We start in Jericho as the US Biathlon National Championships returned to Camp Ethan Allen in late March, and a pair of locals stole the show. Conway Center's Sean Doherty claimed victories in both the Men's Mass Start and pursuit races and finished second in the sprint. Barton native Susan Dunklee did him one better on the women's side. The two-time Olympian swept all three races on the weekend in front of her home fans.
The 31st Vermont City Marathon got off to a soggy start, as a fast-moving storm pushed the race back 45 minutes. The handcycles came through first, and after a year away, Putney's Alicia Dana returned to reclaim her crown. South Burlington's Jordan Carrell was the fastest men's handcyclist, giving Vermont a sweep.
Sergio Reyes of Palmdale California was the fastest men's runner, his time of 2 hours, 17 minutes, 40 seconds the second fastest in the history of the event.
Rachel Schilkowsky of Providence was the women's winner as she crossed the line in two hours, 45 minutes, 57 seconds.
As the calendar flipped to June, Channel 3 sports was on hand as the Boston Bruins made a run all the way to the Stanley Cup Final, eventually falling to the St. Louis Blues in 7 games. But it wasn't all bad for hockey fans in our area, as a pair of former Catamounts will have their names etched onto the best trophy in sports. Chris Zimmerman played at UVM from 1977-81 and serves as President and CEO of business operations, while Colchester native Joel Farnsworth, the head equipment manager for St. Louis, served in the same role in Burlington from 1996-2001.
Weather was the name of the game much of the summer, as the Lake Monsters' Opening Day was delayed and the NECBL all star game in Montpelier was washed out entirely. As for those Monsters, it was a disappointing year results-wise, as Vermont cooled down quickly after a hot start to finish 33-42, their first losing season since 2016. To add insult to injury, there is a cloud of uncertainty going forward as the Lake Monsters find themselves on a list of 42 minor league teams MLB has proposed to cut ties with ahead of the 2021 season, and this doesn't seem like a fight that's likely to be resolved quickly or painlessly.
The Vermont Mountaineers may not have gotten to host a complete All-Star game but they made up for it by edging out their rivals from the Upper Valley by just one game to seize the third and final playoff spot in the NECBL's northern division. The Neers were edged by Valley in the first round.
The legion baseball state tournament headed North to Colchester in July, but it was the Southernmost team in Vermont that took home the title. Brattleboro Post 5 fended off elimination three times over the final two days of the tournament, edging SDI twice on the final day to claim their second title in four years.
In August, the Best Weekend of the Year returned to the Little Fenway for the 18th edition of the Travis Roy Foundation Wiffle Ball Tournament, and once again it was a record-breaker! $735,000 was raised for spinal cord injury research and assistance, bringing the foundation's total to nearly $6m!
The State Amateur golf tournaments weren't immune to the weather either, as thunderstorms kept messing with the men's final round before Rutland's Drake Hull sealed the three-peat on his home course. The women's final round was also affected by rain and won by a golfer very familiar with the course. Middlebury College star Chloe Levins claimed her first State Am at Ralph Mhyre.
At Thunder Road, after many years of trying, Jason Corliss staked his claim as the driver to beat, taking victories in the first two races of the year, and eventually edging out Scott Dragon and three others in a tight chase for his first King of the Road title! Speaking of firsts, longtime challenger Bobby Therrien finally won his first Milk Bowl in September.
But it wasn't all good times. At the Labor Day Classic, a driver went over the wall near the finish, striking a pair of track workers and raising concerns about safety. Fortunately both are expected to make a complete recovery, and Dean Gallison returned for the final race of the year.
Montgomery native and Richford high school grad Elle Purrier spent her first full season as a pro making tremendous strides on the national and global stages. After a third place finish in the 5-thousand meters at US Nationals in Iowa, Purrier earned her first ever trip to the IAAF World Track Championships in Qatar. Fans cheered Elle on at Richford high as she qualified for the finals before eventually finishing 11th. Purrier's next goal will be to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
And speaking of Olympians with Vermont ties, Burke Mountain Academy grad Mikaela Shiffrin was once again the star of the Killington Cup over Thanksgiving weekend. The three-time defending overall world cup champion settled for a third place finish in the GS behind a pair of Italians, but absolutely dominated the field in her signature event, the slalom. Shiffrin beat the nearest competitor by more than two and a quarter seconds for her fourth straight slalom win at Killington. The hometown favorite with a spectacular finish to cap off a spectacular year for sports in our area.