May 24, 2019

Students dig deep

    Observer photo by Tim Simard
Williston Central School students from Tad Dippel’s fifth and sixth grade science class take to the banks of the Allen Brook to plant a variety of trees and plants for environmental restoration. Dippel’s class spent Tuesday afternoon digging holes and planting trees with the help of town planning staff and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.  See story below.

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Armadillos move into first place with win (5/28/09)

Supple and Bolger hold Braves to two hits

May 28, 2009

The Williston Armadillos combined offensive muscle with pitching finesse to defeat the Bayside Braves 17-1 on Sunday. The victory improved the Dillos’ record to 4-0, leaving them sitting on top of the 20-team Vermont Senior Baseball League as the only undefeated team.

Williston rapped out 24 hits, including three homers, one each by shortstop/pitcher Greg Bolger (3-5, HR, 2 Runs, 3 RBIs), right fielder Darby Crum (2-6, HR, 3 Runs, 5 RBIs) and center fielder Ray Danis (3-4, 2B, HR, BB, 3 Runs, 3 RBIs). Other offensive stars were pitcher Bill Supple (5-5, 1 Run, 1 RBI), third baseman Jesse Stein (3-6, 1 Run) and catcher Tom “Bambino” Fitzgerald (3-6, 3 RBIs).

While the Dillos’ offense was impressive, their pitching was even more so. Supple pitched the first six innings, picking up his first victory of the year. He did not give up a hit until the fifth inning, a one-out homer by the Braves cleanup hitter, which was the only hit and run allowed by Supple. Supple’s control was spectacular, as he walked just one while striking out six.

Bolger pitched the last three innings for the Dillos and picked up where Supple left off. Bolger allowed only one Braves player to reach base, giving up a two-out double in the seventh, while striking out one. Thus, for the game, only four Braves reached base, as the Armadillos also committed an error that allowed a batter to reach base safely.

The Armadillos jumped on the Braves for four runs in the first. Second baseman Billy Daw (1-5, BB, 1 Run) and Supple both singled. After Bolger successfully moved the runners ahead with a sacrifice bunt, Dann “DVDV” van der Vliet was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Crum brought in Daw and Supple with a single and the Bambino doubled to score DVDV and Crum.

The Dillos scored another run in the second. Daw walked, Supple singled and Bolger plated Daw with a single. After Danis’ homer in the fourth increased the lead to 6-0, the Dillos scored another three runs in the fifth. Crum reached on an error and the Bambino singled, but was forced out at second on first baseman Dennis Johnson’s (2-5, 2B, 2 Runs) grounder. Danis then brought home Crum and Johnson with a double. Danis scored when the Braves first baseman misplayed a throw on right fielder Brian Donahue’s (0-3, BB) grounder.

The lead increased to 11-0 in the eighth, as two more Armadillos crossed the plate. Supple hit his fifth single of the day, Bolger reach base on an error and DVDV singled to load the bases. One run then scored on Crum’s fielder’s choice and another came across on the Bambino’s single.

The Dillos piled on another six runs in the ninth. Johnson singled, went to third on Danis’ single and scored on Supple’s sacrifice fly. Bolger followed with a two run homer to left. DVDV and Stein singled to set the stage for Crum’s three run blast over the left field fence, which closed out the scoring.

On Sunday, the Armadillos travel to Waterbury to play 3-1 Mad River Valley at Harwood Union High School. Game time is noon.

League standings and individual and team statistics are online at Enter “Vermont Senior Baseball League” under league name search.


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Sports Notes (5/28/09)

May 28, 2009

CVU tennis teams look for strong finish

The Champlain Valley Union High girls tennis team continued its undefeated rush to the postseason, while the once-beaten boys also ruled the day Tuesday in the first of two consecutive days of competition in the final week of the regular campaign.

Both teams were scheduled to play Rice Memorial High after press deadline on Wednesday to wrap up pre-playoff action.

The girls scored a 7-0 victory at Colchester High Tuesday. Cassie Smith, Kylie deGroot, Anna Clare Smith, Abby Stoner and Colleen McCarthy won individual matches, while the teams of Christina Parker-Molly Ziegler and Kate Farley-Catherine Akin conquered the doubles competition.

At their Davis Park home courts in Shelburne, the boys also scored a 7-0 victory over the Lakers. Singles triumphs went to David Hilderbrand, Marc Vecchio, Tabor deGroot, Jameson Voll and Liam Kelley. Doubles wins were by Will Hurd-Corey Dawson and Will Hall-Bennett Hadley.

Redhawks golfers place second in Williston

With district and state tournaments on the horizon, the Champlain Valley Union High golf team took second place Tuesday in a four-team competition at Williston Golf Club.

The Redhawks’ Jack Tomashot fired a 73 to tie for medalist honors with Mount Mansfield Union’s Colin O’Brien and Colchester High’s Geoff Lockerby.

CVU’s Andre Bedard finished one stroke back with a 74. Eric Robinson came in with an 80, followed by Billy Wilson with an 85 and Alex Socinski, who shot a 92.

Mount Mansfield won the team title with 300, followed by CVU’s 312. Third place Colchester had a 327 and fourth place Vergennes Union a 494.


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Track and field teams win at home (5/28/09)

Athletes head to Essex on Saturday

May 28, 2009

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

With a solid victory Tuesday in their final home meet of the season, the Champlain Valley Union High track and field teams will be at the Essex High Invitationals on Saturday for their final test before the Vermont State meet the following weekend.

Both the boys åand girls rolled up victories Tuesday. The girls scored 116.6 points to outdistance Mount Mansfield Union (97.3), Milton High (59.1) and Vergennes Union (4).

The boys chalked up 135 points to Mount Mansfield’s 69.5. Milton had 60.5 and Vergennes 4.

The girls won nine events, led by Haleigh Smith, a double victor in long jump (14-11.75) and triple jump (32-03).

Kendall Berry captured the 400-meter race with a time of 1 minute, 2.6 seconds. Maddy Christian won the 1,500 in 5:06.4 and Rachel Cross took the 3,000 with a time of 12:18.2. Lillian Roberts-Gevalt won the 300 hurdles in 49.7 seconds. Maya Grevatt scored a pole vault victory (8-09).

Also winners were the girls 4-by-400 and 4-by-800 relay teams.

The boys also had a double winner in hurdler James Pieper-Lococo, who took the 110 in 16.7 seconds and the 300 in 45.1 seconds.

Jason Clairmont dashed to victory on the 400 in 53.5 seconds. Zak Pete took the 1,500 in 4:26.6. The relay teams swept the 100, 400 and 800 events.

Dale Conger provided the Redhawks with their lone triumph in field events, taking the shot-put with a heave of 40-10.25.


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Redhawks look for revenge on lacrosse field (5/28/09)

May 28, 2009

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

At the beginning of the month, three solid teams nipped a then unbeaten (6-0 start) Champlain Valley Union High boys lacrosse combine in consecutive games. Now, at the end of the month, the Redhawks are out to get even.

They began a season-closing, three-game set against their tormentors on Saturday with a 13-8 victory in St. Albans over 8-5 Bellows Free Academy, which had laid a 10-8 nipping on CVU May 1 to start that three-game losing streak.

Saturday’s victory, their fifth in a row, hiked the Redhawks’ season mark to 11-3. Two home games remain — Wednesday against defending state champion Essex High and Saturday against South Burlington High — before playoff pairings are announced.

Essex and South Burlington both claimed two-goal victories over CVU on their home fields.

The Redhawk with the sharpest talons at St. Albans was Sam Spencer, who slammed home five goals and added a pair of assists, one of his top games of the campaign.

Right there with Spencer was Wes O’Brien with four scores.

Dean Priest earned the sidekick honors with five assists while Tim Reichert garnered three helpers.

Other goal scorers were Owen Smith with two, and Nick Hart and Lawrence Dee with one each.

CVU out shot BFA 25-18. Redhawks’ goalie Eric Palmer had 10 stops.


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Softball team captures first win (5/28/09)

May 28, 2009

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

Buoyed by the long sought first victory of the season, a surging Champlain Valley Union High softball team will be looking for more wins Thursday at 1-12 South Burlington High and Saturday morning at 5-9 Burlington High.

For the Redhawks, it is a case of bats coming alive.

The hits were flying and the cheering was loud Tuesday as CVU rumbled to a 21-5 triumph over visiting Rice Memorial High (1-13).

Bopper-in-chief was Susan Parmelee with four hits. But there was plenty of swinging help from juniors Chrissi Whitaker and Heather McLaughlin, who had two hits each.

Sophomore Cayla McCarthy unloaded a triple.

“We got some great hitting,” CVU coach Corinna Hussey said after the victory, which snapped a 13-game losing streak.

Hussey also praised the pitching of junior Anna Supple, who limited Rice to two hits.

“I think we have things going now,” said Supple.

The effective work with the bats actually got under way Saturday in a 12-5 loss in Bristol to Mount Abraham Union High.

CVU pounded out seven hits in that game, including a round-tripper by senior Holly Bachillas. Junior Callie Stewart punched out two hits and drove in a run.


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Baseball squad on road for season wrap-up (5/28/09)

Redhawks clawing for playoff spot

May 28, 2009

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

A pair of old foes await the Champlain Valley Union High baseball team this week as it finishes out the regular season with road contests.

The Redhawks will travel to South Burlington High (7-6 entering the week) Thursday afternoon for a 4:30 session. On Saturday, the scene will shift to Burlington High (7-6) for an 11 a.m. start time.

CVU, 4-10, hopes to remain in the swing of things. The bats rang out Tuesday in an 11-10 whackathon loss to 7-7 Rice Memorial High in the regular season finale at the Hinesburg ball yard.

Led by Andrew Nick with four rocket hits, including a solo homer, in five trips, the Hawks ripped for 12 safeties but were undone by a timely hitting Rice crew that took advantage of five CVU errors for five unearned runs.

Nick was in the crush zone. In the bottom of the first inning, the CVU shortstop and leadoff batter blasted Rice starter Jack Kowlaski’s second offering over the left field fence for his second round tripper of the season. After popping up in the second, Nick slammed blue darter singles in his next three plate appearances, winding up with two RBIs.

The Redhawks had fallen behind 4-0 in the top of the first as Rice struck with four singles, with an infield throwing error and walk thrown in.

CVU starter Curt Echo regrouped in the second frame, striking out two and leaving two runners stranded in a shutout inning, but was literally knocked out of the game in the third when a one-out shot back to the mound caromed off his pitching hand, leaving him with a bruised flipper.

Lefty Alex Hopkins took over and gave up an RBI double to Rice’s Nicky Elderton before getting the side out.

Three tainted runs in the next two innings helped the Green Knights roll up an 8-4 lead.

CVU then struck for four runs in the bottom of the fifth to tie matters, exploding for four singles after Rice relief pitcher Nick Meunier opened the door by walking Carl Lozon and Collin Teator to start the inning.

Alec Zullo, Konnor Fleming, Andy Leckerling and Nick followed with singles, Zullo driving in one run and Leckerling a pair.

With the score 8-8, Emily Sackett took over CVU’s mound duties. She threw strikes on 12 of 16 pitches, but Rice batters connected for four hits, including a double and triple, and jumped to an 11-8 advantage.

Coach Tim Albertson’s young squad bounced back with two runs in the bottom of the sixth on an error, a single by Teator, a walk to Zullo, a hit batter (Fleming) and wild pitch.

The Redhawks trailed by just a run in the bottom of the seventh but could not get Nick home with the deadlocking run after he led off with the third of his blistering singles, stole second and got to third on an infield out.

Downed by Mt. Abe

Last Saturday, CVU bowed 8-3 at Mount Abraham Union despite outhitting the Eagles, 8-4. Mount Abe’s Kyle Kayhart was the terminator of the Redhawks’ hopes as he stroked a two-run homer and three-run triple.

CVU’s rappers included catcher Joe Myers with a double and two singles. Teator and Fleming each slugged a pair of hits.


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Girls lacrosse team on night shift this week (5/28/09)

May 28, 2009

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

Still looking for the first win of the season after missing by a whisker Saturday, the Champlain Valley Union High girls lacrosse unit is closing out the regular season this week with night games at Essex High on Wednesday and at South Burlington High at 7 p.m. Friday.


    Observer photo by Pogo Senior
Surrounded by four Spaulding High defenders, Champlain Valley Union High sophomore Abagael Giles fires CVU’s third goal into the net on Saturday. Spaulding went on to win the game, 13-12, with a last-minute score.


    Observer photo by Pogo Senior
Gillian Shelley (left) of Champlain Vally Union High jumps to block Spaulding midfielder Jenna Howard.

The 0-12 Redhawks last week had a reinvigorated offense and did not go quietly in home defeats, 14-10 to Mount Mansfield Union High on Wednesday and 13-12 to Spaulding High of Barre on Saturday morning.

Saturday’s affair was a ding-dong doozie, not settled until 6-6 Spaulding snapped a 12-12 deadlock on senior Shannae Harvin’s goal with just 37 seconds left in regulation.

After falling behind for much of the first half, the Redhawks held one-goal leads three times in the second half, the last time when junior Erika Gobeille sashayed from midfield to the front of the Crimson Tide net to fire home the goal and give the Hawks a 12-11 edge with 5:07 left.

It was Gobeille’s third score of the game, the second straight outing in which she had a trio of pointers.

But Spaulding came right back to tie it at 4:46 on Alahna Sandefer’s shot from a bunch-up in front of the CVU cage.

The Redhawks charged to the Spaulding end and got off three shots, but could not dent goalie Chelsea Otis, who made a super save off CVU’s Amanda Kinneston. Otis was credited with 12 stops during the fray.

Joining Gobeille with three goals was CVU’s Emily Shaw. The junior had an outstanding effort, including goals that gave CVU leads at 23:24 (8-7) and 13:09 (11-10).

Sophomores Gillian Shelley and Abby Giles each scored twice while Louise Gibbs and Kinneston, also sophomores, had singletons each. Shelley also had two assists.

“We were missing 10 players today,” said CVU coach Julie Sloan. “We had to use many girls in different positions.”

The overall effect was Hustle City, a solid performance that just missed putting the girls into the victory column.

Amanda Lacallaide, another sophomore, made 11 saves in the CVU net, including some stellar work in the second half that helped the Redhawks stay in contention.

Spaulding broke out to an early 4-1 lead. The Hawks came to life at 12:51 when Gibbs scored after a set-up pass from Shelley and was followed 50 seconds later by Giles with a smart backhander into the Tide cage.

CVU got into a 6-6 tie on Shelley’s goal with three minutes remaining, but a Spaulding score at 0:54 gave the Tide the halftime edge.

In the Mount Mansfield game, Kinneston, Lizzy Betz and Devan Wilkins scored twice each and Shelley notched a goal.


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Schools may convert to trimester grading schedule (5/28/09)

May 28, 2009

By Tim Simard

Observer staff

The Williston School District could switch to a new way of reporting grades next school year. Williston Central School Principal Jackie Parks told the School Board that the district hopes to implement a system by which report cards are released three times a year.

The new trimester grading system would bring uniformity to the school district, Parks said, since academic houses all deliver report cards differently. Some houses release report cards twice a year, others do so four times a year, she said.

“Right now, it’s not consistent,” Parks told the board.

Parks said after the meeting that if the plan went into effect, parents and students would most likely receive report cards in November, March and June.

Board members said little, but appeared to support changes to the grade reporting system. The board does not need to give formal approval to the administrative change. The district administration hopes to finalize its decision over the summer.

Parks added that all houses continue to report student progress weekly, either through letters home or through e-mail.

“Parents do get a lot of information on a weekly basis,” Parks said.

Parks said she was excited about the changes because it would help the district’s grading system become uniform. The only downside Parks could see was that some houses reported quarterly, so moving to a trimester system would reduce those houses’ reporting practices.

“I believe the pros outweigh the cons in terms of the equity piece,” Parks told the board.

Lower houses would need a year to switch over their current reporting process to the new trimester grading system, Parks said. She said the houses need time to “streamline” their reporting, since their grading processes are so involved.

“The goal would be for everyone to be on the trimester (system) in 2010-2011,” Parks said.

Anticipating a change in the report card schedule, the board agreed to change the dates of parent conferences, which happen both in the fall and spring. These conferences fall on Fridays and are early release school days for students. The dates for next school year will be Oct. 9 and 16 for the fall conferences, and March 26 and April 9, 2010 for the spring conferences.


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Public argues against changes to school configuration (5/28/09)

May 28, 2009

By Tim Simard

Observer staff

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

That sentiment was uttered several times last Wednesday evening by teachers and parents opposed to major configuration changes within the school district.

During the School Board’s final public hearing before it makes a decision on a future school configuration, parents and teachers made sure the board heard their views loud and clear.

About 80 members of the public turned out at the board meeting in the Williston Central School auditorium to hear the Williston Conceptual Frameworks Committee’s final configuration recommendation for the school year. Following the recommendation presentation, the public weighed in, with the vast majority speaking out against any changes.

The School Board already said in a meeting last month that configuration changes would occur and the present system would not be considered. Currently, pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and most first through fourth grade classrooms are at Allen Brook School. Two lower houses — which span grades one through four — and all fifth through eighth grade classrooms are at Williston Central.

The board defended its decision to make building configuration changes, stating it was always the district’s intention to house all elementary school students at Allen Brook.

“It allows the schools to function more independently and, we feel, more efficiently,” board member Holly Rouelle said. “We’ve heard from parents it can be really socially isolating for lower house students at Williston Central.”

The Frameworks Committee recommended two different configuration options, each containing various nuances of grade groupings. One option, called Option C, would place grades one through four at Allen Brook, while pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and grades five through eight would be housed in Williston Central. There were also several designs for multi-age grade grouping and looping.

The committee already presented this configuration option in a board meeting last month. It was also at that April meeting that the board asked the committee to reexamine an earlier option, Option B, that would place kindergarten through third grade at Allen Brook and grades four through eight at Williston Central. Board member Laura Gigliotti, who is also a member of the Frameworks Committee, spearheaded the idea.

The committee briefly considered this design during its last two meetings and developed several multi-age grade grouping and looping configurations. Some configurations kept the current four-year multi-age system, while offering other houses with two-year and sometimes one-year groupings within the school system.

Parents and teachers react

While the board asked attendees to comment only on the two configuration options presented, most offered their opinion on why Williston Central should remain a grade one through eight school. Parents and teachers from Lighthouse and Pinnacle House, Williston Central School houses with students in grades one through four, made up the vast majority of those that spoke Wednesday night.

Teachers said the current model at Williston Central is good for all ages. The younger students create a calming effect with older students, and older students act as positive role models for the younger children.

Lighthouse teacher Cara Medved said changes were unnecessary because of all the positives with the current configuration.

“I don’t think a school such as ours needs an overhaul,” Medved said.

Other teachers and parents said if the board does change the building configuration, then they support the option of putting all first through fourth grades at Allen Brook. That way, the current four-year multi-age system could remain intact.

District Math Coordinator Rick McCraw, a former upper house teacher, said it takes some students four years in the same house to realize their potential. The current structure is needed to build strong relationships between students and teachers, he added.

“Go for as much multi-age for as long a period of time as you can manage,” McGraw told the board.

Not all parents spoke out against the configuration options. Cindy O’Farrell, also a member of the Frameworks Committee, said a lot of parents did not like the current four-year house system and were unable to speak at the meeting due to prior commitments. Parent Nikki Layman agreed.

“I don’t think this was very representative of what everyone thinks,” Layman said after the meeting. “I know there are a lot of people dissatisfied (with the current system).”

Parent Deb Norton told the board it might be a good time to return to the beginning of the process with another survey to gauge the current public opinion. The idea garnered a round of applause from those gathered in the auditorium.

“I would love to fill out another survey, because I’m more educated now,” Norton said. “I’m better prepared (to respond).”

The board is expected to make its decision on a future school configuration at a meeting from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, May 28 at Williston Central School. Configuration changes will not take effect until the 2010-2011 school year.


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