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Sports

Excitement builds for a big weekend at Harris Hill

There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned snowstorm to prime folks for a weekend of ski jumping on Harris Hill.

Friday’s big storm was the icing on the cake for organizers of this weekend’s Harris Hill ski jump competition. The 90-meter ski jump is just about ready to go, and Brattleboro once again welcomes some of the world’s best jumpers to the big hill on Cedar Street.

This is the second year that Harris Hill is serving as the venue for an International Ski Federation-sanctioned competition. Moreover, it’s the only FIS jumping event held in the United States this season. A separate jump event is planned as part of the USA Ski Jumping (USASJ) World Cup tour.

Saturday, Feb. 16, features the Pepsi Challenge, an open class event for younger jumpers, and is the first day of competition for the FIS Cup and U.S. Cup events. Sunday, Feb. 17, will see the finals of the FIS and U.S. Cup events and the Fred Harris Memorial Tournament, now an open class event.

Gates open at 10 a.m. with competition on both days starting at 11 a.m. General daily admission is $15, or $12 for kids 6-12. Younger kids are admitted free.

Dozens of athletes from Holland, Korea, Japan, Slovenia, Ukraine, and the United States are scheduled to compete.

Topping the domestic bill is Brattleboro’s own Spencer Knickerbocker, 18, a Nordic combined and jumping star whom many will recall won last year’s Pepsi Challenge and placed second in the Fred Harris event.

With the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, this weekend’s competition offers local residents a chance to see live and in action some of the ski jumpers the rest of the world will see only on television. For more information, visit www.harrishillskijump.com.

Nordic skiing

• The main story out of Marble Valley League Nordic skiing this season has been the rivalry between Brattleboro’s Halie Lange and Rutland’s Chloe Levins, who’ve given us exciting races over the past two months.

Levins, a freshman, missed the Feb. 6 race at Grafton Ponds due to illness, leaving no one to challenge Lange in the 5K skating race. Lange locked down the event for a win in 17:31.

Woodstock’s Carmen Bango (18:49) and Mount Anthony’s Becca Romac (18:59) rounded out the event as top three girls’ finishers, with Linnea Jahn, the only other member of the Brattleboro varsity girls’ team, placing 10th at 20:46 out of a 30 skier field.

Turning to the boys, Rutland’s Isaac Wright clocked in a win with 15:21; Woodstock’s Zane Fields brought in second at 15:40; and Luke Keenan of MAU sailed in for third at 16:06.1—a mere eight-tenths of a second ahead of Brattleboro’s Graham Glennon, who finished fourth at 16:06.9.

The MVL classic race is scheduled for Feb. 13 at Prospect Mountain in Woodford.

Boys’ basketball

• Last Thursday night’s game between Brattleboro and Mount St. Joseph at the BUHS gym turned into an emotional tribute to the memory of James K. Evans, the BUHS student from Dummerston killed in a car crash Feb. 5. There was a moment of silence in his memory before the game. Touchingly, most of the students wore white T-shirts stenciled “Rest Easy Jim.”

As for the game itself, Brattleboro started strong, faded in the second, recovered in the third, and outright collapsed in the fourth, handing a 57-48 win to MSJ. Matt Sanborn led the Mounties with a game-high 23 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter. Point guard Tyler Higley led the Colonels with 10 points and nine rebounds.

Tre Hysell scored 23 points as Rutland knocked off Brattleboro, 50-46, at the BUHS gym on Feb. 4. Credit Jackson Batchelder, Issac Roach, and Chris McAuliffe for helping to keep the Colonels in the game. Batchelder finished with 11 points, seven rebounds, four steals. Roach also scored 11; McAuliffe had 10 points, eight rebounds. Higley added a solid eight points.

• Arlington’s D.J. Jennings dropped 21 points on Twin Valley Feb. 4 at Wilmington, but it wasn’t enough to seal the deal, as the Wildcats edged the Eagles, 59-58. That’s because the whirling dervish that is Twin Valley’s Colin Lozito scored 27 points and dished out five assists. Eli Park had 12 points and 12 rebounds. Cade and Dal Nesbitt each added nine points.

At home against West Rutland last Thursday, the Wildcats fell behind in the second half and never quite recovered, falling under in West Rutland’s 67-54 win. Dal Nesbitt had 23 points and 14 rebounds, while Lozito was held to six points and 11 assists. Twin Valley ended the week at 5-10.

• Leland & Gray used a 17-4 run in the fourth quarter to beat Proctor, 49-32, last Thursday. Michael Bergeron scored 16 to lead the 11-3 Rebels. Billy Nupp added 12 points, while Jake Sherman and Riley Kenney each finished with seven.

• Woodstock built up a 31-14 lead in the first half Feb. 5, and Bellows Falls never recovered, seeing Woodstock walk with a 58-43 win at Holland Gymnasium. David Dunbar was the Terriers’ top scorer with eight points.

Girls’ basketball

• Proctor blitzed Leland & Gray 63-27 on Feb. 5. The Rebels had no answers for Phantoms stars Clarissa Elrich and Meghan Carter, who joined forces to ring in 34 points. Alex Morrow had nine points, nine rebounds, and eight blocks to lead the Rebels.

• Brattleboro opened with a 17-4 burst and never looked back in a 57-38 rout of Springfield at the BUHS gym Feb. 5. Ari Harrison had 14 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Colonels, while Taylor Bird added 13 points.

• Bellows Falls edged Mount St. Joseph 40-39 Feb. 5.

Ice hockey

• There was no case of “bus legs” for the Brattleboro boys on Feb. 6, as the Colonels traveled to Burlington and scored four goals in each period in a 12-0 rout of the Seahorses.

Nik Rancourt and Romello Lindsey starred as Rancourt racked up two goals and five assists while Lindsey had three goals and two assists. Philip Perkins scored twice, Adam Griffin had a goal and three assists, and Jimmy Podlaski, Andy Harris, Cooper Turner-Renaud and Evan Perkins also scored. Griffin ended up with three assists. The Colonels had a 42-8 edge in shots as goalie Greg DiSilva barely broke a sweat to nail the shutout.

The Colonels played host to Woodstock last Saturday night at Withington Rink, and rallied to scored three goals in the third period to win 4-2. Trailing 2-1 in the final period, Podlaski scored the equalizer from Harris and Lindsey on the power play. Harris then got the go-ahead goal, set up by Podlaski and Lindsey, and Turner-Renaud capped off the scoring with another power play goal from Evan Perkins.

Now 13-3, Brattleboro is off until this Saturday afternoon, when they host Harwood.

COS for a Cause at Haystack

On Sunday, Feb. 24, enjoy a great day of skiing and riding at Haystack in Wilmington, and take in a barbecue and auction at The Hermitage, all to benefit the Cos for a Cause foundation, providing textbooks for students in need.

The foundation is named for Michael “Cos” Costello, an excavating contractor and winter sports enthusiast who did most of his work at ski resorts across the country. A lifelong Vermonter, he died in 2011 at 35 from a rare glandular cancer.

To participate, either ask 10 friends to pledge $20 each or get 20 friends to pledge $10 ... or write your own check for $200. There are some great prizes at the auction too, such as an autographed snowboard by Olympic medalist Ross Powers, and choice tickets to Red Sox, Celtics, and Patriots games. Visit www.cosfund.org for details.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #190 (Wednesday, February 13, 2013).

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