Redhawk Cole Mason. Photo by Al Frey.

Redhawk Mason Ottley. Photo by Al Frey.

Burton boards conquer Korea
Watching the Olympic half-pipe runs Wednesday night, it appeared that nearly every snowboard doing flips high above the pipe had “Burton” written on the underside. This could easily have been preceded by “Jason” or “Grant” (Garvey or Manning), two Charlotte natives who contributed a great deal to the board designs. Grant’s cousin “Thunder” from North Ferrisburgh is also a Burton designer, and among the three of them, they play a lead role in generating snowboards for some of the world’s top riders. “Thunder” worked with gold medalist Shaun White to help create a board that carried him over the top in his final run on the half-pipe last week.

This is Grant’s second Olympics as a Burton employee, and he is fascinated with his work. His friend Garvey has been a Burton employee for 20 years and has seen a number of Olympic adventures. He is now the proto-shop supervisor, a position that puts him in charge of overseeing designs and design changes and heading the area of the company where the boards are actually built.

I spoke with Grant, who had just returned from mountain boarding in Telluride, Colorado.  I asked him when he first became interested in boards. He said that he had been passionate about them from an early age, and when his friend Jason talked to him about a job at Burton, he felt it was an opportunity to put some things he’d learned over the years to use in their design.

I asked him how boards vary. He said that much of it depends on the differences in riders. As a designer, he starts by assessing a variety of factors: the boarder himself, his height, weight and body type, the course, and perhaps weather conditions that may impact the snow conditions. He then works with an engineer to create a board that would suit the rider’s physique and style. Once engineered, Manning will pass the board on to the rider to try out and to give Burton people feedback. If it requires modification in design, they will do that and provide him with a finished product. Jason worked with bronze medalist Mark McMorris, a Canadian, and Grant helped slope-style gold medalist, Red Gerard, to design their medal-winning boards. These are no mean feats, given the close skill among competitors at this level and the seemingly minor differences that can lead from a stand on the podium to a place back in the pack.

By the way, Grant’s mother, Carrie, owner of Spear’s Corner Store in East Charlotte, is a “Tractor Parader” not a snow-boarder.

Redhawk women’s basketball team experiences its first losses in over five seasons
Losing a game, what does that mean? To many players on CVU women’s basketball team, it means a whole new experience.

Being outscored by 12 points in the final quarter is also something new. However, that is exactly what the St. Johnsbury Hilltoppers did to the Hawks two weeks ago, cutting their 2017-2018 unbeaten season record to 13 wins, 1 loss with a 42-36 victory. St. Jay rallied to come from behind after trailing 22-14 at halftime. The loss marked only the fourth in the last 133 games for CVU and its first since winning the Division I state championship last year. Harper Mead was the only Redhawk scorer to hit for double digits with 10 points.

Since then, CVU has come back with three wins, a 55-20 home victory over Mount Anthony, followed by a 54-21 rout of Spaulding in which Mead again led the team in baskets, and then a 44-20 victory over South Burlington behind Shannon Loiseau’s 16 points. Rice, however, topped the Hawks on Saturday by 18 points, 47-29.

Coach Otley feels that, partly due to the youth of this year’s team, it will need an opportunity to develop as it moves forward, hopefully becoming another title contender by the end of the regular season. Again, as one reads the scoring sheets, no one individual stands out, an indication that opponents cannot look to double up on one player and expect others not to contribute. Breadth of scoring and a strong defense have been CVU’s strengths during Otley’s coaching reign.

CVU’s state champion gymnasts. Photo by Al Frey.

CVU gymnasts are state champs
The Redhawk gymnastics team ended Essex’s 12-year domination of the sport by winning this year’s state finals by a mere two points and maintaining an undefeated season record (10-0). It took, however, a season’s high total of 142.325 points to do it. According to Coach Madison Bourdeau, the beam competition presented itself as the critical event. As it turned out, CVU beamers Delaney Miller-Bottoms, Laurynn Bombardier and Alix St. Hilaire finished second, fourth and sixth to make up for the team falling behind early in

the meet. Tali Giubardo tied for third and led three other Redhawks in the All-Around category after she won the floor exercises. Her sister Jam won bars and Laurynn Bombardier, the vault.

Nordic skiers hit the trails around U-32
CVU’s Nordic ski racers hit the trails in a skate race at U-32 High School. The men, behind strong efforts from Charlotte’s Jack Boynton and Gus Lunde, finished second to the winner, Mount Anthony. Gus and Jack were clustered behind the leading Redhawk finisher, Jared Leonard, at fifth, sixth and seventh places.

Coach Sarah Strack’s daughter, Emma, was the top individual women’s finisher, winning the race in less than 23 minutes and pacing CVU women to a second-place team finish behind host U-32. Co-captain Geneva Cote was the other Redhawk among the top 10 skiers, completing the course in eighth place.

Redhawk Alice Larson sweeps two races in Division I Indoor Track
Freshman runner Alice Larson from CVU was one of only two runners to win both their races in this winter’s Division I Indoor Track Championships at UVM. She topped the field at 1,500 and 3,000 meters.