Canevari's Corner

It was following a Burr and Burton Academy football game last year that an interesting question came up in the Manchester Journal office: Does the State of Vermont keep records of individual athletic accomplishments? Well, yes and no as it turns out.

During a game in September, BBA's quarterback Jake Stalcup threw for 575 yards with six passing touchdowns in a 51-44 loss to Bellows Falls. With those kinds of numbers, one would certainly have to think that he set a state record, but it seems that there is absolutely no way to be certain. It is believed though that Stalcup broke the record held by Colin Temple of Mount Saint Joseph Academy who passed for 509 yards in a game.

According to Associate Executive Director of the Vermont Principal's Association (VPA), Bob Johnson, the VPA does not keep individual records because of the size of their staff. Even the list of past champions for each sport in each division is not done by a VPA employee. It is compiled by Paul Stanfield who works for UVM and The Vermont Lake Monsters, Johnson said.

As a result, the VPA relies on the voluntary efforts of a number of people and organizations. However, there are some sports - such as track - that have organizations like the Vermont Track Officials that do keep records. For wrestling, records are kept on Mount Anthony Union High School's wrestling page, Johnson said.

Since it seems that individual records are not kept, the question is why can't the practice be started? It's understandable that the VPA doesn't have the resources to be able to do it, and it's unrealistic to believe that they will be able to hire someone charged with that as part of other responsibilities, but it just seems that there must be something that can be done to address the issue. Maybe it starts with the coaches or athletic directors. The win-loss records are reported to the VPA on a timely and consistent basis. Maybe it should be incumbent upon coaches - whether it's of their own volition or at the behest of the school who employs them - to report exceptional performances by their student-athletes as they arise.

How that could be accomplished without burdening the VPA at all, or at least too much, is another problem that would have to be addressed if individual records were to be kept it seems. Maybe there needs to be a database which coaches and athletic directors could access to put the information into. In so doing, hopefully that would allow the VPA to quickly and efficiently keep track of individual records.

The other level of detail that would probably have to be considered and/or established is what to keep records of. Should records be kept for all categories or should they be limited to basic stats like touchdowns and interceptions?

There are several sports which have multiple categories of statistics and keeping track of all of them would no doubt be a Herculean task for the coaches and could probably keep a full time VPA employee completely occupied. If there were some parameters set as to what kind of records were kept though and if coaches used good judgment - as they undoubtedly would - it may not be that high a volume though.

For example, if an athlete scores 70 points in a basketball game that's the type of performance that may be some kind of state record. What if a student-athlete were to pitch a no-hitter or a perfect game? It may not exactly be a state record, but it would be good to know the last time that it happened. Earlier this year, Burr and Burton goalie Meg Chandler made 42 saves in a game. That may not be a state record, but it's an impressive performance to be sure and one that may not happen all that often and therefore should probably be recorded. If a more consistent effort was made to report athletic accomplishments it would be easier to determine whether or not an athlete set a record.

Like it or not, stats are a big part of sports. There are some people who will say that ultimately the only statistic that matters is the one in the "W" column. It's not that this isn't true, but seeing the score and then reading about how the team won sometimes makes a huge difference. There are times when a player can put a team on their back and lead them to victory and sometimes, when they do, it may be something more than the best performance in their high school career.

It's understandable that there are other things that take precedence other than the individual accomplishments of student-athletes, but that doesn't mean such feats should go undocumented either. There are several young men and women throughout the state that work hard and give it everything they have when they compete, and it would be unfortunate if one of them happens to do something astounding that it could easily go unheard of or be forgotten in a short span of time. Part of high school sports is recognizing both the teams and the individual student-athletes for their performances. That said, it seems almost unfitting that perhaps some of the best performances by our state's student-athletes still go undocumented.


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