Edd Merritt, Contributing Editor

The Buccaneers youth football team proudly walks the Williston 4th of July parade with their Northern Vermont Youth Football League trophy. Photo by Jill Diemer.

It’s the all-star season
From twin-state games to in-state stars, sports and individuals have taken the form of all-star prowess in the last month.

Ute Otley “Coach of the Year.”
CVU women’s basketball coach, Ute Otley led her charges to a fifth straight state championship last winter with a three-point win over a tough Saint Johnsbury team. It did not happen without serious sweat and determination, however, having lost her top scorers and team leaders for the last four years. Annabelle Pugliese, Laurel Jaunich and Ute’s daughter, Sadie, had never played for a losing team as long as they were at CVU. They didn’t know the meaning of the word. Having gone four seasons without one in the state’s top division, the Redhawks set a record in Vermont for consecutive wins at 96. This past season was slightly more strenuous, however, its toughest point, perhaps, being a loss to BFA St. Albans on CVU’s home court. However, the BFA loss seemed to turn things around as Otley managed to step in with some game preparations that led her team to its fifth straight state title and earn her “Coach of the Year” honors from the Burlington Free Press. Her assistant coach, Dick Carlson, is quoted in Friday’s Free Press saying, “This year she had to make adaptations and changes. She didn’t have the big-name players and maybe there’s more credit this year from when she had star players.” She had to go back to basics, build left-handed play and work strongly with guards whose outside moves and passing started moving the ball toward the basket in the Hawks’ offensive zone, producing the needed scoring plays.

CVU’s Tyler Marshall Vermont Athlete of the Year
Cross country running, Nordic skiing, outdoor track. You put Tyler Marshall, a senior at CVU, in the starting spots for any of these sports, and his legs do the rest. They do so well, in fact, that he earned the title of “Male Athlete of the Year” from the Burlington Free Press, joining his woman counterpart, South Burlington’s Annika Nielsen who also starred in three sports for the soon-to-be Wolves. Alpine skiing brought her major victories, including the Eastern high school Giant Slalom championship that she earned in her fourth year as a member of Vermont’s regional team.

Marshall’s records included a fall victory with a record time in the Northern Vermont Athletic Conference (NVAC) Metro championships. He then went on to set the Division I 3,000 meters record and coupled it with victories at 800 and 1,500 meters. His final competition came at the New England Meet when, despite not letting his coach know he would be competing, he finished seventh in a school record time.

CVU’s Parento scores winning goal in Make-A-Wish Hockey
Joe Parento knocked in Vermont’s winning goal in the third period to gain a 3-2 victory over New Hampshire and earn a split in the day’s Twin-State hockey games. It was Vermont’s first win in five years and only the second since 2004. New Hampshire gained the split by winning the women’s game 7-5 in the afternoon. The 25th annual tournament was played this year at UVM’s Gutterson Rink.

Coaches name all-star teams in lacrosse, baseball and softball
Let’s begin with the state champs in men’s lacrosse, the CVU Redhawks. The coaches named a number of them to Division I all-state teams in addition to Charlie Bernicke cited as an All-American and Walter Braun as a Vermont Lacrosse Coaches’ Green and Gold Outstanding Player. The high scoring Bernicke made Vermont’s D-I first team at attack with Walter Braun at midfield and Sam Comai as a long-stick midfielder. Ryan Trus earned second team at defense.

On the women’s ledger, the coaches selected Lydia Maitland and Bella Rieley at midfield on the Division I first team. Throughout the year the Redhawk middies played as strong a defense as they did offense, keeping the ball in the opponent’s end of the field through a large portion of many games. Cate Noel, a second-team all-stater, provided an offensive punch at attack, and Becca Provost, another midfielder, was also named to the second all-state team. Fiona Love made the second team on defense.

In addition to all-state status in lacrosse, Lydia Maitland was named by the Burlington Free Press in its July 9 issue as one of the athletes who left her mark in 2016-2017 in a number of sports. Writer Austin Danforth said she was a “midfield lynchpin” in field hockey, an “influential forward” on the Mount Mansfield/CVU women’s hockey team and earned a “coaches’ nod for her exploits leading CVU to the D-I semifinals in lacrosse.”

The baseball diamond was the site of some strong play by CVU this year as well. The team earned a trip to the state tournament, making it through a playdown before losing to South Burlington in the quarterfinals. Pitchers Hunter Anderson and Kyle Rivers were named first and second team Metro All-stars respectively. Liam Reiner, an infielder, made the second team as well. Jacob Bortnick and Chris O’Brien received honorable mention.

A second team Metro star and three players receiving honorable mention were where CVU softballers fell this season. First-base person Natalie Gagnon earned a place on the second-team roster, while Shayla Lawrence, Paige Niarchos and Hattie Roberts all received honorable mention.