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Randolph T. Holhut/The Commons

Brattleboro’s Bella Takacs (3) climbs uphill during the first leg of the girls’ relay during the SVL cross-country skiing championship at the Brattleboro Country Club on Feb. 17.

Sports

Colonel boys win state nordic skiing title

The Brattleboro Colonels boys’ nordic ski team had themselves one heck of a week as they won both the Southern Vermont League and Division I state championships.

It started on Feb. 17, when they clinched the SVL title with a win in the relays on the Brattleboro Outing Club’s trails at the Brattleboro Country Club.

The boys’ relay team of Declyn Tourville, Nolan Holmes, Sam Freitas-Eagan, and Henry Thurber finished in 35 minutes, 23 seconds — 36 seconds faster that the Patriots’ foursome. Burr & Burton was third in 39:16 and Rutland was fourth in 39:54.

Mount Anthony’s Jack Drew had about a 200-yard lead on Tourville after the first 3-kilometer leg of the relay, but Holmes made that all up and more on the second leg. Frietas-Eagan added a little cushion on the third leg, and anchorman Thurber cruised in as the winner.

The girls’ relay was a duel between Mount Anthony and Burr & Burton, but MAU’s top skiers, Maggie Payne and Sarah Umphlett, blew away the rest of the field in the final two legs as the Patriots won with a time of 42:58, 80 seconds faster than Burr & Burton’s skiers. The Brattleboro team of Bella Takacs, Lily Tessitore, Ava Whitney, and Sylvie Normandeau came in third in 46:08.

With the relay win, Mount Anthony clinched the SVL girls title. Burr & Burton was second and Brattleboro third.

The SVL relays served as the dress rehearsal for the state Division I nordic championship. The first day of competition was held on Feb. 20 at Rickert Nordic Center in Ripton.

In the girls’ classic race, Finnegan Mittlestadt of Champlain Valley won with a time of 15 minutes, 59.8 seconds. Brattleboro’s Takacs was 14th in 18:33.1, followed by teammates Normandeau (22nd in 19:39.3), Tessitore (29th in 20:24.3), Whitney (34th in 20:40.1), Hazel Wagner (36th in 21:10.0), Alina Secrest (40th in 21:15.5), Alexandra Miskovich (43rd in 21:32.8), and CC Allembert (52nd in 22:35.4).

Brattleboro’s girls’ relay team of Normandeau, Whitney, Tessitore, and Tacacs finished fifth in 42:33.3. Champlain Valley won the relay on 36:10.6.

North Country’s Jack Young won the boys’ classic race in 13:31.6, but Brattleboro’s Tourville (third in 14:26.9) and Thurber (eighth in 15:19.8) both cracked the top 10, followed by teammates Holmes (14th in 16:02.5), Freitas-Eagan (20th in 16:39.9), Magnus von Krusenstiern (43rd in 18:10.7), Keegan Allembert (58th in 19:47.8), and Rowan Chamberlain (59th in 19:52.1).

Brattleboro and Mount Anthony finished 1-2 in the boys’ relay as the Colonel quartet of Tourville, Holmes, Freitas-Eagan, and Thurber were victorious in 32:41.0, 20 seconds faster than runner-up MAU.

The second phase of the championship meet was held on Feb. 25 at the Fort Ethan Allen Biathlon Range in Jericho. Again, the Colonel foursome of Tourville, Holmes, Freitas-Eagan, and Thurber were winners in 25:56.

In the individual races, Thurber (second in 14:21.16), Tourville (seventh in 14:55.5), and Holmes (ninth in 15:11.5) all finished in the top 10 and gave the Colonel boys the state championship with 89 points. Mount Anthony was second with 121 points, and Champlain Valley was third with 168.

The Colonel girls finished fifth as Champlain Valley again won the state title. No Brattleboro skiers made it into the top 10. The relay team also finished fifth.

Boys’ basketball

• Like their nordic skiing counterparts, Brattleboro won another Southern Vermont League championship — the A Division boys’ basketball title — last week.

It was the Colonels’ first league title in boys’ basketball in more than a decade, and it came after a 64-53 win over Mount Anthony on Feb. 20 at the BUHS gym.

But the Colonel boys have their sights set on some shinier hardware — their first state title in boys’ basketball since 1993.

The playoff pairings came out on Feb. 24, and the 13-7 Colonels earned the sixth seed in Division I and a home playoff game in the first round against No. 11 Essex (6-14) on Feb. 26.

After splitting the season series with Rutland and sweeping Burr & Burton to claim the SVL title, the Colonels are confident they have what it takes to make a run at the championship.

Against MAU, Greg Fitzgerald was the high scorer with 23 points, while Gabe Packard and Charlie Galanes chipped in with 13 and 11 points, respectively. Together with seniors Keegan Givens and Tyler Millerick, they are a fivesome that can score a lot of points in a hurry.

• Bellows Falls finished strong with a 13-7 record, which gave them the No. 3 seed in Division III. They will host No. 14 Oxbow (3-17) in a first-round game on Feb. 26.

The Terriers won their last home game of the regular season with a 51-38 win over Springfield on Feb. 20, a game where Ryan Kelly became one of only seven BF players to score 1,000 points in their varsity careers.

• Twin Valley beat Rivendell on Feb. 21 to clinch the No. 1 seed in Division IV. Although both teams were tied at 18-2, Twin Valley picked up the top seed on a tiebreaker.

As the top seed, the Wildcats have a bye in the first round and will host the winner of the Feb. 26 playoff between No. 8 Websterville and No. 9 Sharon on Feb. 28 in Whitingham.

Earlier in the week, the Wildcats beat Bellows Falls, 43-40, on Feb. 19 at Holland Gymnasium.

• Leland & Gray finished the regular season with a 2-18 record and the 16th seed in Division III. They will travel north to face top-seeded Hazen (16-4) in a first-round game on Feb. 25.

Girls’ basketball

• Brattleboro came close, but couldn’t seal the deal in a 36-33 loss to Rutland on Feb. 20.

Both teams struggled on offense. For Rutland, the difference makers were Rylee Burgess, who used her size to pull down 19 rebounds, and Kendra Sabotka, who was the only Rutland player to score in double figures with 14.

The Colonels bounced back with a 50-27 win over Mill River at the BUHS gym to finish the next-to-last week of the regular season at 6-12.

• Twin Valley rolled to a 57-18 win over Black River on Feb. 19 in Whitingham. The Wildcats led 15-6 after one quarter, and had a 26-point lead at the half as their defense held Black River’s best player, Riley Paul, scoreless.

Sadie Boyd led Twin Valley with 13 points and 11 rebounds, while Kate Longe had 13 points, 12 rebounds, and seven steals. The Wildcats ended the week at 6-12.

• Bellows Falls crushed Green Mountain, 71-23, on Feb. 19 in Chester, and beat White River Valley, 60-35, on Feb. 22 to improve to 13-5. They’re ranked sixth in Division III.

Boys’ hockey

• Austin Wood made 23 saves in goal as Brattleboro routed Mount Mansfield, 6-1, on Senior Night at Withington Rink on Feb. 19.

Anthony Palomba had three assists to lead the Colonels. Brett Parsons, Nathan Powers, Ryan Gerard, Jack Pattison, Will Taggard, and Sam Hall were the goal scorers.

Twelfth-graders Gabriel Maia, Joe Koes, Palomba, and Powers were all honored before the game.

On Feb. 22, the Colonels headed north and lost to Missisquoi, 6-2. They are now 11-8-1 and ranked sixth in Division II. The official playoff pairings will be announced on Feb. 27.

Girls’ hockey

• Great goaltending by Hartford’s Zoey Pfeiffer helped the Hurricanes steal a road win over Brattleboro, 5-3, at Withington Rink on Feb. 19. It was the first win of the season for Hartford.

Edie Cay got the first goal for the Colonels, assisted by Tobin Lonergan and Juliana Miskovich. Liv Romo also scored and Cay picked up her second goal as Brattleboro led 3-1 early in the second period, only to see Hartford score three unanswered goals.

Since Bellows Falls doesn’t offer hockey, the Hurricanes have three BF players on their team — Izzy Stack, Julie McDermid, and Alyssa Leonard. Stack was part of the big rally with a goal, and McDermid and Leonard contributed on defense.

With a 6-1 loss to Spaulding on Feb. 22, Brattleboro fell to 6-13 and are ranked fourth in Division III. The official playoff pairings will be announced on Feb. 27.

Senior bowling roundup

• Trash-O-Matic (25-10) took over first place after Week 7 of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League’s winter season at Brattleboro Bowl. 4 D’s (25-11) slipped back into second place, followed by Stayin’ Alive (21-14), Pin Droppers and Keglers (both 19-16), Bowling Stones (17-18), Ageless Wonders (16-19), Pin Strikers and Magic in Motion (both 13-22), and No Names (8-27).

Jeanne Czuy had the women’s high handicap game (240) and series (674), while Robert Rigby had the men’s high handicap game (246) and series (694). Bowling Stones had the high team handicap game (898) and Stayin’ Alive had the high team handicap series (2,577).

In scratch scoring, Rigby rolled games of 246, 225, and 223 on the way to a 694 series to lead the men. There were eight men who had a 500-plus series: Gary Montgomery (578), Les Wigdor (553), Fred Ashworth (528), Jerry Dunham (520), Marty Adams (510), Warren Corriveau Sr. (506), Wayne Randall (505), and Duane Schillemat (504).

Male bowlers with 200-plus games included Randall (204), Montgomery (203), and Wigdor (202).

Josie Rigby led the women with a high scratch game of 198, and she had the high series with a 485 score. Shirley Aiken had a 175 game.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #550 (Wednesday, February 26, 2020). This story appeared on page A8.

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