Sports year in review

MANCHESTER - A lot has happened in the world of sports over the past year. Some of the local high school sports teams have reached the mountain top while others made it to the show only to let the chance for glory slip just beyond their grasp. There are some student athletes who have made history while at the same time some long tenured coaches have said goodbye to the game.

In this piece, the Journal takes a look back at the year that was in sports.

The Burr and Burton Academy snowboard team won their fifth consecutive state championship. The boys team used a 1-2-3 finish in the slopestyle event by Jake Gaudet, Elliot Buckley, and Sam Eisenhaur to take the title. The Bulldog's Will Helmetag also had a good showing in the state championships, finishing 0.01 seconds behind Woodstock's Alex Sheppard in the giant slalom to take second place.

While the boys took their fifth consecutive state title, the girls snowboarding team won their first title in five years led by Caroline Kepler who took first in halfpipe, second in slopestyle, and second in giant slalom.

The bulldogs swept the podium in both the halfpipe and slopestyle events. In halfpipe Kiersten Lima and Katy Jones took second and third place, respectively and in slopestyle Lima took first while Gabi Hasaj took third. BBA's Cali Wadsworth took third in the giant slalom event to help the team claim the title as well.

The BBA Alpine boys ski team won their third consecutive state championship in a row last season. Burr and Burton dominated the field, easily securing their third state championship with a team score of 59 for the giant slalom and slalom events - a 63 point differential between them and second place finisher Woodstock Union High School who scored 122 points. The victory put several members of the team one step closer to their ultimate goal of winning four consecutive state titles, which they will try to accomplish this season.

A legend in southern Vermont announced his retirement a little more than a month ago. Burr and Burton Academy teacher and girls soccer coach Dan DeForest will be retiring at the end of this school year. DeForest coached the girls soccer team for the last 27 years and spent time coaching the boys junior varsity and the varsity teams during the first nine years of his tenure.

Throughout his 36-year coaching career DeForest compiled a 278-107-15 record, won four state championships with the girls team and received numerous coaching awards and accolades.

In 2000, DeForest not only won his third consecutive state championship, he also received the National Coach of the Year award for the National Federation Coaches Association.

During the time period when his teams won two of those three consecutive titles, the three teams put together a string of 37 consecutive wins, which included a perfect 17-0 season en route to one of the state championships.

In addition to DeForest's departure, Bruce Kern - his longtime assistant coach who has contributed greatly to the team's on field success - has also made the decision not to return to the team next season.

In their last year in Division II, the Burr and Burton Academy boys basketball team returned to the Barre Auditorium looking to claim their first state championship since 2006. Though the Bulldogs looked good in the early going, the undefeated Vergennes Commodores (24-0) went on to win the game 62-49.

The return back to the Aud marked what had become somewhat of a family tradition for two of BBA's players - Dave and Joey Shehadi - and coach Dave Shehadi. Coach Dave Shehadi had led a pair of D II title squads in the 1970s. Dave and Joey Shehadi's sisters, Sarah and Nina, were important pieces on the unbeaten team that claimed a state title for the BBA girls in 2008 and Dave Shehadi - the older of the two brothers - had made it to the Aud the year before with the team. The Arlington girls basketball team, BBA boys hockey team, the BBA girls tennis team, the BBA baseball team and the BBA lacrosse team all made it to the championship game last season.

The Arlington girls basketball team lost in the finals to long time rival Proctor 55-38. The BBA boys hockey team lost to U-32 5-2. The BBA baseball team lost to Otter Valley 9-0. The BBA girls lacrosse team lost to Rice 17-10 and the BBA girls tennis team lost to Montpelier 7-0. Long time BBA coaches Pete McNealus - the coach of the Alpine Ski team - and Cory Herrington, the coach of the boys hockey team, both retired from coaching this past season.

McNealus coached the boys Alpine team to their last three consecutive state championships. Herrington took over as coach of the hockey team in the second year of the program and in his 11 year tenure compiled a 143-84-15 record, which included state titles in 2004 and 2007.

Overall, his teams appeared in the finals five times and the semi-finals six times.

Coach of the BBA snowboard team Amy Herrmann also stepped down this year. By the end of last season, the boys team had won five consecutive state titles and the girls team won their first title in five years with her as the coach.

Two BBA female athletes made significant contributions in 2013. Maddi Wollen, a member of the girls golf team, became the first female golfer in the school's history to compete in the New England Interscholastic Golf Championships and Lauren Miskovsky - a member of the girls cross country team - became the first BBA runner to win a race in more than three years when she placed first at Mount Anthony Union High School on Sept. 10. The win marked the beginning of a stellar season for Miskovsky who turned in several first place finishes.

This calendar year also saw new sports programs spring up at BBA. Rock climbing was formed as a club sport with about seven students attending the last few competitions.

While wrestling existed as a club sport at BBA at the end of 2012, it has now become a coed varsity sport at the school and has attracted interest from the student body with about 21 students having joined the team at the beginning of December.

This year also marked the 20th anniversary of the Vermont Summer Festival being held on the Beebe Farm in East Dorset.


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