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H.S. Notebook: Whitcomb, Randolph in the Mood for Cooperation

Bethel — Whitcomb High athletic director Willy Walker is always grappling with the need to find more athletic opportunities at his tiny high school. His latest idea has everything to do with grappling.

At least four Hornets will join the wrestling team at neighboring Randolph Union High School this winter, taking advantage of an ongoing Vermont Principals Association initiative to promote co-operative teams. Whitcomb also expects to send a student to join Randolph’s gymnastics squad later this month.

Whitcomb athletes in the two sports have been able to work out with Randolph athletes in the past through the VPA’s member-to-member program, but they weren’t able to contribute points to the Galloping Ghosts’ team cause in those two sports, Walker explained last week. Formally entering into a co-op with Randolph will create more of a team atmosphere for Bethel’s participants.

“Gymnastics has a couple years of history with Randolph; we have a couple of students that have participated in member-to-member the last two or three years,” Walker said. “One of the things I understand through the past year was that they felt excited to participate, but didn’t feel all included as a team. They were still Whitcomb, competing with Randolph at tournaments. They felt it would be more inclusive that if we worked together as a whole team, gathering points in team events, it would help them work that much more together.”

Walker had Randolph wrestling coach Larry Davignon pay a visit last Monday night to meet with prospective Whitcomb additions. The get-together gave both athletes and parents an idea of Davignon’s expectations while also “covering transportation issues with families to be prepared for the coming season,” Walker said.

“Wrestling can run 12-to-14 hours for a weekend tournament sometimes,” the Whitcomb AD added. “I wanted to make sure parents know what they happen to be getting into.”

As the term co-op would suggest, Randolph is helping pick up some of the expenses to give Whitcomb kids an opportunity to play a sport that’s beyond a small school’s reach. For both sports, Walker worked with Randolph AD Jamie Kinnarney to find cost savings in bus transportation. Athletes will be responsible for getting to practices, “but we’re working out carpools to cut the parents’ commitment,” Walker said.

From the AD’s perspective, it’s all about creating opportunities. Varsity sports offerings can be limited at schools such as Whitcomb, which hovers around 50 boys and girls and occasionally has to dip into the eighth grade for roster depth. Not everyone wants to play basketball in the winter, so co-ops in other sports become attractive.

Co-ops may be the trend for the future for the small schools of the Central Valley League. Walker has talked with South Royalton AD Jeff Moreno about finding ways to cut

costs in track and field, and he said Rochester has shown some interest in exploring the co-operative idea.

“We’re all looking to do the same thing,” Walker said, “improve opportunities for the kids.”

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Boardman’s the Best: Stevens High field hockey didn’t quite reach the heights in 2012 that it did in 2011, but the Cardinals did produce the New Hampshire Division III player of the year in senior Maddy Boardman.

A forward, Boardman pick-ed up the award last week on a vote of the New Hampshire Field Hockey Coaches Association. She led Stevens and was fifth in the Upper Valley in scoring (12-6—18) as the Cardinals reached the NHIAA D-III quarterfinals before falling in an upset to Newfound in double overtime.

Boardman had plenty of company on the D-III all-state team, with Cardinals teammate Jenna Deschaine joining her, Mascoma’s Megan Crate and Newport’s Alex Stefan and Julia Sullivan on the first-team squad. The Royals’ Kiah Laramie and Kori Kosiorek, Kearsarge’s Catherine Bloom and Christie Ross, Newport’s Lindsy Desmarais and Stevens’ Abbey Rouillard made the second team.

D-II state champion Lebanon produced first-team all-staters in Taylor Friedman, Amelia Gage and two-year Upper Valley leading scorer Shauna Rankin-Byrne. Hanover’s Grace Croitoru and Sumner LeBaron-Brien joined the Raider trio on the first team; the Marauders’ Claudia Noonan was the region’s sole second-team selection.

Boardman, Gage and Rankin-Byrne also made the New Hampshire roster for next summer’s Twin State Classic with Vermont. Stevens head coach Patty Deschaine will be an assistant coach for the Granite State in that contest.

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Golf Greats: State champion Hanover filled three of the eight slots allotted for the New Hampshire Golf Coaches Association Division II all-state first team.

Senior Nate Choukas, senior Benny Hayes and junior Nathan Roth all landed on the top squad after leading the Marauders to their latest NHIAA Division II state title at Canterbury Woods Country Club in early October.

All three also advanced to the individual finals at CWCC, with Hayes tying for third place, Roth taking fifth and Choukas sharing sixth after holding a piece of the first-round tournament lead.

Lebanon senior Colette Schmidt also made the first team and also received the NHGCA’s Spirit of the Game Award. The honor goes to a player deemed to exemplify the best attributes of the sport through good etiquette, knowledge of the rules, a positive attitude and work ethic, and a willingness to help others on the course.

Hanover junior Mattson Rosenbaum was the only other Upper Valley golfer named D-II all-state, landing on the honorable mention lineup.

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Hanover Volleyball Honored: While two team members received individual recognition, the Hanover High volleyball team grabbed two awards as a unit in the recent postseason honors voted upon by the New Hampshire Volleyball Coaches Association.

The Marauders, who reached the quarterfinals of the NHIAA Division II tournament, received the NHVCA’s community service award for the match they hosted as a fundraiser for the Haiti Hope Quilt Project.

Hanover also received the association’s team academic award for its work in the classroom.

Libero Halli Valentine made the all-state second team, while middle hitter Sophie Bartels landed on the honorable mention squad. Both were also invited to participate in Saturday’s Senior All-Star Game at Hollis-Brookline High School.

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Leagues of Their Own: Several area schools saw their student-athletes gain postseason recognition at the league level in the past week.

NHIAA Division IV semifinalist Woodsville placed goalkeeper Abby Simano on the Granite State Conference’s North girls soccer all-star squad. Junior teammate Julia Bowman received honorable mention by the GSC, which represents all of New Hampshire’s Division IV schools. The Engineers also had two boys soccer honorees in Matt Abrams and Kevin Briggs, both seniors.

The Central Vermont League also released its all-league soccer choices last week, recognizing the following Upper Valley student-athletes:

∎ Girls soccer first team: Rivendell — Addie Lyndes, Lacey Stever; Sharon — Mayah Fischer-Byrne; South Royalton — Eliza Phillip, Ellen Manby; Whitcomb — Nicole Begin.

∎ Girls soccer honorable mention: South Royalton — Emily Berk; Whitcomb — Jenna Townsend.

∎ Boys soccer fist team: Rivendell — Jack Steketee, Tanner Hibbard; Sharon — Galen Higgens, Trenton Morrison; Whitcomb — Matt Kill.

∎ Boys soccer honorable mention: Rivendell — Logan Gardyne, Scott Calhoun; Sharon — Mario Sacca; South Royalton — Ben Vesper, Troy Tracy; Whitcomb — Alex Messier, Caleb Chase.

The all-CVL cross country squad consisted of Rivendell’s Amber Wolfe, Kaitlin Maddock, Liam Fleming and Christian Parenti; Sharon’s Chris Gish; South Royalton’s Rosa Love and Blue Mountain’s Liam Genereaux.

Randolph runners dominated the Northern Vermont Athletic Conference’s all-league first team, with Haddie Lary, Timnah Zimet and Nina Listro all making the seven-athlete list.

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Superstars on Display: The Woodstock Union High School athletic council and boys basketball program will host the Harlem Super Stars basketball team in a matchup against the school’s faculty dream team and all-stars next week.

The game is scheduled for Nov. 19 at 6:30 p.m. at the WUHS gymnasium. Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door, and proceeds will go to benefit the council and basketball team.

For more information or to purchase advance tickets, contact Woodstock athletic director Jeff Thomas at 802-457-1317, ext. 1031 or jthomas@wcsu.net.

Greg Fennell can be reached at gfennell@vnews.com or 603-727-3226.