Thrilling finishes, undefeated teams, surprises, moments to savor — here’s our take on the best of the 2013-2014 school year:
GAME OF THE YEAR
• Peoples-U-32, girls soccer: The Wolves’ 40-game, multi-year win streak was on the ropes. They had to rally to force overtime against U-32 and star Katie Stames was hobbled by a leg injury. But Stames set up strike partner Hannah Merriam on a breakaway in the second overtime to win it 2-1.
• Essex-Burlington, Division I girls soccer semifinal: When 80 minutes of regulation and another 30 in overtime couldn’t decide this Metro rival clash, it came down to a penaly shootout. The Hornets advanced, to face CVU yet again, but not before Maria Reed’s strike in the second-round clinched it.
— GIRLS ATHLETE OF THE YEAR: CVU’s Autumn Eastman
— BOYS ATHLETE OF THE YEAR: Rice’s Tommy Fitzgerald
— STANDOUTS: Athletes who left their mark in 2013-14
• Mount Mansfield-St. Johnsbury, Division I boys basketball quarterfinal: A dogfight that went down to the wire in St. Johnsbury, where the Hilltoppers had been nearly unbeatable for two years, went to the Cougars 45-44 with Tinga Adiang’s follow-up effort at the buzzer.
• Division I boys Nordic relay finish: Two full days of skiing came down to the final meters at Mountain Top as Champlain Valley’s Thomas Clayton held off Mount Anthony’s Luke Keenan by 0.6 seconds to claim a repeat crown for the Redhawks.
• BFA-Essex, Division I girls hockey final: Entering the third period of the D-I final, Essex trailed nine-time state champ BFA-St. Albans 2-0, staring right at its second title game loss to the Comets. Then Kathleen Young took over with a pair of goals to send the game into overtime, where Melanie Theriault scored on a partial breakaway to seal the win.
• Thetford-Williamtown, Division III girls basketball final: These two teams sent the 2013-14 basketball season off in style in the highest scoring girls basketball state championship in Vermont history. Thetford defeated Williamstown, 90-84, to win the D-III state title, but it was the high tempo and high emotion at the Aud that set this game apart.
• BBA-GMVS, Division II boys lacrosse final: Talk about going down to wire. In a game that saw five lead changes, four ties and no lead greater than a single goal, No. 7 Burr and Burton potted a goal with 3.1 seconds left to grab the 8-7 win over top-seeded Green Mountain Valley and the D-II boys lacrosse crown.
• The winners — Read: Thetford-Williamstown; Danforth: BFA-Essex; Abrami: MMU-SJA
TEAM OF THE YEAR
• Champlain Valley girls soccer: The 2013 Redhawks tore through a perfect 18-0 season for the just second title three-peat in Division I history — in style, too. CVU yielded just one goal, on a penalty kick, to outscore opponents 72-1 over the entire campaign.
• Middlebury football: Picking up the mantle from the Hartford juggernaut, the Tigers rolled to an 11-0 season and Division I crown, the program’s first since 2002, winning by an average of 20-plus points per game.
• Mount Anthony wrestling: The kings of Vermont wrestling extended their national record with a 26th consecutive state title, doing so with a record point total, and repeated as New England champs (their eighth regional triumph).
• Champlain Valley girls basketball: The Redhawks defeated 23 of their 24 opponents by double digits, saving their one close contest for the final, a 35-34 win over rival Rice, to complete a second straight perfect season (47-0).
• BFA-Fairfax baseball: One team scored more than two runs in a game against the Bullets but no team beat them as they stormed to a 19-0 campaign and the Division III championship after a 15-1 rout of No. 2 Poultney in the final.
• The winners — Read: CVU girls soccer; Danforth: CVU girls soccer; Abrami: CVU girls soccer
• BBA boys basketball: Semifinalist two years ago and Division II runner-up in 2013, the Burr and Burton Academy boys basketball team was bumped up to D-I this winter and needed to reload. With five junior starters, the Bulldogs turned heads with a 20-0 regular season and more-than-respectable showing in the Final Four at Patrick Gym.
• Rice baseball ends 50-year drought: It had been not one but two generations — 1964, to be precise — since Rice Memorial could celebrate a baseball championship. That trophyless half-century ended at Centennial Field earlier this month as the third-seeded Green Knights stormed to a 15-3 win in the Division I final.
• Drake Hull’s championship 66: A 1-over 71 at Woodstock earned Rutland’s Drake Hull the Division I individual title as a sophomore last spring. His follow-up performance earlier this month at Country Club of Vermont was one for the ages: a 6-under 66, perhaps the event’s lowest score to date.
• The winners — Read: Rice; Danforth: BBA boys; Abrami: Rice
MOMENT OF THE YEAR
• Colchester celebrates first boys soccer title in 25 years: The Lakers hadn’t defeated CVU in a decade and their title drought streak stretched even longer (25 years). But a core group, led by Matt Goudie and his flair for goals and midfielders Tucker Jean and Brett Nelson, Colchester put it all together in the final against the defending-champion Redhawks.
• Jesse Webb finishes unbeaten in Vt.: Already the state’s winningest wrestler, Mount Anthony senior heavyweight Jesse Webb won his fourth state title in as many tries, pinning his way to victory and a raucous ovation. He finished his career unbeaten against Vermont competition.
• Lougee’s free throws save CVU: Down by a point with 1.9 seconds left in the final, Amanda Lougee nailed two foul shots — sandwiched between two Rice timeouts — to lift the Redhawks to a Division I girls basketball repeat and second straight perfection season.
• Alpine sweep for Chivers: Sweeping the high school individual alpine crowns — slalom and giant slalom — once is hard enough. But Mount Mansfield senior racer Ali Chivers doubled down with the feat in March, wrapping up her second sweep with the two fastest slalom runs on a demanding Burke Mountain course.
• New scoring king: The final basket of Rochester standout Pavin Parrish’s career, coming in the late in a D-IV semifinal at the Barre Auditorium, set a new Vermont career scoring record of 2,479 points, two points more than St. Johnsbury star Henry Dalrymple, who held the mark in 1983.
• Title-game alley-oop: Just seconds into the Division I boys basketball state final, Rice’s Tommy Fitzgerald served up a lob from the top of the key that teammate Kendrick Gray soared to grab and flush through the hoop for the stunning first basket of a stunning championship rout of Mount Mansfield.
• The winners — Read: Parrish; Danforth: Webb; Abrami: Lougee’s free throws