Big changes may be coming for the 32 schools that play high school football in Vermont.
The Vermont Interscholastic Football League (VIFL) held its annual postseason meeting on Nov. 22 in at Hartford High School and school representatives learned that the criteria for moving up or down in the three divisions are changing.
Realignment, which now happens on a two-year cycle, will now be determined based on the total number of boys enrolled at a school, the total number of boys playing football, and the won-loss record.
Writing in the Valley News, Poody Walsh reported that the item that generated the most discussion was a proposal to make realignment an annual occurrence.
There was concern about ending the two-year cycle, particularly on how it might affect rivalry games, but athletic directors were assured that those games would remain intact under the proposed annual realignment system.
There was also discussion about discouraging teams from petitioning to drop to a lower division after a realignment plan is approved. The VIFL wants to see the petitioning teams lose their eligibility for the playoffs for one year.
According to VIFL executive secretary Bob Hingston of Windsor High School, the hope is that a final proposal will be agreed upon when the athletic directors from the football schools meet with the Vermont Principals Association on Dec. 6 in Montpelier.
Awards were also presented at the the Nov. 22 VIFL meeting. Bellows Falls and BFA-St. Albans were given the Sportsmanship Award and championship trophies were presented to the three state champs — Hartford, Bellows Falls, and Windsor.
It was the first time that three Connecticut Valley teams swept the state championships and, as Bill Murphy wrote on his sports blog for Northeast Sports Network (www.nsnsports.net), it brought back memories of the old Connecticut Valley League.
The CVL was formed during the “energy crisis” years of the 1970s to cut down on travel for schools in Vermont and New Hampshire and take advantage of natural rivalries on both sides of the river.
Rules changes and realignment in both states killed the nine-team CVL by the late 1980s but,while it lasted, it was a nice setup.
Instead of long bus rides to northern Vermont, Bellows Falls played New Hampshire teams like Lebanon, Stevens, Newport, and Fall Mountain, and Vermont teams like Springfield, Woodstock, Windsor, and Hartford.
A reconstituted CVL will probably never happen again, but high school teams in all sports are traveling longer distances to play opponents. It would create more interest for teams to be playing their natural neighbors, and cut down on transportation costs too.
Freitas-Eagan, Bullock win Turkey Trot
• The top two runners during this fall’s high school country season came away winners at the Red Clover Rovers’ annual Turkey Trot race on Upper Dummerston Road in Brattleboro on Nov. 24.
Brattleboro Union High School’s Isaac Freitas-Eagan, 16, of Guilford, won the men’s race, covering the 3-mile course in 16 minutes, 33 seconds. Rob Lind, 30, of Brattleboro, was second in 16:40, while James Moore, 21, of Saxtons River, was third in 16:46.
Putney School student and Newfane resident Delaney Bullock, 17, was the top female finisher in 18:08. She was 23 seconds faster than Natalie Kratz, 29, of Conshohocken, Pa. They were followed by Mae Emerson, 16, of Deerfield, Mass., in 19:23.
Luca Lyons, 9, of Deerfield, Mass, won the 1-mile race in 6:33. Complete race results are available at www.redcloverrovers.com.
There were 222 runners in all participating in this great Thanksgiving tradition, which this year also helped to stock Groundworks Collaborative’s food shelf as participants brought food donations to the event.
Staying alive in the woods
• Jack Chapman is a lucky guy.
As you may have heard, the 72-year-old Brattleboro man was out deer hunting in the Northeast Kingdom when he got lost on Nov. 16 and ended up spending four days in the woods before being found by the U.S. Border Patrol on Nov. 20.
Chapman was dressed for a cold day of hunting, but he wasn’t prepared for being stuck outside in a remote area near the Canadian border without food, shelter, or potable water. It helped that he was a long-time hunter and knew the basics of how to stay alive in that situation. He didn’t panic.
But Chapman’s story, which ended happily, was yet another example of how any trip into the backcountry can turn into a life-and-death struggle for survival.
Being prepared and keeping a cool head can make a difference. The classic “10 essentials” list of what to bring with you when you go into the woods — a map, compass, sunglasses and sunscreen, extra clothing, flashlight, first-aid kit, firestarter, matches, knife, and extra food and water — remains useful advice.
That list can be supplemented with things like water purification tablets, a whistle, and an emergency shelter such as a tarp or tube tent. Having a cell phone or GPS is good, but they should not be counted upon as the sole way for navigation and communication.
So before you go out hunting, hiking, snowmobiling, skiing, or doing anything else in the outdoors, make sure you have what you need to survive an unexpected night or two in the woods if something goes wrong. Luck is good, but being prepared puts the odds in your favor.
The skiing world comes to Vermont
• The first World Cup races in New England in 25 years were held at Killington Ski Resort last weekend. More than 90 athletes from 20 different countries competed in women’s slalom and giant slalom events on Killington’s Superstar trail. NBC provided national TV coverage of the races.
In the 1970s and 1980s, the world’s top downhill skiers regularly came to New England to take on our mountains. Stratton hosted a race in 1978, and Waterville Valley in New Hampshire was a regular stop on the World Cup circuit. Some of the biggest names in the sport, such as Jean-Claude Killy, Ingemar Stenmark, Alberto Tomba, and Phil and Steve Mahre have won World Cup races in New England.
In turn, seeing those stars helped inspire racers in New England. Julie Parisien of Maine won the women’s giant slalom at the last World Cup event at Waterville Valley in 1991. Since then, we’ve seen New Hampshire native Bode Miller and Burke Mountain Academy alum Mikaela Shiffrin dominate the sport.
We don’t have many world-class athletic competitions in Vermont, which made the World Cup event at Killington a big deal. Give the credit to Tiger Shaw, who is the president and CEO of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, for bringing the world’s best skiers to Vermont.
Shaw — a Vermonter and former ski racer — pushed for the Killington event in the hope of getting more New England youths interested in ski racing.
“So many people say their exposure to ski racing is watching the Olympics or a World Cup, and then saying, ‘That’s what I want to do,’” Shaw told The Boston Globe last week. “We’re hoping that happens with thousands of kids at Killington.”
Senior bowling roundup
• After Week 13 of the fall season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League, Team 5 (44-21) remains in sole possession of first place. Team 1 (42-23) is close behind in second, and Team 9 and Team 3 are now tied for third at 37-28. Team 6 (36-29) is in fourth, followed by Team 4 (34-31), Team 10 (30-35), Team 7 (26-39), Team 8 (23-42), and Team 2 (16-49).
During Week 12, Team 9 (880) had the high handicap game, while Team 6 (2,481) had the high handicap series. Jeanne Czuy had the women’s high handicap game (251), while Jean Collins (643) has the high handicap series. Jon Peters (253) had the men’s high handicap game, while Tom Johnson (659) had the high handicap series.
Four men rolled 200-plus games: Fred Ashworth (201, 203), Charles Marchant (201), Jerry Dunham (208, 200), and Peters (211), while Dunham (586), Marty Adams (517), Ashworth (587), Marchant (551) Warren Corriveau Sr. (531), and Johnson (557) all had 500-plus series.
Week 13 saw Team 6 (848) with the high handicap game, while Team 10 (2,454) had the high handicap series. Lorraine Taylor had the women’s high handicap game (136), while Brenda Gilbert (623) has the high handicap series. Peter Gilbert had the men’s high handicap game (257) and Norm Corliss had the men’s high handicap series (676).
Adams (543), Corriveau (592), and Gilbert (546) all rolled a 500-series. Adams (213), Gilbert (214), and Corriveau (215) also all had 200-plus games.