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Dedication to a true sportsman - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Dedication to a true sportsman

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NEW BRISTOL, Vt. -

They were warmed up, fired up, and ready to take on the opponent. But first, these teens stepped up to honor one of their own.

"Today we pause to remember and celebrate Levi Duclos, a 2010 graduate of Mount Abraham." said Matt Sweeney, a teammate of Duclos.

Duclos, who was captain of the team in 2009, lost his life hiking on the Emily Ripton Trail in January.  His death has prompted a probe into the state's search and rescue policies to require a more immediate response to calls for help. But it was evident saturday that Duclos' sprit at Mt. Abe has lived on.

"He loved life and definitely was super nice to everybody; always being kind, had a big smile on his face, orange hair just bouncing around," explained Duclos' friend, Parker Thompson.

"Well he was just one of those guys that always had a smile or was always willing to help younger players," said Jeff Stetson, the athletic director.

One of those younger players, Number 6 Matt Sweeney, took it upon himself to preserve Duclos' legacy for generations of players yet to step foot on the pitch. Thru donations he raised enough money for two team benches, each adorned with a plaque highlighting Duclos' soccer career.

"His memory will be sustained by those who knew him and by presence of the team benches that now sit on this field," said Sweeney.

"For the kids being removed 2 or 3 years from Levi being here in 2009 to still have those strong feelings for him and really want to do something to honor and memorialize what he meant to our soccer program is great," said Stetson.

And another tribute at the south end of the field, a baby oak tree that will grow and live on just like Duclos' spirit at the school.

"Obviously no one will ever forget Levi because he was such an unforgettable character. But things like that, little reminders for people if they need a little boost in their day or whatever," said Thompson.

A legacy of a young man's life cut short, but who's memory will not be forgotten.

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