Year in review: miscellaneous
The best of the rest in 2022
BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - 2022 got off to a bang as dozens of athletes, coaches, and officials with ties to our area headed to Beijing to participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics. Plenty of them put on great performances, and five even came home with some hardware!
Starksboro’s Ryan Cochran-Siegle lived up to the family name for sure. Nearly 50 years to the day after his mother won slalom gold, RCS bagged the second Olympic medal for the first family of Vermont skiing, a silver in the giant slalom.
Megan Nick of Shelburne followed that up with a medal of her own! The former CVU gymnast continued her remarkable rise in the world of aerials skiing with Olympic bronze.
Then there’s the part-time Vermonters: UVM women’s hockey defender Sini Karjalainen would also bring a bronze back to BTV as a member of Team Finland.
Stratton Mountain School elite team racer Jessie Diggins was already an Olympic medalist after winning gold in the team sprint back in 2018, but this year, she became the most decorated American ever in the sport of Nordic skiing. Diggins took home a silver in the 30K freestyle and followed it up with bronze in the individual sprint.
And 16 years after her infamous fall, Lindsey Jacobellis finally got her roses. The SMS alumna had failed to medal in three straight Olympics since the disappointing silver in 2006, but Jacobellis finally got over that hump by winning the women’s competition, then followed it up with a victory in the inaugural edition of the mixed team event with Nick Baumgartner.
As the snow melted and gave way to Spring, the Vermont City Marathon returned in full force on Memorial Day Weekend for the first time in 3 years. Forty-five-hundred runners battled a new course on a beautiful Spring day. Alicia Dana once again dominated the handcycle division while Sergio Reyes and Annemarie Tuxbury took the men’s and women’s divisions respectively.
In the Summer, it was time to hit the diamond! Brattleboro took home the Little League state title, while the Central Vermont 12-and-under team became the first team from the state to ever reach the Cal Ripken World Series.
The boys from Essex followed up their high school state title with a dominant run through the Summer season to make it back to back legion state crowns and even won a couple games at Northeast regionals.
And then, there’s the collegiate Summer ball teams: the Upper Valley Nighthawks narrowly missed out on the NECBL playoffs, but the Vermont Mountaineers did not. The ‘Neers would finish tied with Bristol for the best record in the league during the regular season and down Sanford in a tough 3-game semifinal series. Unfortunately, the fourth title in franchise history was not to be as Vermont was swept by Martha’s Vineyard in the finals.
The Vermont Lake Monsters returned for year two in the Futures League, and it looked a lot like the first one: the second-longest winning streak in team history spanned from late May into mid-June, the Monsters once again won the FCBL regular season title, and racked up the individual honors as well. But a pair of gutwrenching losses, the second coming off a 9th-inning go ahead home run by Nashua in the decisive Game 3 of the finals, denied the Monsters in their quest to go back to back.
On the pitch, semi-pro soccer returned to Burlington, with Vermont Green FC capturing a hungry audience right away in their inaugural USL 2 campaign. Playing in front of packed houses at Virtue Field, VGFC started hot, then got a needed three-game win streak to close the regular season, earning a playoff date with topseeded Lionsbridge FC down in Virginia. The Boys in Green pulled off the shocker of all shockers, downing the league’s only unbeaten team and number one overall seed in the first round before bowing out in the Sweet 16 to Long Island.
It was another fun summer at the high banks as well. Three-time defending champion Jason Corliss stepped aside from weekly racing at Thunder Road in 2022, but he did return and beat out a packed field that included NASCAR champion Brad Keselowski to take home the Governor’s Cup in July. The year, though, belonged to Chris Pelkey in the 64 car. After a second place finish last year, the Barre native took home King of the Road honors as late model champion, and followed it up by claiming the Milk Bowl in October.
Youth was served on the links, with a pair of college kids taking home the Vermont Amateur titles. Rutland grad and current UConn Husky Jared Nelson made a charge to overtake Ryan Kohler at Brattleboro Country Club in July, drilling a long putt on 18 to seal the deal. Two weeks later, Nelson would also claim the New England Am down in Rhode Island.
Otter Valley alumna and current Middlebury Panther Mia Politano was the star on the women’s side at Neshobe. Three birdies on the back nine and a clutch par putt on 18 allowed Politano to claim her first AM title.
And despite the best efforts of mother nature, the Heroic Killington Cup returned over Thanksgiving weekend, with the best women’s skiers in the world converging on Vermont for the FIS World Cup’s long stop in the Northeast. For the first time since the event started though, Burke Mountain Academy alumna Mikaela Shiffrin failed to podium finishing 13th in the GS and 5th through the mashed potatoes of a warm slalom. It turned out to be the Swiss and the Swedes leading the way, with Lara Gut Behrami claiming the giant slalom and Wendy Holdener and Anna Swenn Larsson finishing in an exceedingly rare tie for the slalom. What a way to cap 2022, and here’s to more great competition in 2023.
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