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WRV senior trio has known success in different softball guises

  • Fiona Vaillancourt of White River Valley winds up to pitch at Woodstock on Thursday, May 27, 2021. White River Valley won 23 - 7. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News — James M. Patterson

  • Chelsea Trask, left, warms up on deck as her White River Valley teammate Toni Turner, waits at center during their game with Woodstock Thursday, May 27, 2021. Teammates Trask, Turner and Fiona Vaillancourt played for the Whitchester softball team, formed when neither the Rochester and Whitcomb high schools had enough players to field their own full team. They’re now seniors playing for the undefeated White River Valley, which was created when South Royalton and Whitcomb combined into a new school district with Act 46 in 2018. White River Valley won the game 23-7. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. James M. Patterson

  • Toni Turner, of White River Valley tags up at first as Myah Earle, of Woodstock, right, keeps an eye on the play in Woodstock, Vt., Thursday, May 27, 2021. White River Valley won 23-7. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. James M. Patterson

  • Chelsea Trask, of White River Valley, left, stops on to say hello to her niece Avery Trask, right, on her way off the field between innings against Woodstock in Woodstock, Vt., Thursday, May 27, 2021. White River Valley won 23-7. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. James M. Patterson

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 5/27/2021 10:25:12 PM
Modified: 5/28/2021 12:22:55 PM

WOODSTOCK — White River Valley School softball has technically won two straight state championships.

Whitcomb High and Rochester High formed a cooperative softball team, dubbed Whitchester, which won a VPA Division IV state title in 2018, the schools’ final year of existence.

Whitcomb combined with South Royalton High to form White River Valley in the 2018-19 school year, and Rochester closed as well. The new Wildcats then went and won a D-III state crown.

With the 2020 season canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wildcats are hunting for another trophy this year. Following Thursday’s 23-7 win at Woodstock, they’re just one win away from an undefeated regular season.

Senior Fiona Vaillancourt said an undefeated season wasn’t a team goal coming into the season.

“I think we kind of try to hide that fact about us,” Vaillancourt said. “Honestly, it can be a lot of pressure, and you don’t really want to have that cocky attitude, especially going into the playoffs.”

Vaillancourt is one of three Wildcat seniors — along with Chelsea Trask and Toni Turner — who have been there for the whole championship streak between Whitchester and WRV.

Vaillancourt and Trask started in eighth grade and played two seasons for Whitchester, losing in the D-IV state championship game in 2017. Turner joined for their freshman season and hit the walk-off single to win the title game that year.

All three agreed that the current Wildcat squad is even better than the previous championship-winning teams. Vaillancourt attributed that to strong team chemistry.

“We didn’t have the team dynamic back then,” Vaillancourt said. “We had the pitching; we had the hitting. We got along, but it wasn’t like it is now. We just have a really good team, and we all work well together.”

Turner said the difference in dynamic between those teams was upperclassman leadership. (Hannah White and Blake Southworth are also seniors on the team).

Turner said the upperclassmen on the 2021 Wildcats are particularly inclusive of the underclassmen and, as role models, guide them during practices and games.

“I think just having that bond with them is making our team atmosphere just 10 times better,” Turner said.

The three seniors couldn’t compare the success they’ve had with both teams, but they acknowledged the distinctiveness of having that success at two different high schools. Trask and Turner both said it’s special that they’ve gone to the state championship game every year of their high school careers.

“They both have their special things,” Trask said. “We won as Whitchester in our last year, and then we won in our first year as Wildcats. So they were both kind of important wins.”

Vaillancourt said that past experience of making deep playoff runs and winning championships eases nerves going into the tournament this time. Trask added that because of those past runs, they know what it takes to go all the way and can make sure this year’s team is doing the right things to get there.

But Vaillancourt didn’t want to dwell on past accomplishments.

“I feel like every year we try to forget that we’ve done it in the past, because we don’t want to have that pressure. We don’t want to focus on that,” Vaillancourt said. “We want to focus on doing what we can this year and focusing on our competition this year, as opposed to what has happened previously. We just get more excited every year, I think.”

WRV will attempt to complete an undefeated regular season Saturday at home against West Rutland.

Seth Tow can be contacted at stow@vnews.com.

Update

This story has been updated to indicate that Hannah White and Blake Southworth are also seniors on the team.




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