Local roundup: Vermont high school sports contests delayed at least a week

Staff Reports
Published: 9/17/2020 7:06:41 PM
Modified: 9/17/2020 9:31:57 PM

MONTPELIER — The return of high school sports in Vermont will be delayed by at least another week.

The athletic directors of two Upper Valley schools confirmed on Thursday that the Vermont state government will not move to Step III of its Strong and Healthy Start school reopening plan on Friday. Rivendell Academy AD Ross Convertino and Hartford High AD Jeff Moreno both said they received word of the decision, which will result in the cancellation or rescheduling of what had been hoped to be the first games of the coronavirus pandemic-delayed season.

Vermont schools are currently operating at Step II, which permits “in-person instruction with enhanced physical distancing measures ... for children who live in the local geographic area only,” according to the state’s plan. Step III would allow interscholastic competition to begin.

Convertino said the news filtered down from the Vermont Agency of Education earlier Thursday.

“It’s a bummer, and it’s disappointing,” Convertino said. “We’ll go back to the practice field and go about our business as we have been. It’ll be exciting to play when we can play.”

Moreno said the Vermont Principals Association had told schools, when they started to build new fall schedules to counter the late start of classes on Sept. 8, to look toward Sept. 21 as a season start date. Hartford had about 20 varsity and subvarsity games on its schedule for next week; it’s unlikely they will be rescheduled.

“We had already filled in all available holes for us,” Moreno said. “We found any available hole and plugged in Hanover, Lebanon, Thetford, all of the closest schools. We had a full schedule the rest of the way on Monday. We’ll now start on the 28th, again in the best-case scenario.”

Ted Fisher, the Agency of Education’s director of communications and legislative affairs, noted in a Thursday email that the state hasn’t delayed movement between step levels. He said some schools might be guilty of scheduling games prematurely.

“There was never a timeline given for movement to Step III after school reopening,” Fisher wrote. “The guidance anticipates that the Health Department will assess public health conditions and consider moving schools to Step III and gives a tentative timeline for the decision to occur after the first two weeks of school. We are still in week 2 of school reopening.”

Fisher said the Agency of Education and the Department of Health continue to monitor conditions and will decide upon a move to Step III based on statewide data and “how things are going in schools specifically.” The state hopes to make a decision next week, Fisher added, with the next change in step coming the following week “to allow school districts to prepare.”

The Northern Vermont Athletic Conference earlier this month decided to delay the start of games until at least Sept. 28. Rivendell and Hartford are members of the Southern Vermont League in most sports.

— Greg Fennell

BOYS SOCCER Stainton to coach Woodstock

WOODSTOCK — Woodstock Union High School has tapped former Sharon Academy coach Rob Stainton as its new boys soccer coach.

Stainton, a science teacher at TSA, guided the Phoenix for 13 seasons before stepping down in 2017 to coach his twin daughters on Sharon’s middle school girls soccer team. The England native produced a 170-42-10 record after taking over the nascent boys program in 2005, making the VPA Division IV semifinals 11 times and the D-IV title game on five occasions, although Sharon never claimed a state crown.

The Wasps parted with coach Tom Avellino last month. Avellino had an 87-34-13 record in eight seasons with three trips to the VPA D-II final, each a defeat, two of them on penalty-kick tiebreakers.

GOLF Plottner, Allen share Lake Morey medal

FAIRLEE — Hanover’s Ben Plottner and Stevens’ Finn Allen shared the individual medal at a three-school match held on the front nine at Lake Morey Country Club.

Plottner and Allen both finished at 2-over-par 36 to lead their respective teams. Dylan Adamovich (37) and Reeve Wilkinson (39) also broke 40 for the Cardinals. The Marauders backed Plottner with depth as Dylan Jopp (41), Brendan Wolter (42), Trevor Pierce (42), Natalie Morhun (43) and John Hill (43) all landed with two strokes of each other. Jake LaBelle had a team-best 40 for Kearsarge.

Hanover heads to Walpole’s Hooper Golf Club to meet host Fall Mountain on Monday. Stevens is also back in action on Monday, entertaining Lebanon, Kearsarge and Newport at Claremont Country Club.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL Dartmouth airing recent greatest hits

HANOVER — With Ivy League football canceled, Dartmouth will air some of the program’s top contests on its YouTube channel on the dates this season’s games would have been played.

Instead of opening against D-II New Haven on Saturday, Dartmouth will instead show the 2016 season opener between the Big Green and then-No. 22 New Hampshire. Eight of the 10 weeks have been assigned games from either the 2015, ’16 or ’17 campaign, including Dartmouth’s 2017 contest with Brown at Fenway Park, scheduled for Nov. 7.

All of the rebroadcasts will start at 1:30 p.m. and will include input from players and coaches involved in the contests. Participants in each broadcast will be announced on Wednesday prior to each contest. Go to www.youtube.com and search for the Dartmouth football channel or visit the Big Green football schedule on www.dartmouthsports.com.

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