In another stunner in the Vermont, Division IV boys' state tournament, the Williamstown Blue Devils handed four-time defending champ Proctor their first loss in 49 games, to capture their own state title with a 47-41 win in Barre last Saturday.
Proctor actually took a one-point lead into the final quarter, but the Blue Devils did not waver, outscoring the Phantoms 13-6 down the stretch to take the title away from a Proctor team that was looking to tie a state record with its' fifth consecutive state title.
In contrast, the win brought Williamstown their first state title since 1986, and they did it with a balanced scoring attack. John Burgos led the way for the Blue Devils with 17 points, while Troy Laughlin scored 11 and both Nick Gagnon and Steve Manwaring each pitched in with nine.
In the recent Vermont high school state snow boarding Championships in Killington, the Black River High School girls and Burr & Burton boys teams captured the team state titles in the two-day event.
Equally as impressive were a brother/sister pair Calabreses, as Green Mountain Union High School's Lily Calabrese earned the overall girls' title while her brother, Rex, won the boys' title. Lily won the slopestyle and giant slalom events to secure her title, while Rex took first place in the slopestyle competition.
Individually, North Country's Andrew Vera took second place, while Leland & Gray's James Crowther, Green Mountain's Eric Vrillo and Rutland's Justin Frybarger rounded out the top five finishes.
On the individual girls' side, Rutland's Marie Schwalbe and Marina McCoy finished in second and third respectively.
The Black River girls posted an overall team score of 108 points, while Burlington finished in second place with 116 points. Rutland High School took third overall while the BBA girls finished in fifth.
On the boys' side, BBA took first overall with a team score of 93 points, while Green Mountain finished in second place at 128 points.
Rutland rounded out third with 150, while Leland & Gray and Black River finished in fourth and fifth respectively.
Local Alpine Skiing
Talk about domination. The Rutland High School girls' alpine ski team recently won it's fourth consecutive alpine state championship held in Hancock.
Although Rutland did not have the fastest skier, it was a true team effort in that six Rutland skiers-Caitlin Bliss, Sara Fruth, Sam Boles, Amanda Thomas, Cassie Harnett and Caitlin Bucksbaum, all finished in the upper half of the GS race.
Although any Vermont high school skier can participate in the individual events, a school must have at least four skiers in order to participate in the team events.
Therefore, the more teammates you possess, the stronger your racing times can become. Skiers are scored on two slalom runs and one GS run, with each individual's best time determining their place in the standings.
Rutland held a fairly comfortable lead over Mount Mansfield after the first day of competition, however the giant slalom runs on day two made things much tighter, with CVU, St. Johnsbury and Woodstock also in the mix.
However a team's top score is determined by adding together a teams' top four times, therefore the more teammates, the better chance at a top time. Rutland's winning team score was 109, while Mount Mansfield came in a distant second at 140 and CVU finished third at 160.
For a couple Rutland seniors including Sara Guth and Sam Boles, the title is a four-year sweep for their high school alpine careers.
A 13-member team will also be selected to participate in the Eastern Ski Championships held in Attitash, NH in mid-March. Sox Spring Training
As the days slowly get warmer, the Red Sox are finally starting to crank it up down in Fort Meyers, FL, as they get closer to opening day.
With each spring training also comes the customary "questions about this year's team,"and most of them this spring training seem to revolve around the offense and how they are going to produce enough runs to keep up with the power-house line up of the Yankees.
The biggest run-producer from last season, Jason Bay, has gone to the Mets via free agency, David Ortiz is a year older and Mike Lowell will be reduced to a bench role, if he is even here at all by the start of the season.
To "replace" Bay, the Sox went after pitching and defense instead, while the front office keeps telling us fans about something called "run prevention."
You know, the "if you pitch and play defense better, you don't have to score more runs" theory.
Ah, if it only were that easy, right?
Granted, they made some good moves. Marco Scuturo is a big upgrade defensively at shortstop, Adrian Beltre is a great defensive third baseman and picking up Mike Cameron to play center field, which also allows the fleet-footed Jacoby Ellsbury to move to left, no doubt makes this team better defensively.
However, you still gotta hit the ball and score some runs because you just can't expect your pitching to give up only two or three runs every night and have no injuries all season. (Although when they won it all in 2004, not one starting pitcher missed a start.)
All of a sudden there is a lot of pressure for Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis and JD Drew to produce some power.
Of course, optimism breathes eternal in the spring, so if you choose to go with the Sox theory that pitching and defense will win, then the Sox could be right there in the end because with the addition of free agent pitcher John Lackey, on paper Boston clearly has the best starting rotation in the American League, if not all of baseball.
Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Lackey, Dice-K are as solid a top four as you are going to get, with Tim Wakefield and Clay Buckholtz filling in the final spot in the rotation.
Hopefully the Sox' offense can somehow keep up.