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Hall Call: VPA to Induct McLaughlin

Woodstock — These things happen to guys who win a lot at the high school level.

Having retired as Woodstock Union High School football coach after the 2012 season with 211 wins and nine state championships, Jim McLaughlin is bound for the Vermont Principals Association hall of fame. He and 13 others will be feted by the VPA on May 2 at Montpelier’s Capitol Plaza Hotel. The VPA established its hall of fame in 2003, honoring “the outstanding careers of educational leaders, participants in student activities and athletics, members of the media and contributors from the public who positively impacted the lives of Vermont youth,” according to a news release last week.

McLaughlin coached the Wasps for 31 seasons, starting in 1981 and interrupted by a one-year stint at a Connecticut high school in the late ’80s. Woodstock won four straight Division III state championship for McLaughlin between 2003-06, and the veteran coach — who retired from his job teaching high school science in 2010 — closed out his coaching career with back-to-back state crowns in 2011 and ’12.

McLaughlin also served two stints as WUHS’ athletic director during his career.

He will join a large class at this year’s induction. The athlete group includes Bellows Falls basketball sisters Dani and Jevi Raynor; two three-sport stars, Fair Haven’s Scott Reed and St. Johnsbury’s Steve Lewis; and BFA-St. Albans basketball standout Matt Johnson.

BF’s Russ Pickering, Essex’s Stephen Dowd, Northfield’s Mike Gonneville, Rutland’s Dave Kinsman, Randolph’s Bruce Viens, Fair Haven’s Robert “Squaek” Gregory and Mount Mansfield’s Robert Slayton will join McLaughlin in the coaching ranks. The VPA is also inducting Ludlow’s Stewart Schmidt for his contributions in soccer officiating.

The May 2 ceremony begins at 6 p.m., preceded by a social hour at 5 p.m. For information on tickets, call the VPA at 802-229-0547 or visit www.vpaonline.org.

Leb Lax Vacancy: The Lebanon High boys lacrosse program will have a new coach this spring … probably.

Ongoing personal and professional obligations led Nick Yager to step down from the job last week. Yager and his wife, Maria Limon, own and operate Gusanoz Mexican Restaurant in Lebanon, and the business is the midst of restructuring its daily operations, Yager said recently.

“What I told the school was that I have more personal and professional commitments than would allow me to be dedicated to the level I would like to be this year,” he said. “I wanted to give them the opportunity to find somebody that might have more availability.”

If new Lebanon athletic director Zac Stevenson can’t find a suitable replacement, Yager said he would rearrange his schedule in order to make sure the Raiders had a coach. Even if he doesn’t return, Yager plans to coach at the recreation level in the future.

The Raiders went 1-13 last spring, missing the NHIAA Division II state tournament.

Smart Stars: The New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association kicked off its student-athlete award season at Concord’s Capitol Center for the Arts on Feb. 3 by recognizing winners of its high school athlete awards from Divisions II and IV.

Aside from being seniors, honorees had to maintain a B-plus average in class, letter in at least two varsity sports, be active in community service and serve as a role model to their peers. The Upper Valley’s selections:

Hanover: Emily Acker, Aparna Alavilli, Rachel Boghosian, Camille Celone, Grace Groitoru, Eileen Daley, Zola Doyle, Charlotte Goodrich, Emily Gougelet, Camille Hankel, Evie Keating, Sumner LeBaron-Brien, Kendra McGowan, Eleanor Patten, Darby Phillips, Liesel Robbins, Katherine Ryan-O’Flarety, Holly Schlosser, Valentina Sedlacek, Hannah Seibel, Grace Tecca, Erika Tischbein, Lindsey White, Jude Arbogast, Tucker Cadow, Philip Caffry, Miles Campbell, Samuel Carey, Edmund Geraghty, Evan Greenwald, Benjamin Hartman, Benjamin Herndon-Miller, Andrew Huizenga, Noah Huizenga, Clark Leazier, Jeremiah Leonard, Jordan Levin, Jack Lightbody, Gabriel Linehan, Mattson Rosenbaum, Nathan Roth, Garrett Ruley, Christopher Stocken, Xavier Tchana, Christopher Washington.

Lebanon: Nell Houde, Grayson Hardy, Kelsie Atwater, Kenny Weitzman, Emma Greenough, Natasha Goodwin, Georgia Michalovic, Lucas Gerow, Austin Pelletier, John Jasinski, Samantha MacDonald, Nabeel Khan, Rachel Berg, Ian Girdwood, Dominick Morrill, Ethan Guyer, Zachary Liebold, Micaela Schones, John Cioffredi, Martin Gradijan, Brooke Farwell, Michaela Bish, Heather King, Dylan Gaudette, Hayley Perron, Christopher Lovejoy.

Woodsville: Cassidy Townsend, Allison O’Shana, Louisa Noble, Julia Bowman, Joe Abrahamsen, Tom D’Angelo, Ben Fournier.

Bowman and Noble sang the national anthem prior to the Jan. 3 event. All athletes receiving the award are eligible to compete for a $500 scholarship from the New Hampshire Athletic Directors Association.

The NHIAA will recognize winners in Divisions I and III at a ceremony on March 17, also in Concord.

Hey, Ump: Vermont is again in need of umpires for the coming high school baseball season, with a training opportunity awaiting interested candidates.

State high school baseball commissioner Bruce James will lead two umpiring courses over the coming month geared toward certifying umpires for varsity and junior varsity play. Courses will run one night a week for five weeks, beginning Feb. 25 at Lyndon State College in Lyndonville and Feb. 26 at Union-32 High School in East Montpelier.

Weekday games begin at 4 p.m., with weekend contests starting at 11 a.m. Once certified, umpires earn $75 for varsity games, $45 for jayvee contests and are free to work as many or as few events as they choose.

For more information on the clinic series, contact James at neumpire@hotmail.com or 802-626-3317.

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