Brattleboro’s Willow Sharma was selected to the Southern Vermont League’s boys’ Nordic skiing All-Star team.
Randolph T. Holhut/Commons file photo
Brattleboro’s Willow Sharma was selected to the Southern Vermont League’s boys’ Nordic skiing All-Star team.

SVL announces all-star teams for Nordic, basketball

The Southern Vermont League (SVL) recently announced their all-star teams for basketball and Nordic skiing for the 2023-24 season, and several of our local athletes were honored.

• Selected to the A Division girls' basketball first team was Brattleboro's Reese Croutworst. Teammates Kaitlyn Pattison and Abigail Henry received honorable mention.

C Division girls' first team selections included Leland & Gray's Maggie Parker and Laura Kamel and Abby Nystrom of Bellows Falls. Receiving honorable mention were Nola Sciacca of Bellows Falls, Karen Vargas of Green Mountain, and Mary Sanderson of Leland & Gray.

• Brattleboro's Johnathan Haskins was a first team selection in A Division boys' basketball. Jack Cady received honorable mention.

Green Mountain's Tanner Swisher and Twin Valley's Brayden Brown were named to the C Division first team. Honorable mentions went to Caleb Merrow of Green Mountain and Noah Dornburgh of Twin Valley.

• Brattleboro's Willow Sharma and Gabriele Jeppesen-Bellici were selected as first-team SVL all-stars in boys' Nordic skiing. Teammate Oliver Herrick was a second-team selection.

Katherine Normandeau and Maeve Bald were Brattleboro's two first-team selections to the girls' Nordic squad. Teammate Maayan Coleman was named to the second team.

Special Olympics hosts Winter Games in Wilmington

• Special Olympics Vermont hosted the 2024 Winter Games on March 15 at the Hermitage Club in Wilmington. More than 125 delegates, including athletes and coaches from eight local programs, trained and competed in alpine skiing and snowboarding.

This was Special Olympics Vermont's first Winter Games since 2019. The delegations that competed included Addison, Central Vermont, Chittenden, Adaptive Sports at Mount Snow, Northshire, Randolph, Rutland, and Smugglers' Notch Adaptive.

With 23 athletes, the Adaptive Sports at Mount Snow team had the largest contingent, including athletes from Twin Valley High School and Brattleboro Union High School. Leah Autumn Blowers finished third in the Snowboarding Novice giant slalom, slalom, and Super G, while Bryce Brogan was first in Alpine Novice giant slalom, slalom, and Super G, and Brady Pike Lackey was first in slalom and Super G and second in giant slalom.

In Alpine Intermediate competition, Kayli Nicholson was first in slalom and second in giant slalom, while Emma Davis was third in slalom and Super G, and fifth in giant slalom. Cort Freeman was first in giant slalom, second in Super G, and third in slalom; Kelsey Griffin was second in giant slalom, fourth in Super G, and sixth in slalom; and Trevor Morris-Boyd was third in giant slalom and Super G, and fourth in slalom.

Dylan Keitz was first in giant slalom, second in slalom, and third in Super G, while Margaret Elise Straus was first in giant slalom and Super G and fourth in slalom and Lauren Strol was fourth in giant slalom and fifth in slalom. Owen Sundberg was first in slalom and Super G and second in giant slalom, and Thomas Young was first in Super G, second in slalom and fourth in giant slalom.

The Alpine Advanced competition saw Brendan Mulcahy finish first in Super G and second in slalom and giant slalom, while Bobby Petrie was third in Super G and giant slalom and fourth in slalom. Ryan Krug was fourth in Super G, fifth in giant slalom, and sixth in slalom. Christopher Straus was first in slalom and third in Super G and giant slalom, while Nathaniel Joseph Straus was fifth in slalom and Super G ,and sixth in giant slalom, and Ryan Weisberg was second in giant slalom and fourth in slalom and Super G.

A lack of snow forced the cancellation of the cross-country skiing and snowshoeing competition at Rikert Outdoor Center in Ripton on March 9.

The last sporting goods store in town?

• When I started working in Brattleboro 35 years ago, the thing I liked about it was how much it reminded me of what Northampton, Mass., was like when I was growing up in the 1960s and 1970s. Even though the late 1980s and early 1990s were the last gasp for many of the traditional retail stores on Main Street in Brattleboro, there were still enough of them left to remind me of what Northampton was like when I was a youth, before the malls and shopping plazas opened and decimated that downtown.

The process took a little longer in Brattleboro, but the big box stores and online retailers have pretty much finished off the traditional retail store. The decision by Sam's to close its flagship Main Street store was pretty much the coda for the old downtown Brattleboro.

But Peter "Fish" Case apparently didn't get the memo that operating an independent retail store is a tough way to make a living in the digital age. Last fall, Case took over Burrows Sports on Main Street after Robert "Woody" Woodworth decided it was time to retire. As an avid triathlete, Case was a loyal Burrows customer, and a natural to be the caretaker of the store that was founded by Pliny Burrows in 1935.

While Burrows is one of two bicycle shops in downtown Brattleboro, Case said in an email that his store will ideally "be taking up the slack from the void left by Sam's once it closes. We will likely start with more clothing and then expand into other sports."

Sam's was the last store in town where you could get a baseball glove, a tennis racquet, or camping gear. While Burrows won't be selling everything that Sam's did, Case said he hopes his store can give people "a local option for their sporting needs. It is something we're going to try to achieve while staying loyal to our current customer base."

With help from Julia Chase, the store's longtime general manager, and mechanic Joe Mardeusz, Case is learning the ropes of running a Main Street business.

"I felt like the shop has done well, even after a nonexistent winter," Case said. "But I was informed by Julia that the winter was not good. But now, with the transition into cycling and bike season along with all the racquet sports, I'm eager to see what this season brings. We have a large selection of e-bikes coming in that will work for a wide variety of folks, so I'm excited."

Hall of Fame honors go to Baker, Coffey, Natowich

• The Vermont Principals' Association recently announced its Hall of Game Class of 2024. Among the 10 members who will be inducted in May is Jenna (Coffey) Wilson, of Victor, New York, who was a standout three-sport athlete at Bellows Falls Union High School from 1999-2002.

Coffey led her basketball team to back-to-back Division II state championships in 2000 and 2001, with a combined record of 41-4. In 2002, she guided her team to the Division I runner-up title.

During her high school track & field career, she won nine individual state titles in four years. Coffey won the Division II 100 meter dash state title all four years of her career and then added State titles in the 100 meter hurdles and 200 meter dash in 2000, 2001 and 2002.

Coffey led her track and field team to two Division II team titles, in 2001 and 2002. Her track & field accomplishments earned her a full athletic scholarship to the University of Vermont, where she was team captain in 2005 and 2006.

The VPA Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place on Friday, May 10, at the Capitol Plaza Hotel and Conference Center in Montpelier.

• Two Brattleboro sports legends were among the 12 newest inductees to the Vermont Sports Hall of Fame - five-time Vermont Men's Amateur golf champion Shawn Baker and longtime BUHS football and baseball coach Andy Natowich.

After winning the state's high school title in 1981, Baker won a record five Vermont State Amateur golf championships in a seven-year span from 1983 to 1989. He also was a three-time NCAA Division II All-American for Central Connecticut State (1983, 1984, and 1985), where he finished as high as third in the national championship as an individual.

Now a PGA professional on Long Island, Baker's pro career included an appearance at the 2005 Barclays Classic and qualifying for the 2015 Senior PGA Championship.

A longtime football and baseball coach winning multiple state championships in both sports, Natowich spent his entire high school coaching career in Brattleboro and was one of the top coaches of his era in southern Vermont.

Natowich led Brattleboro to three state football titles (1950, 1957 and 1965) and three baseball titles (1951, 1956 and 1961). His record in football was 113-53-3 and, in 24 baseball seasons, he was 201-158. He came to Brattleboro in 1945 after being a football all-American at Holy Cross and a brief stint with Washington in the NFL. The BUHS football field is named in his honor.

Baker and Natowich will be formally inducted on Saturday, April 27, during a ceremony and dinner at the Delta Marriott Burlington Hotel in South Burlington.

Super Fun Bike Day coming soon

• The Brattleboro Recreation & Parks Department will host a Super Fun Bike Day at Living Memorial Park on Saturday, April 20, in cooperation with the Brattleboro Kiwanis Club, Brattleboro Fire & EMS and the Brattleboro Police Department.

This program will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and feature a helmet-fitting session, safety information, a bike rodeo and more. If you are in need of a new helmet, they will be available for free for kids and adults, courtesy of the Kiwanis club.

In the event of rain, the event will be held in the Nelson E. Withington Skating Facility. For more information, call the Rec. Dept. at 802-254-5808.

Senior bowling roundup

• Week 12 of the winter/spring season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League at Brattleboro Bowl on March 21 saw first place High Rollers (38-22) have a 0-5 week, while Stayin' Alive (36-24) and Stepping Stones II (35-25) went 4-1 and 5-0, respectively, to move closer to the top of the standings. Four Seasons (32-28), is in fourth, followed by Good Times (26-34), Hairiers (23-37), Four Pins (22-38), and Slow Movers (16-44).

Debbie Rittenhour had the women's high handicap game (244) and series (687) while John Walker had the men's high handicap game (257) and series (745). Four Seasons had the high team handicap game (926) and series (2,647).

Walker had the men's high scratch series (712) with games of 246, 237 and 229. Robert Rigby had a 568 series with games of 209 and 202. Warren Corriveau Sr. had a 565 series with a 212 game, Gary Montgomery had a 543 series with a 193 game, and Marty Adams had a 505 series with a 211 game. Peter Deyo had a 195 game and Skip Shine had a 191 game.

Carol Gloski had the women's high scratch series (512) with games of 178 and 174. Sandy Ladd had a 177 game, Debbie Kolpa had a 174 game and Vikki Butynski rolled a 173.

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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