Sports Report

Goalie Ali Wainer stands strong in her net. Photo by Al Frey

CVU baseball goes orange
Saturday, May 17, was a special day for the Redhawk baseball team, for the school itself and, particularly, for Storm Rushford, a sophomore who had contributed strongly to the team’s success through his all-around play as a pitcher, hitter and fielder – that is until physical weakness invaded his body and he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia last summer. He felt it during a game he was playing for CVU’s American Legion team, S.D. Ireland. Storm underwent treatment that will last for several years, according to his doctors. Led off by Storm throwing a ritual opening pitch, the “Strike Out Cancer” game against Essex, which CVU won 7-6, was seen by his teammates as a win for him as much as for the team. Pitcher Liam Reiner was quoted in the May 19 Burlington Free Press as committing to victory before he took to the mound, “I kind of made a promise to myself and Storm . . . that we’re not walking out with anything other than a ‘W’”.

Individual state tennis tournaments have a Redhawk look
Throughout this season, both men’s and women’s tennis teams have performed well – both individually and as doubles players. This weekend was state tournament time for individuals, both in singles and doubles. In the singles bracket it was yet another Joseph year, the eighth in a row for the sisters, as younger sister Stephanie claimed the title by blanking Woodstock’s Momo Biele 6-0, 6-0. Also finding the Burlington Tennis Club courts to their liking were Redhawk doubles players Kendall Blanck and Renee Dauerman who defeated a South Burlington duo 6-2, 6-2. They did not lose a set in moving through the tournament, playing four rounds.

On the men’s side of the ledger, Ivan Llona and Josh Ashooh split their semi-final singles matches with Ashooh advancing to the finals and Llona losing to his Essex opponent. Josh earned the number two state ranking after losing to the Hornets’ Preston Gordon in the final match 6-0, 6-1. 

The CVU doubles team of Joe Warren and Ethan Lisle gave their Montpelier opponents a tough battle in the semi-final round before dropping a three-set match 2-6, 7-6, 7-6.

Major turnout for Essex Invitational Track Meet
Saturday saw sunshine, runners and throwers invade Essex Junction for the annual Essex Invitational Track Meet. CVU placed a number of finishers among the top six in their events. Ella Whitman and Alice Larson led the Redhawks, placing first and second in the 3,000-meter run, with Jennifer Ireland not far behind in fifth place. Alice and Ella also ran near the top of the field at 1,500 meters where Alice came in second and Ella fifth. Caroline Hill showed her dash ability by finishing second at 200 meters and third at 100 meters. On the men’s side, Parker Soares was the only Redhawk to place among the top six in his event. He did that breaking the finish tape in sixth place in the 1,500-meter run.  

Redhawk football players receive a donation for meatpacking
The CEO of a neighboring Hinesburg business, Vermont Smoke & Cure, presented a $500 donation in recognition of the work of five Redhawk football players who helped supply a large customer order of meat sticks. CEO Tara Murphy presented the check to the team at its player/parent meeting, May 21. The mother of player William Murphy, she announced that there would be additional opportunities for sponsorships, an announcement that coincides with the beginning of the Boosters’ 2018 fundraising campaign. They look to raise at least $25,000 annually to help support the team’s expenses, since it cannot be done totally from the school’s athletic budget.

Speaking about meatpacking, what about artificial turf?
Parents were very active in the last attempt to replace natural grass, and it appears they are up to it again. The main complaint, according to an article in the Burlington Free Press on May 20, is that its lack has caused CVU spring teams in particular to move games scheduled for Redhawk fields to those of the opponents who have artificial turf. At the moment, only four high schools fit the category–Rutland, Essex, South Burlington and Burlington. The amount of rain we encountered this spring caused a number of games in a variety of sports to be postponed or moved because of CVU’s waterlogged fields. The natural turf also impacts early season practice according to women’s lacrosse coach Tucker Pierson. He notes that they try to get time in the gym, the parking lot, even the Shelburne field house. But, they are competing for non-school time with other teams, varsity and JV. 

A major factor is the cost of the project. The previous attempt was estimated to cost $2.6 million, according to the Free Press article. Voters in the CVU school district turned down a $1.5 million dollar bond and a $700,000 bond the following year by close, but decisive nonetheless, votes. Part of the reason for the healthy tab to do the project is the clay-based soil around CVU that inhibits drainage.

Athletic Director Dan Shepardson would like to see it happen. He had coached soccer there and knows firsthand the difficulty with natural turf. He says that between the large size of the school, the limitations of soil-based fields and the population the school serves, it ought to done. Yet, he also recognizes the expense involved. 

Having played high school sports before the advent of artificial turf, this author knows the ins and outs of slips in the mud. Our greater impediment, though was slipping on fish flies in the outfield.