One week ago, I wrote about the slim chances for post-season success in our reporting area. I did let you know at that time that the Bellows Falls girls’ cross country team was the best bet to capture state honors and that, compared with the Rice girls, it was about a 50/50 chance. That particular choice did pan out. And it wasn’t easy. Both teams came to run and the Bellows Falls Terriers just ran better in the Vermont State Division III Championship Meet. It was so close throughout. Rice ran above what was expected so the Terriers had to do the same.
Bellows Falls coach Tim Eno told me, “At 3K, when I last saw the girls, we were behind. Our number 3, 4, and 5 girls ran a great second half.”
The meet credits the top four runners of each team with points towards the victory. However, the importance of the fifth or any runner after that can prove to be a big boost to a team because they can push teammates to greater heights and impose a psychological advantage to their team by an opponent seeing another uniform of a competitive opponent passing them by. For this edition of the Terriers, the number three, four, and five runners were sophomore Victoria Bassette, junior Abby Dearborn, and sophomore Ashley Bartlett. The three Harriers were separated by just over 23 seconds and finished 14th, 16th, and 17th propelling their team to victory. Imagine that mini pack crossing the finish line to the delightful vision of Terrier team, coach, and fans.
Abby Broadley, the Terrier sophomore added another piece of glamour to her trophy case by capturing first place in the Division III race. Broadley, clearly the class of the division, won the race by 44 seconds. Her teammate Stephanie Ager was fifth. Since all five runners mentioned have eligibility remaining, Bellows Falls should be difficult to reckon with again next season. Broadley’s and Ager’s performances qualified them to run in the New England in Manchester, Conn. Nov. 9. Junior Molly Hodsden and sophomore Shelby Stoodley were also members of the Bellows Falls championship squad.
The final team totals on the girls’ championship run were Bellows Falls 31, Rice 37, Thetford 77, Randolph 108, Mill River 114, Sharon 124, Lake Region 125, Stowe 136, Peoples 152, Otter Valley 155, Green Mountain 161, Bellows Free Academy 193, Danville 194, Oxbow 241, and Blue Mountain 266.
Green Mountain had three runners finish in the top 50. Senior Olivia Bernier was 20th with senior Laurel King and freshman Greta Bernier coming in 36th and 43rd respectively.
The Bellows Falls boys were not expected to win, and they didn’t; however, they certainly can walk away from this 2019 fall season with their heads held very high. This edition of Eno’s Terrier runners finished third, but each and every scoring runner ran his personal best on this course.
There were 18 teams and Peoples Academy captured top honors with 43 points, nipping host Thetford by one, followed by Bellows Falls 56, Craftsbury Academy 60, Stowe 91, Lake Region 106, Rice 114, Otter Valley 164, Bellows Free Academy of Fairfax 176, Randolph 189, Long Trail 228, Mill River 243, Windsor 257, Danville 258, Blue Mountain 268, Richford 294, Green Mountain 300, and Oxbow 317.
The Chieftains’ top runners were sophomore Mitchell Rounds 65th and senior Kameron Cummings 70th.
The four Bellows Falls boys’ runners who contributed to their team score and ran so well were Tim Salter-Roy, who finished 9th, and Justice Bassette, Collin Robertson, and Stone Bradbury, who finished in 12th, 13th, and 22nd place respectively. All those Bellows Falls runners are seniors, which means Eno will be putting in place a full rebuild there.
In my humble opinion, the area overachiever award has to go to the Bellows Falls field hockey team. One might ask, how you can give an overachiever award to a team that captures the state title in their sport every year, regardless of what division they play in? Last year, the Terriers had moved up to capture the top spot in the Green Mountain State’s top division against a team in South Burlington who had pretty much owned that crown each recent season.
This time around, Bellows Falls was hoping to slide right back into a more appropriate division for their school size and current talents, but the sports’ state committee was not friendly to just a one-year stay in a division and kept them in Division I.
Bethany Coursen’s team again matched up with tough South Burlington, this time in the quarterfinals, but the Terriers stole the show and shocked the Rebels 2-0. This was, to me, a major upset. The young ladies in the purple and white should be beaming.
Of the big win, Coursen said, “We don’t have anywhere near the depth we have had in the past, but we have moved things around as the season has gone on. They are getting use to each other. It took me a while to evaluate everyone’s strengths and for the chemistry to come together, but we are a pretty good team now. I think they realize now that this title is up for grabs.”
The Terriers are back in action at Middlebury College Wednesday, Oct. 30 at 6 p.m. against a Champlain Valley Union team that lost twice to South Burlington 3-2 and 3-1. However, they beat Burr & Burton 5-0 – a team who defeated Bellows Falls twice 6-3 and 2-0. I believe anyone can win this game.
If the Terriers are victorious Wednesday, they would advance to the finals on the University of Vermont field at a time to be determined on Saturday, Nov. 2. Springfield was eliminated in their Division III playoff game, falling to second seed Stowe 5-0.
In football, Bellows Falls plays again this weekend versus Union 32 in the Vermont Division II semifinals. If you plan on attending the game, you should call BFUHS Friday to find the time and place of this game. Weather and field problems may cause this contest to be held at another locale or on a different day.
The game is slated for Union 32 Friday, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m., but all will have to wait and see. Union 32 defeated the Terriers at Bellows Falls in the middle of the season in a game that saw 71 points light up the scoreboard. Although I felt Union 32 was the better team, Bellows Falls can play with them. This should be a good one. Terrier coach Bob Lockerby said, “I know we can play a lot better than we did the first time around. They have a lot of options offensively and we are getting prepared to try to stop them.”
If you like both teams moving the ball up and down the field, you might want to take this one in. The tally the first time was 42-29.
Springfield’s season came to a grinding halt last weekend when they found Windsor to be a real match-up pain for the second time this season. They played the Cosmos tough.
When Todd Aiken’s team was picking up steam and still undefeated near the midway point of the 2019 season, Windsor didn’t defeat them, but they certainly slowed down their momentum. The Cosmos escaped after a 12-6 scare and then played well through the Bellows Falls game where they stood up big in a losing effort. They fell hard in a regular season finale loss to Poultney and Windsor who has grown a lot since the first meeting. Windsor controlled them in the first round playoff game to eliminate them 22-12.
Hopefully, Cosmo fans remember the many good moments in this respectable season and not just the ending. The biggest thing this year’s Cosmos achieved was this was the first winning season in the sport since 2009, when that year’s Vermont State runner-ups lost the title game to Windsor in a monsoon down in Brattleboro.
New Hampshire is a step behind their Vermont neighbors in the grid sport. Fall Mountain, who completed their season 5-2, claiming a number three seed, now waits until next week to travel to Raymond for a Nov. 9 semifinal contest at 1 p.m. in Raymond.
The Wildcats fell to Raymond, the number two seed, 31-7 early in the season, but chances are the Wildcats have grown and will at the very least narrow the gap between the two teams.
On second thought, Orion Binney’s Wildcats are every bit as eligible for the overachiever award as Bellows Falls field hockey is. This team has won five football games in a row and has been growing every week. They could have easily felt it was another “here we go again” season after opening the campaign with 31-7 and 33-14 losses to Raymond and Winnisquam respectively. But then they put it together on both sides of the ball to outscore the opposition 176-14 for the rest of the season.
How they have developed confidence after the first two weeks after several years of losing is impressive, but Binney kept telling us to stick with this team. They have three shutouts, and each of those teams they blanked scored in every other game they played. Then on offense, they have averaged 35 points a game over that time. It has been a long time since Fall Mountain threw up numbers like this, at least back to the 1989 season when they went 7-2. It’s not bad possibly being your school’s best team in 30 seasons.
The fifth of those straight victories for the Wildcats was a 28-8 victory over Newfound, a game in which Izaak Westover tallied two more touchdowns (35 and 3 yards) with Morgan Wilbur (2 yards) and Layton Stevens (6 yards) adding touchdowns. Camden Dunbar booted all four extra points. “What has surprised me most about this team,” Binney said, “was how at sometimes we have just dominated games. One thing is clear, we have overcome the things which use to set us back in the mental aspects of the game.”
The Leland & Gray girls and the Green Mountain boys are our lone soccer representatives moving forward. The number two seeded Rebels have found a certain comfort enjoying a one-victory margin. Obviously, there is no comfort in such a close low scoring encounter, but 1-0 victories over both Green Mountain (1-0) and Stowe (2-1) has allowed the ladies from Townshend the opportunity to travel to Vergennes for a 3 p.m. Wednesday semifinal contest.
The Green Mountain boys have twice found the numbers 2-1 to their liking, using one-goal games also to become a semifinalist. The Chieftains used the 2-1 score to eliminate Otter Valley in the first round and the same digits for their ticket to the semifinals with a win over Vergennes. They met top-seeded Winooski on their field Tuesday at 3 p.m.
The only other soccer team to claim a win in their first contest this post-season was the Springfield girls, who turned back Lamoille on their way to a tough 2-0 loss at Fair Haven. In other girls’ soccer action, Bellows Falls played tough but fell to Vergennes 2-0 and Black River was nipped by Sharon 2-1. On the boys’ side, Leland & Gray came up short on the road 2-1 with their game at Bellows Free Academy of Fairfax, and Bellows Falls was a 6-0 victim at Hazen.
New Hampshire has just begun soccer tournament play. In a very unusual twist, both Fall Mountain teams did not qualify for the post-season. The girls were tied for 14th at 6-9-1 and the boys were tied for 17th with a 5-11 record.