Canevari's Corner

In the seven years that I have worked at the Manchester Journal one thing that I have always taken note of - and that has been hard to escape really - is the success that athletic teams within Bennington County enjoy.

Since the 2005-2006 school year, Burr and Burton Academy sports programs have won 35 state championships alone.

Most recently the Burr and Burton Academy boys soccer team won their second consecutive Division II State Championship, completing a perfect season in the process.

The Burr and Burton girls soccer team - which has been coached for the past 25 years by Dan DeForest - has also enjoyed success over the years. DeForest has won four State Championship titles in 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2002. There was even a stretch over those state championship years where his teams won 37 consecutive games, bringing home two state titles in the process. Even when DeForest's teams haven't won they have usually been in the hunt as he has never missed the playoffs in his 25 years of coaching.

An even greater example of a successful sports program is that of the Mount Anthony wrestling team. The team has won a national record 24 consecutive state championships and is expected to contend for - if not win - a state title every year. In fact, the program has become so notorious that there is the possibility it may be featured on ESPN and/or NESN.

The Burr and Burton girls tennis won three state titles and got to the finals last year. The BBA boys snowboarding team has won three state titles in a row. The boys alpine ski team has won two in a row. The BBA girls ice hockey team took home a state title last year. The girls dance team won a state championship the year before last and the boys lacrosse and boys golf team have also won in recent years. The BBA football team has had success in recent years - going to the state championship game last year and the semi-final game this year.

The Arlington girls and boys soccer teams have also enjoyed success over the past few years. This year the Arlington boys made it to the Division IV quarter-final match before being eliminated by Twin Valley High School. The Arlington girls were eliminated in the semi-finals by Proctor this year - a rematch of last year's Division IV State Championship game.

Over the past several years the high schools in Bennington County - Burr and Burton in particular - have produced numerous state championship teams or have had teams that have gone deep into the playoffs.

Those student athletes that have been fortunate enough to be members of one - if not two - championship teams should count themselves lucky. Seldom is it that a student athlete wins multiple state championships during their high school career. Yet for some programs, like the BBA boys and girls soccer teams, the BBA girls tennis teams, and the Mount Anthony wrestling squads - among some others that were previously mentioned - that is exactly what they have done. It is not a feat that has been enjoyed by many - if any - other schools and programs throughout southern Vermont.

For most schools in southern Vermont, winning a state championship - regardless of the program - is something that comes along every so often. To win two in a row - while not unthinkable - is exceptionally difficult at any level, but particularly high school and college where there is a much smaller window for putting a championship caliber team on the field year in and year out. To produce 35 championships in various sports in a seven year span is also an equally daunting task.

While the ability to continually have competitive and championship caliber teams is a testament to the coaches, the players - and the coaches as well - should be proud of what they have been able to achieve over the past several years.


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