The Vermont Sports Media Association has chosen former Essex High School golfing standout Evan Russell as its July Athlete of the Month.
The membership of the VSMA, formerly the Vermont Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association, honored the amateur golfer for his outstanding efforts in July.
Russell had a pair of impressive performances against the region’s best amateur golfers. Russell, 20, was the first Vermonter to win the New England Amateur title in 23 years, with a three-round tournament score of a five-under 208 at Green Mountain National Golf Course in Killington.
Later in the month, Russell finished atop the leaderboard to secure one of the three available qualifying spots for the U.S. Amateur championships. Russell carded rounds of 70 and 67 on the Cape Cod National Golf Course in Brewster, Mass., on which he had not previously played. Russell is beginning his sophomore year at the University of Hartford this fall.
Russell outpolled recent Champlain Valley Union graduate Shane Haley, a soccer player; Thunder Road driver Derrick O’Donnell of Haverill, N.H.; Vermont Mountaineers baseball player Chandler Brock of Huntsville, Ala.; and youth swimmers Peter Mikheyev of the St. Albans team and Kira Hancock of the Essex team.
VSMA members are now nominating candidates for the August Athlete of the Month honor. In September, the VSMA will return to honoring male and female high school athletes as well as one Open Division monthly winner.
VSSA members voted on the name change at the organization’s Aug. 22 annual meeting in Montpelier, at which Josh Kaufmann of the St. Albans Messenger was re-elected as the organization’s president. Also chosen were Andy Kirkaldy of the Addison Independent as vice president, Anna Grearson of the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus as secretary, and Lauren Read of the Burlington Free Press as treasurer.
Kaufmann said the name change recognizes the fact many sports professionals now work in other media in addition to writing and broadcasting. For information about the VSMA contact Kaufmann at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Vermont Sports Media Association has chosen former Essex High School golfing standout Evan Russell as its July Athlete of the Month.
The Richford girls basketball team and BFA-St. Albans girls hockey teams continue their playoff pushes Saturday.
The ninth-seeded Rockets (10-11), who won their first playoff game since 2006 this week, travel to Hardwick to take on top-seeded Hazen (18-3) at 2 p.m.
Richford lost the lone regular season meeting, in Hardwick, 34-28.
Gabby Coons led the Rockets with 10 points in their 27-25 win over No. 8 Leland & Gray.
This is the third all-time playoff meeting between the schools.
In 1994, Hazen won 49-47 in the quarterfinals and in 1996, Richford won 58-33 in a playdown.
Richford is looking for its first trip to the Final Four since 1995 and its' 12th in school history. Richford last won a state title in 1992. The Rockets have three Division III titles and are 0-2 in Division IV title games.
Hazen is looking for its' first trip to the semifinals since 2002 and its first title since 1976. The Wildcats are 0-3 in Division III state tournament finals and 2-2 in Division II finals, all back in the 70s.
Hazen has an all-time playoff record of 32-30 and Richford is 37-37.
The top-seeded 16-3-2 BFA-St. Albans girls hockey team will host South Burlington-MMU at 7 p.m. at the CPSC rink.
BFA 9-2 in semifinals and 8-1 in title games.
The teams tied 1-1 in their first meeting and BFA won the rematch at home, 5-0.
A trio of Franklin County girls basketball teams will attempt to reach their respective high school basketball semifinals with quarterfinal wins today (a fourth and a certain Division I girls hockey program of note are also still alive in their playoffs, but I'll post about them late tonight or tomorrow morning).
The only local team playing in the county are the third-seeded BFA-Fairfax girls (19-2) which hosts No. 6 Fair Haven (16-5) tonight at 7 p.m.
The Bullets are having a history-making season.
This season they have won their first Division II playoff game (their first playoff game in any division in nine years) and their 18-2 regular season mark is tied for the school record with a team back in 1981 which won the school's lone state title.
Fairfax is aiming for its first Final Four berth since 2003 and it's first state title game since 2000.
Chace Carpenter led the team with 25 points in their first playoff game, a 53-26 win over No. 14 Vergennes. Meghan Bochanski added 12 points. Kayla Baczewski has also averaged scoring in double figures this season for the defensively sound Bullets.
Fair Haven is seeking its seventh trip to the Final Four and third in four years. The Slaters have not won a state title (0-3 in title games) and their last appearance in one was in 2001.
Fair Haven won its first round playoff game 36-20 over Otter Valley. Bethany Lanfear had 10 points and Lindsey Marcy and Alexis Ellis had six points apiece.
The eighth-seeded BFA-St. Albans girls basketball team (12-9) take on top-seeded and undefeated CVU (21-0) tonight at 7 p.m. in Hinesburg.
The Comets won their opening playoff game 45-26 over Burr and Burton thanks to 10 points from Eva Clark and nine from Lauren Larose.
The Redhawks had a bye in the first round.
CVU won two regular season meetings 48-27 and 50-33.
This is the seventh all-time playoff meeting between the schools.
2012 - CVU 39, BFA 32 - Quarters
2010 - CVU 43, BFA 29 - Playdowns
2008 - CVU 53, BFA 45 - Semis
2007 - BFA 76, CVU 51 - Quarters
1996 - CVU 68, BFA 52 - Semis
1988 - BFA 56, CVU 40 - Playdowns
BFA is seeking its 16th trip to the Final Four and sixth trip to the finals. BFA has won a pair of state titles, the last of which came in 1994. Their last state title game was in 2009.
CVU is seeking its 17th trip to the Final Four and third straight. The Redhawks have lost to Rice in the last two state final games and have lost in the last six state championships in which it has played. Their last title came in 1987. CVU has won three state titles.
Back in Division III, the sixth-seeded Enosburg Hornets (15-6) will play at No. 3 Thetford (16-5) tonight at 7 p.m.
Enosburg has its' sights set on a seventh trip to the Final Four in eight seasons. The Hornets are 42-33 all time in the playoffs and lost in the state title game last year to Oxbow. Enosburg has been to the Final Four 16 times.
Enosburg has won three state titles, the last of which came in 2008.
McKenzie Gleason had 22 points and Chole Longe had 12 in a first-round playoff win for the Hornets over Oxbow.
Five of Enosburg's six losses are to teams in Division II and its one Division III loss was a one-point defeat to top-seeded Hazen.
Enosburg played a slew of close games down the stretch, going 5-2 in games decided by five points or less.
This is the fifth playoff meeting between the schools.
2000 - Thetford 56, Enosburg 46 - Playdowns
1999 - Enosburg 52, Thetford 49 - Quarters
1985 - Enosburg 43, Thetford 42 - Quarters
1980 - Thetford 39, Enosburg 38 - Quarters
Thetford has never won a state title (0-3) in state title games and is looking for its second straight trip to the Final Four.
The Panthers last reached the title game in 2005 and a win would give them their 11 appearance in the Final Four.
Shayann Josler had 21 points and nine assists and Michaela Pomeroy scored 14 points in a first-round 51-30 playoff win over No. 14 Northfield.
SHAWN CORROW, who should really find better ways to spend rare sunny March days than writing on his blog, is the owner of Cold Hollow Photography, a freelance sports journalist and addicted to Storage Wars and Seinfield.
I will be once again covering all three high school boys basketball state championships for the Burlington Free Press tomorrow at the Barre Auditorium and in advance of that, here are some numbers and notes on each game.
Division II - No. 1 Vergennes (23-0) vs. No. 2 Burr and Burton (21-2), 3:45 p.m.
Vergennes won its first playoff game by 19 points, its' quarterfinal by eight and it's semifinal by 5. So, is that an indiciation that a team that outscored opponent by an average score of 67-44 this season is slipping? Not so, according to coach Peter Quinn.
"I think there was this illusion we were going to beat everyone by 25 points because that was our average during the year, but we are playing better teams now," said Quinn.
The Commodores are seeking their fourth state title and first since 2001 when they defeated Lamoiulle 71-56. Vergennes lost in the finals to MSJ last year, 56-48.
One of the most experienced teams in the state with 10 seniors, the Commodores have a balanced attack with Charlie Stapleford, Dan McGrath, Shep Carter, Brendon Huestis and Zach Oullette all scoring in double figures in at least one playoff game, thus far. Notably missing from the list is Stanley Salley, who led the team with 14 points and nine rebounds per game in the regular season.
Vergennes likes to force teams into mistakes and capitalize by using their athleticism and depth to run teams into submission.
Kind like what Burr and Burton likes to do, really.
Another athletic team with a plethora of seniors (seven), the Bulldogs are aiming for their 10th state final (after going 9-0 in their first title games) and their first crown since an infamous 24-22 win over Fair Haven in the 2006 title game (the lowest-scoring Final Four tournament game in Barre Auditorium history).
The Bulldogs also have played closer games with each playoff round, winning by 32 in the first game, 14 in the quarters and nine in the semifinals.
Seniors Jake Stalcup and Weston Muench and sophomore Joey Shehadi have been the offensive stalwarts in the playoffs. Stalcup had 25 points and 11 rebounds in the quarterfinals and 23 points in the semis. Shehadi has averaged 14.7 points in the playoffs and Meunch popped in 12 points in the quarters.
This is just the second time the schools have played in the playoffs. In 1979, BBA bopped VUHS 82-43 in the playdowns and in 1967 Vergennes prevailed in the quarterfinals 67-63.
One 'X' factor could be the health of VUHS sparkplug Shep Carter, who was helped off the court sans shoe after the game following an ankle injury. With five days between the semi and final, time will tell if that is enough to give him enough time to heal sufficiently to contribute in the manner he typically does.
Division III - No. 1 Williamstown (23-0) vs. No. 2 Thetford (19-4), 7:30 p.m.
The Blue Devils are gunning for their second-straight title and fifth overall (including one in Division IV).
The Panthers have their sight set on their first title since 2004 and fourth overall.
The teams are very similar with aggressive defenses, opportunistic offenses and the ability to push the ball up and down the court and to attack the rim with athleticism. It has the potential to be a track meet at The Aud and it may come down to which team can protect the ball better and which team is more effective when the possessions are extended.
If it comes down to free throws, you have to like the Blue Devils who were 24-for-26 in the semifinals. Some teams struggle to find their stroke shooting on the unfamiliar rims at the Barre Aud. Obviously, this is not a problem for the Blue Devils who have plenty of experience in that environment.
Jason Manwaring, Seth Atherton and Hunter McLaughlin have led the Blue Devils in scoring in the playoffs.
Ian Weider, Brandon Gray, Aiden Cleaves and Dominic Chatot have reached double figures in scoring for a Thetford team that is playing in its sixth state title game in 12 years and its 10th Final Four in 13 years.
Williamstown won the lone regular season meeting by 14 points, 78-64, back on Dec. 28.
One factor in Thetford's favor on an anecdotal level is that the top-seed in the Division III tournament has failed to win the state title in every year since 2006.
Division IV - No. 1 Rochester (22-1) vs. No. 6 West Rutland (16-7), noon
West Rutland is the lone surprise team to reach the boys basketball state championships this winter. However, the Golden Horde know something about pulling up title-game upsets at The Aud. Back in 1995, seventh-seeded West Rutland won its most recent (and 13th) state title with a 51-48 win over fourth-seeded Rochester.
The upset would be even more monumental this time around, but certainly within the realm of possiblity.
Rochester has the best player in the division - and one of the best in the state - in guard Pavin Parrish (averaging nearly 30 points per game in the playoffs), but the Golden Horde are deep and have the athleticism and poise to hang with the high-flying Rockets.
Rochester is looking for its sixth overall state title after securing three in Division IV and one each in Divisions II and II. The Rockets last title was back in 1993 and they are 0-3 in their last three state title games, falling in the 1995, 96 and 98 title games.
This is their second straight trip to the Final Four following a 13-year drought.
The Rockets shot 56 percent from the floor in their semifinal win, led by a 14-for-19 effort by Parrish and he's on his game and Mike Smith, Clay Walker and Tanner Pratt can continue to shoulder a part of the load offensively, the Blue Devils are clearly the team to beat in this match-up.
However, West Rutland has plenty of scoring options and even if standout Jordan Pease or one of his two main supporting cast members: Joey Callahan and Chris Charbonneau are struggling, perhaps, just perhaps, the Gold Horde will be able to add another chapter to a very storied Vermont high school basketball playoff history.
SHAWN CORROW is the currently sleep-deprived owner of Cold Hollow Photographer, frequent contributor these days to the Burlington Free Press and slowly becoming a piece of furniture at the Barre Auditorium.
I’m a nerd. I like trivia. I like numbers. But I also like sports.
And so when I when I get lists in front of me of all of the histories of all of the teams who have played in all of the state tournaments over all of the last 90 years, I’m mentally duty-bound to analyze and compile.
That just how us nerds roll.
This character flaw can bemuse and even infuriate our significant others, but it can also result in some research that answers the questions that, well, frankly no one was asking.
At any rate, if you care about such things, here are the list of the Vermont high school boys basketball teams with the most playoff wins since 1992, the worst and best all-time playoff winning percentages and the best and worst all-time records in state championship games. (Oh, and a couple of items that I just found to fanciful not to include, as well).
At this point, you should either continue reading and admit that you, too, are a sports nerd or click onto to some other more productive and entertaining website.
All-time most wins in Vermont high school boys basketball tournament history*
1. Burlington 136 wins, 64 losses
2. Rice 122-60 (won the first state title in 1922, a 28-24 win over Hardwick)
3. Proctor 90-52
4. West Rutland 87-42
5. Spaulding 84-62
6. Montpelier 76-58
7. Rutland 76-76
8. Mount Anthony 67-34
9. Winooski 66-51
10. Fair Haven 65-45
11. Blue Mountain 62-36
12. Danville 62-46
13. Arlington 61-40
(*minimum 60 wins; since 1922 - source vpaonline.org; research by Paul Stanfield, I believe)
Schools with best all-time tournament win percentage
1. Bennington Catholic 8-2 (Won two titles from 1963-67)
1. Shelburne 4-1 (Won title in 1938)
3. North Bennington 6-2 (Won title in 1949)
Schools with worst all-time winning percentages - 11 schools tied
Bristol 0-4 (from 1962-67); Newport Center 0-3 (1939, 66 and 67); Trinity Baptist 0-3 (1985-91); Pine Ridge 0-2 (2002 and 03); St. Albans 0-2 (1922 and 23); St. Anne's 0-2 (1940 and 41); Waitsfield 0-2 (1958 and 66); Bethel 0-1 (1932); Greensboro 0-1 (1966); Highgate 0-1 (1969); Troy 0-1 (1922).
Schools with best record in state title game appearances, minimum two appearances
1. Burr and Burton 9-0
2. Mount Mansfield 4-0
3. South Royalton 3-0
4. Harwood 2-0
5. Poultney 10-2 and Wallingtonford 5-1 (last competed in 1969)
7. Winooski 12-3
Schools with the most appearances in the title game without a win
1. Northfield and Enosburg 0-5
3. Colchester and Bennongton (last appearance in 1961) 0-4
5. BFA-Fairfax, Milton and Wells River (last appearance in 1967) 0-3
9. Marian, Johnson, Swanton and Websterville 0-2
13. Weeks School 0-1
Notables - Craftsbury is 8-1 in semifinal games and 1-7 in state finals; South Burlington is also 1-7 in semifinal games and Green Mountain Union is 0-7 in semifinals
SHAWN CORROW is the owner of Cold Hollow Photography and former St. Albans Messenger sports editor and former Burlington Free Press sports copy desk editor/reporter/photographer. He still contributes to various newspapers and other publications, in print and online, across the state. And he's a really big nerd.