Top stories of 2014: #10 — High school athletes take home titles

ADDISON COUNTY — In recent years, young Addison County athletes have won more than their fair share of state championships — and 2014 was no exception.
Teams or individual athletes from each of the four local high schools — Middlebury, Mount Abraham, Otter Valley and Vergennes — earned banners.
Two teams repeated as champions, the MUHS football team and the Mount Abe girls’ basketball team; two teams became first-time champions, the Tiger girls’ ice hockey and Eagle girls’ soccer squads; and one local softball team, OV, defeated another, VUHS, in a state final.
Coach Dennis Smith’s Tigers posted a second straight 11-0 season on the way to another Division I football crown. Their talent and sweat in practices meant they hardly broke a sweat during games: Their closest contest was their first of the year, a 41-28 win at Essex. The Tigers defeated previously unbeaten St. Johnsbury in the final, 28-7.
Coach Connie LaRose’s Eagle girls’ basketball team defeated Fair Haven in the D-II final, 43-30, to finish at 18-4 in winning their second-straight title. The Eagles won their quarterfinal and semifinal games by 31 and 33 points, respectively, as they dominated D-II again.
Also last winter, in the D-II girls’ hockey final, the Tigers gutted out a 2-1 win over Burr & Burton despite being badly outshot. That victory capped a late-season surge for MUHS and gave the program its first-ever championship. To reach the final, the Tigers had to win another game in dramatic fashion, 2-1, over Stowe in double overtime.
Later in the spring, the Otter Valley and Vergennes softball teams capped superb seasons by meeting in a suspenseful D-II final. Coach Pattie Candon’s Otters lost a few games early, but were playing their best in the late going. Coach Mike Sullivan’s Commodores had the better record and the higher seed and had defeated some of the state’s best teams. In the end, the Otters scored the winning run in the seventh to win a well played, well pitched game, 2-1.
In the fall, Coach Dustin Corrigan’s Mount Abe girls’ soccer team won the area’s fifth championship, blanking Harwood in the D-II final, 1-0. The Eagles did not allow a goal in four playoff games as they won the school’s first title in girls’ soccer.
In individual sports, Commodore senior wrestler Kaegan Pearsall steamrolled his 160-pound opponent in the final, 10-1, to earn a title. His efforts helped VUHS team finish fifth in the state, the highest placement among teams that normally compete in D-II. However, Vermont does not recognize divisions in wrestling.
Finally, track athletes claimed three crowns. In the winter, Commodore junior Chris Castillo leapt 19 feet, 6.5 inches to win the D-II boys’ indoor track long jump title.
In the spring D-II championship meet, two Tigers brought home gold: Senior Max Moulton won the boy’s 800-meter run in 1:59.81, while sophomore Hannah Buttolph won the girls’ high jump title at a height of five feet, three inches, the best jump of any girl in the state.
Bring it on, 2015. 

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