Year in Review: High Schools
Looking back at the year that was at the high school level
BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - This year felt like it could have been several years packed into one. But it was a year that saw us trend back to what we know, back on the fields, out competing for state titles. 2021 brought us some incredible moments, so let’s take a look back at those high school teams that made those moments fun.
Let’s throw it back to the winter where there was nothing cold about the rice boys basketball team. The Green Knights capped off a perfect season, winning their eighth state title in the last 15 years after a blowout win against South Burlington in D1.
Montpelier won its first state title in 20 years and Green Mountain Union secured its first-ever state title in D3 in overtime, a thriller! 52-51 win over Williamstown.
On the girls side, we saw both the D1 and D4 games affected by COVID, seeing BFA - St. Albans handed its first title since 1993 and proctor winning in D4.
The girls hockey final between the Burlington-Colchester Sealakers and Essex would be another case where COVID ended title hopes before the game even started. The Sealakers literally waiting in the parking lot for test results before the Hornets would walk away with their third straight title.
There would be no more waiting for the Brattleboro boys hockey team. How about the Colonels taking down the reigning D2 champs Harwood on their way to their first-ever title in school history.
In D2 girls basketball, Fair Haven looked to become the first D2 girls team to win three straight championships with North Country looking for its first. And North Country did just that, snapping Fair Haven’s 42-game unbeaten streak in the process, winning 49-38.
There is always going to be more history, every year. But you want to talk about a historic moment? Look at Burr and Burton rolling to a gymnastics title in its very first season, marking the first time in 16 years neither Essex nor CVU claimed the crown.
Turning the page to the spring, let’s call it the spring of CVU. The Redhawks going back-to-back in D1 for boys baseball with a 13-0 shutout win against Brattleboro. A lacrosse dynasty that goes together with trophies like maple syrup and creemees, CVU’s boys made it eight straight in comeback fashion over Burr and Burton, winning it 8-7.
CVU loves a good comeback too. In boys tennis, the Redhawks came back to beat Stowe in the semifinals, then beat Burlington in the finals and bring their first title in 21 years back to Hinesburg.
U-32 baseball had a 2021 to remember: the Raiders had never won a state title on the diamond until they defeated rival Spaulding for the D2 title.
Keeping it on the diamond, BFA - St. Albans went back-to-back, earning its ninth softball state title in D1.
Nine is a lucky number because in D3, Oxbow held off BFA - Fairfax to also win its ninth state title.
Harwood might have had the upset of the year in boys lacrosse. The Highlanders landed the shock of the world upsetting undefeated Rice to claim the program’s second state title since 2018.
But the biggest props of the spring goes to Skyler Graves, as she became the first Stowe girls tennis player to win the state’s individual title in the tournament’s 25-year history.
Bringing it around to the fall, Joel marquardt gave us one of the best moments of the year. In overtime of the D1 boys soccer final, Marquardt called game off a free kick to end an 11-year title drought and complete a perfect season for the Essex Hornets.
Not to be outdone was the Milton boys soccer team. Not only can Milton say they completed a perfect season, but the Yellow Jackets lifted up their first state title in 30 years.
Mt. St. Joseph, stand up. MSJ played a little comeback ball to win their first-ever state title in D4.
Burlington boys volleyball went Kevin Garnett: “Anything is possible!” The seahorses ended CVU’s five-year streak and won the program’s first-ever state title.
South Burlington got revenge against Bellows Falls for a title in D1 field hockey, and Mt. Abe completed the four-peat in D2.
To football now, an all-Chittenden County D1 state title game for the first time ever saw Essex overcome CVU in a winter wonderland to win its first title since 2009.
All dominance from Bellows Falls in D2 and Windsor in D3: two perfect seasons, two more state titles, and too good of a sports year that delivered in its own unique way.
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