Some of the best up-and-coming ski jumpers are set to fly above Cedar Street at New England’s only Olympic-size venue on Feb. 16 and 17 during the annual Harris Hill tournament in Brattleboro.
The nearly century-old competition will feature women and men from North America and Europe leaping off a 90-meter hill that’s one of just six of its size in the country.
One of those competitors is Harris Hill distance record holder Blaz Pavlic from Slovenia, who jumped 341 feet in 2017 to set a new record and win the competition. If he wins this year, he will have won two legs of the Winged Ski Trophy, which can be retired with a third win.
Since its start in 1922, the annual event attracts several thousand spectators who watch jumpers shoot at speeds of 60 mph before soaring more than 300 feet in the air.
This weekend’s competition will feature the annual Pepsi Challenge on Saturday and the prestigious Fred H. Harris Memorial Tournament on Sunday.
Harris Hill now has a snowmaking system. Organizers say that, despite the wild swings in the weather these past couple of weeks, the jump will be ready for competition this weekend.
Gates will open each day at 10 a.m., with trial rounds at 11 a.m. and opening ceremonies and competition at noon. The family event offers food and beverage vendors, a bonfire, music, tailgating, and appearances by Jumper the cow mascot.
Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for students ages 6 to 12, and free for children 5 and younger and can be purchased at the gate or online at www.brownpapertickets.com. Advance discount admission of $15 for adults and $12 for students ages 6 to 12 are available at locations listed at www.harrishillskijump.com.
• The number on the scoreboard — Brattleboro 43, Mill River 19 — was secondary to another number, $1,478. That’s the amount that Colonels coach Paul Freed said was raised for the American Cancer Society during the annual Coaches vs. Cancer benefit game at the BUHS gym on Feb. 8.
As for the basketball game, it was a lopsided affair as Brattleboro used a pressure defense most of the first half and took a 15-5 lead after one period and a 22-8 lead at the half. A 14-4 outburst in the third quarter sealed Mill River’s fate, and the final period gave Freed the chances to give the reserves some more playing time.
“It was a good game,” said Freed. “We took care of business on defense and we stayed out of foul trouble.”
Rachael Rooney scored seven of her game-high 12 points in the first quarter. Lauren McKinney added eight points and keyed the third quarter run with her rebounding. Hailey Derosia and Natalie Hendricks each chipped in six points as all but two Brattleboro players scored at least one point in the game. Molly Bruso led Mill River with nine points.
• Earlier in the week, the Colonels lost to Mount Greylock, 52-42, on Feb. 4 in Williamstown, Mass. Brattleboro trailed by 10 points after a sluggish first half, and while they played with more energy in the second half, it wasn’t quite enough to overcome the initial deficit.
Alyssa Scherlin had 14 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Colonels, Rooney had 10 points and four steals and McKinney had six points and 13 rebounds. Brattleboro finished the week at 8-7.
• The troubles continue for Twin Valley. On Feb. 4, they were beaten by visiting Green Mountain, 49-21. Jarrett Niles had 11 points and four steals to lead the Wildcats, while Sadie Boyd had eight points and six rebounds.
• At 11-4, Springfield is having a great season in Division II. Leland & Gray found out how good the Cosmos are as they crushed the visiting Rebels, 56-11, on Feb. 7.
The outcome of this game was never in doubt, as the Cosmos roared out to a 35-4 lead at the half. Julianna Albero-Levings led Springfield with 15 points, Gabby Wardwell added 10 points.
The referees also seemed to leave their whistles in their pockets, as a total of only seven free throws were taken in the game. The Rebels were 1-for-4 from the line, and Springfield was 0-for-3. Leland & Gray is now 3-13 on the season.
• Bellows Falls stayed undefeated at home with 55-22 over Woodstock on Feb. 4. BF had plenty of inside scoring and rebounding, and took a 16-2 lead after one quarter, and a 30-8 lead at the half.
Halle Dickerson led the 11-3 Terriers with 17 points, Taylor Goodell added 11, and Abbe Cravinho chipped in 10.
• Adam Newton has had some big games of late for Brattleboro, but he’s not the only weapon on offense for the Colonels.
Against Woodstock on Feb. 5 in the BUHS gym, point guard Tyler Millerick had the best game of his high school career, scoring 31 points as the Colonels rolled to a 59-44 win over the Wasps.
Millerick scored 19 points in the first half, as Brattleboro built up a 34-6 lead at halftime. Newton (nine points) and Gabe Packard (eight points) played well in support on Millerick’s big night. With the win, the Colonels improved to 8-6.
• Twin Valley is starting to roll. They’ve won eight in a row, with three home wins in the space of four days against Leland & Gray (56-35 on Feb. 5), Poultney (51-38 on Feb. 7), and Black River (54-30 on Feb. 8). They finished the week in first place in Division IV with a 10-4 record.
• Leland & Gray also dropped a pair of home games against Springfield (53-44 on Feb. 7) and Bellows Falls (57-39 on Feb. 8) to drop the Rebels’ record to 3-8.
• Brattleboro was set to host the first leg of the three-event Marble Valley League Championships at the Brattleboro Country Club on Feb. 6, but rain and warm weather wiped out the snow cover on the ski trails.
Instead, the event was held at Prospect Mountain in Woodford, the home course of Mount Anthony. But Brattleboro, the defending MVL champs, were unfazed by the change in venue and both the boys’ and girls’ teams won the event,
MAU’s Jack Drew covered the twisty, hilly 5-kilometer course in 10 minutes, 46 seconds to win the boys’ race, but Brattleboro’s Henry Thurber was close behind to finish second.
Despite snapping one of his ski poles in a fall on the final portion of the course, Evan Koch skated across the line in third and teammates Galen Fletcher, Nolan Holmes and Orion Stone finished sixth, seventh, and eighth, respectively. Sam Freitas-Eagan was 10th, Declyn Tourville finished 11th, and Ty Allembert was 13th to round out the Colonel finishers.
Brattleboro won the boys’ team event with 18 points, followed by MAU (31), Burr & Burton (78), and Rutland (91).
The Colonel girls turned in an equally dominating performance, as Sarah Gallagher held off MAU’s Natalie Jelly to win in 12:09. Liz Morse was fifth, followed by Bella Takacs (ninth), Angelika Toomey (10th), Lilly Tessitore (11th), Neveah Beauchamp (12th), and Alina Secrest (13th). These five skiers finished within 20 seconds of one another, and Alexandra Miskovich (15th) was not far behind.
The girls team result was a dead heat as BUHS and MAU both earned 25 points with their top four finishers, so Tessitore’s 11th place finish ultimately gave Brattleboro the win. Burr & Burton was third with 35.
If the weather cooperates, the classic leg of the MVL Championships will take place this week.
Ken Campbell: Hall of Famer
• Thirty years ago today, I worked my first shift on the sports desk at the Brattleboro Reformer.
It was my first full-time newspaper job at the only newspaper in New England that was willing to take a flyer on someone who had never covered sports before. Norm Runnion, the managing editor, thought I could write and that was good enough for him. Ken Campbell could teach me the rest.
Peter Kenneth “Ken” Campbell started at the Reformer in 1952. He was taking a well-deserved retirement in 1989, and I was hired to be the No. 2 sports reporter and help out Garry Harrington, who succeeded Campbell as sports editor.
My Reformer career overlapped Ken’s for a couple of months while I learned the ropes. He was a kind and easy-going guy and it didn’t take long to see that he was a man who was loved by virtually everyone in Brattleboro.
Campbell was a graduate of St. Michael’s High School, Class of 1948. He served in the Navy and then returned to get his associate’s degree from Becker College.
Ken pretty much created the modern template for covering high school sports. He was a pioneer in making sure the girls’ teams got as much coverage as the boys’ teams, and his weekly “Speaking of Sports” column was a must-read.
Despite keeping a schedule that had him working in the early morning to put together the sports page for the then-afternoon Reformer, and then covering afternoon and evening games for the next day’s paper, he still managed to find time to coach Small Fry, Little League, Babe Ruth, and American Legion Baseball in Brattleboro.
And, he still managed to get to Boston to cover the Red Sox from time to time (including the epic 1975 World Series), and had a great and long-standing friendship with Brattleboro’s only major leaguer, Braves pitcher Ernie Johnson.
Ken died in 2003 at the age of 75, and it surprises me that it took until this year to see him selected for the Vermont Prinicipals’ Association Hall of Fame.
Campbell is part of the 2019 class, and he will be inducted with one of the great Brattleboro athletes he wrote about, David McGinn, who was a three-sport athlete at BUHS in the late 1970s and excelled as a pitcher, as a quarterback, and as a 1,000-pointer scorer in basketball. McGinn went on to be a successful high school coach at Oxbow, Thetford, and St. Johnsbury.
Ken offered an example to me, and other young reporters, who passed through the Reformer newsroom during his nearly four decades of service — that you don’t have to leave a person in a pool of blood to be a good reporter.
Be accurate, be fair, do the work, and remember who you’re writing for. Those are some of the other things I learned in my brief time with Ken, a guy who has always been a Hall of Famer in my eyes.
Senior bowling roundup
• Week 6 of the winter season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League at Brattleboro Bowl saw Team 4 (24-6) still in first place, with Team 7 (21-9) not far behind in second place. Team 11 (20-10) remains in third, followed by Team 2 (19-11), Team 10 and Team 3 (both 18-12), Team 9 (15-15), Team 8 (9-21), Team 12 (8-22), Team 6 (7-23), and Team 1 (6-24).
Pam Prouty had the women’s high handicap game (266), while Jean Czuy had the high handicap series (674). Wayne Randall had the men’s high handicap game (274), while Michael Hurd had the high handicap series (656). Team 11 had the high team handicap game (939), while Team 9 had the high handicap series (2,538).
In scratch scoring, Robert Rigby rolled a 227 and a 213 on the way to a 600-plus series (614). Josie Rigby had a 182 as part of her 500-plus series (517), while Greenblott rolled a 178 to complete her 517 series. The women in the 500 club were joined by Randall (585), Warren Corriveau Sr. (532) and Peter Cross (529).
Randall (255) and Jerry Dunham (207) also rolled a 200-plus game, while Lorraine Taylor had a 176.