Hartford wears out Harwood, repeats as D-II boys lax champion

Members of the Hartford High boys lacrosse team, including Brayden Trombly, holding plaque, celebrate winning their second consecutive Vermont Division II title with a 13-7 defeat of Harwood on June 15, 2024, at Norwich University in Northfield, Vt. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission.

Members of the Hartford High boys lacrosse team, including Brayden Trombly, holding plaque, celebrate winning their second consecutive Vermont Division II title with a 13-7 defeat of Harwood on June 15, 2024, at Norwich University in Northfield, Vt. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Valley News photographs — Tris Wykes

Hartford High lacrosse co-captains Brayden Trombly, left, and Ezra Mock celebrate after the Hurricanes defeated Harwood, 13-7, to win their second consecutive Vermont Division II state title on June 15, 2024, at Norwich University in Northfield, Vt. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission.

Hartford High lacrosse co-captains Brayden Trombly, left, and Ezra Mock celebrate after the Hurricanes defeated Harwood, 13-7, to win their second consecutive Vermont Division II state title on June 15, 2024, at Norwich University in Northfield, Vt. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Valley News photographs — Tris Wykes

Hartford High's Ryan Spaulding, left, hugs Ezra Mock after the Hurricanes' 13-7 defeat of Harwood to win their second consecutive Vermont Division II title on June 15, 2024, at Norwich University in Northfield, Vt. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission.

Hartford High's Ryan Spaulding, left, hugs Ezra Mock after the Hurricanes' 13-7 defeat of Harwood to win their second consecutive Vermont Division II title on June 15, 2024, at Norwich University in Northfield, Vt. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission.

Hartford High goaltender Graham Thompson takes a moment to himself after the Hurricanes' 13-7 defeat of Harwood to win their second consecutive Vermont Division II title on June 15, 2024, at Norwich University in Northfield, Vt. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission.

Hartford High goaltender Graham Thompson takes a moment to himself after the Hurricanes' 13-7 defeat of Harwood to win their second consecutive Vermont Division II title on June 15, 2024, at Norwich University in Northfield, Vt. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission.

Hartford High goaltender Ryan Thompson can't stop Harwood's Milo Lovitt, right, from scoring during the Vermont Division II teams' title-game meeting on June 15, 2024, at Norwich University in Northfield, Vt. Hartford won, 13-7. Adam Wheatley is at left. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission.

Hartford High goaltender Ryan Thompson can't stop Harwood's Milo Lovitt, right, from scoring during the Vermont Division II teams' title-game meeting on June 15, 2024, at Norwich University in Northfield, Vt. Hartford won, 13-7. Adam Wheatley is at left. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. —Tris Wykes

Hartford High's Brayden Trombly, left, points to a teammate while celebrating a goal during the Hurricanes' 13-7 defeat of Harwood during the Vermont Division II's teams' title-game meeting on June 15, 2024, at Norwich University in Northfield, Vt. Nick Daniels is at right. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission.

Hartford High's Brayden Trombly, left, points to a teammate while celebrating a goal during the Hurricanes' 13-7 defeat of Harwood during the Vermont Division II's teams' title-game meeting on June 15, 2024, at Norwich University in Northfield, Vt. Nick Daniels is at right. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. —Tris Wykes

By TRIS WYKES

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 06-17-2024 2:53 AM

Modified: 06-19-2024 4:42 PM


NORTHFIELD, Vt. — Saturday’s VPA Division II boys lacrosse final between Hartford High and Harwood Union High began with a Highlander goal and the scorer immediately running towards the Hurricanes’ student section with a finger to his mask.

Ninety minutes later, however, Hartford and its supporters were in full and unrestrained voice after winning a second consecutive title, this time by a 13-7 score. The Hurricanes finished 18-1 and are 36-1 the past two seasons, their only loss coming against Division I semifinalist Woodstock.

“The feeling never gets old,” said seventh-year Hartford coach Grant Whiteway. “It’s always special, especially for our senior group. You get everyone’s best shot at you when you’re the defending champion.”

Hartford trailed, 3-2, after a quarter and led, 5-4, at halftime. The Hurricanes rattled off five consecutive goals after intermission and held a 10-5 lead following the third quarter. Any thoughts of a comeback for the Highlanders (13-3) disappeared when they surrendered the final stanza’s first three goals.

“We knew we had to come out in the second half and turn it on,” said midfielder Brayden Trombly. “We were ready to rip, and they weren’t ready for that knockout punch.”

Ezra Mock had four goals and Trombly three for the Hurricanes, who also received two strikes each from Austin St. Peter and Cavan Benjamin. Graham Thompson made eight saves.

After five fruitless trips to the finals in Divisions II and III, Hartford broke through last season for the first title in program history. The Hurricanes are 109-27 the last eight years.

“This has a certain specialness to it, because I was 0-2 in the last two state championship games,” said Trombly, part of finalist teams in football and basketball earlier in the school year.

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“It was hot out here, and I think (Harwood) was pretty gassed and demoralized.”

Whiteway said his team’s midfield depth wore the Highlanders down. The northern Vermonters had two or three standouts who played nearly the entire game, while Hartford was continually hustling players on and off the field.

“We run so many middies that we know we’re going to have fresh legs down the stretch,” Whiteway said. “We trust a lot of our guys to play offense and defense, not just one or the other.”

Hartford, skilled at passing the ball and creating assisted goals, on Saturday took more of a one-on-one approach. Hurricanes dodged aggressively and shot often, leading to good looks at the net behind Highlander goaltender Evan Andrews.

“We knew where the matchups were that we could take advantage of,” Trombly said. “We knew help defense wasn’t their strong suit, so if we could beat our guy we could get to the net.”

The senior paused and looked around. Football at Maine’s Husson College is next for Trombly, a coach’s son who played three sports in high school and who aspires to become a teacher.

“We graduated last night, so it’s surreal to think I’m not in high school anymore,” he said. “This was my last, real high school activity.”

Tris Wykes can be reached at twykes@vnews.com.