Year in review: Vermont high school sports

Relive some of the exciting action from the year in Vermont high school sports
Relive some of the exciting action from the year in Vermont high school sports
Published: Dec. 22, 2022 at 10:59 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - This season’s winter sports teams are just getting warmed up for the season, and on the hardwood, all eyes on the reigning champion Knights. The Rice boys team locked up their third consecutive state crown this year, holding off Rutland down the stretch, and the girls team reached the mountaintop for the first time since 2012 in style, cruising to a 17-point win in Patrick Gym just one week prior. In D4, it was just meant to be for Blue Mountain, marching their way into the title game and needing every last second to win it. Jacob Dube, doing his thing, calling game at the buzzer, sealing eternal glory.

Speaking of wild finishes, the hockey state championships delivered one of those. In D2 boys, Milton feared nothing - not even a 3-0 deficit against the #1 seed. After clawing back to tie it at 3, the Yellowjackets score in overtime, capping a crazy comeback. In D1, it was Essex returning to glory, capturing its first state crown since 2019, shutting down Rice to win a 2-1 nail-biter. On the girls side, history for Woodstock, as they earned their first D2 girls hockey title in program history with a side of revenge, defeating Hartford, the only team to beat them in the regular season. And from almost perfect to actually perfect, it was BFA St. Albans hoisting its first trophy since 2018 by way of an undefeated season.

It was the winter of the dynasty for some sports, as Rutland cheer captured its 8th straight title. Essex gymnastics won its 14th in 17 years. South Burlington dance took home its 6th straight crown in the pom division, and Mount Mansfield improved their streak to 5 in jazz, and 7 in hip hop.

Spring arrived, and brought us champions old and new. St. Johnsbury served up its first ever boys tennis state title, while the Stowe and Montpelier girls both successfully repeated in D2 and D1.

New names sat atop the girls lacrosse world, as Hartford scored early and often, and completed their unblemished season with a trophy, while BFA St. Albans won a 10-9 nail-biter to claim its first girls lacrosse crown. On the boys side, it was the same as it had been for 8 years prior, as CVU won its remarkable ninth-consecutive lacrosse crown.

On the diamond, the wait was over. The Essex boys won their first baseball championship since 2010, while Spaulding ended a 32 year drought of their own in D2. In the world of softball, BFA St. Albans had a 3-peat in mind, but South Burlington had plans of their own. The Wolves upended the top-seeded Comets thanks to same late-game clutch hitting, hoisting their first state title ever.

After Essex swept the boys and girls indoor track titles in the winter, the Hornet girls claimed their first outdoor title since 2014. Both the Thetford teams won their third straight, while the U-32 boys won their 8th in 9 tries in D2, and the St. J boys went back to back.

A new school year brought in some of the year’s most chaotic endings in the fall sports. Behind Hammad Ali’s two goals, South Burlington returned to the top spot in boys soccer for the first time since 2017, while in D4, Winooski buried a couple late in the first half to help win their first-ever crown.

The CVU girls soccer team made it to its fourth straight D1 state title game, and came home with the trophy after dropping the previous two. Over at Applejack Stadium, it was Leland and Gray winning in style to pick up their first title since 1991.

No familiar faces in field hockey, as CVU won an emotional overtime game for their first since 2008. Not to be outdone, Woodstock claimed their first D2 trophy since 2007, and Montpelier is the D3 champ for the first time since 1995.

Over at St. Mike’s, two successful volleyball title defenses came to fruition. The Burlington boys were all square with Essex at one set apiece, before they found a spark in the third set, carrying them to a second straight title. Not to be outdone, though, were the Essex girls, who entered the championship undefeated, and losers of just two sets all season. After a tough fight in the first set, the Hornets buzz through the final two, to cap off their perfect year.

And to wrap it all up, championship Saturday for football was one for the ages. The day began with a rematch of the 2021 title between Mount Anthony and Bellows Falls. After regulation wasn’t enough, Mount Anthony stood firm on the goal line to end the game in double-overtime, bringing home the hardware for the first time since 1994. Keeping with the theme of rematches, Windsor and BFA Fairfax/Lamoille squared off in the afternoon game, as the Jacket defense scooped and scored its way to a repeat. And in D1, the RedHawks of CVU entered battle-tested but undefeated, against an upset-minded Middlebury team. The Tigers went down 11, clawed back to give themselves a chance for the win, but CVU didn’t come this far just to come this far. One final, clutch stop put a fitting finish to the fairy-tale season, that ended with the RedHawks soaring back to the Champlain Valley with their first football state title.