesday. Mill River will meet No. 16 Winooski, and Rivendell will face No. 16 Craftsbury.

FIELD HOCKEY: PERFECT ENDING?

South Burlington (14-0-0) and Hartford (13-0-0) are the only field hockey teams that finished the regular season unbeaten. The teams could meet in the Division I tournament’s championship game.

South Burlington is the tournament’s top seed. Hartford is seeded No. 2.

Harwood (Division II) and Missisquoi (Division III) are the other top-seeded field hockey teams. All three will begin tournament play with quarterfinal-round games this weekend.

South Burlington, which had a first-round bye, will face either No. 8 Mount Mansfield or No. 9 Mount Anthony on Saturday. Harwood, which also had a first-round bye, will meet either No. 8 Spaulding or No. 9 Mount Abraham on Saturday, and Missisquoi will play No. 8 Bellows Falls on Friday.

Roger Brown has covered high school sports in New England since 1992. He currently covers high school and college football in the Northeast for ESPN/Scouts Inc.

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