Brattleboro’s Katherine Normandeau finished fifth overall to lead her team to a win in the Southern Vermont League nordic freestyle championships on Feb. 14 at the Marlboro Nordic Ski Club.
Randolph T. Holhut/The Commons
Brattleboro’s Katherine Normandeau finished fifth overall to lead her team to a win in the Southern Vermont League nordic freestyle championships on Feb. 14 at the Marlboro Nordic Ski Club.

Bears do well in SVL freestyle races

It's tough to be a nordic skier during a winter with very little snow. As a result, the Brattleboro Bears nordic ski team hasn't had many opportunities to train on their home course at the Brattleboro Outing Club's trails at the Brattleboro Country Club.

"It's hard to keep a ski team going when there's no natural snow," said Bears head coach Amanda Dixon.

Warm weather and rain forced cancellation of Brattleboro's lone home meet on Jan. 26. Fortunately, when it was time for Brattleboro to host the Southern Vermont League's freestyle championships on Feb. 14, the Bears could move the event a few miles west to the Marlboro Nordic Ski Club's trails on Potash Hill, the former home of Marlboro College.

Thanks to the hard work of Spencer Knickerbocker, the Marlboro course was in fine shape - firm and fast on a sunny, blustery afternoon - and the Bears turned in some solid performances at their home away from home. Four Bears placed in the top 10 in the boys' race, while three Bears finished in the top 10 in the girls' race.

With Mount Anthony and Rutland unable to field full teams, and Woodstock unable to compete due to a bomb scare at the school that day led to the cancellation of all activities, the girl's race was a two-team event between Brattleboro and Burr & Burton, which the Bears won, 12-24.

Mount Anthony's Tanis White was the individual winner, covering the 5-kilometer course in 19 minutes, 4 seconds. Brattleboro's Katherine Normandeau finished fifth in 20:32, with teammates Maeve Bald (sixth, 21:16) and Maayan Coleman (seventh, 22:18) not far behind. Addison DeVault (11th, 25:46), and Evie Kiehle (14th, 30:26) rounded out the Bears' scoring.

As has been the case in boys' races all season, Mount Anthony's Luke Rizio was much the best, scorching the course in 14 minutes, 14 seconds to finish first and lead the Patriots to a team victory, with 12 points to runner-up Brattleboro's 26, followed by Burr & Burton (42), and Rutland (75).

Nico Conathan-Leach was the first Bear to finish with a time of 15:35 that was good enough for fourth, followed by teammates Willow Sharma (fifth, 16:24), Gabriele Jeppesen-Belleci (eighth, 17:02), and Oliver Herrick (ninth, 17:05). Also finishing for the Brattleboro boys were Desmond Longsmith (18th, 18:34), Eben Wagner (25th, 19:39), and Galen Fogarty (27th, 20:50).

At press time, the SVL relay event was scheduled for Feb. 20 at Mountain Top Resort in Chittenden. The state Classic Championships are scheduled for Feb. 27 at Rikert Outdoor Center in Ripton, while the Freestyle Championships are scheduled for March 1 at Craftsbury Outdoor Center.


• Brattleboro completed the league portion of its schedule on Feb. 17 with a four-team match at Brattleboro Bowl. Windsor narrowly defeated the Bears, 2-1, to win the match, with Fair Haven finishing third and Hartford fourth.

Bears coach Will Bassett said he was pleased with his team's performance despite his team being shorthanded. Thomas Bell led the way with a 208 game and a 226 game. He closed out the 208 game with five consecutive strikes, and finished his second game with six straight strikes.

Austin Pinnette had a 200 in his first game, finishing with three straight strikes, and also had a 123 game, while Charlie Forthofer had games of 122 and 154, Cayden Gilson had games of 134 and 131, and Nick Carnes had games of 88 and 125.

In Baker team play, Brattleboro swept its semifinal games against Fair Haven, 164-156 and 178-169, to advance to the final against Windsor. Brattleboro lost the first game, 188-158, but won the second game, 198-126, to force the third and deciding game, which Windsor won, 176-171.

Bassett said the Bears have had an average score of 167 in Baker play, so this match saw an improvement over that figure. "Windsor just bowled great," he said.

Up next for the Bears are the state individual championships on Feb. 24 at Rutland Bowlerama. Brattleboro will then defend its state title with at the team championships on March 2 at Spare Time in Colchester.

Boys' basketball

• The regular season in Vermont wrapped up last week, and our local teams learned their destinations for the first round of the playoffs. Only Twin Valley avoided a long trip north, as Brattleboro, Bellows Falls, and Leland & Gray will all be on the road.

• Twin Valley finished with a 12-8 record to earn the No. 5 seed in Division IV. The Wildcats were scheduled to host No. 12 Arlington (4-15) on Feb. 20. TV finished the regular season with a 63-43 loss at Woodstock on Feb. 13 and a 55-38 win over Leland & Gray on Feb. 16.

• Leland & Gray ended up with a 3-17 record and the No. 13 seed in Division IV. The Rebels were scheduled to face No. 4 Williamstown (13-7) on Feb. 20.

• Brattleboro finished with a 7-12 record and the No. 11 seed in Division I. They were scheduled to face No. 6 Burlington (11-9) in a first-round game on Feb. 20. The Bears finished the season with a 62-41 win over visiting Mount St. Joseph on Feb. 13 and a 52-48 loss at Burr & Burton on Feb. 16.

• Bellows Falls ended its regular season with a seven-game winless streak to finish with a 6-14 record and the No. 13 seed in Division III. The Terriers are scheduled to play No. 4 Winooski (16-3) on Feb. 21. BF finished with a 51-42 loss at Windsor on Feb. 13 and a 78-58 loss to Fair Haven on Feb. 17.

Girls' basketball

• Brattleboro heads into the final week of the season with a 10-7 record and the No. 9 ranking in Division I after a 39-23 win at Burr & Burton on Feb. 14 and a 41-37 loss to Rutland at the BUHS gym on Feb. 17.

• At 13-5, Bellows Falls has a firm hold on the No. 5 spot in the Division III standings. The Terriers beat Leland & Gray, 43-35, on Feb. 12 and lost at Rivendell, 53-33, on Feb. 15.

• Leland & Gray entered the final week at 9-10 after the loss to BF and a 68-39 loss at White River Valley on Feb. 15.

• Winless Twin Valley lost its 16th straight game, 61-17, to Long Trail School on Feb. 12.

Ice hockey

• On Jan. 3, the Brattleboro boys had a 1-5-1 record. Since that date, the Bears have improved greatly, going 8-1-2 to moved the Division I standings to the No. 5 spot with a 9-6-3 record.

On Feb. 14 at Withington Rink, the Bears beat Harwood, 7-5, as Evan Wright became only the fourth player in the last 16 years to reach the 100-point mark for his Brattleboro career. Wright, a junior forward, got three goals and three assists against Harwood to join Eric Libardoni, Andy Harris, and Will Taggard as the other Brattleboro players that achieved that milestone since 1998.

Andy Cay also had three goals in the victory and Rowan Lonergan chipped in a goal, while Rylan Ernst, Gabe Alexander, Carter Mialkowski, Dylan Sparks, and Henry Schwartz were all credited with assists.

• The Brattleboro girls fell to 2-16 after a 7-3 loss at Rutland on Feb. 14. The Bears got goals from Lily Carignan and Alex Gregory, despite being outshot 42-7 by Rutland.

Four local players named to Vermont Shrine team

• Rosters have been announced for the 71st annual Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl, the annual all-star game that features the top recently-graduated high school football players from Vermont and New Hampshire.

Brattleboro will send three players to the Vermont squad - tight end/linebacker Jackson Emery, lineman Sam Madow, and running back/defensive back Noah Perusse. Bellows Falls has one representative - running back Walker James.

Other Bellows Falls or Brattleboro players may be added to the roster as alternates to be called in the event that players on the original roster are unable to play for any reason.

The Vermont head coach is Hartford's Matt Trombly and the New Hampshire coach is Sanborn's Josh White. Players will report to Shrine training camp on Sunday, July 28, to begin formal practices.

The Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl, which is played for the benefit of the Shriners Children's Hospitals, is set for Saturday, Aug. 3, at 11:30 a.m., at Vermont State University-Castleton's Dave Wolk Stadium.

Vermont won the 2023 game, 28-6, ending a three-game winning streak by New Hampshire in the series that began in 1954.

Senior bowling roundup

• Week 7 of the winter/spring season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League at Brattleboro Bowl on Feb. 15 saw High Rollers (25-10) remaining in first place, followed by Good Times (19-16), Stepping Stones II (17-18), Stayin' Alive (16-19), Hairiers and Four Seasons (both 14-21), Four Pins (13-22), and Slow Movers (10-25).

Pam Greenblott had the women's high handicap game (250) and series (718), while Warren Corriveau Jr. had the men's high handicap game (270) and Stan Kolpa had the high handicap series (670). Stepping Stones II had the high team handicap game (896), while Stayin' Alive had the high handicap series (2,544).

Corriveau had the men's high scratch series (604) with a 256 game. Robert Rigby had a 601 series with games of 219, 197, and 185, while John Walker had a 557 series with a 208 game. Peter Deyo had a 514 series with a 200 game, Rick Westcott had a 513 series with a 188 game, Gary Montgomery had a 510 series with a 186 game, and Charlie Marchant had a 501 series.

Carol Gloski had the women's high scratch series (497), with games of 170 and 168. Nancy Dalzell had the high scratch game (187), while Greenblott had games of 171 and 169.

Randolph T. Holhut, deputy editor of this newspaper, has written this column since 2010 and has covered sports in Windham County since the 1980s. Readers can send him sports information at [email protected].

This Sports column by Randolph T. Holhut was written for The Commons.

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