Boston High School: Marcus Willingham

New England Roundup: Vermont

April, 24, 2013
4/24/13
2:55
PM ET
There was no shortage of candidates to replace Brad Parker as Champlain Valley Union's girls' soccer coach.

VermontAccording to a story in the Burlington Free Press, a five -person search committee narrowed the field to five individuals – four of whom were interviewed – before selecting former CVU boys' soccer assistant coach Stan Williams.

Williams graduated from CVU in 1989, and was an assistant coach with the CVU girls program in 2001, 2003-04 and 2010. He also served as the program's co-head coach with Parker in 2002.

Parker, who resigned in February, guided CVU to a 340-45-42 record and 11 state championships in his 25 seasons as head coach. He was selected as the national coach of the year in 1997.

“It's a program with pressure, but also a program that anybody would want to coach,” Williams told the Free Press. “It's obviously an exciting position. This job has always been something I've held out there as a job I've wanted.”

CVU has won the last two Division I titles. Fifteen players are eligible to return from last year's team.

Williams has spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach for the CVU boys soccer team. He also coached the CVU girls basketball team from 2002 to 2009.

MMU BASEBALL ADDS FAMILIAR FACE
The Mount Mansfield Union baseball team posted a 9-2 triumph over Milton in its first game under interim coach Bob Slayton, who agreed to a one-year commitment to the program when head coach Brian Chandler decided not to coach the team this spring after the birth of his second child.

Mount Mansfield appears to be in capable hands since Slayton, 66, guided MMU to four Division I state championships and 356 victories in 34 seasons before he retired in 2008.

Chandler was an assistant under Slayton for nine seasons before he became head coach when Slayton retired.

GOAL-ORIENTED
Rice Memorial's Emily Cutting recorded her 100th career varsity goal in a season-opening lacrosse victory over St. Johnsbury.

Cutting collected five goals in last year's Division III title game, a 13-11 triumph over BFA-St. Albans. She also scored five goals in Rice's second game of the season, a 10-9 loss to BFA-St. Albans. Kate Dillon scored with one second remaining to give BFA-St. Albans the victory.

ALL-STAR BASKETBALL GAMES RETURN
The Twin-State Basketball Classic, two all-star games between players from Vermont and New Hampshire, will be held July 13 at Essex High School. The girls game is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m., and the boys game will follow.

The Twin-State Basketball Classic was once a must-see event for high school basketball fans in each state, but was discontinued in 2010 after a 30-year run. The New Hampshire boys and girls each have an 18-12 edge in the series.

The rosters and coaches for each team are expected to be released in May.

WILLINGHAM HEADED TO PREP SCHOOL
Rice Memorial forward Marcus Willingham announced that he will attend Tilton (N.H.) Prep next season. Willingham had 17 points and 14 rebounds when Rice defeated St. Johnsbury in last month's Division I championship game.

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

March, 6, 2013
3/06/13
2:55
PM ET
When it comes to success, no New England high school athletic program can match resumes with Mount Anthony Union wrestling.

VermontThe Patriots won the New England Wrestling Championship last weekend, one week after the program captured its 25th consecutive state title. It was MAU's seventh New England title, but its first in nine years. Timberlane (Plaistow, N.H.) entered the New England tournament seeking its sixth consecutive championship.

Senior Miguel Calixto (132 pounds) and junior Jesse Webb (heavyweight) each prevailed in their weight class to propel the Patriots to the championship. MAU earned 109 points. Timberlane was second with 69.5.

"People keep asking me how it feels and it's awesome,” MAU coach Scott Legacy told the Bennington Banner. "Ending [Timberlane's] streak isn't as important as the fact that we won one. I'm just ecstatic for this group of kids. "

MAU's Troy Gassaway was the runner-up at 113 pounds, and teammate Austin Price finished fourth at 182 pounds.

Gassaway, Calixto and Webb were the first Mount Anthony wrestlers to reach the finals since Corey Greene won a New England title in 2006.

Webb, who improved his record to 53-0 this season, became the first heavyweight in Mount Anthony history to win a New England championship.

Calixto's run to the title improved his record to 60-0 this season. It was his 218th career victory.

"It's a proud moment for the program, school and town," Legacy said.

DIVISION I FINAL SET
Top-seeded St. Johnsbury (23-0) and third-seeded Rice (19-4) each posted victories in Tuesday's semifinals and will meet in the Division I boys basketball championship game Thursday night (7) at the University of Vermont's Patrick Gymnasium.

Rice received 17 points from Marcus Willingham during its 55-40 triumph over third-seeded Rutland. Rice ended the game on a 26-5 run to earn its sixth trip to the championship game in the last seven years.

St. Johnsbury advanced with a 55-39 triumph over 12th-seeded Burlington. St. Johnsbury reached the championship game for the first time since 1997.

ST. AMOUR JOINS ELITE GROUP
The final home game of Matt St. Amour's senior season turned out to be bittersweet. St. Amour became the sixth boys basketball player in the state to score at least 2,000 points during his high school career, but his Missisquoi team dropped a 71-64 decision to Vergennes.

St. Amour scored 33 points in the loss. He entered the contest 22 points shy of 2,000. He also had nine rebounds and seven assists.

St. Johnsbury's Bruce Dalrymple, BFA-St. Albans' Matt Johnson, Rice's Bernie Cieplicki, Bellows Falls Josh Allbee and Rice's Keith Cieplicki are the other Vermont players who reached the 2,000-point mark.

PARKER STEPS DOWN
Brad Parker resigned as Champlain Valley Union's girls soccer coach in late February.

Parker guided the Redhawks to 11 state championships and 16 appearances in the Division I title game during his 25-year coaching career at CVU. He leaves with a career record of 340-45-42.

Parker, who played soccer at the University of Vermont, was named the national coach of the year in 1997. CVU defeated Essex in overtime to win last year's Division I title.

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

February, 9, 2011
2/09/11
3:19
PM ET
Essex High School girls basketball coach Shawn Montague said he entered the 2010-11 season confident that his team was among those that had a chance to win the Division I state championship.

VermontHe might not admit it, but Montague probably had second thoughts following a 39-34 loss to Hartford on Jan. 7. That loss dropped the Hornets’ record to a mediocre 3-3.

Since then Essex has won nine games in a row, however, and seems to have established itself as one of the favorites in Division I.

“I thought we had all the pieces to be good,” Montague said. “It took us a few weeks to get going. We needed until the end of December or early January to find out who we are.”

Essex is a team that’s been winning with defense. The Hornets have allowed an average of 31 points per game during their winning streak. No opponent has scored more than 43 points in those nine games.

Unlike many teams, Essex rarely uses a press. The Hornets beat teams with exceptional half-court defense.

“Defense – that’s completely it,” Montague said. “I think it’s the sole reason why we’ve been successful. It’s tough to counter a good man-to-man defense.”

Montague is in his ninth season as the program’s head coach. He steered Essex to the 2006 state title, and will have to beat teams like Rice (11-3), Rutland (9-4), Champlain Valley (10-5), and South Burlington (12-3) to claim this year’s championship.

“It’s really tough to pick one or two teams as the teams to beat because a bunch of teams are good,” Montague said.

(Read full post)

New England Roundup: Vermont

January, 26, 2011
1/26/11
5:01
PM ET
Paul Pecor guided the Rice Memorial boys basketball team to two Division I championships in his first seven seasons as the program’s head coach, so it made headlines when he called the 2010-11 Rice team the most talented group he’s ever coached.

VermontThen Rice made headlines again when it lost to an 0-2 Mount Mansfield team that failed to score more than 47 points in either of its first two games.

Pecor said that loss may have been a good thing, and it’s hard to argue otherwise. Since then the Green Knights have won seven games in a row to raise their record to 8-1. Rice’s latest victory came Tuesday night, when it avenged its earlier loss to Mount Mansfield, 55-34.

“Everybody was freaking out and saying we were overrated after that loss, but you know what? It helped us. It refocused us,” Pecor said. “I’m literally watching us get better as we go.”

That’s not good news for other Division I teams. Rice returned four starters from a team that won nine games last season: sophomore forward Marcus Willingham, sophomore guard Casey Tipson, junior forward Jake Maynard and junior forward Tim Rensch. Willingham, Tipson and Rensch are each averaging more than 11 points per game.

The Green Knights also added guard Austin Robinson, a transfer from Burlington High School, to the mix. Robinson is averaging 14.1 points per contest.

Pecor said the most indispensible player on the roster isn’t a starter, however. It’s senior Christian McCormick, a senior captain who agreed to come off the bench.

McCormick, a guard, was the starting quarterback for the Rice football team, which won the 2010 Division II championship. He was named the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year for football.

(Read full post)

New England Roundup: Vermont

January, 12, 2011
1/12/11
11:33
PM ET
Vermont has 75 boys' high school basketball teams, 74 girls' high school basketball teams and, technically speaking, one co-ed high school basketball team.

VermontThe Stowe boys basketball team became a co-ed program when senior Hannah McNulty joined the team earlier this month. McNulty, a 5-foot-6 guard, began the season on Stowe’s girls basketball team, but that team was disbanded due to a lack of players.

“We knew in the summer that the girls team was iffy because of numbers,” Stowe boys' basketball coach Evans Bouchard said. “They had enough girls sign up, but there was a point where they had only six or seven healthy players and the parents decided to disband the team for one season.

“Hannah had asked me if I would consider taking her on the (boys) team if the girls team was disbanded. She’s a go-getter. She’s not afraid.”

When her team’s season came to a premature end, McNulty tried to join the girls team at nearby Peoples Academy in Morrisville, but was told Peoples had a full varsity roster and didn’t want to take playing time away from anyone already on the team. At that point, McNulty asked the Vermont Principals’ Association for permission to play for the Stowe boys' team.

The VPA approved her request on Jan. 4, and that night she played 10 minutes in Stowe’s Division III loss to Hazen.

McNulty, who plans to play college basketball at Suffolk University in Boston, had been practicing with the boys' team after the girls' team disbanded, and Bouchard said he had no reservations about adding her to the boys' roster.

“With Hannah I didn’t think it would be a problem,” he said. “Had it been anybody else I would have had some concerns.

“She told me she’d change in the girls bathroom. Then she sits with me until the boys are dressed. Once I make sure everything is OK, we go into the locker room.

“Defensively, she’s probably the most solid player I have. She’s gonna end up helping us. The boys have been very accepting of her. The parents seem to have accepted her as well.”

McNulty played just over a half and scored five points in her second game, a 57-42 victory over Richford. Stowe (1-5) will play at Danville on Friday.

McNulty, who was a goalkeeper for the Stowe girls' soccer team that beat Green Mountain Union for the Division III state championship last fall, is not the only girl who is suiting up for a boys athletic team in Vermont this winter. Nikki-Lyn Lauziere is in her fourth season as a goaltender on the Milton boys' hockey team.

“She’ll probably end up starting some games for us,” Bouchard said. “She’s like one of the boys to me.”

RUTLAND SUFFERS FIRST LOSS
The Rice Memorial boys basketball team overcame a nine-point deficit with 3:10 to play and defeated previously unbeaten Rutland, 61-58, in overtime Monday.

Rice’s Austin Robinson sparked the comeback by sinking back-to-back 3-pointers down the stretch and Marcus Willingham made a three-point play to tie the game with 13 seconds remaining.

Willingham scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to help Rice raise its record to 5-1. Mike Triller scored a team-high 17 points for Rutland, which dropped to 8-1.

MEETING MILESTONES
  • Ross Mandigo surpassed the 100-point plateau for his high school career when he collected two goals to help the Stowe boys hockey team defeat Peoples Academy 4-0 on Jan. 4. Peoples entered that contest with a 7-0 record.
  • BFA-St. Albans guard Nick Swim scored the 1,000th point of his high school basketball career when he tossed in a team-high 19 points during a 51-42 triumph over Champlain Valley on Jan. 8. Swim, who entered the game 16 points shy of 1,000, also led his team in steals (10) and rebounds (eight).
BERNARD, BIANCHI EARN TOP HONORS
Colchester’s Lauren Bernard and Essex’s Paul Bianchi have been selected as Vermont’s high school All-Americans by the National Soccer Coaches’ Association of America.

Bianchi, who led Essex to the Division I boys' soccer title last season, will continue his soccer career at the University of New Hampshire. He holds the Essex records for career goals (46) and career points (108). He scored 21 goals last season.

Bernard, a junior, collected 18 goals and 11 assists last season. She has made a verbal commitment to play at Boston College.

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.

SPONSORED HEADLINES