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Sports writers laud trio for December performances

VERMONT — The Vermont Sports Media Association has picked Williamstown High School senior basketball player Jason Manwaring, Northfield High School junior hockey player Kristen Dukette and Norwich University senior rugby player Rose Bernheim as its December athletes of the month.
In statewide balloting, VSMA members elected Manwaring the Male High School Athlete of the Month, Dukette the Female High School Athlete of the Month, and Bernheim the Open Division Athlete of the Month.
A VSMA member had first nominated each for his or her outstanding efforts in the month of December. Local nominees were Middlebury Union High School senior wrestler Jakob Trautwein and Middlebury College senior basketball player Joey Kizel.
Manwaring netted 95 points in the Blue Devils’ 4-0 December. He scored 24 points and added 13 rebounds, three assists and four blocks in a 52-50 win over U-32, sealing the victory with a late 24-foot three-pointer. He notched 16 points and 14 rebounds at Winooski; 33 points, eight rebounds, two steals and two blocks against Hazen; and 22 points against Randolph. All four games were on the road and pushed Williamstown’s winning streak to 31 games.
Manwaring outpolled five other high school seniors for the honor: hockey players Max Major of Rutland and Ross Delabruere of North Country Union, basketball players Tyson Boudro of Windsor and Kyle Johnson of Danville, and Trautwein.
Trautwein, a 182-pound wrestler, compiled a 10-0 record in December and won two tournaments, the Peru (N.Y.) Invitational on Dec. 21 and the Tigers’ own Hubie Wagner Invitational on Dec. 27 and 28. In the Wagner Invitational Trautwein won his first five matches by pin in less than 1:27, and then pinned his finals opponent with 0:52 to go in the second period.
Dukette was the driving force as the Marauders went 7-1-1 in December, scoring 16 goals in the Marauders’ nine December games and adding eight assists. Dukette reached the 100-point milestone against Rice on Dec. 12, and she broke the school scoring record, which had been set by her sister, with her 69th career goal on Dec. 23. Dukette finished the month with 114 points and 76 goals in two-plus seasons.
Also nominated were two senior basketball players, Emily Kinneston of Champlain Valley Union and Morgan Raiche of West Rutland.
Bernheim, a fullback for Norwich women’s rugby, scored in both the American Collegiate Rugby Association Division I semifinal and final to help Norwich win the first-ever ACRA National Championship in Florida on Dec. 7 and 8. She scored two tries in NU’s 32-15 win over Army in the final and one try in the Cadets’ 43-30 win over Northern Iowa in the semi. She was named the rugbymag.com National 7s Player of the Year and the This is American Rugby Player of the Year.
Kizel was also nominated for the Open Division honor.
Kizel, a preseason NCAA Division III All-American guard, averaged 19 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.7 steals as the Panthers won all three of their December games.
The three December winners will receive plaques from Initial Ideas, sponsor of the VSMA Athlete of the Month program.
More information about the VSMA is available from organization president Josh Kaufmann of the St. Albans Messenger at [email protected].

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