Brattleboro’s Charlie Clark (3) carries the team banner as he fires up his teammates before they take the field on Oct. 21 against Mount Anthony. After several seasons of playing football in Division II, both Brattleboro and Mount Anthony will be moving up into Division I for the 2023 season.
Randolph T. Holhut/Commons file photo
Brattleboro’s Charlie Clark (3) carries the team banner as he fires up his teammates before they take the field on Oct. 21 against Mount Anthony. After several seasons of playing football in Division II, both Brattleboro and Mount Anthony will be moving up into Division I for the 2023 season.

Brattleboro will return to Division I football in 2023 season

Brattleboro and Mount Anthony are moving up, and Bellows Falls is staying put. That was the outcome of the new divisional realignment for Vermont’s 31 high school football teams for the 2023 season, which was announced last week by the Vermont Principals’ Association (VPA) and the Vermont Interscholastic Football League (VIFL).

While Bellows Falls will remain in Division II for the 2023 season, Brattleboro and Mount Anthony will move back to Division I. These three schools have each been Division II champs in recent years — Brattleboro in 2019, Bellows Falls in 2021, and Mount Anthony in 2022 (tackle football wasn’t played in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic).

The VPA and VIFL met multiple times in December and January to hash out the new setup, which is based on the total number of boys enrolled in the public high schools in Vermont playing football.

Teams could petition to move up to a higher division, which is what Bellows Falls and Fair Haven did. By size, those two teams would have been dropped into Division III, but both successfully petitioned to stay in Division II.

Division II schools Hartford and Middlebury successfully petitioned to move up into Division I, which took the spots of two larger schools, Mount Mansfield and North Country, who will play in Division II in 2023.

Milton, Mount Abraham and Rice all made the move to Division II, which now creates 11-team divisions in Divisions I and II. No new teams are entering Division III for 2023, which drops from 12 teams to nine because of the movement of teams into Division II.

The 2023 Vermont high school football divisional alignments are as follows:

• Division I: BFA-St. Albans, Brattleboro, Burr & Burton, Champlain Valley, Essex, Hartford, Middlebury, Mount Anthony, Rutland, Burlington/South Burlington, St. Johnsbury.

• Division II: Bellows Falls, Colchester, Fair Haven, Lyndon Institute, Milton, Mount Abraham, Mount Mansfield, North Country, Rice, Spaulding, U-32.

• Division III: BFA-Fairfax, Mill River, Missisquoi Valley, Otter Valley, Oxbow, Poultney, Springfield, Windsor, Woodstock.

One big change in the new system is that the schools will play a league schedule for the regular season. Teams will play each team in their league and then fill out the rest of their eight-game regular season schedule with non-league opponents. The VPA and VIFL said the goal was to create competitive schedules while reducing travel for schools.

Five new leagues, which remain nameless for now, have been created as follows:

• League 1: BFA-St. Albans. Colchester, Champlain Valley, Essex, Burlington/South Burlington, St. Johnsbury.

• League 2: Brattleboro, Burr & Burton, Hartford, Middlebury, Mount Anthony, Rutland.

• League 3: Bellows Falls, Fair Haven, Lyndon Institute, Mount Mansfield, North Country, U-32.

• League 4: BFA-Fairfax, Milton, Missisquoi Valley, Mount Abraham, Otter Valley, Rice, Spaulding.

• League 5: Mill River, Oxbow, Poultney, Springfield, Windsor, Woodstock.

After the eight-week regular season schedule, postseason play will be broken down by the divisional alignments, as is done in all VPA-sanctioned state tournaments.

The new league set-up makes a lot of sense. For Brattleboro, they get five league games against comparable competition within a reasonable driving distance, while having the opportunity to continue their series with Bellows Falls as one of their three non-league games.

BF may have long road trips in their league, but they too can keep their rivalry game with Springfield and maybe get Windsor or Woodstock back on their schedule.

Girls’ basketball

• Karsyn Bellomo scored 14 points as Rutland defeated the visiting Brattleboro Colonels, 46-35, on Jan. 30. The Colonels kept it close, rallying from an early 14-4 deficit to trail 25-18 at halftime, but Rutland took control in the second half. They built up a 14-point lead in the third quarter and held on from there. Abby Henry led the Colonels with 12 points, while Reese Croutworst added eight points.

The next night, the Colonels bounced back with a 46-41 win over Mount Anthony at the BUHS gym. Brattleboro withstood a late comeback by MAU as Croutworst had her best game of the season with 16 points. Montana Frehsee added 10 points, including a couple of key free throws in the final minutes. Brattleboro is now 5-10 on the season.

• Leland & Gray defeated Green Mountain, 53-45, in Chester on Jan. 31. Great defense by the Rebels was the key to victory. The Rebels still hold the No. 3 spot in Division IV with a 12-3 record.

• Bellows Falls lost to White River Valley, 65-31, on Feb. 1. Laura Kamel led the Terriers with 13 points, while Eryn Ross and Delaney Lockerby finished with eight and six points, respectively. BF ended the week with a 43-39 win over visiting Green Mountain on Feb. 3. GM’s undoing came at the free throw line, where they went 1-for-11 and opened the door for the Terriers to grab the victory. Ross had 16 points for the 5-10 Terriers, while Kamel added 12 points. GM was led by Colie Roby, who scored nine points.

• Twin Valley is still searching for its first win. On Feb. 1, visiting Poultney rolled to a 43-8 win. The next night in North Clarendon, the visiting Wildcats had only their second double-digit scoring effort of the season, but fell short to Mill River, 36-22. Bianca Place led the 0-9 Wildcats with 11 points.

Boys’ basketball

• Rutland rallied to defeat Brattleboro 48-31 on Feb. 2. The Colonels led by one after the first quarter, but Rutland came back to get the lead up to seven by halftime before outscoring Brattleboro, 17-4, in the third quarter to put it away. Eli Pockette led Rutland with 12 points and seven assists. Tate Chamberlin was the Colonels’ top scorer with 12 points. Brattleboro is 7-7 on the season.

• Jamison Nystrom scored 18 points, including 12 points during a 15-2 surge in the second quarter, to lead Bellows Falls to a 47-41 win over Green Mountain on Feb. 1. BF was trailing by 10 before Nystrom starting raining down shots in the second quarter. The Terriers then improved their record to 9-4 with an 88-35 demolition of Mill River on Feb. 4.

• Twin Valley played four games in six days as the Wildcats worked their way through a bunch of make-up games. Green Mountain traveled to Whitingham on Jan. 30 to take on Twin Valley and came away with a 49-32 win. Austin Kubisek and Tanner Swisher led GM with 15 points apiece and Eben Mosher added 10.

The next night, the Wildcats turned aside Mill River, 46-36. A strong second half by the Wildcats keyed the victory. On Feb. 1, Twin Valley topped Poultney, 44-36, as Noah Dornburgh scored 13 points and Caleb Dupuis added 12 points. The grueling week ended for the 3-9 Wildcats with a 50-30 loss to Rivendell on Feb. 4.

• Leland & Gray lost to White River Valley, 46-40, in Townshend on Feb. 4 to fall to 4-7 on the season.

Ice hockey

• The Brattleboro girls lost to the Middlebury Tigers, 3-1, on Feb. 4. Quinn Doria, Hans Doria, and Erin Sears were the goal scorers for the Tigers. Brattleboro’s lone goal came from Alex Gregory, assisted by Willow Romo and Lily Carignan, and goaltender Angela Jobin made 29 saves for the visiting Colonels. Three days earlier, the Colonels were shut out by Kingdom Blades, 6-0, at Withington Rink. Brattleboro’s record is now 2-11.

• The Brattleboro boys lost to Middlebury, 5-2, on Feb. 1 at Withington Rink, but they came back strong with a 5-0 win over Northfield on Feb. 4. Evan Wright scored three goals, and Alex Baker and Alex Dick scored the other goals for the 5-8-1 Colonels.

• The Feb. 1 home games for both Colonels teams were part of the annual “Pink the Rink” fundraiser for Brattleboro Memorial Hospital’s Oncology Department. They raised more than $1,000 to help support patients undergoing cancer treatment.

Indoor track & field

• Athletes from Bellows Falls and Green Mountain competed in the state Division II indoor track & field championships at the University of Vermont on Feb. 4.

The BF girls finished 15th as Haley Gleim won the triple jump with a mark of 28 feet, 8.75 inches. She was also fourth in the 55 meter dash. The GM girls finished seventh.

In the boys’ meet, Green Mountain finished fifth, led by Eben Mosher, who won the 55 meter hurdles in 8.53 seconds. Bellows Falls finished eighth. Brandon Keller finished second behind Mosher in the 55 meter hurdles, while the 4 x 200 meter relay team finished second and Riley Tuttle turned in a sixth place performance in the shot put.

Nordic skiing

• The first segment of the Southern Vermont League Nordic skiing championships — a skate race — was held on Jan. 31 at Mountain Top Resort in Chittenden.

Mount Anthony swept the boys’ and girls’ team titles. Defending state champion Luke Rizio led the MAU boys with a time of 13 minutes, 35 seconds for the 5.5 kilometer course, while Tanis White (16:55) led the MAU girls.

Brattleboro placed two skiers in the top 15, Katherine Normandeau (seventh, 18:48) and Ava Whitney (eighth, 18:53). The SVL Championships continue on Feb. 9 with the classical race at Prospect Mountain in Woodford and the relays on Feb. 15 at the Brattleboro Outing Club.

Senior bowling roundup

• Week 4 of the winter/spring season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League at Brattleboro Bowl on Feb. 2 saw The Markers and Slo Movers (both 14-6) tied for first place, followed by The A-1’s (13-7), Split Happens (12-8), Trash-O-Matic (11-9), 10 Pins (6-14), and The Strikers and Fab Four (both 5-15).

Melanie Silvano had the women’s high handicap game (223) and series (629), while Gary Montgomery had the men’s high handicap game (278) and series (705). Slo Movers again had the high team handicap game (903) and series (2,552).

In scratch scoring, Robert Rigby again led the men with a 654 series that featured games of 268 and 211, while Montgomery had a 603 series that features games of 244 and 200.

Six men rolled a 500-plus series: Fred Ashworth (562, with games of 212 and 189), Warren Corriveau Sr. (552, with a 212 game), Marty Adams (521, with a 203 game), Stan Kolpa (521, with games of 196 and 183), John Walker (514), and Skip Shine (510, with a 190 game).

Gloski again had the women’s high scratch series (497) and game (177). Silvano rolled games of 175 and 173.

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