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Honoring the Valley’s Best From A to Z

  • Olympic ski jumper Nick Alexander, left, listens while his father, Jim, gives him advice during his send-off at Storrs Hill Ski Area in Lebanon, N.H., on Feb. 2, 2010. (Valley News - Aaron Rosenblatt)

    Olympic ski jumper Nick Alexander, left, listens while his father, Jim, gives him advice during his send-off at Storrs Hill Ski Area in Lebanon, N.H., on Feb. 2, 2010. (Valley News - Aaron Rosenblatt)

  • For year in review. <br/>Valley News - Sarah Priestap

    For year in review.
    Valley News - Sarah Priestap

  • For year in review. <br/>Valley News - Sarah Priestap

    For year in review.
    Valley News - Sarah Priestap

  • Jeffery Stewart, 18, goes for a shot during his debut start on Kearsarge's varsity basketball team Friday night, February 22, 2013 during their home game again Newport. Stewart was born with a rare metabolic disorder known as Cobalamin G disease and is developmentally delayed. At the time of his birth, there were only 22 known cases in the world, Tina Desfosses, Stewart's mother, said. With the support of his friends, fans, and family, including his grandmother Judy Turner and step-grandfather Ron Turner, who came from Maine, Stewart took the court to start in his first varsity game. (Concord Monitor - John Tully)

    Jeffery Stewart, 18, goes for a shot during his debut start on Kearsarge's varsity basketball team Friday night, February 22, 2013 during their home game again Newport. Stewart was born with a rare metabolic disorder known as Cobalamin G disease and is developmentally delayed. At the time of his birth, there were only 22 known cases in the world, Tina Desfosses, Stewart's mother, said. With the support of his friends, fans, and family, including his grandmother Judy Turner and step-grandfather Ron Turner, who came from Maine, Stewart took the court to start in his first varsity game. (Concord Monitor - John Tully)

  • Oxbow coach Robin Wozny strips ice water from her face after her players dumped a celebratory gallon on her head following their victory over Leland & Gray to win the Division III state championship at Poultney Elementary School in Poultney, Vt. on Wednesday, June 19, 2013. (Valley News - Libby March)

    Oxbow coach Robin Wozny strips ice water from her face after her players dumped a celebratory gallon on her head following their victory over Leland & Gray to win the Division III state championship at Poultney Elementary School in Poultney, Vt. on Wednesday, June 19, 2013. (Valley News - Libby March)

  • For year in review. <br/>Valley News - Sarah Priestap

    For year in review.
    Valley News - Sarah Priestap

  • Jeffery Stewart, 18, gets a pat on the head from his step-father, Randy Desfosses, before his debut start on Kearsarge's varsity basketball team Friday night, February 22, 2013 during their home game again Newport. Stewart was born with a rare metabolic disorder known as Cobalamin G disease and is developmentally delayed. At the time of his birth, there were only 22 known cases in the world, Tina Desfosses, Stewart's mother, said. With the support of his friends, fans, and family, including his grandmother Judy Turner and step-grandfather Ron Turner, who came from Maine, Stewart took the court to start in his first varsity game. (Concord Monitor - John Tully)

    Jeffery Stewart, 18, gets a pat on the head from his step-father, Randy Desfosses, before his debut start on Kearsarge's varsity basketball team Friday night, February 22, 2013 during their home game again Newport. Stewart was born with a rare metabolic disorder known as Cobalamin G disease and is developmentally delayed. At the time of his birth, there were only 22 known cases in the world, Tina Desfosses, Stewart's mother, said. With the support of his friends, fans, and family, including his grandmother Judy Turner and step-grandfather Ron Turner, who came from Maine, Stewart took the court to start in his first varsity game. (Concord Monitor - John Tully)

  • Olympic ski jumper Nick Alexander, left, listens while his father, Jim, gives him advice during his send-off at Storrs Hill Ski Area in Lebanon, N.H., on Feb. 2, 2010. (Valley News - Aaron Rosenblatt)
  • For year in review. <br/>Valley News - Sarah Priestap
  • For year in review. <br/>Valley News - Sarah Priestap
  • Jeffery Stewart, 18, goes for a shot during his debut start on Kearsarge's varsity basketball team Friday night, February 22, 2013 during their home game again Newport. Stewart was born with a rare metabolic disorder known as Cobalamin G disease and is developmentally delayed. At the time of his birth, there were only 22 known cases in the world, Tina Desfosses, Stewart's mother, said. With the support of his friends, fans, and family, including his grandmother Judy Turner and step-grandfather Ron Turner, who came from Maine, Stewart took the court to start in his first varsity game. (Concord Monitor - John Tully)
  • Oxbow coach Robin Wozny strips ice water from her face after her players dumped a celebratory gallon on her head following their victory over Leland & Gray to win the Division III state championship at Poultney Elementary School in Poultney, Vt. on Wednesday, June 19, 2013. (Valley News - Libby March)
  • For year in review. <br/>Valley News - Sarah Priestap
  • Jeffery Stewart, 18, gets a pat on the head from his step-father, Randy Desfosses, before his debut start on Kearsarge's varsity basketball team Friday night, February 22, 2013 during their home game again Newport. Stewart was born with a rare metabolic disorder known as Cobalamin G disease and is developmentally delayed. At the time of his birth, there were only 22 known cases in the world, Tina Desfosses, Stewart's mother, said. With the support of his friends, fans, and family, including his grandmother Judy Turner and step-grandfather Ron Turner, who came from Maine, Stewart took the court to start in his first varsity game. (Concord Monitor - John Tully)

So in case you missed the first offering, we’ve got a second helping of athletic accomplishments to wrap up 2013. We call it our annual Alphabet Awards. Just pick a letter …

A: Nick Alexander — The Lebanon ski jumper was named to the United States ‘A’ team, putting him in line for a second straight Olympic appearance. During the year, Alexander took second at nationals and also won the normal-hill title for the second straight year at Lake Placid.

B: Baseball — Dartmouth wins its sixth straight Ivy League Rolfe Division title.

C: Coaches — Woodsville soccer coach Mike Ackerman was named the New Hampshire Lions Cup coach for this summer’s all-star game. At the same time, the Marble Valley League honored Hartford’s Steve Sass and Woodstock’s Tom Avellino as the top coaches in their their respective divisions.

D: Destiny Donahue — Finished in first place overall out of 300 competitors in the Vermont state gymnastics meet.

E: Ed Tenney — Sunapee boys hoop coach was stricken with a mysterious ailment last year. After almost dying, he has made a full recovery and is coaching the Lakers this season.

F: First Prize — The Hartford High football team earned national recognition as the team with the best fan support in the country after winning a USA Today competition that invited fans to vote online for their favorite school team.

G: Grads — Mid-Vermont Christian graduate Gabe Proctor, competing for the Western State Colorado University men’s track and field team, won the NCAA Division II 10,000-meter national title; Hanover grad Heidi Robbins rowed to a gold medal at the World Rowing Cup in Lucerne, Switzerland; Hartford grad Devon Day was a member of the U-21 women’s soccer team that won a gold medal at the United World Games in Austria.

H: Heather Cox — The 15-year-old Hartland swimmer set a New England 200-meter freestyle record, breaking the mark set by Olympian Samantha Arsenault.

I: Ika Kovacikova — The Hanover resident swam the English Channel to raise awareness for violence intervention programs.

J: Jeff Stewart — Developmentally delayed Kearsarge basketball player got the start on senior night and was given the opportunity to score his team’s opening basket in a game against Newport, earning a standing ovation.

K: Kenny Weitzman — Lebanon skier earned statewide recognition when he was named skimeister following his performance at the New Hampshire state ski meet.

L: Larry Flint — This 67-year-old Newport resident participated in the National Senior Games in Cleveland. He competed in the shuffleboard event with his wife, Marie, and in race walking.

M: McLaughlin & Marrion — Former Woodstock football coach Jim McLaughlin and retired Cardigan Mountain School coach Jim Marrion were both celebrated this fall when their respective schools dedicated their football fields in their honor.

N: Noah Crane — Lebanon resident tried to bring a New England Collegiate Baseball League team to Lebanon. The effort will have to wait another year, until 2015.

O: Obits — The Upper Valley lost a number of special people this past year, many with sports backgrounds or credentials. Remembering those extraordinary who have died, the list includes Phil Bouthillier, the father of Hartford High hockey; Ralph Silva, longtime baseball and football coach at Stevens; and Bill Johnson, legendary Dartmouth golf coach and Hanover Country Club pro.

P: Pete Michelinie — Woodstock hiker earned rare triple crown, completing the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.

Q: Quartet of Titles — The Hanover girls hockey team has now won four straight NHIAA state titles after taking a 3-1 decision over Oyster River in the championship game.

R: Ramsey Worrell — Taking over from legendary Jim McLaughlin as Woodstock High football coach, Worrell led the Wasps to another perfect season and a state title, earning Division III coach of the year honors.

S: Tiger Shaw— A former Dartmouth and Olympic skier, Shaw was named president of U.S. skiing.

T: Buddy Teevens — The final week of the football season was a good one for Dartmouth head coach Buddy Teevens. On Monday of that week, Teevens found out his contract was being renewed. In celebration, his team went out the following Saturday and whipped Princeton in the season finale to end the season at 6-4, earn a third-place finish in the league standings and deny Princeton the outright Ivy title.

U: UConn — Former Thetford standout Jesse Chapman won the Big East decathlon championship for the Huskies.

V: Vermont Victors — State champions included a first-ever title for Rivendell golfers, championships for South Royalton’s baseball and boys track teams, a track title for the Woodstock girls, a baseball crown for Randolph and a softball title for Oxbow.

W: Whaleback — The much-maligned ski area, a favorite for young school children and extreme sports enthusiasts, has reopened this season after an agreement between the bank and Whaleback’s financial backers.

X: Xs & Os — Former Dartmouth football coach John Lyons, in his third year as the defensive coordinator at New Hampshire, had the Wildcats clawing the opposition this year, reaching the semifinals of the FCS playoffs. During the regular season, UNH had a five-game stretch in which the defense allowed 20 points or fewer. Don Brown, another former Upper Valley coach, is also having success as defensive coordinator at Boston College. The Eagles were ranked 11th nationally in sacks late in the season and 21st in tackles for loss. Recently, Brown was named one of 40 finalists for the Frank Broyles Award, given annually to the nation’s most outstanding assistant coach.

Y: Yuriy Bilonog — When the Ukrainian shot putter was stripped of his gold medal for failing a drug test during the 2004 Summer Games in Athens, Dartmouth grad Adam Nelson was awarded the top spot and the gold medal.

Z: Zack’s Place — A community-supported enrichment center for children and adults with special needs offering wide-ranging programs, including an annual five-kilometer road race.

Donald Mahler can be reached at dmahler@vnews.com or 603-727-3225.