By Edd Merritt, Contributing editor

Mixed Unified Sports is more than just a game
Bill Littlefield has a weekly program on NPR called “Only a Game.” In it, he broadens the meaning of sports, often talking about what they aren’t more than what they are.

Mixed Unified Sports Basketball at CVU is definitely more than dribbles and hook shots. It is a way of incorporating sports, socialization with peers and increased self-esteem. The Unified program is a combined product of schools in Vermont and Special Olympics. It provides students with and without special needs, including intellectual difficulties, with opportunities to participate meaningfully in sports activities in a variety of settings. The bi-gender Unified teams compete in five sports—soccer, bowling, snowshoeing, basketball and bocce. The Redhawks won the first state Unified Basketball Tournament in 2016.

This year’s Unified Redhawk basketball team is off to a winning start with a 5 and 1 record. So far they have played Burlington, BFA-St. Albans, Colchester, Milton, Montpelier and Mount Mansfield, defeating all but MMU.

In July, the state Special Olympics will send “Team Vermont” to the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle, Washington. The team will include 10 athletes and two coaches from CVU. Over 4,000 competitors from around the country will be there. The Vermont basketball team will be coached by Peter Booth and Anthony Spagnolo. Booth is also a CVU math teacher. 

Men’s LAX goes from Vermont to New Hampshire to Maine without a loss
CVU men’s lacrosse stands at 5 wins against no losses. The most recent game was at Cape Elizabeth, Maine and proved to be the closest so far. The Redhawks managed to hold on to a 6-4 win, low scoring for a LAX contest. The goals were spread among five players, three of them from Charlotte. Max Gorman had two and assisted on another. The Braun brothers, Walter and Will added a goal apiece with Walter assisting twice. Charlotte’s Andrew Tieso in the net was called upon for five saves.  

The win in Maine followed two in the home state. On April 16 the Hawks traveled to Rutland and came back victorious by nine goals, 15-6. Again, Charlotters figured heavily in the scoring with Will Braun’s hat trick, Walter’s two netters and Max Gorman’s single tally. Nick Cuttitta led the way with five goals and two assists. 

Before the snow hit in early April, CVU beat neighboring Hanover, New Hampshire, 10-2, in a game in which Will Braun scored half the team’s goals and Andrew Tieso stopped 12 shots. They then faced South Burlington and collared the Wolves by a 12-4 score.

Lady LAXers stand at three wins and only one loss
Going back to April 10, CVU’s women’s lacrosse won three times before falling short against Mt. Anthony by two goals, 12-10. Seniors Bella Reiley and Lydia Maitland have been effective shooters for the Redhawks, and co-captain Becca Provost has proved to be a leader on the field. That said, however, the Mount Anthony loss was somewhat disheartening after falling to the Patriots in the semifinals of the state tournament for the last two years. It does give the Hawks something to shoot for should the two schools face each other again this year.

“Just to hit the ball and touch ‘em all, a moment in the sun.” John Fogerty – Centerfield. Photo by Al Frey.

Baseball team isn’t large, but it’s good
CVU’s hardball team has only 17 players, although coach Tim Albertson is quoted in the Free Press, saying he believes “our depth is our strongest attribute.”  The team’s record this season seems to bear that out, as it shows four wins and no losses. 

On April 24 CVU captured its third win, this one over BFA-St. Albans 3-1. Hank Caswell pitched the complete game for the victory, allowing only three hits. Throwing errors hurt the Bobwhites and allowed the Redhawks to score two unearned runs. Jonah Roberts and Jake Bortnick were offensive leaders for CVU, Jonah hitting a triple before scoring and Jake bringing in a run with a sacrifice fly. 

Rayoma Silverman at the plate. Photo by Al Frey

The latest victory over Burr and Burton last Saturday had Jonah Roberts blasting a three-run double in a sixth inning that produced four runs for the Hawks. Kyle Rivers was the winning pitcher, going six innings and allowing only two earned runs while striking out six. Liam Reiner had three hits, two of them doubles with one leading to an RBI, and Aidan Johnson had two hits while Jake Bortnick brought home two runs with his single.

CVU tennis topples St. Johnsbury
Both men and women took to the Kingdom courts to play St. Johnsbury Academy in tennis. And both Redhawk teams returned victorious. The women dominated with senior Stephanie Joseph leading off as the number-one singles player who shut down her St. Jay opponent 8-0. Charlotter Jalen Murphy and her doubles partner Ella Kenney won their top doubles match 8-1.

The men had a tougher time having to pull out both doubles’ matches, one of them by forfeit, to gain a 4-3 team victory. Josh Ashoon and Oliver Bijur were singles winners, Josh in a close 8-6 match, Oliver with a bit more leeway, winning 8-1.

Softball begins strong but drops its last three games
A 30-6 win over Vergennes started the season with a bang for the CVU softball team. However, the glow of that victory soon dimmed as they lost their next three games to Colchester, St. Johnsbury and BFA-St. Albans. Second-year coach Mike Sullivan sees that he has his work cut out for him. But the season is still young, and he feels there is talent on the team. Riley Canty will be the starting pitcher with Page Niarchos, a senior shortstop, leading the team at the plate. Sullivan says he will be doing some shifting around of players and positions to determine the correct lineup. Charlotte’s Rayona Silverman is among the starters. 

Redhawk Alice Larson captures events at Essex Vacational Track Meet
As she has been doing all winter, CVU’s Alice Larson won the 1,500- and 3,000-meter races at this year’s Essex Vacational. Her times were just over five minutes and just under 11 minutes respectively.