Whitney leads, on and off the trail
Brattleboro’s Ava Whitney speeds toward the finish line to win the Pickering Invitational on Sept. 16 in Westminster.

Whitney leads, on and off the trail

Brattleboro’s best cross-country runner takes school to task for not backing her team

Ava Whitney, a senior at Brattleboro Union High School, is a three-sport varsity athlete in cross-country, nordic skiing, and track & field. She is also a member of the National Honor Society. She's having an excellent season for the girls' cross-country team, including a win in the Pickering Invitational at Bellows Falls Union High School on Sept. 16.

She may be a runner, but Whitney knows when to stand her ground. That's why she is leading the roundup this week for something else she did - making a little “good trouble,” as the late Civil Rights icon John Lewis used to say.

When she was interviewed recently on WTSA-FM as the station's Senior Athlete of the Week, Whitney took the opportunity to call out BUHS for a lack of support for girls' sports in general, and cross-country, nordic, and track in particular.

“I've been a successful student athlete at this school,” she said. “It's interesting that I've received very little support from the athletic department and the school community in comparison with the football team and other team sports.”

She said the football team has big crowds show up to Natowich Field and gets a “spirit week” devoted to them, while the cross-country, Nordic, and track teams see few fans show up at their events.

Whitney said the disparity extends to equipment. Most cross-country and track teams have portable canopies they bring to the meets to keep runners out of the sun and rain. Brattleboro hasn't got one, “so we just have to all sit out in the rain.”

The uniforms for the cross-country team, Whitney said, “are old and went missing for awhile. We thought we weren't going to have uniforms this season.”

And back in June, when the Brattleboro track teams were supposed to go to Burlington to compete in the Division I state meet, Whitney said the bus never showed up and the athletes had to car pool with the coaches.

“I've had a great athletic career at this school,” Whitney said, “but I wanted to acknowledge that these specific teams [cross-country, Nordic, and track] do not get enough recognition or support.”

The remedy for this, she said, is to show up at their meets and cheer them on. “It really means a lot, because these are sports that have gone under the radar in the school community and these athletes have worked really hard and put a lot of time into it.”

If you want to get look at the Colonels' cross-country team in action, they have one home meet this season - on Tuesday, Oct. 11, at 4:15 p.m., at Fort Dummer State Park.

Whitney says she hopes to continue as a runner in college next fall. Her combination of brains and athletic ability will be a big help in getting into one of the liberal arts colleges she's checking - Wesleyan, Bates, Vassar, or Lewis & Clark. Any of those schools would do well to get a young woman like her, someone willing to question the way things are, and try to do something about it.


• On the trail, Whitney ran away from the field at the Pickering Invitational, covering the 5-kilometer course in 19 minutes, 52 seconds, more than two minutes faster than teammate Miriam Patton, who finished second in 22:01.

Other Colonel competitors in the girls' race included Katherine Normandeau (fifth in 23:02), Genevieve Redmond (ninth in 25:58), Meredith Lewis (12th in 27:55), Anna Cunmings (15th in 28:49), Lucie Bouchet (17th in 33:28), and Evie Kiehle (18th in 33:29).

Lilly Ware was the top Bellows Falls runner, finishing eighth in 25:03, followed by teammates Gillian Robb (11th in 27:35), Addie Bacon (13th in 28:03), and Kendall Roman (19th in 35:15).

While Bellows Falls, Woodstock, and Fair Haven had runners in the girls' event, only Woodstock had enough runners for a team score, and they finished second behind Brattleboro. With only 20 runners, it was one of the smallest fields for the event in memory.

Woodstock dominated the boys' race, taking five of the first six spots, with Zed McNaughton finishing first in 17:27. Only Brattleboro's Michael Slade spoiled the Wasps' shot at a perfect score by finishing fifth in 18:49.

Brattleboro's Jonas Ackerman-Hovis finished eighth in 22:16 and Galen Fogarty was 14th in 25:10, followed by Jack Webster-Rose (15th), James Burke (16th), and Elijah Cummings (18th). As with the girls' race, the boys also had just 20 runners, and only Woodstock and Brattleboro had enough runners for a team score, with the Wasps finishing first.

On Wednesday at Thetford, the Brattleboro girls finished fourth, while the boys wound up sixth. Whitney (second in 22:16) and Slade (15th in 20:54) were the Colonels' top runners.

Girls' soccer

• Brattleboro is off to a tough start. They lost both games in the Mount Anthony Lady Patriot Classic tournament in Bennington, with a 4-2 defeat at the hands of Hoosac Valley, N.Y., in the opening game on Sept. 8, and a 5-2 loss to Mount Anthony in the consolation game on Sept. 10.

Forward Reese Croutworst and midfielder Willow Romo paced the Colonels' offense in the Hoosac Valley game. Croutworst, a ninth-grader in her second season of varsity soccer, scored first off a pass from midfield Eva Gould, while Romo converted on a 35-yard direct kick for Brattleboro's other goal.

Croutworst then scored two goals against Mount Anthony in the consolation game, something the Patriots certainly took note of when they faced the Colonels again four nights later at Natowich Field. She was well-defended by the Patriots as they went on to beat Brattleboro, 5-1.

Mount Anthony took a 4-0 lead into halftime in the Sept. 14 game, and pretty much controlled the ball for most of the game. Colonels midfielder Greta Neddenriep spoiled the Patriots' shutout bid with her first varsity goal, set up by Romo, in the 61st minute.

• Springfield bounced back from its Sept. 10 loss to Leland & Gray with a 7-1 thrashing of Bellows Falls on Sept. 12 in Westminster.

Lexi Tewksbury scored three goals and assisted on another to lead the Cosmos. Macie Stagner added two goals and two assists, while Ella Donahue and Emelia Murchie scored one goal apiece. Emma Spaulding scored BF's only goal with 30 seconds left in the game. It was the Terriers' first goal of the season, and it was set up by Jenna Dolloph.

• Abby Towle scored a pair of unassisted goals, including the eventual game-winner in the 73rd minute, to give Leland & Gray a 2-1 road win over Rivendell on Sept. 14.

Field hockey

• Sadie Scott wasn't feeling her best on Sept. 15, but she felt well enough to score three goals to lead Bellows Falls to a 7-1 win over the visiting Windsor Yellowjackets. The junior forward was recovering from a bout of pneumonia, but Scott broke open a close game with her scoring spree to start the third quarter.

Windsor trailed 1-0 at the half, despite BF having a 7-0 edge in penalty corners and an 11-0 advantage in shots. Windsor goalie Sydney Perry had a great half, with the only shot getting through coming from Ashlin Maxfield with 1:46 left in the first quarter.

“They made us work for this win,” said BF coach Bethany Coursen. “We talked at halftime about how we could get better.”

Ava LaCross opened the third quarter with goal, and then Scott took over with three straight scores. Emma Bazin added the final goal in a burst that turned a tight game into a 6-0 rout by the end of the quarter. In the final quarter Windsor got a goal from Piper Vivian late in the game. It was the first goal that the 4-0 Terriers allowed so far this season. Ella Clark then added another BF's final goal

• Brattleboro is still looking for its first win. On Sept. 17, they traveled to Brandon and lost 5-1 to Otter Valley, as the Otters swept the season series with the 0-3 Colonels.


• The undefeated Bellows Falls Terriers again had Mount Anthony's number as the Terriers beat the Patriots, 28-13, on Sept. 16 in Bennington in a rematch of the 2021 Division II state championship game.

After starting the season with two romps over Brattleboro and Fair Haven, the defending champion Terriers had a tougher challenge against the Patriots. Once again, the Patriots could not contain the BF running game.

Caden Haskell scored three touchdowns and finished with a total of 130 yards on 23 carries, with 100 yards and two TDs in the second half. Quarterback Jamison Nystrom had six carries for 37 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown run in the first half, and had an interception on defense.

Patriots quarterback Tanner Bushee went 18-for-31 for 223 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but also threw three interceptions. Running back Ayman Naser, who rushed for 59 yards, had a 12-yard TD catch while Brawden Billert had a 13-yard TD catch. Carter Thompson had 12 receptions for 164 yards.

Now 3-0, the Terriers head to East Montpelier this Saturday to face U-32.

• After beating Colchester in Week 2, Brattleboro coach Chad Pacheco said the Colonels had to play a nearly flawless game if they wanted to beat Hartford on Sept. 16. The Colonels did not, and the result was a 33-7 loss to the Hurricanes.

Hartford did two things that the Colonels had no answer for. The first was keeping the ball on the ground and challenging the Colonels' defense to stop them. That strategy saw the Hurricanes scoring all five of their touchdowns via the ground game. Fullback Brody Tyburski had two of them, including a 44-yard run with 3:13 left in the third quarter that all but clinched the win. Sean Kellher also had a pair of touchdown runs, and Trenton Bird also crossed the goal line.

On defense, Hartford knew the Colonels would throw the ball, so for most of the game they dropped eight players into pass coverage and sent just three linemen against the Colonels offensive line to rush quarterback Devin Speno.

The result was two interceptions by Hartford's Ezra Mock and the Colonels offense being held scoreless until midway through the fourth quarter, when Speno found receiver Tristan Evans in the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown. Speno completed 10 passes for 116 yards, while Evans finished with 96 receiving yards. The Colonels, now 1-2, host Fair Haven this Friday night.

Boys' soccer

• Brattleboro lost to Mount Anthony, 3-2, in overtime in the championship game of the John James Tournament on Sept. 17 in Bennington. Emmett Hoyer and Ozzie VanHendrick got the Colonels' goals, with Joey Reynolds and Kelton Mager each credited with an assist.

In the opening game of the tourney on Sept. 15, Brattleboro rolled over Arlington, 6-1. VanHendrick scored four goals, including three in the first nine minutes. Charlie Kinnersley and John Haskins also scored. Kinnersley had two assists, and goalkeeper Paul “the Wall” McGillion also picked up an assist.

McGillion needed to make just one save in the game, but lost the shutout when Arlington's Joseph McCray scored in the 33rd minute. Brattleboro led 5-1 at the half, as Arlington played the Colonels even in the second half. Brattleboro ended the week with a 3-1 record.

• Bellows Falls battled back from a 4-1 halftime deficit, but the rally fell just short as the visiting Springfield Cosmos held on for a 4-3 victory on Sept. 15. Tristan Boylan had a pair of goals, Caleb Ghia added another, and James Milbauer picked up an assist. The Terriers were then shut out 3-0 by Grace Christian School on Sept. 17 to end the week at 0-3.

Senior bowling roundup

• Week 3 of the fall/winter season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League on Sept. 14 saw Trash-O-Matic go 4-1 and Keglers 4 go 2-3 to move into a tie for first place at 11-4. Good Times went 5-0 to move into third place, followed by Lucky 7 (9-6), Split Happens (8-7), The Strikers (5-10), and Old Farts and Slow Movers (both 3-12).

Pat Bentrup had the women's high handicap game (261) and series (666). Marty Adams had the men's high handicap game (254), while Fred Bump had the high handicap series (639), and Split Happens had the high team handicap game (868), while Keglers 4 had the high series (2,434).

In scratch scoring, Robert Rigby led the men with a 693 series that featured games of 235 and 213. Adams had a 529 series that featured a 225 game, while Warren Corriveau Sr. had a 521 series that featured a 186 game and Jerry Dunham had a 516 series. Gary Montgomery had a 186 game and Stan Kolpa and Fred Bump both rolled a 180 game.

Shirley Aiken had the women's high scratch series (461), while Bentrip had the high scratch game (194). Aiken had a 161 game.

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