With the end of the fall high school sports season come the honors for the best boys' and girls' soccer players, as well as the best field hockey players, in the Southern Vermont League.
• In field hockey, the captains for Division I runners-up Bellows Falls - Maya Waryas, Grace Bazin, and Grace Wilkinson - all received the SVL's A Division First Team honors, while Jules McDermid and goalie Jaia Caron each made the SVL's A Division Second Team. BF head coach Bethany Coursen earned Coach of the Year honors.
Brattleboro goalie Brittney Wright and defender Logan Austin were both selected to the First Team for in the SVL's B Division. Lily Bingham and Taylin Bauer were Second Team selections.
• Twin Valley, Leland & Gray, and Brattleboro all had First Team selections in the SVL's boys' soccer honors list.
Brattleboro's Magnus von Krusenstiern made the A Division First Team, while Leland & Gray's Jeremy Graves, Parker Richardson, and Hunter Fillion were C Division First Teamers, as were Twin Valley's Aidin Joyce, Luke Rizio, and Cody Magnant.
Earning Honorable Mention in the A Division were Brattleboro's Charlie Kinnersley, Emilio Ogden, Reed Sargent, and goalkeeper Paul McGillion. C Division honorees included Caleb Ghia and Mackinnon Ross of Bellows Falls, Liam Wendel and Noah Dornburgh of Twin Valley, and Aden Bernard and Andrew Tolbert of Leland & Gray.
Fillion and Graves were both selected to the Vermont Soccer Coaches Association's (VSCA) Division III All-State team, while Joyce and Rizio were named to the Division IV All-State team.
• In girls' soccer, Brattleboro's Kiki McNaray was an A Division First Team selection, while teammates CC Allembert, Fiona Kidder, Sophie Mikijaniec, Sylvie Normandeau, and Willow Romo all received Honorable Mention.
Leland & Gray coach Lucas Bates was named C Division Coach of the Year, while four of his players - Ansley Henderson, Kate Petty, Hannah Landers, and Abby Towle - were First Team selections, while Abigail Emerson, Ainsley Meyer, and Makaila Morse received Honorable Mention.
Henderson, Petty, and Towle were also named to the VSCA Division III All-State team.
Corina Mitchell and Savannah Sylvester-Neal of Bellows Falls also were named to the C Division First Team, while teammates McKenna Bingham and Abigail Broadley received Honorable Mention.
Twin Valley's Reese Croutworst was selected to the D Division First Team, and also received All-State honors. Teammate Alyssa Bird received honorable mention.
BF gridders honored for sportsmanship
• The 2021 Jim Howard Sportsmanship Award was received by the Bellows Falls Union High School football team on Wednesday at the Vermont Interscholastic Football League meeting.
The recipient of this award is selected by a vote of Southern Vermont football officials, and is annually presented to the southern team that demonstrates fair play and sportsmanship on the field each season.
It's no accident that Bellows Falls has been a repeat winner of this award. Head coach Bob Lockerby has always been a class act, and his players always exemplify the best values of the game.
We've heard a lot during the fall season about high school players, and their fans, behaving badly at games. The incidents of racial slurs, sexual harassment, taunting, and general poor sportsmanship that cropped up at certain Vermont schools was distressing.
Toward the end of the fall season, the Vermont Principals' Association, the governing body for interscholastic sports in the state, asked its member schools to read a statement before games that reminded participants and spectators “to behave in a respectful manner. Sportsmanship and a safe playing environment are the top priorities for all Vermont school-sponsored activities. Vermont law requires learning environments free from hazing, harassment, and bullying of any kind.”
The statement goes on to say that “under no circumstances should any student-athletes, officials, or coaches, be subjected to behavior and/or language aimed to demean, disrespect or harm. If behavior or hate speech of this kind is observed and/or reported, the officials will stop the event immediately to meet with the coaches and the site administrator about the next course of action.”
The VPA said violating these guidelines could result in the athletic director and officials ending the game immediately, the possible forfeiture of the event or future events, and restrictions or suspensions from future attendance and participation at games.
For the most part, Vermont's student-athletes and their supporters adhere to the VPA's guidelines. But it shouldn't take the VPA to tell schools to tell people to behave themselves.
It comes down to a few simple principles we should all live by. Treat people the way you wish to be treated. Play hard, but play fair. Be humble in victory and gracious in defeat. Respect your opponent. And, most of all, don't be a jerk.
North-South field hockey game debuts
• There's been a North-South all-star game for the football players for the past two decades in Vermont. This year, for the first time, the state's field hockey players got a chance to play in a season-ending North-South game of their own.
Thanks to the work of BF coach Bethany Coursen and St. Johnsbury coach Tara Bailey, the inaugural North-South field hockey game was played on Nov. 14 at Burr & Burton Academy in Manchester.
Thirty-four players from 11 schools around Vermont participated in the game. Since there were more players from the southern schools in attendance, the 34 players were randomly divided into two teams of 17. Coursen coached the “Neon” squad while Kim Wilkinson, the BF junior varsity coach, led the “White” team.
Grace Wilkinson, Grace Bazin, Madi Haskell, Kayleigh Illingworth, Maya Waryas and Jaia Caron represented Bellows Falls, while Logan Austin, Taylin Bauer, Nicole Potter, and Brittney Wright were Brattleboro's representatives.
The Neons won the game, 5-3, with Waryas scoring a goal off a penalty corner, and Caron and Wright both playing good games in goal.
However, the real winner was the sport itself. Girls' soccer has overtaken field hockey as the top sport for girls in the fall, and many smaller schools in Vermont haven't fielded teams in decades. Coaches like Coursen have worked hard to keep the sport alive and growing, and this new all-star game gives another opportunity for the small band of sisters who continue to play field hockey in Vermont a chance to get know each other better.
Senior bowling roundup
• Week 12 of the fall/winter season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League at Brattleboro Bowl on Nov. 18 saw Stayin' Alive (36-24) and Alley Katz (35-24) tied for first place, with Pin Falls (35.5-24.5) close behind in third place, followed by Pin Setters (31-29), Team Four (30-30), Rolling Stones (27.5-32.5), Trash-O-Matic and Old Farts (both 22-38).
Pamela Greenblott had the women's high handicap game (240), while Josie Rigby had the women's high handicap series (654). Robert Rigby had the men's high handicap game (268), while Warren Corriveau Sr. had the high handicap series (689). Pin Falls had the high team handicap game (890) and series (2,529).
In scratch scoring, Corriveau led the men with a 662 series, with games of 237, 230, and 195. Robert Rigby had a 660 series that featured games of 268, 198, and 194. Marty Adams had a 556 series with a 195 game, while Chuck Adams had a 555 series with a 193 game.
Josie Rigby had the high scratch game (186) and series (540) to lead the women. Rigby also had games of 184 and 170. Greenblott had a 501 series with games of 182 and 177. Nancy Dalzell rolled a 179 game.