THIS + THAT: Purple Terrier pride

I was sitting here wondering if we will ever have a Tuesday without snow. One parent told me she wonders if she will ever have a Tuesday when the kids are actually in school.

The only area team to win a play-off game in basketball this winter was the Fall Mountain girls. This team plays longer than the other area basketball teams year after year. They have a special pedigree.

Speaking of tournament teams, there is no area team vested in the post season deeper than Bellows Falls field hockey. In a surprising move, the Vermont Principals Association approved Bellows Falls moving up to Division I to compete against the biggest and the best teams in Vermont in the sport next fall.

Customarily, the VPA does not allow one year moves such as this, but with the Terriers winning the top prize in Division III and II in back-to-back years in relatively easy fashion, the request from the school was approved. Bethany Coursen’s team will be senior dominated this fall and the switch appears to be best for all involved

Coursen would like to make some game changes in the regular season schedule also, but she realizes with the state and leagues being tied into a two-year cycle and game commitments already in place, that interest may not pan out. She told me, “I would like to challenge our players the best I can and even if we have to play the same regular season schedule, competing in the bracket for the Division I tourney will be enough.”

Bellows Falls did this in girls’ basketball back in 2001-2002 and 2002-2003. They went to the finals in back-to-back years under the tutelage of Jayne Barber, splitting finals games with Mount Anthony. Bellows Falls won in the second of those seasons. These two stories certainly stand out with Purple Pride.

Taking Purple Pride a step further, three Terriers were named to the 2018 Vermont Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl team last Sunday at a get together at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Shane Clark, Logan Cota, and Jared Zobkiw were announced as members of the squad to face New Hampshire this summer.

In case you hadn’t heard, Dartmouth College has reentered their name into the discussion to host this annual classic match-up. The powers that be have decided to keep the game in Castleton for now, and this summer’s game will take place on Saturday, August 4 with the kick-off at Spartan Field at 5:30 p.m.

A few final notes concerning the Shrine Game, Vermont has won two games in a row, following umpteen losses in a row. Many of New Hampshire’s better players now choose to play in the CHAD East-West game. A move back to Dartmouth – who gave up hosting the contest when their stadium was being remodeled – could bring some of them back to compete in the traditional classic. However, I expect the game to remain in Castleton for some time because of the most important reason: more money is raised there.

Congratulations also go out to Fall Mountain’s Chris Bashaw for being named to the New Hampshire squad. The lad from Charlestown is listed as a linebacker.

One more Terrier will be part of the Shrine experience. Terrier assistant coach Mike Empey will be on Greg Balch’s coaching staff. Empey was on Bob Lockerby’s staff for their successful Shrine year to start the ball rolling Vermont’s way. Lockerby has always gone out of his way to sing Empey’s praise for his contributions to the Bellows Falls program and being named by a rival coach to be part of his staff is another ringing compliment for his worth.

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