Boston High School: Harwood Union

New England Roundup: Vermont

March, 29, 2013
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."

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.

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).

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

September, 29, 2010
J.P Benoit had something extra to play for, and it showed.

VermontBenoit, a running back for Champlain Valley Union, scored three touchdowns Saturday to help CVU post a 21-3 victory over Mount Mansfield. Benoit’s grandmother, Marilyn Palmer, died two days earlier, and Benoit dedicated the game to her. He switched his number from 21 to 17 for the contest because 17 was the number Palmer wore when she played softball.

“They were really, really tight,” CVU coach Jim Provost said. “She was very involved in his life.

“Her death was sudden, so it really rocked his world. He was very determined to carry us that night.”

Benoit returned a punt 31 yards for a touchdown, scored on a 1-yard touchdown run and caught a 10-yard touchdown pass. He finished the game with 116 yards rushing on 17 carries.

“J.P. and I have a relationship that goes back a long way,” Provost said. “I was his elementary school principal when he was in third grade. I wish you could meet the kid, because he’s a prince. He’s not my son, but I kind of view him like that. I’m tough on him and he really likes it that way. He likes to be challenged.”

The victory over Mount Mansfield improved CVU’s record to 3-1 overall and 3-0 in Division II. The Redhawks dropped from Division I to Division II following the 2008 season, and lost to Colchester in last year’s Division II championship game.

Up next for CVU is Saturday’s contest at unbeaten Rice Memorial (4-0). Rice is coming off last weekend’s 58-19 triumph over Burlington.

“It’s a big game for a lot of reasons,” Provost said. “It’s just a pivotal game in our league. It’ll definitely have playoff implications because our whole division is really competitive from top to bottom. Plus I coached at Rice for 20 years.

“They’re very diversified offensively. We’ll have to stay away from the big play and make them drive the length of the field.

“It’s gonna be huge, and it will be packed. Our school travels very well.”

It was also a good week for the CVU girls' cross country team, which finished first in the elite division at the Manchester (N.H.) Invitational cross country meet. The Manchester Invitational is a NIKE-sponsored event that attracts some of the top runners in the Northeast.

CVU has won six Division I championships and a New England title since 2003. The Redhawks also won the Manchester Invitational in 2005.

Adrienne Devita (13th), Summer Spillane (14th), Julienne Devita (15th), Taylor Spillane (19th) and Aleksey Jordick (22nd) were CVU’s top five finishers.

Mount St. Joseph Academy has announced that it won’t field boys' or girls' hockey teams this season because neither program has enough players.

MSJ athletic director Marty McDonough made the announcement earlier this month during the Vermont Interscholastic Hockey League meeting in Montpelier.

Bob Johnson, associate director of the Vermont Principals’ Association, said because the news came early enough, teams that were on MSJ’s schedule should have time to schedule additional games.

The Middlebury football team scored on three of its first four offensive plays during Saturday’s 55-14 triumph over Brattleboro.

Brendan Burrell, Marshall Hastings and Steel White scored on touchdown runs of 38, 54 and 47 yards, respectively, to help the Tigers build a 21-0 lead with 4:42 remaining in the first quarter.

The victory raised Middlebury’s record to 4-0 overall and 3-0 in Division II.

Harwood Union girls' soccer coach Jon Hammond won his 100th game as a high school coach when Harwood beat People’s Academy, 2-1, on Sept. 22. Laura Moore scored both goals for the Highlanders.

  • Two of the state’s top boys' soccer teams will clash when Essex meets CVU on Saturday. CVU, which beat Burr and Burton to win last year’s Division I championship, got off to a 5-0-1 start this season and didn’t allow a goal in those six games. Essex, which lost to Burr and Burton in last year’s semifinals, began the week with a 6-0-0 record.
  • The Burlington girls' soccer team opened the season with a loss to Montpelier, but posted victories in its next five games. The Seahorses have won the last two Division I championships.
  • Hartford (7-0-0) and South Burlington (5-0-0) entered the week as the state’s only unbeaten field hockey teams. Both teams compete in Division I.
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.

New England Roundup: Vermont

September, 1, 2010
The future of Vermont high school sports may be shaped by teamwork. Specifically, it may be shaped by cooperative teams.

VermontMount Abraham in Bristol and Vergennes, schools located 11 miles apart, have formed a cooperative football team that will begin play in Division III this fall. The schools will share the costs.

Bob Johnson, the director of student activities for the Vermont Principals’ Association, said he expects more athletic partnerships to form in the near future.

“The biggest thing we’re dealing with is the issue of declining enrollments and schools fielding cooperative teams,” Johnson said. “I think we’re going to see a lot more of that in the future.”

Vermont didn’t have a cooperative team until 2009, when Enosberg and Richford formed one wrestling team.

“They’re both very, very small schools,” Johnson said. “They (the two schools) took care of everything in one two-hour meeting. That’s how bad they wanted it.

“Because so many schools have declining student enrollment we revised our policy on cooperative teams based largely on the policy out of Massachusetts.”

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