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Sports

Slovenians sweep at Harris Hill ski jump

It was a great weekend to be a Slovenian in Brattleboro.

Ski jumpers from Slovenia swept the top three spots on both days of competition, Feb. 15-16, at Harris Hill.

In Saturday’s FIS Cup, Miran Zupancic traveled 316 feet to win the 25th annual event. Second went to Mitja Meznar; Ernest Prislic took third.

The Slovenian trio also dominated on Sunday in the Fred Harris Memorial Tournament, as Zupancic, Meznar, and Prislic again finished 1-2-3. Zupancic’s best jump: 329.7 feet.

Chris Lamb, the two-time defending Fred Harris Memorial Tournament champion, placed ninth on Saturday and 11th on Sunday. The jumper from the Andover (N.H.) Outing Club just missed qualifying for the U.S. ski jumping team that went to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Lamb’s best jump on Sunday was 283.7 feet. His Saturday best was 290 feet. He holds the Harris Hill distance record, set in 2010, fully 335 feet.

Teammate Zach Daniels won the Pepsi Challenge, an open-class event for U.S. jumpers, on Saturday. His top jump: 279 feet.

Brattleboro native Spencer Knickerbocker finished 20th on Saturday and 24th on Sunday.

The Slovenian domination of Harris Hill this year shows the depth of that small nation’s squad. In Sochi, Peter Prevc won a silver medal in normal hill (95 meters) competition and a bronze in the large hill (125 meters) competition. Prevc also led the Slovenians to a team gold medal at the Sapporo, Japan, World Cup competition last month.

Conditions on Saturday were difficult, with light snow and wind, but Sunday was just about perfect for mid-February in Brattleboro. Nearly 6,000 people attended the two-day event.

Girls’ basketball

• Brattleboro used a 15-2 run in the second quarter to pull away from Burr & Burton, and good ball movement in the final quarter on the way to a 53-40 win over the Bulldogs in Manchester on Feb. 11.

Kayla Savage scored eight of her game-high 16 points in the fourth quarter. Maddy Derosia added 8 points and 6 rebounds and Taylor Bird had 7 points, including two 3-pointers, as the 14-5 Colonels spread the scoring around.

• Twin Valley controlled the boards and their defense dictated the tempo as the Wildcats beat Leland & Gray, 39-23, on Feb. 11 in Townshend. The win clinched the Marble Valley League C-Division title for the 15-4 Wildcats, who have won nine in a row.

Savannah Nesbitt had 6 points, 6 rebounds, 9 assists, and 7 steals to lead Twin Valley. Hannah Swanson (11 points, 7 rebounds), Kira Courchesne (7 points, 6 rebounds), and Colton Butler (5 points, 9 rebounds) also contributed.

• Leland & Gray beat Woodstock, 42-31, on Feb. 12 on Senior Night in Townshend. Rachel Borgenson and Jessica Stockwell led the 6-13 Rebels with 11 and 10 points, respectively.

• Bellows Falls lost at Arlington, 54-42, on Feb. 8, and at home to Fall Mountain, 52-36, on Feb. 12, to fall to 5-14 on the season.

Boys’ basketball

• Brattleboro defeated Hartford, 51-25, on Feb. 10. Chris McAuliffe led the Colonels with 15 points.

Two nights later, against Rutland, the Colonels fell in overtime, 67-59. McAuliffe had 20 points, and Issac Roach added 12, but it was not enough to overcome a 36-point night by Rutland’s Pat O’Rourke.

The Colonels are in the middle of the Division I pack at 9-8, and need to win their remaining three games to have a shot at hosting a first-round playoff game.

• Woodstock shut down Bellows Falls in the second half on the way to a 70-52 win on Feb. 11. David Dunbar led the Terriers with 15 points; Zach Street added 14, and Kendrick Mills had 13. The loss snapped a four-game win streak for the 6-10 Terriers.

• Leland & Gray lost to Otter Valley, 58-46, on Feb. 10, and lost a 59-57 heartbreaker at home to Poultney. The 4-13 Rebels have lost seven in a row, and only have one win in their last 14 games.

Hockey

• The Brattleboro boys scored three goals in the third period to beat U-32, 4-3, on Feb. 8. Braxton Lynn had two goals and an assist to lead the Colonels. Declan Lonergan had a goal and an assist. Goaltender Greg DiSilva earned the win for the Colonels with 29 saves. Kyle Verchereau, Andrew Danyew, and Harper Wimble each posted a goal for U-32.

Two nights later, the Colonels got nipped by the Burr & Burton Bulldogs, 5-4. Brattleboro led 3-1 after oneNOTE (Unknown Author, 2014-02-17T14:57:46): After the first period? period, and 4-3 going into the third, but Nathan Eisenman would score the next two goals to win it for the Bulldogs. Lonergan scored a pair of goals for the 5-12-1 Colonels.

• The Brattleboro girls came up winners in their annual “Pink the Rink” game on Feb. 13 as they beat Woodstock, 4-3. With an assist by Meryu Bhanti, and with 15 seconds left in the game, Asha DiMatteo-LePape scored the game-winning goal for the 3-14 Colonels.

The real winner of this game, however, was the Comprehensive Breast Care Program at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital. “Pink the Rink” raised $600 for a worthy cause, and has become one of the great traditions of Brattleboro hockey.

The Colonels lost to Northfield, 6-1 Feb 10 at Withington Rink, with Bhanti scoring the team’s lone goal. Brattleboro kept it close for two periods but fell apart in the third when they gave up four goals.

Put the Vermonters ahead!

We remembered that famous command from the Battle of Gettysburg when we looked at the Washington Post’s map of where the 2014 American Olympic delegation hails from.

The U.S. Olympic Team is the largest American team ever, with 105 women and 125 men coming from 38 states. California boasts the most winter Olympians, with 20; Colorado and Minnesota, with 19 each, and New York at 18, aren’t far behind.

But our little state, Vermont, sent 13 athletes to Sochi, at least by the Post’s count.

Others count 16, accounting for athletes who aren’t natives but attended school here, such as Stratton Mountain School’s Lindsey Jacobellis and Burke Mountain Academy’s Mikaela Shiffrin. And the Post didn’t give us Hannah Teter of Belmont.

Here’s the thing: If you measure on a per capita basis, as did Business Insider Australia (www.businessinsider.com/au) leveraging Post data, humble Vermont produces more Winter Olympians than any other state.

California produces one Olympian per 1.9 million people. In contrast, Vermont has an Olympian for every 48,000 people who live here.

Those athletes — 13 women and three men — are Nordic/biathlon skiers Sophie Caldwell, Hannah Dreissigacker, Susan Dunklee, Andrew Newell, Ida Sargent, and Liz Stephen; snowboarders Kelly Clark, Alex Deibold, Jacqueline Hernandez, Ty Walker, Jacobellis, and Teter; and downhill/freestyle skiers Nolan Kasper, Hannah Kearney, Devin Logan, and Shiffrin.

No figure skaters, lugers, curlers, speed skaters, bobsledders, ski jumpers, or hockey players in the bunch, but that’s to be expected. Vermont was a hotbed for alpine skiing in the 1950s and ’60s, producing legends such as Andrea Mead Lawrence, Billy Kidd, and Barbara Cochran.

This state was the epicenter of the Nordic skiing boom in the 1970s and ’80s, when Brattleboro native Bill Koch was among the best Nordic racers in the world. And snowboarding was invented here and became huge in the 1990s and 2000s.

Put the Vermonters ahead, indeed.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #242 (Wednesday, February 19, 2014). This story appeared on page C4.

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