Boston High School: Hartford (Vt.)

New England Roundup: Vermont

May, 16, 2013
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The Rochester girls’ softball team was outscored 50-2 on May 4, when it lost both ends of a doubleheader against West Rutland. Rochester dropped the first game, 27-1, and lost the second contest, 23-1.

VermontA 19-2 loss to Rivendell Academy on Monday dropped the team's Division IV record to 0-7, but the news hasn't been all bad.

The doubleheader against West Rutland marked the first time Rochester had played a game at home since Hurricane Irene ruined the school's softball field in 2011.

“It was awesome to be out there,” Rochester coach Lisa Blair told The Burlington Free Press. “The players were just so excited to finally play there. The girls get a better field.”

Rochester, which won the Division IV state title in 2011, traveled to each of its games last season while a new field was constructed. Rochester's field now features a new electronic scoreboard.

LAMOTHE RETURNS TO HOME FIELD
Former Lyndon Institute pitcher Buddy Lamothe was honored before Lyndon's baseball game against Montpelier last week.

Lamothe, who led the Vikings to the Division II state title in 2009, suffered a spinal cord injury during a swimming accident two years ago that left him paralyzed from the waist down. Lamothe was playing for San Jacinto College in Texas when he was injured.

Lamothe had a 0.77 ERA with 28 strikeouts in 23 1/3 innings for San Jacinto. He was drawing interest from professional teams before the injury, and the Houston Astros picked Lamothe in the 40th round that year after the accident occurred.

MOVING UP
Girls’ lacrosse will likely have a new look next season.

The Vermont Principals' Association has proposed that BFA-St. Albans, Burr and Burton and Rice move from Division II to Division I starting in 2014. Rice and U-32 were both unbeaten after six games this season. Rice was 4-1-1.

If the proposal is approved, those three teams would join Brattleborough, Burlington, Champlain Valley Union, Essex, Middlebury, Mount Anthony, Mount Mansfield, Rutland, South Burlington and Spaulding in Division I.

Division II would have 15 teams: Chelsea, Colchester, Green Mountain Valley, Hartford, Harwood, Lamoille, Montpelier, Oxbow, Randolph, St. Johnsbury, Stowe, Stratton, U-32, Vergennes and Woodstock.

REPEAT PERFORMANCE?
The Essex softball team won the 2012 Division I state championship, and may be the team to beat again this season.

At 7-0, Essex is the only unbeaten team in Division I. The Hornets have outscored their opponents 83-17 in their seven victories.

TOUGH TO HIT
"Kayla Wood didn't allow a hit through nine innings of the Brattleborough softball team's season opener against Hartford, but the scoreless game was suspended in the 10th inning. Wood will try to complete her no-hit pitching performance when the suspended game resumes on May 29.

"Randolph Rachel Johnson had thrown two no-hitters through her team's first four games this season. Johnson, a sophomore, didn't allow a hit in victories over South Royalton and U-32.

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

Recruiting Notes: Frenzy leading to Signing Day

February, 1, 2013
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The second half of January featured a flurry of activity with regard to New England players committing to colleges. Some of the notable commitments:

Recruiting Notebook"Everett High School wide receiver/defensive back Jakarrie Washington to Wisconsin: Recruiting writers were scrambling last week when word leaked that Washington would be joining the Badgers, since he was relatively unknown outside of Massachusetts. He had no other scholarship offers at the time of his commitment. What Washington does have is speed. He has reportedly run the 40 in 4.4 seconds. He's also versatile. He caught 33 passes for 439 yards and nine touchdowns last season, when he also carried the ball 75 times for 697 yards and 15 touchdowns.

"St. John's Prep running back Alex Moore to Pennsylvania: Many thought Moore would join teammate Lucas Bavaro at Dartmouth, but he selected Penn – the first school to make him an offer. Moore, perhaps the best two-way player in Massachusetts last season, helped St. John's Prep win the EMass Division I Super Bowl and claimed the third annual ESPN Boston “Mr. Football” award, which is given annually to the best player in the state. Moore, who will likely play on the defensive side of the ball in college, made 67 tackles (five for loss), recorded four interceptions and forced four fumbles during his senior season. He also rushed for 857 yards and 14 touchdowns, and caught 20 passes for 455 yards and five touchdowns.

"Windsor (Conn.) defensive end Cole Ormsby to Connecticut: Ormsby committed to UMass in June, but switched that commitment last week. Ormsby led the state with 17 sacks last season, when Hand defeated Windsor 23-6 in the Class L championship game. He completed his senior season with 85 tackles.

SIGN HERE

Wednesday is National Signing Day, and ESPNU will have 10 hours of coverage beginning at 9 a.m. At least 17 of the nation's top uncommitted recruits are expected to announce their college decision live during the telecast. Rece Davis and Dari Nowkhah will host the coverage from Charlotte, N.C.

ESPNU will have reporters at the following schools: Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Ohio State, Texas, Texas AM and USC. The station will also air a two-hour preview show on Tuesday beginning at 5 p.m.

THESE GUYS ARE COMMITTED

Nine of New England's top 10 recruits (as rated by ESPN) have verbally committed to college programs. Six of the 10 players are from Connecticut, and the four others are from Massachusetts. Here's where those players will be playing next season:

John Montelus, OG (Everett High School): Notre Dame
Maurice Hurst Jr., DT (Xaverian Brothers): Michigan
Tim Boyle, QB (Xavier): Boston College
Noel Thomas, ATH (St. Luke's): Connecticut
John Van Allen, OLB (Avon Old Farms): Harvard
Sadiq Olanrewaju, OT (Salisbury School): Virginia
Cory Jasudowich, ILB (Cheshire Academy): Connecticut
Tevin Montgomery, OT (Tabor Academy): Boston College
Jack McDonald, OG (BC High): Virginia.

Note: Thomas, who played for his father at St. Luke's in New Canaan, Conn., enrolled at UConn for the spring semester. Thomas played wide receiver, quarterback and running back in prep school, and finished his career with 4,888 yards of offense and 53 touchdowns. He is expected to play wide receiver in college.

BULLDOG MENTALITY

Michael Dulac, Vermont's Gatorade Player of the Year for the 2012 season, has committed to play for Division I Bryant University. The Bulldogs compete in the Northeast Conference.

Dulac, a 6-foot-3, 270-pound lineman, led Hartford High School (White River Jct.) to three consecutive Division I championships. He started on each side of the ball in all 43 games of his high school career.

Dulac reportedly had offers from eight schools, and selected Bryant over Dartmouth.

NEW HAMPSHIRE LANDS LINEBACKER

Proctor Academy fullback/linebacker Odaine Franklyn committed to the University of New Hampshire on Thursday.

Franklin made 48 tackles last season. He also rushed for 178 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries. Proctor finished the season with an 8-1 record.

Franklyn, who was recruited to play linebacker, was a three-year starter for White Plains (N.Y.) High School before he enrolled at Proctor Academy. He had scholarship offers from Akron and Albany coming out of high school.

Recruiting information regarding high school or prep school players in New England can be sent to Roger Brown at rbrown@nhfootballreport.com.

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 Gatorade Football Player of the Year winners

November, 29, 2012
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The Gatorade Football Players of the Year across all 50 states were announced today. Here's a look at the winners from across New England:

CONNECTICUT: COLIN MOORE, SR. RB/DB, AVON
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound senior running back and defensive back has led the Falcons to a 10-0 record and a berth in the Class L state quarterfinals against New Canaan High, scheduled for Nov. 28. At the time of his selection, Moore had rushed for 2,012 yards and 29 touchdowns on 243 carries. In the defensive secondary, the 2011 All-Pequot Uncas League First Team selection had recorded 21 tackles and an interception.

Moore has maintained a B average in the classroom. During the 2011 Halloween snowstorm, he volunteered as an electrician’s assistant to help restore power in the area. He has also donated his time as a peer mentor to intellectually and physically challenged students and also serves as a youth counselor.

“Colin Moore is a tremendous football player,” said Paul Philippon, head coach of Canton High. “He’s tough, consistent and relentless—he produces in every game. He could have played in any era.”

Moore remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.

Moore joins recent Gatorade Connecticut Football Players of the Year Casey Cochran (2011-12, 2010-11, Masuk High School), Kevin Pierre-Louis (2009-10, King Low Heywood Thomas), Mike Osiecki (2008-09, Seymour High School) and Alex Thomas (2007-08, Ansonia) among the state’s list of former award winners.

MAINE: ANDREW LIBBY, JR. RB/S, THORNTON ACADEMY
The 6-foot, 195-pound junior running back and safety led the Golden Trojans to an 11-1 record and the Class A state championship this past season. Libby rushed for 1,091 yards and 23 touchdowns on 182 carries, caught 17 passes for 190 yards and two scores and returned four punts for touchdowns, including one in the state title game win over Lawrence High. Libby also recorded 98 tackles, six interceptions, returning one for a touchdown, and forced a fumble.

Libby has maintained a 3.37 GPA in the classroom. He has volunteered locally on behalf of a homeless shelter and food bank, and as part of a fundraising campaign to benefit cancer research. Libby has also served as an area youth football and track coach.

“Andrew is the most important player on Thornton Academy’s senior-laden team,” said Matt Perkins, head coach of Windham High. “Their offense goes through him. On defense, he’s their free safety and allows them to over-play one side of the field because he will control the other side. He is one of the most dynamic players I’ve seen.”

Libby will begin his senior year of high school next fall.

Libby joins recent Gatorade Maine Football Players of the Year Louis DiTomasso (2011-12, Wells High School), Peter Gwilym (2010-11, Cheverus High School), Jack Mallis (2009-10, Windham), Jack Heary (2008-09, Deering High School) and Justin Villacci (2007-08, Gorham) among the state’s list of former award winners.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: TYLER GRANT, SR. RB/S, EXETER HIGH
The 5-foot-11, 175-pound senior running back and safety led the Blue Hawks to an 11-1 record and the Division I state title this past season. Grant rushed for 1,238 yards and 20 touchdowns on 173 carries and caught 12 passes for 217 yards and three scores. On defense, he recorded 47 tackles, three interceptions, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. The 2011 New Hampshire Union Leader First Team All-State pick returned both an interception and a fumble for touchdowns this fall.

Grant has maintained a 3.67 GPA in the classroom. He has volunteered locally as part of fundraising campaigns to benefit juvenile diabetes and breast cancer research. Grant has also donated his time as a youth baseball coach and on behalf of a literacy-outreach program.

“Tyler Grant is the main reason for Exeter’s success,” said Eric Brown, head coach of Concord High. “He truly stands out on both sides of the ball and special teams as well. Not only is he a physical talent, he is a very intelligent football player as well.”

Grant will attend Maine’s Bowdoin College next fall where he will play football.

Grant joins recent Gatorade New Hampshire Football Players of the Year Jake Kiley (2011-12, New Hampton School), Max Jacques (2010-11, 2009-10, Salem High School), David Zocco (2008-09, Nashua High School South) and Billy Ferriter (2007-08, Nashua South) among the state’s list of former award winners.

RHODE ISLAND: ANTHONY FRANCIS, SR. QB, LA SALLE ACADEMY
The 6-foot-1, 193-pound senior quarterback has led the Rams to a 9-1 record and a berth in the Division I state semifinals against Portsmouth High, scheduled for Nov. 28. At the time of his selection, Francis had passed for 2,013 yards and 18 touchdowns, completing 110-of-181 attempts while throwing just two interceptions. A 2011 Providence Journal First Team All-State honoree, he rushed for 633 yards and nine touchdowns on 116 carries through 10 games.

Francis has maintained a B average in the classroom. A member of the La Salle Academy Debate Team, he has volunteered locally on behalf of a day care center, at a homeless shelter and as a youth football coach.

“With Anthony this year it is like having a young coach on the field,” said Geoff Marcone, head coach of La Salle Academy. “Anthony knows the offense so well we have given him authority to check in and out of plays. He is the guy that makes the call.”

Francis remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.

Francis joins recent Gatorade Rhode Island Football Players of the Year Josh Morris (2011-12, La Salle Academy), Ben Willett (2010-11, Portsmouth High School), Mike Read (2009-10, Barrington), Dave D'Errico (2008-09, North Kingstown High School) and Bobby Bentsen (2007-08, Warwick Veterans) among the state’s list of former award winners.

VERMONT: MICHAEL DULAC, SR. OL/DL, HARTFORD HIGH
The 6-foot-3, 272-pound senior offensive and defensive lineman led the Hurricanes to an 11-0 record and their third straight Division I state championship this past season. A three-time First Team All-State selection, Dulac compiled 26 pancake blocks for an offense that accumulated 4,056 rushing yards and averaged 37 points per game. He started 43 consecutive games and helped Hartford to 26 straight wins to close out his career.

Dulac has maintained a 3.71 GPA in the classroom. An active member of his church community, he has volunteered locally as a youth mentor and in association with Hurricane Irene relief efforts.

“Michael Dulac is not only the best lineman we have faced the last two seasons, he is also one of the best players Vermont has produced in the past 20 years,” said Sean Murphy, head coach at St. Johnsbury Academy. “He is big, strong and quick and looks like a man against boys when he plays.”

Dulac remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.

Dulac joins recent Gatorade Vermont Football Players of the Year Jake Stalcup (2011-12, Burr & Burton Academy), Christian McCormick (2010-11, Rice Memorial High School), Max Librizzi (2009-10, Essex), Mick Wong (2008-09, Hartford High School) and James Durham (2007-08, Spaulding) among the state’s list of former award winners.

New England Roundup: Vermont

November, 28, 2012
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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

October, 23, 2012
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The playoff pairings for Division I football were released this week, and there was no surprise at the top.

VermontHartford, which punctuated an unbeaten regular season by defeating Rutland 47-37 last weekend, earned the No. 1 seed. The Hurricanes own a 23-game winning streak and have won four of the last five Division I titles.

Hartford, which went 8-0 during the regular season, has outscored its opponents 284-100 this year. The Hurricanes will face eighth-seeded South Burlington in Friday's quarterfinals. It will be the fifth time in the last six years that the teams have met in the postseason. Hartford is seeking its third consecutive state championship.

Friday's quarterfinals, (all games at 7 p.m.):

No. 8 South Burlington (4-4) at No. 1 Hartford (8-0)
No. 7 Champlain Valley (5-3) at No. 2 BFA-St. Albans (7-1)
No. 6 Colchester (5-3) at No. 3 Essex (6-2)
No. 5 Middlebury (5-3) at No. 4 Rutland (5-3)

The six teams that did not qualify for postseason play will play consolation games this weekend:

Friday:

Spaulding at Mount Anthony, Friday (7 p.m.)
St. Johnsbury at Burlington, Friday (7 p.m.)
Brattleboro at Mount Mansfield, Saturday (1 p.m.)

Note: The Division II and Division III playoff pairings will be released next week.

TOURNAMENT TIME
The playoffs in each of the state's four divisions for boys' soccer, girls' soccer and field hockey begin Tuesday. A look at the contenders in each division, by sport:

Boys' soccer: Middlebury earned the No. 1 seed in Division I, but second-seeded Champlain Valley (12-1-1) may be the team to beat. CVU's Shane Haley scored 20 goals during the regular season. … Montpelier and Burr and Burton were the preseason favorites in Division II, and both will enter the postseason unbeaten (14-0-0). Burr and Burton, which won last year's championship, is the top seed. … Defending champion Peoples Academy (10-2-2) earned the No. 1 seed in Division III, and didn't allow a goal in eight of its 14 regular-season contests. … Proctor (12-1-1) is the No. 1 seed in Division IV, but lost to second-seeded Twin Valley (11-3) earlier this season.

Girls' soccer: Top-seeded Essex (13-0-1) is the first Division I team to enter the postseason unbeaten in seven years. Second-seeded Champlain Valley (12-1-1) returned many key players from the team that won last year's Division I championship. … Montpelier is the top seed in Division II. The Solons (10-2-0) earned a first-round bye. … Peoples Academy (13-0-0) will be attempting to win its fifth Division III title in the last seven years. The Wolves have outscored their opponents 75-4 this season. … Proctor (13-0-1) is the top-seeded team in Division IV, and is one of three unbeaten girls teams in the state. The Phantoms allowed eight goals in their 14 games.

Field hockey: Top-seeded South Burlington (12-1-1) lost to Middlebury in last year's Division I championship game, and will be looking to take another step forward this year. … Division II might be the most competitive of the three divisions. Windsor (13-0-2) and U-32 (13-1-0) are the No. 1 and No. 2 seeded teams, respectively, but third seeded Mt. Abraham (9-4-1) is the only team that beat Division I South Burlington this season. Harwood (9-4-1), the No. 4 seed, won last year's championship. … Top-seeded Rice (12-0-1) is the clear favorite in Division III. The Green Knights won 11 of their 12 games by shutout, and have allowed one goal during the regular season.

WEBB SIGHTING
Mount Anthony Union junior Jesse Webb earned himself another trophy Sunday when he won the 285-pound (heavyweight) wrestling championship at the Super 32 Challenge in Greensboro, N.C.

Webb won the title by posting a 9-4 victory over Pennsylvania's Luke Fleck in the 285-pound final. He became the first Vermont representative to win a championship at the event, which featured wrestlers from 26 states.

Webb earned state championships in his weight class as a freshman and a sophomore. He had a bye Saturday, and won three matches Sunday to earn the title.

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

September, 6, 2012
9/06/12
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It’s been a long time since David Ball has heard the roar of the crowd at Spaulding High School’s Pendo Field, but he’s hoping the home fans will have plenty to cheer about Saturday.

VermontBall, a three-sport athlete at Spaulding who went on to a record-setting football career as a wide receiver at the University of New Hampshire, was hired as Spaulding’s varsity football coach in July.

Spaulding was winless in 2011, but Ball guided the Crimson Tide to a 28-16 season-opening victory over North Country last Friday. Up next: Saturday’s home opener against Colchester in Barre.

“I knew I would coach, but I didn’t know when,” Ball said. “And I didn’t know I would start as a head coach. Some top candidates fell through, and some other candidates were in the picture, but [the school] wanted more. They knew I was there – I was in town.

“I haven’t coached anywhere but camps. My experience has been my coaching 101.”

His experience includes a four-year career at UNH, where he broke Jerry Rice’s FCS (I-AA) record for career touchdown receptions. Ball, 28, left UNH with 304 career receptions, 4,655 receiving yards and 58 touchdown catches (Rice’s record was 50).

UNH wasn’t on Ball’s radar when he graduated from high school in 2002. In addition to playing football at Spaulding, Ball was a 1,000-point scorer in basketball and a record-setting high jumper on the track and field team. He planned to participate in those three sports at Division III Worcester State College until a few of his friends persuaded him to join them for a year of prep school at Worcester Academy.

His time at Worcester Academy – former Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan was his QB there -- led him to UNH, where he earned a scholarship from head coach Sean McDonnell after his second practice.

Ball spent time with the Chicago Bears, New York Jets and three Canadian Football League teams before he turned his attention to teaching, and landed a physical education position at Spaulding. A short time later he added “varsity football coach” to his resume.

Spaulding is running a spread, no-huddle offense similar to the one Ball played in at UNH. Quarterback Jon Kilian scored four touchdowns – three rushing and one on an interception return – in Spaulding’s victory over North Country.

“The heart my boys went out there with was impressive,” Ball said. “It was one of the top highlights of my career.”

Ball, who has two assistant coaches, said among his biggest challenges is convincing more students to join the football team. Spaulding, a Division I school, currently has 46 players on its roster (JV and varsity). Of course it helps when the head coach played in the same program and is one of the most famous athletes the state has produced.

“I have players come up to me and say, ‘Do you remember signing an autograph for me when I was 11?” Ball said. “There’s no doubt it helps when you’ve had a lot of success inside those walls.

“It’s our job to put a team on the field that can compete.”

BIG-GAME HUNTING
Week 2 of the high school football season could provide two of the best matchups of the year. Hartford, which has won the last two Division I championships, will face BFA-St. Albans, and Middlebury will meet Essex. Both games will be played Friday night.

These are the top four teams in the state, as ranked by the Burlington Free Press.

Hartford had a scare in its opener, but posted a 13-7 victory over Colchester. The Hurricanes will be facing a BFA-St. Albans team that received two rushing touchdowns from Doug Saffo in a 26-6 triumph over St. Johnsbury Academy last weekend. These programs met in the 2010 Division I state championship game.

Quarterback Tyler Provencher passed for two touchdowns to lead Middlebury to a 28-6 victory over Mount Mansfield last Friday. The Tigers will be up against an Essex team that performed well in the Northeast 7-on-7 tournament in New Hampshire and Massachusetts in June. Essex opened its season by beating Brattleboro, 48-7.

CHAMPIONSHIP SITE MOVED
Vermont's three state championship football games will be played at South Burlington High School this year.

The championship games have been held at Castleton State College in each of the last two years, but the Castleton State football team has a home game scheduled for Nov. 10, which is when the football tripleheader is also scheduled to be played.

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

Beliveau, Vermont hope to snap losing skid at Shrine Bowl

August, 3, 2012
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MERIDEN, N.H. -– When Souhegan High School's Mike Beliveau coached the 2000 New Hampshire Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl team, his offense turned in a record-setting performance.

New Hampshire had 533 yards of offense in that contest, a record that was tied by last year's New Hampshire team.

Unfortunately for Beliveau, the 2000 Vermont offense turned in a record-setting performance as well. Vermont established records for yards passing (352), pass attempts (49), pass completions (30) and touchdown passes in its 47-40 victory.

“Defensively, we didn't prepare enough for the pass combinations and formations that Vermont threw at us,” said Beliveau, who will get a second crack at Vermont as New Hampshire's head coach this year. “Defensive linemen on a hot, 85-degree day get gassed pretty fast. We can't let that happen again. We had no pass rush in the second half. The kids [Vermont quarterback Michael Keenan] just carved us.
“It was a helluva game, it just didn't go in our favor at the end. We put on a good show.”

Vermont will be looking for a similar outcome when it faces New Hampshire in the 59th annual Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl on Saturday at Dartmouth College (2:30 p.m.). Vermont hasn't posted a victory since that 2000 game and trails the series 43-13-2.

Rutland's Mike Norman is Vermont's head coach. Norman, who graduated from Boston College High School, also coached the Vermont Shrine team in 1998 and 2002. Vermont won 21-13 in 1998 and New Hampshire prevailed 37-20 in 2002.

New Hampshire has 57 high schools that offer varsity football. Vermont has 34.

“For every athlete we have, they probably have one-and-a-half or two,” Norman said. “We just want to play hard, be solid and compete.
“My biggest concern is that when the game begins we have a serious case of stage fright, and find ourselves down by two or three touchdowns before we realize we can play with them. We need to be able to compete right from the get-go, and the longer we can stay in the game and try to get ahead the better off we'll be.

“I think we're gonna have to play real well and they're gonna have to make some mistakes to allow us to keep it close.”

Beliveau has named Timberlane's Evan Bidgood as New Hampshire's starting quarterback, but the team's big-play threat is Salem tailback Jerickson Fedrick, who rushed for 4,568 yards and 75 touchdowns during his high school career.

Norman (Rutland) said Fair Haven's Robert Coloutti will be his starting QB. Coloutti completed 110 of 187 passes for 2,215 yards and 23 touchdowns last season, when he led Fair Haven to the Division II championship. He also rushed for 875 yards and 11 TDs.

Vermont has nine players (25 percent of its roster) from Hartford High School, which has won the last two Division I championships. Seven of those nine players will start on defense.

The game returned to Dartmouth this year after it was played in Windsor, Vt., in each of the last three years.

Proceeds from the game will benefit Shriners Hospitals for Children, and general admission tickets will be available at the gate for $10.

“We have to compete from the get-go,” Norman said. “We don't want to be looking around and down two or three touchdowns before we realize we can play with this team.”


New Hampshire Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl roster
Dylan Spence (Sanborn), Dan Gorman (Hanover), Rob McCormick (Souhegan), Evan Bidgood (Timberlane), Mike Leonard (Trinity), Aaron Martin (Manchester West), Codey Dalton (Manchester Memorial), Junior Brown (Manchester Central), Chris Chininis (Souhegan), Cam Blewitt (Stevens), Dustin Jarosz (Epping-Newmarket), Colin Pellerin (Hollis-Brookline), Cole Brooker (Plymouth), Jerickson Fedrick (Salem), Nick Reisert (Plymouth), Brian Pickowicz (Franklin), Jordan Garron (Bedford), Josh Hughes (Trinity), Tom Cifrino (St. Thomas), Conor Donovan (Inter-Lakes/Moultonborough), Kevin Davies (Pinkerton), Andrew Lauderdale (Trinity), Zach Migneault (Hollis-Brookline), Jordan Gaudette (Milford), Brad Tiernan (Exeter), Raige Hollis (Laconia), Billy Mahoney (Laconia), Dillon Couture (Spaulding), Matt Myers (Winnacunnet), Alexander Morrill (Lebanon), Nathan Harrington (Bedford), Eric Miller (Dover), Sam Prive (Merrimack), Adam Morin (Exeter), Nick Dragon (Monadnock), Tim Beliveau (Souhegan).

Vermont Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl roster
Tucker Stone (Hartford), Kyle Kelly (Rutland), Levi Ellis (Fair Haven), Marshall Hastings (Middlebury), Sam Kelly (Oxbow), Zach Devoid (Bellows Free Academy), Jayson Collette (Milton), Jakob Oliver (Burr and Burton), Rob Coloutti (Fair Haven), Dillon Robinson (Middlebury), Owen Newton (Hartford), Soren Pelz-Walsh (Brattleboro), Alec Kozlowski (Colchester), Matt Rafus (Windsor), Mike Schreiner (Bellows Free Academy), Travis Wilson (Hartford), William Thompson (South Burlington), Ryan Fleming (Champlain Valley), Alex Cross (Mount Anthony), Troy Bell (Hartford), Miles Latham (Hartford), Taylor Raftery (Bellows Free Academy), Dylan Raymond (Champlain Valley Union), Robert Murray (Hartford), Mack Shea (Rutland), Cody Collins (North Country), Steven Ladka (Hartford), Bobby Annis (Hartford), Neal Hier (Fair Haven), Austin Quesnel (Middlebury), Joseph Johnson (Hartford), Mathew Keir (Mount Anthony), Parker Lamoureux (Fair Haven), Jamie Holbrook (Milton), Ben Thieken (Bellows Free Academy), Ryan Ragosta (Rutland).

New England Roundup: Vermont

July, 29, 2012
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All-Star football players from Vermont and New Hampshire have been butting heads in the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl since 1954, and you could argue that Vermont has never needed a victory more than it does this year.

VermontNew Hampshire leads the series 43-13-2, and has won the last 11 meetings – many by one-sided scores. New Hampshire's recent dominance has some concerned about the game's health.

“There's no question there's pressure on Vermont,” said Rutland coach Mike Norman, who will coach this year's Vermont team. “For every athlete we have, they probably have one-and-a half or two. Hopefully we'll be coached up well enough to compete and get after New Hampshire a little bit.”

This year's game will be played Aug. 4 at Dartmouth College. The opening kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.

Practice for this year's game began Thursday at Kimball Union Academy in Meriden.

This is Norman's third tour of duty as Vermont's Shrine coach. He also served as Vermont's coach in 1998 and 2001. Vermont won 21-13 in 1998, and New Hampshire prevailed 21-0 in 2001.

Norman, who has led Rutland to seven state championships, said Fair Haven's Robert Coloutti will likely be Vermont's starting quarterback. Hartford's Tucker Stone, the other quarterback on the roster, is penciled in to start in the defensive backfield. Each quarterback led their team to a state championship last season.

“[Coloutti] is from a spread offense,” Norman said. “He'll play basketball at Castleton State. He was recruited to play football too. He can use his feet. He's an athlete.”

Stone, who is expected to be a defensive back at St. Lawrence, is one of nine Hartford players on the roster. Hartford has won the last two Division I state championships.

“We're gonna have to rely on the Hartford kids,” Norman said. “There's a bunch of them on the team, and they've had some success. In order for us to be successful it will have to be those guys leading the way.”

Mike Beliveau, the head coach at Souhegan High School in Amherst, N.H., is New Hampshire's head coach. Beliveau was New Hampshire's head coach in 2000, when Vermont posted a 47-40 victory. It was the highest-scoring game in the event's history.

New Hampshire has prevailed by using a power running game the last few years, but Beliveau said New Hampshire fans can expect to see his team throw the ball often in this year's contest.

“We will be different than the last few New Hampshire Shrine teams, when their were 60 snaps and maybe five or six passes,” Beliveau said. “We'll be way more balanced than that.”

The game will feature 15-minute quarters, and Norman said he plans to use a two-platoon system as much as possible.

“We'll be on the turf, it'll probably be hot and it's a long game,” Norman said. “We'll try to get as many people involved as possible. It's a matter of not panicking early, and getting into the flow of the game.”

VERMONT SHRINE MAPLE SUGAR BOWL ROSTER
Tucker Stone (Hartford), Matt Rafus (Windsor), Kyle Kelly (Rutland), Levi Ellis (Fair Haven), Marshall Hastings (Middlebury), Sam Kelly (Oxbow), Zach Devoid (Bellows Free), Jayson Collette (Milton), Jakob Oliver (Burr and Burton), Rob Coloutti (Fair Haven), Dillon Robinson (Middlebury), Owen Newton (Hartford), Soren Pelz-Walsh (Brattleboro), Alec Kozlowski (Colchester), Mike Schreiner (Bellows Free Academy), Travis Wilson (Hartford), William Thompson (South Burlington), Ryan Flemming (Champlain Valley), Alex Cross (Mount Anthony), Troy Bell (Hartford), Miles Latham (Hartford), Taylor Raftery (Bellows Free Academy), Dylan Raymond (Champlain Valley Union), Robert Murray (Hartford), Mack Shea (Rutland), Cody Collins (North Country), Steven Ladka (Hartford), Bobby Annis (Hartford), Adam Fortin (North Country), Austin Quesnel (Middlebury), Joseph Johnson (Hartford), Mathew Keir (Mount Anthony), Parker Lamoureux (Mount Anthony), Jamie Holbrook (Milton), Ben Thieken (Bellows Free Academy), Ryan Ragosta (Rutland).

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

New England Roundup: Vermont

March, 26, 2012
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The North got the best of the South in Saturday's North-South Senior All-Star Classic at Windsor High School.

VermontNorth teams won three of the four games at the event, which is sponsored by the Vermont Basketball Coaches' Association and featured some the state's top senior boys and girls players. Scores and highlights from each contest:

Division I-II Boys: Mill River's Nate Salgo scored 13 points and Springfield's Kurt Perham added 10 in the South's 80-69 triumph. Mount Mansfield's Tom Lacy led the North with 17.

Division III-IV Boys: Rivendell's Dylan Pelletier, Blue Mountain's Eddie Soucie and Websterville's Andrew Shuman each tossed in a team-high 11 points as the North prevailed 97-77.

Division I-II Girls: Burlington's Kaylah Jones led all scorers with 11 as the North edged the South 61-59.

Division III-IV Girls: Twinfield's Brianna duPont tossed in 10 points in the North's 82-63 triumph.

DISPLAY OF POWER
South Burlington's Chris Weinheimer scored a power-play goal midway through the third period to give the Austin Conference a 2-1 triumph over the Harris Conference in the Rotary All-Star Hockey Classic held Saturday at Essex High School.

Stowe's Hunter Grosvenor gave the Austin Conference a 1-0 lead with 3:20 left in the second period, but Northfield's Billy Whaley tied the game 39 seconds later.

South Burlington's Nate Young (10 saves), Rice's Ian Koupash (12) and Spaulding's Kevin Avery (seven) were the Austin Conference goaltenders. Essex's Pat Campbell (14), U-32's Mike Bresette (six) and St. Johnsbury's Chris O'Donnell (17) played in goal for the Harris Conference.

Montpelier's Mary Cain made 24 saves to highlight the Harris Conference's 4-2 triumph in the girls game, held March 17.

Middlebury's Maria Ploof scored twice for the Harris Conference, which also received goals from Rutland's Erin Kiernan-Reilly and Hartford's Bethany Bouthillier.

The Rotary games are used to select Vermont's teams for the Make-A-Wish Twin State Classic. Vermont will face New Hampshire's all-stars July 14 at the University of Vermont's Gutterson Fieldhouse.

GATORADE HONORS ST. AMOUR
Gatorade selected Missisquoi Valley Union's Matt St. Amour as its boys basketball Player of the Year in Vermont for the 2011-12 season.

St. Amour, a 6-foot-3-inch junior guard, is the first boys basketball player from Missisquoi to receive the award, which is based on athletic excellence, academic achievement and character.

St. Amour averaged 26.6 points. 12.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.7 points per game for the Thunderbirds, who lost in the Division I tournament's opening round. Missisquoi won the Division II title last season.

“He plays under control and can finish on either side of the basket, and he's also got great range,” Vergennes coach Peter Quinn said. “You have to defend him as soon as he gets one or two dribbles over half-court.”

St. Amour holds Missisquoi's record for career point scored (1,388).

GRIBBIN SELECTS DARTMOUTH
South Burlington's Mollie Gribbin has announced that she will continue her track and field career at Dartmouth College.

Gribbin, who holds the state record in the long jump (18 feet, 5.5 inches), the triple jump (40-9.5) and the 100 meters (12.24 seconds), was also considering Virginia, Columbia, Illinois and Oregon. She also played soccer for South Burlington.

Roger Brown is a freelance writer who has been reporting on high school sports in New England since 1992.

New England Roundup: Vermont

March, 16, 2012
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Defense carried the BFA-St. Albans boys hockey team to this year's Division I championship game, and it was defense, more than anything else, that allowed the Bobwhites to claim the program's 16th state title.

VermontJunior goaltender Andre Morin made 20 saves as third-seeded BFA-St. Albans defeated fifth-seeded Colchester 5-1 in the Division I final played Tuesday night at the University of Vermont's Gutterson Fieldhouse.

The Bobwhites (19-4-0) allowed three goals in their three tournament games, which included victories over Rice (6-0) and North Country (3-2).

Taylor Raftery, Mike Schreiner and Peter Dukas provided the offense for BFA-St. Albans, which beat Colchester (15-8-1) for the third time this season.

Ryan Francis scored for Colchester, which needed five overtimes to defeat Essex in the semifinals.

Second-seeded U-32 dominated Tuesday's Division II championship game and skated to a 5-1 triumph over top-seeded Northfield.

Andrew Danyew, Forrest Smith, Kyle Ferguson, Colvin Rice and Kyle Elliott scored for the Raiders (18-3-2), who spit two regular-season games against Northfield.

Billy Whaley scored for Northfield (20-3-0).

ESSEX, BURR & BURTON FINISH ON TOP
Vermont's girls hockey season ended Monday night, when Essex and Burr & Burton each won a state title at Gutterson Fieldhouse.

Fifth-seeded Essex earned the Division I championship by beating third-seeded South Burlington 2-1; and top-seeded Burr & Burton won the Division II title with a 4-1 triumph over third-seeded Stowe.

Essex (13-8-2) and South Burlington (15-5-4) were tied entering the third period, when Melissa Moldovan collected what turned out to be the game-winning goal shortly after an Essex power-play opportunity had expired.

Freshman goaltender Victoria Gibson made 15 saves for the Hornets, who beat South Burlington in two of three regular-season meetings. All three Essex wins came by one goal.

Julia Hudson scored South Burlington's goal.

Freshman Abby Marmer scored twice in Burr & Burton's victory. Marmer finished the season with a team-high 23 goals.

Junior Erin Thompson and freshman Jordan Harmon also scored for the Bulldogs, who raised their record to 21-1-0. Burr & Burton received 16 saves from junior goaltender Meg Chandler.

Sam Haab scored for Stowe (18-4-1).

LOTS OF HOOPLA
Recaps of Vermont's four boys basketball championship games:

Division I: Tom Lacy scored 11 points and pulled down 10 rebounds as top-seeded Mount Mansfield defeated second-seeded Rice 41-34.

Mount Mansfield (23-1) also received nine points from Troy Springer – all in the second half – and eight points and eight rebounds from Eric Suder.

Casey Tipson scored a game-high 16 points for Rice, which led by five at halftime. Tim Rensch added nine points and 14 rebounds for Rice, which won last year's title.

Mount Mansfield took control by outscoring Rice (22-2) 16-4 in the third quarter.

Division II: An 18-6 run in the the third quarter helped top-seeded Mount St. Joseph defeat top-seeded Vergennes 56-48.

Shannon Murray tossed in a game-high 13 points for MSJ, which won its first title since claiming the Division I championship in 1999. John Dewey (12) and Matthew Sanborn (10) also scored in double digits for MSJ (22-2).

Shep Carter led Vergennes (21-3) with 15.

Division III: Fifth-seeded Williamstown capped a strong postseason run with a 66-42 upset victory over second-seeded Rivendell (16-7).

It was the second title in three years for Williamstown, which won the Division IV championship in 2010. Williamstown made 27 of 43 free throw attempts in the victory.

Seth Atherton (18) and Jason Manwaring (16 points, seven rebounds) were Williamstown's leading scorers. Dylan Pelletier (16) led Rivendell (21-3).

It was the third meeting between the teams. Rivendell won both regular-season meetings.

Division IV: David Codling scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as top-seeded Twinfield beat third-seeded Danville 61-52.

Twinfield (22-2) also defeated Danville (18-6) twice during the regular season, and in last year's championship game.

Avery Whitcomb scored 15 points for Twinfield, which also received 12 points and 10 rebounds from Chad Copeland.

Tony Burrington (20) and Kyle Johnson (14) led Danville.

ILLINGWORTH WINS GATORADE AWARD
Hartford's Sarah Illingworth, a 6-foot-1 senior center, has been selected as Vermont's Gatorade Player of the Year for girls basketball. She is the first girls player from Hartford to win the award, which is based on athletic excellence, academic success and high character.

Illingworth averaged 12.8 points, 10.3 rebounds and 1.4 steals during the Division II regular season. She will continue her basketball career at UMass-Lowell next season.

Roger Brown is a freelance writer who has been covering high school sports throughout New England since 1992.

Andover's Boudreau is Gatorade Player of Year

March, 8, 2012
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In its 27th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with ESPNHS, today announced Nicole Boudreau of Andover High School as its 2011-12 Gatorade Massachusetts Girls Basketball Player of the Year. Boudreau is the first Gatorade Massachusetts Girls Basketball Player of the Year to be chosen from Andover High School.

The 5-foot-8 senior guard has led the Warriors to a 23-0 record and a berth in the Division 1 North Sectional semifinals against Central Catholic High, scheduled for March 6. The 2010-11 Gatorade Massachusetts Girls Basketball Player of the Year, Boudreau averaged 22.6 points, 8.5 rebounds, 6.0 steals, 4.9 assists and 2.6 blocks through 23 games. ESPNBoston’s 2011 Miss Basketball selection, she has scored a school-record 2,099 points in her prep basketball career.

Boudreau has maintained a 3.96 weighted GPA in the classroom. A standout golfer as the 2010 junior champion at Andover Country Club, she has volunteered locally as a youth basketball coach and referee.

“Nicole Boudreau’s athleticism was superior on both ends of the court,” said Jimmy Cardaci, head coach at Lowell High. “Her ability to handle the ball and create her own shot placed her into a different category on the high school level. Her team is undefeated largely in part to her contributions each game.”

Boudreau has signed a national letter of intent to play basketball on an athletic scholarship at Boston College this fall.

Two time Gatorade Massachusetts Girls Basketball Players of the Year Nicole Boudreau joins Lauren Battista (2009-10, Oliver Ames), Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir (2008-09, New Leadership), Felicia Barron (2007-08, Springfield Central), Carolyn Swords (2006–07, Lincoln-Sudbury), Laura Lokitis (2003-04, Tabor Academy), and Shannon Kirwan (2002-03, Melrose) among the state’s list of former award winners.

Here are the winners from the other five New England states:

CONNECTICUT: KRISTIN SCHATZLEIN, TOLLAND

The 6-foot senior guard has led the Eagles to a 22-3 record and a berth in the Class M state semifinals against Ellington, scheduled for March 9. Through 25 games, Schatzlein was averaging 20.3 points, 9.9 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 5.5 steals and 2.1 blocks. A four-time All-Conference selection, she was named All-State by the New Haven Register and the Hartford Courant as a junior.

Schatzlein has maintained a B average in the classroom. She has volunteered locally on behalf of youth basketball programs and has raised funds to benefit diabetes research.

“Schatzlein never gets rattled on the floor and always wants the ball when the game is on the line,” said Dan Matthews, head coach at Bloomfield High. “She shoots the ball extremely well from beyond the arc, but she also handles the ball well.”

Schatzlein has signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball on an athletic scholarship at Fairfield University this fall.

RHODE ISLAND: KAILEY FUGERE, WOONSOCKET

The 5-foot-9 senior forward averaged 21.2 points, 11.6 rebounds, 2.7 blocks, 2.4 steals and 1.5 assists per game this past season, leading the Lady Novans (16-9) to the Division I state quarterfinals. A 2011 Second Team All-State selection, Fugere shot 59.7 percent from the field and 69.8 percent from the free throw line. The state’s leading scorer as a senior, she concluded her prep basketball career with 1,360 points and 849 rebounds.

Fugere has maintained a B-plus average in the classroom. She has volunteered locally on behalf of a literacy-outreach program, as a volleyball and bowling coach for physically and intellectually challenged youth and with the Respite Program, serving families with special-needs children.

“Kailey Fugere can really play,” said Gary Martinelli, head coach at Ponaganset High. “She is difficult to match up with because she is so smart and strong. She is very active and has good footwork and great hands.”

Fugere will attend Rhode Island College, where she will play basketball, beginning this fall.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: KIRSTEN O'NEIL, WINNACUNNET

The 5-foot-7 senior point guard has led the Warriors to a 21-1 record and a berth in the Division I state semifinals against Londonderry High, scheduled for March 7. O’Neil averaged 15.6 points, 10.2 assists, 4.0 steals, 3.0 rebounds and 0.7 blocks per game entering the state final four as Winnacunnet chases its sixth straight state title. The Warriors own a 70-1 record with the 2011 Division I Second Team All-State selection and three-year starter in the lineup.

O’Neil has maintained a 3.02 GPA in the classroom. A two-time Division I First Team All-State forward on the Winnacunnet girls soccer team, she has volunteered locally as a youth basketball and youth soccer instructor and as a peer leader for Winnacunnet High freshmen.

“Kirsten O’Neil is a smart player from the guard position,” said Dan Casey, head coach at Dover High. “I have seen her have a big impact on games when she is not shooting well by distributing the ball and creating havoc with her perimeter defensive pressure. She has a great understanding of what her team needs from her in order to win games.”

O’Neil has signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer on an athletic scholarship at San Diego State University this fall.

MAINE: MEGHAN GRIBBON, WINDHAM

The 5-foot-5 senior point guard averaged 20.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.5 steals this past season, leading the Eagles to the Class A Western Conference semifinals. The 2012 Southern Maine Athletic Association Player of the Year, Gribbin is a 2012 Maine Miss Basketball finalist.

Gribbin has maintained a 95 average in the classroom. A member of the National Honor Society and the Spanish Honor Society, she has volunteered locally as an elementary school tutor and as a youth soccer and basketball coach.

“Meghan Gribbin was the catalyst for all of her team’s success,” said Laughn Berthiaume, head coach at Gorham High. “She was able to control the game’s tempo and she knew how to score in multiple ways. If Windham was up late in the game, she was able to dictate how the game would end.”

Gribbin remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.

VERMONT: SARAH ILLINGWORTH, HARTFORD

The 6-foot-1 senior center led the Hurricanes to a 15-5 record and a berth in the Division 2 playoffs against Otter Valley, scheduled for March 7. Illingworth averaged 12.8 points, 10.3 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game entering the postseason. She is a First Team All-Marble Valley honoree and a member of the Vermont Basketball Coaches Association Dream Dozen.

Illingworth has maintained a 4.02 GPA in the classroom and represents one of the state’s top academic candidates in meeting the Gatorade Award’s broad criteria. She has volunteered locally on behalf of a community food shelf for the needy and youth basketball programs.

“Illingworth works really hard and she’s tough on the inside,” said Terry Merrow, head coach at Burr and Burton Academy. “She rebounds well, scores in the low post and can hit that little elbow shot too. She’s a real student of the game.”

Illingworth has signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball on an athletic scholarship at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell this fall.

New England Roundup: Vermont

February, 28, 2012
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In recent years Vermont's head coach for the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl has looked like someone about to start a fistfight wearing handcuffs.

VermontNew Hampshire has nearly twice as many schools with varsity football as Vermont, and that usually translates into more talent on the field. Rutland's Mike Norman, Vermont's head coach for this summer's game, will be trying to end New Hampshire's 11-game winning streak.

“Having done this a couple times, I know we're not gonna have as many big kids or skill kids as New Hampshire,” Norman said when the Vermont roster for this year's game was announced last week. “You have to have kids who are willing to stand up to New Hampshire during the game.”

This year's contest will be played Aug. 4 at Dartmouth College. New Hampshire leads the series 43-13-2.

Norman, who has guided Rutland to seven state championships, coached the Vermont Shrine team in 1998 and 2001. Vermont won 21-13 in 1998, and New Hampshire prevailed 21-0 in 2001.

“We're gonna try to do what we do – and what that is remains to be seen,” Norman said. “I know we'll have to defend the run, have a solid kicking game and be able to run the ball enough to make them defend it.”

Mike Beliveau, the head coach at Souhegan High School in Amherst, will be New Hampshire's head coach. Believeau was New Hampshire's head coach in 2000, when Vermont posted a 47-40 victory. It was the highest-scoring game in the event's history.

Beliveau has led Souhegan to four state championships and 14 championship game appearances in the last 14 seasons.

“For me the priority was to put together a quality offensive line,” Beliveau said. “The second thing I was looking for was a couple of quarterbacks who would be able to pick up the offense quickly.”

New Hampshire has prevailed by using a power running game the last few years, but Beliveau said New Hampshire fans can expect to see his team throw the ball often this summer.

“We will be different than the last few New Hampshire Shrine teams, when their were 60 snaps and maybe five or six passes,” Beliveau said. “We'll be way more balanced than that.”

Hartford's Tucker Stone, a three-year starter, and Fair Haven's Robert Coloutti will be Vermont's quarterbacks. Each led their team to a state championship last season.

“A lot of this game is gonna be determined by who your quarterbacks are,” Norman said. “We think we have two pretty good ones.”

Practice for this year's game will begin July 26 at Kimball Union Academy in Meriden.

“I like the overall athleticism of the group,” Norman said. “We have kids who will compete, and that's important against New Hampshire.”

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New England Roundup: Vermont

January, 20, 2012
1/20/12
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BFA-St. Albans softball coach Bert Berthiaume is one of 20 coaches from across the country who have been selected 2011 National Coaches of the Year by the National Federation of High School (NFHS) Coaches' Association.

VermontBerthiaume will be entering his 25th season as the Comets' softball coach this spring. His teams have reached the Division I final 13 times and have won six state championships.

Other Vermont coaches who have been named national coach of the year by the NFHS include Mill River softball coach Shirley Brusso (2007), Essex hockey coach Bill O'Neil (2006) and Hartford field hockey coach Heather Scudder (2004).

O'Neil, who also coaches softball at Essex, has met Berthiaume's BFA-St. Albans teams in the Division I championship game three times (2005-07). The Comets won two of those three meetings.

“He sets the bar for every other coach in the state,” O'Neil told the St. Albans Messenger. “He is the master and the guru who teaches and coaches his players with an intensity, sensitivity and passion that leads them down the path of success.”

BFA-St. Albans athletic director Bob Marlow nominated Berthiaume for the award.

The NFHS, which has been recognizing coaches through an awards program since 1982, honors coaches in the top 10 girls sports and top 10 boys sports (by participation numbers). Winners of NFHS awards must be active coaches during the year in which they receive their award. This year’s awards recognize coaches for the 2010-11 school year.

Berthiaume also coaches junior varsity girls soccer and junior varsity girls basketball at BFA-St. Albans. He has coached each of those sports at the varsity level as well.

Berthiaume will be honored at the Vermont Principals' Association's annual Hall of Fame banquet in May.

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