The winter high school playoffs began last Friday with the opening events in the state nordic skiing championships and the state wrestling championships. Meanwhile, the regular season for boys basketball and hockey concluded Saturday, and playoff pairings were announced by the Vermont Principals’ Association on Monday.
• The first phase of the state nordic meet, the freestyle individual and relay races, was held last Friday at the Ethan Allen Firing Range in Jericho. It is one of the few places that is skiable in northern Vermont, and that is only because the Vermont National Guard put a lot of work into getting it groomed and ready for the National Guard’s U.S. Championships that are coming up this week.
Brattleboro’s Halie Lange, a runner-up last year, won the Division I girls’ freestyle race in a time of 21 minutes, 4.35 seconds for the 7.5 kilometer course. But it was Champlain Valley who dominated the girls’ team event, with four skiers in the top 10. CVU stands in first place with 30 points, followed by Mount Mansfield with 62 points, Mount Anthony with 80, and defending champion Brattleboro with 108.
Lange was all alone in the top 15. Leah Silverman (18th), Emma Straus (26th) and Helen Manning (28th) rounded out the Colonels’ top four. In the freestyle relay, Brattleboro finished fourth.
In the boys’ team competition, it was all Mount Mansfield. The Cougars took four of the top five spots, including the boys’ individual winner, sophomore Ben Hegman, who covered the course in 17:52.90. He was the only skier to break the 18 minute mark. The Cougars stand first with 23 points, followed by Mount Anthony with 78 and CVU with 91.
Brattleboro resides in sixth place with 196 points. The only Colonel to crack the top 15 was Graham Glennon, who was ninth in 19:25.14. The Colonels placed eight in the relays.
The state meet was scheduled to wrap up on Tuesday at Grafton Ponds with classical individual and relay events. Results weren’t available at press time.
• As has been the case for more than two decades, the state high school wrestling championships was an event to see who would finish second.
Mount Anthony easily won its 24th straight state team title on Saturday in St. Johnsbury, while the Bellows Falls/Hartford combined team finished seventh out of 21 teams.
The BF/Hartford squad finished their first season as a combined team by putting three of its wrestlers into the semifinal round after Friday’s matches: Austin Viens (106 pound weight class), Steve Cerrone, (132) and Nolan Viens (138). A fourth wrestler, Kyle Record, suffered a loss in the 145 pound quarterfinals.
The BF/Hartford quartet had a tough time of it on Saturday, but Nolan Viens and Cerrone ended up second overall in their respective weight classes, and qualified for the New England Championships in the process, while Austin Viens and Record both came in fourth.
• Tommy Heydinger scored two crucial baskets in overtime as the Colonels downed Mount St. Joseph, 61-58, at the BUHS gym last Tuesday. Heydinger was the game’s high scorer with 20 points. Jay Vinci pitched in 14 for the Colonels, while Soren Pelz-Walsh added 10 points.
The Colonels followed up that win with a 52-42 victory over Mount Anthony in Bennington on Friday. Ethan Mitnik led the Colonels with 19 points. Travis Beeman-Nesbitt followed with 15 and Heydinger added 9.
At 13-7, Brattleboro clinched the No. 4 seed in Division I and will host No. 14 Mount Anthony, which finished the season at 7-13, on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
• Christopher Lasch scored 16 points and Billy Nupp added 14 as Leland & Gray beat Woodstock, 49-45, last Tuesday in Townshend. Good defense and a 10-for-13 night at the free throw line were the keys to the Rebels’ victory.
The Rebels wrapped up the regular season last Wednesday with a hard-fought 51-42 win over Twin Valley in Wilmington. Twin Valley trailed 22-20 at the half, fell behind by as many as 14 in the third, and clawed their way back into contention in the fourth before Brandon Reilly hit a key three-pointer to seal the win. Mike Bergeron led the Rebels with 13, while Colin Lozito has 13 to lead the Wildcats.
After a 44-35 loss at Springfield on Friday night, Leland & Gray finished with a 15-5 record and earned the No. 3 seed in Division III. They will host No. 14 Oxbow (2-18) on Wednesday.
• Lozito scored 12 of his game-high 19 points in the final quarter as Twin Valley rallied to beat Green Mountain, 53-43, last Tuesday in Wilmington. Lozito also had 10 assists. Dal Nesbitt had a big game too, with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Cade Nesbitt chipped in 10 points and Eli Park has 13 rebounds.
Twin Valley wrapped up a tough regular season with a 6-14 record. They are the No. 14 seed in the Division IV playoffs, and travel north to play third-seeded Danville (15-5) on Wednesday.
• Kendrick Mills scored 2o points as Bellows Falls topped Woodstock, 58-46, at Holland Gymnasium last Monday. The following night, the Terriers dropped a 62-39 decision to Proctor.
BF finished the regular season at Green Mountain on Saturday night with a 49-43 victory. Despite the win, the Terriers just missed out on hosting a Division II home playoff game. They ended up with the No. 9 seed, and will travel to No. 8 Fair Haven (10-10) on Wednesday night.
• The Brattleboro boys took on Hartford last Wednesday at Whitington Rink, but it was the Hurricanes came away with a 4-3 win.
Senior captain Jamie Martell got the Colonels’ first goal six minutes into the game, but Hartford then scored the next three goals as Patrick Keeley, Jeffrey Lyford, and John Lewis all lit the lamp. Adam Griffin got the Colonels within a goal midway through the second period, but Lyford scored off a steal to make it 4-2 at the end of the second. Andy Harris again brought Brattleboro to within a goal midway through the third, but the Colonels could not get any more goals after that.
The Colonels closed out the season on the road on Saturday with a 4-0 win over Mount Mansfield. Griffin scored 3 goals, and Nik Rancourt added another. Harris had two assists, while Logan Turner-Renaud, Cooper Turner-Renaud and Martell all had one assist. Goaltender Greg DiSilva needed only 8 saves to pick up his second shut-out of the season.
Brattleboro finished the regular season at 10-10, and will get to host a first-round playoff game at Withington Rink when the Lake Division playoffs begin Wednesday. As the No. 7 seed, the Colonels will host No. 10 Lyndon Institute (3-17) at 6 p.m. The winner of that match will take on second-seeded U-32 in Barre this Saturday.
• The Brattleboro girls will also get a home playoff game. The Colonels finished the regular season at 10-7-3, and got the sixth seed in the Lake Division playoffs. They host No. 11 Mount Mansfield (4-15-1) on Wednesday at 4 p.m. The winner of that game will travel to third-seeded Stowe this Saturday.
The Colonels ended the regular season at Withington Rink Saturday with a 1-1 tie against Rutland. Maddie Rollins gave Brattleboro the lead in the first period, but Rutland’s Kate Kurchena tied the game in the final period. Colonels goaltender LouLou Terwilliger had 17 saves.
• Mount Anthony’s Abby Iannotti showed why she is one of the best girls’ basketball players in the state last Monday by dropping 25 points on the Colonels in a 61-34 victory at the BUHS gym. Iannotti was also a force on defense, as she helped shut down Brattleboro’s inside game. Taylor Bird was the only Colonel in double-figures with 11 points.
On Friday, Rutland raced out to a 22-3 lead after one quarter and cruised to a 54-28 win over the Colonels. Mary Richardson had 7 points to lead the 5-13 Colonels. Kara Piergentili added 6 points, and freshman Abbie Lesure had a good game with 5 points, 7 rebounds and 4 steals.
• Bellows Falls cruised to a 41-26 win over Black River in Ludlow last Monday. Enny Mustapha had 12 points, Emily Dufault added 11, and Darian James chipped in 7 for the Terriers.
On Friday, the Terriers were beaten at home by Leland & Gray, 51-25. The Rebels started out with a 10-0 lead, but went cold in the second quarter as BF took a 13-12 lead at the half. The Rebels made some defensive adjustments, and went on a 39-13 tear in the second half. Haley Buffum had 14 points and 7 rebounds for the 8-11 Rebels, while Molly and Emily Dufault each scored 8 points for the 6-13 Terriers.
• Twin Valley crushed Woodstock, 59-17, last Tuesday. Hannah Swanson had 13 points and 13 rebounds, while Savannah Nesbitt had with 15 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 6 steals, and Lexi Reinertson hauled down 10 rebounds.
Hunter safety course offered in BF
• The Polish American Club of Bellows Falls and the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife will present a free hunter education and safety class at the Polish American Club on Rockingham Street during the month of March.
Mandatory registration will be held Saturday, March 3, at noon. All student must be present promptly at that time to enroll. Classes will be held on Mondays and Wednesdays, as well as a half-day on the firing range on Saturday, March 29. Seating is limited, so first come, first served. Graduates receive certification that is recognized internationally. For further information, contact Vinnie Cherico at 802-463-9314.
Rink closes for season on March 4
• The Brattleboro Recreation & Parks Department has announced that the Nelson Withington Skating Facility at Living Memorial Park will be closing for the season on Sunday, March 4, at 10:15 p.m.