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Dana Sprague

Slovenian Blaz Pavlic topped a field of 41 of the world’s best up-and-coming athletes on Feb. 16 at Brattleboro’s Harris Hill Ski Jump.

Sports

Pavlic wins Harris Hill Ski Jump for third time

Sally Seymour of the Harris Hill Ski Jump contributed to this report.

You’re never too young to become a legend.

Blaz Pavlic, a 21-year-old Slovenian, bested 40 of the world’s top up-and-coming athletes to win the Harris Hill Ski Jump’s annual namesake Fred Harris Memorial Tournament on Feb. 16 in Brattleboro.

Pavlic retired the event’s Winged Ski Trophy by topping the field in the open division for a third year after victories in 2017 and 2019.

“I’ll find a place for it,” Pavlic said of the weighty trophy that has been retired only by five other jumpers in the venue’s nearly century-old history. He is the youngest jumper to retire the trophy.

Chris Lamb, a 30-year-old Marlboro College graduate and two-time winner in 2010 and 2013, almost snagged the trophy by placing a close second.

Both Pavlic and Lamb had jumps of 97 meters on their first attempts. On their second tries, Pavlic soared 94 meters, while Lamb had a jump of 88.5 meters.

“To be able to hang with the best guys here is my goal,” Lamb said, who was the lone American jumper in the open division.

In the men’s junior division, Canden Wilkinson, 17, of Colorado’s Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club finished first, with teammate Niklas Malacinski, 16, second. Wilkinson had jumps of 92 and 95.5 meters.

In the women’s junior division, Adeline Swanson, 14, of Minnesota’s St. Paul Ski Club finished first, with Cara Larson, 19, of Utah’s Park City Ski & Snowboard second. Swanson won with jumps of 80 and 93.5 meters.

The nearly century-old event featured athletes from nine states, Austria and Slovenia shooting off New England’s only Olympic-size venue at speeds of 60 mph before soaring more than 300 feet in the air for a crowd of several thousand spectators.

Boys’ basketball

• Brattleboro is steadily making its case for being a team to watch out for in the Division I playoffs.

On Feb. 11, the Colonels rallied from an 11-point deficit to beat Rutland, 58-57, at the BUHS gym. The game was a good illustration of why Brattleboro could be dangerous in the playoffs, and how they could be beaten.

The Colonels are a good outside shooting team, as they demonstrated in the first half against Rutland when five of their 11 baskets came from beyond the three-point arc. They struggled when the long range shots stopped falling, and surged back in the lead when they got back on target.

Charlie Galanes scored nine of his team-high 17 points during the second-half comeback, and Keegan Givens connected on a pair of three-pointers. Tyler Millerick had 12 points, Greg Fitzgerald added 10 points, and Givens and Spencer Lawrence finished with nine and eight points, respectively.

At press time, the 11-6 Colonels were in a position to capture the Southern Vermont League A Division title with a win over Mount Anthony in their scheduled game on Feb. 18.

• Twin Valley started slow but finished with a rush as the Wildcats topped Green Mountain, 47-37, on Feb. 11 in Whitingham.

Twin Valley led by two at the half and went into a coma on offense in the third quarter until the Wildcats snapped out of it and scored 25 points in the final quarter.

Jack McHale led the Wildcats with 12 points, while Izaak Park and Dylan Dupuis scored 11 and 10 points, respectively. Ty Merrill led the Chieftains with 12 points.

On Feb. 14 in Whitingham, Dupuis had 12 points and 11 rebounds and McHale scored a team-high 15 points as Twin Valley defeated Leland & Gray, 62-45.

Izaak Park pitched in with 10 points for the 16-2 Wildcats, who lost to Proctor, 69-50, on Feb. 15 to fall to No. 2 in Division IV behind top-ranked Rivendell. Proctor, also 16-2, is third.

Liam Towle led the 2-15 Rebels with 16 points. Matt Emerson and Matt Dunn each added eight points. Earlier in the week, on Feb. 11 in Townshend, Brennon Crossman scored 22 points to lead Proctor in a 88-54 rout of Leland & Gray. Emerson led the Rebels with 17 points in that game.

• Freshman Jamison Nystrom scored 17 points to lead Bellows Falls to a 64-60 win over Hartford at Holland Gymnasium on Feb. 11. Ryan Kelly had 11 points and six rebounds, while Dylan Clark scored 12 points and Jon Terry pulled down eight rebounds.

Girls’ basketball

• Brattleboro opened its week with a 47-32 loss to Rutland on Feb. 10 at the BUHS gym. Ryle Burgess led the Raiders with 15 points. Julie Hendricks was high scorer for the Colonels with six points.

The Colonels bounced back with a 50-42 win over Mount Anthony on Feb. 15. Rachael Rooney led Brattleboro with a career-high 31 points, including seven three-pointers.

Mount Anthony’s Grace Mahar scored 28 points — including 16 in the fourth quarter — as the Patriots tried to rally from an 18-point deficit in the third quarter. Brattleboro finished the week at 5-11.

• Twin Valley suffered one of their lopsided losses of the season as the Proctor Phantoms rolled to a 70-16 win on Feb. 10.

Proctor did its best to not run up the score against the visiting Wildcats, as the Phantoms’ reserves got ample playing time, especially in the second half.

The Wildcats had a nightmarish first half, as they did not score a field goal and fell behind 32-4. But Twin Valley did avoid the fate that struck Black River, when the Presidents were held scoreless in the second half of their game against Proctor a few days earlier.

Maddie Flanders led the Phantoms with 18 points, while Kate Longe was the Wildcats’ top scorer with five points.

Proctor’s only losses this season have come against undefeated West Rutland, which serves as an indication of how good the Phantoms are.

At home against Mount St. Joseph on Feb. 12. the Wildcats again came up shorthanded in a 36-18 loss to the Mounties. MSJ led 20-4 at the half. Meghan Cole led the Mounties with 12 points, while Longe was again the Wildcats’ top scorer with nine points.

• Bellows Falls bounced back from their loss to West Rutland with a 65-39 win over White River Valley on Feb. 10 at Holland Gymnasium.

The BF offense was back in the groove as Taylor Goodell led all scorers with 24 points. Maya Waryas scored 12 points, Emily Bazin had 11 points and eight rebounds, and Molly Potter added 10 points.

• Sydney Hescock scored a game-high 20 points as Leland & Gray beat Green Mountain, 46-33, on Feb. 10. Kim Cummings led the Chieftains with 17 points.

Nordic skiing

• Mount Anthony won the girls’ team title, and was edged by Brattleboro by one point in the boys’ classic races in the second leg of the Southern Vermont League Championships at Wild Wings Touring Center in Peru on Feb. 12.

Tricky snow conditions made for some issues with wax selection for the racers’ skis. MAU apparently dialed in the right combination as Sarah Umphlett won the 5K girls’ race in 18 minutes, 23 seconds, 22 seconds faster than runner-up Leah Mowry of Burr & Burton.

Bella Takacs led the Colonel girls with a fourth-place finish, followed by Ava Whitney in seventh, Sylvie Normandeau in eighth, and Lily Tessitore in 12th. MAU won with a team score of 20 points, followed by Burr & Burton with 27, and Brattleboro with 31.

MAU’s Jack Drew was the boys’ individual winner in 14 minutes, 5 seconds, 32 seconds faster than Brattleboro’s Declyn Tourville, who finished second. Henry Thurber came in fourth and Nolan Holmes was seventh for the Colonels.

It was a strong finish by Sam Freitas-Eagan —who finished tied with Rutland’s Brady Geisler for eighth place, and just ahead of 10th-place finisher Owen Hansen of MAU — that gave Brattleboro the victory.

Going into the final event — the relays on Feb. 17 in Brattleboro — the MAU girls led by 12 points in the overall score, while the Brattleboro boys held a five-point lead. Both teams held on to win their respective overall SVL titles. I’ll have more about the meet in the Feb. 26 edition.

Girls’ hockey

• Avery Gale, assisted by her sister Bella Gale, scored the winning goal in overtime as Middlebury defeated Brattleboro, 3-2, on Feb. 10.

The visiting Colonels got goals from Juniper DiMatteo-LePape and Liv Romo in the second period to tie the game at 2-2. Juliana Miskovich and DiMatteo-LePape were credited with assists.

Brattleboro goaltender Eliya Petrie stopped 31 shots, while Middlebury’s Abby Hodsden made 19 saves. Along with a loss to U-32 (4-1 on Feb. 12), the Colonels ended the week at 6-10.

Libardoni, MacPhee to be inducted into VPA Hall of Fame

• Second-guessing the umpire is as American as apple pie. But if you are at a high school or American Legion baseball game and see Alan Libardoni behind the plate, you will soon realize that you are going to have to find something else to complain about.

The same applies for basketball. If Libardoni is on the floor as the lead official, you know the game will be fairly adjudicated. And you don’t get to officiate NCAA Division I college basketball games unless you are solid in all areas of being a referee. Libardoni comes up aces in that area too.

Libardoni, of Brattleboro, was honored for his 35 years of work as a referee and umpire, and his mentorship of countless new officials in Southern Vermont, with his selection to the 2020 Hall of Fame class for the Vermont Principals’ Association.

Also selected was Doug MacPhee of Bellows Falls, a fixture at high school sporting events at Bellows Falls Union High School for many years.

MacPhee was the longtime public address announcer at Hadley Field for Terriers football and, for the past two decades, has been a photographer at BFUHS games. His work regularly appears in local publications, including The Commons, and he has been helpful to me in getting the word out about athletic accomplishments at BFUHS.

The formal induction ceremony takes place on May 1 with a banquet at the Capital Plaza Hotel in Montpelier. To find out more, visit vpaonline.org.

Rec. Dept. offers pickleball, volleyball for adults

• The Brattleboro Recreation & Parks Department is offering co-ed adult volleyball and pickleball through the end of April at the Gibson-Aiken Center gym, 207 Main St.

Volleyball is held on Thursdays from 7 to 8:30 p.m., while pickleball is held on Tuesdays from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Participants of all abilities ages 18 and up are welcome. Both are freelance programs with no instructors or officials. Balls and paddles will be available for pickleball players.

The cost per night for either sport is $3 for Brattleboro residents and $5 for non-residents, or get a 10-session punch card available for residents for $30 and non-residents for $50. All are asked to wear clean appropriate footwear. Anyone is welcome to join at any time if space is available.

If there are special needs required for this program or more information required, call 802-254-5808 or visit their website for a complete listing/description of events at www.brattleboro.org.

Senior bowling roundup

• After taking a week off due to bad weather, the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League at Brattleboro Bowl was back in action last week for Week 6 of its winter season with 4 D’s (24-6) putting together another 5-0 week to keep its hold on first place.

Trash-O-Matic (21-9) is now alone in second place, followed by Keglers (19-11), Stayin’ Alive (17-13), Bowling Stones (16-14), Ageless Wonders (15-15), Pin Droppers (14-16), and Pin Strikers, No Names, and Magic in Motion (all 8-22).

Pam Greenblott had the women’s high handicap game (248) and series (665). Ken Flag had the men’s high handicap game (257), while Wayne Randall had the high handicap series (701). Keglers had the high team handicap game (898) and series (2,577).

In scratch scoring, Robert Rigby rolled games of 256, 217, and 207 on the way to a 677 series to lead the men once again. He was joined in the 600-plus club by Gary Montgomery, who rolled a 225, 215 and a 181 for a 621 series.

Six men had a 500-plus series. Randall had games of 189 and 184 in his 581 series, while Les Wigdor had games of 206 and 184 in his 558 series and Charlie Marchant had games of 190 and 189 in his 524 series.

Warren Corriveau Sr. rolled a 185 as part of his 523 series, Duane Schillemat had a 196 game in his 513 series, and Marty Adams rolled a 195 in his 522 series.

Greenblott led the women with a high scratch game of 191, while Josie Rigby had the high series with a 510 score. Nancy Dalzell had a 181 game.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #549 (Wednesday, February 19, 2020). This story appeared on page C1.

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