HS Notebook: Three UV athletes make most of their summers

  • White River Junction's Will Kainen recently competed in the USA Swimming Junior National Championship meet in Buffalo, N.Y. Courtesy photograph

  • Hanover High junior Simon Phipps, 16, celebrates completion of Saturday's Mount Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb, in which he finished 18th out of nearly 200 competitors in his first attempt at the race. Courtesy photograph

  • Kimball Union Academy's Hillary Mackall made a return visit to the Under Armour All-American Underclass Lacrosse Tournament earlier this summer.

Valley News Sports Editor
Published: 8/24/2021 9:39:10 PM
Modified: 8/24/2021 9:39:10 PM

As Upper Valley high schools get closer to the start of the fall campaign, it occasionally pays to remember that area athletes keep busy beyond the scope of the scholastic season.

Three recent cases in point:

Simon Phipps, Norwich: Phipps may be more familiar as one half of the brother combination that helped Hanover High to a sweep of the NHIAA Division I Nordic skiing state title last March. He apparently can ride a bicycle, too.

The rising Hanover junior made a good accounting for himself on Saturday in his first attempt of the Mount Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb in Gorham. On a humid, 83-degree day with significant cloud cover at the summit, Phipps completed the 7.6-mile uphill route in 1 hour, 10 minutes, 40 seconds to place 18th out of the 192 cyclists who went the distance.

At 16 years of age, Phipps was the youngest competitor in the field. (Making it a family affair, his dad John also raced, finishing 87th in 1:32:52). The only junior cyclist in the race, Phipps gained a measure of status with his result: Should he return for next year’s Hillclimb, he’ll be able to start in the Top Notch wave, the first of six for the race, by beating the time standard of 1:20 to qualify.

Phipps joined his older brother, Noah, in powering Hanover to last year’s D-I ski title, sweeping both the classic and freestyle portions of the skiathlon-style final in a combined time of 22 minutes, 21.7 seconds over roughly 7.5 kilometers at Great Glen Trails.

Will Kainen, White River Junction: Kainen, a rising senior at Suffield (Conn.) Academy and a member of the Upper Valley Aquatic Club swim team, is heading to USA Swimming’s junior national championships this winter, the result of a qualifying performance at the Eastern Zone Senior Championships in at Erie Community College in Buffalo, N.Y., earlier this month.

Zones bring together top swimmers from around the eastern U.S. Kainen excelled among them in the 100-meter breaststroke, taking second place overall in 1 minute, 5.45 seconds after posting a second-place time of 1:05.89 in qualifying. Both times were more than two seconds better than his previous personal records. Kainen also took significant time off his other event at Zones, the 100 butterfly, although he was well back in the field.

The performance qualified Kainen to compete at USA Swimming’s junior nationals, which will be held this December in Greensboro, N.C.

Contacted on Tuesday, Kainen said he’s investigating several NCAA Division I opportunities and hopes to make a decision on his competitive future in the next couple of months.

Hillary Mackall, Norwich: The Kimball Union Academy junior-to-be continued her progression up the lacrosse ladder with a return to the Under Armour All-America Underclass Tournament in Baltimore.

A defender, Mackall earned a spot in the showcase event out of a mid-July tryout, joining the Highlight division roster (for prospective 2023 and 2024 high school graduates) for New England along with Hanover’s Allie McCorkle, a midfield teammate at KUA. Athletes represented teams from 12 regions of the country and competed in games over the weekend of July 29-Aug. 1.

Mackall, who also plays for Boston-based Revolution Lacrosse, was chosen for the Under Armour event last year as well and played on the New England Command team for rising freshmen and sophomores. This summer’s New England squad reached the event quarterfinals, beating a higher-ranked team from Baltimore in the process.

Soccer officials sought: High school and middle school soccer officials remain a need for the northern half of Vermont.

The Vermont Soccer Officials Association is hoping to fill some of that need by holding a varsity certification and rules clinic at South Burlington High School on Thursday from 2-8 p.m. Would-be referees need not commit to high school officiating, but registering for the clinic will make them eligible to work middle school and junior varsity contests from Thetford northward.

For more information, contact Bruce James at brucejamessoccer@hotmail.com.

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

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