November 17, 2018

Fall team previews

A group of runners heads out for their first run on the first day of cross country at CVU

BOYS CROSS COUNTRY

Coach: Scott Bliss (19th season)

Last season: Fourth in the Division I state meet

Key returnees: Jared Leonard, senior; Gavin Schaaf, sophomore; Skyler Heininger, sophomore; Alec Mogielnicki, senior; Seamus Higgins, senior; Dylan Gooley, senior.

Key newcomers: Parker Soares, junior; Jamie Williamson, senior; Joshua Perkins, freshman; Caleb Nye, sophomore; Clark Schmitt, senior.

Outlook: This year’s group of Champlain Valley boys cross country runners should compete for a top six spot in the state, according to longtime coach Scott Bliss. The team’s top seven runners are a tight pack, with times that are close to each other, which gives the group enviable depth.

“I am very excited about this team,” Bliss said. “I am really excited to see how much they can improve throughout the season.”

Up next: Saturday, Sept. 1 at Essex

GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY

Coach: Scott Bliss (19th season)

Last season: Division I state champions

Key returnees: Ella Whitman, senior; Alice Larson, sophomore; Chloe Andrae, senior; Cate Noel, senior; Sadie Holmes, junior; Emma Strack, junior; Emma McMahon, senior.

Key newcomers: Finnegan Mittelstadt, freshman; Alice Veronneau, sophomore; Chloe Silverman, freshman; Lila Taylor, freshman; Jasmine Nails, freshman.

Outlook: The defending D-I state champion CVU girls cross country team is always the team to beat. This year will be no different as the group returns four of its top five finishers from last year’s title-winning team. Whitman, Larson, Andrae and Noel will pace the Redhawks, and coach Bliss thinks the team will compete for a championship and top five New England finish. The team’s depth will come into play if injuries crop up, another reason CVU is tough to beat.

Up next: Saturday, Sept. 1 at Essex

FIELD HOCKEY

Coach: Tucker Pierson (third season)

Last season: 12-5; lost in the Division I state championship

Key returnees: Kristy Carlson, goalkeeper, senior; Nora Weisman-Rowell, defense, senior; Caroline Reynolds, forward, senior; Flynn Hall, forward, junior.

Key newcomers: Too early to tell

Outlook: The Champlain Valley field hockey team will have a different look than the group that made a run to the state finals last season. After graduating five players, the Redhawks will rely on the experience that returns, especially on the defensive side. Carlson and Weisman-Rowell will anchor the team in the back, while Pierson finds newer players to fill in the holes left by the departures.

“We are putting players in different positions to try to find the best chemistry and correct roles,” Pierson said. “I expect that we’ll be competitive throughout the season.”

Opener: Friday, Aug. 31, vs. Burlington

FOOTBALL

Coach: Mike Williams (third season)

Last season: 3-6, lost in the Division I quarterfinals

Key returnees: Bennett Cheer, lineman/defensive end, senior; Caleb Jenson, tight end/cornerback, senior; Jason Rosner, halfback/defensive back, senior; Jack ZuWallack, fullback/defensive lineman, senior; Shane Boehmke, halfback/defensive back, senior; Parker Urie, tight end/defensive back, senior; Cole Boffa, offensive lineman/lineback, senior; Nick Petrunich, halfback/defensive back, senior; Clayton Thorpe, offensive/defensive lineman, junior; Zachary Gamelin, offensive/defensive lineman, junior.

Key newcomers: Alex Murray, halfback/lineback, senior; Ryan Anderson, quarterback, junior; Will Murphy, quarterback, sophomore; Seth Boffa, halfback/defensive back, sophomore; Eric Pockette, halfback/defensive back, junior.

Outlook: After a tough season and the departure of eight of last year’s starters, this year could be considered a rebuild for the Champlain Valley football team. But after a strong preseason, and with hard work from returning players and a cadre of new faces, coach Mike Williams has high hopes for the Redhawks.

“Depth at certain positions is a concern right now,” Williams said. “If we can stay relatively healthy, we have as many good players on this team as any in our division.”

Opener: Saturday, Sept. 1 vs. BFA-St. Albans

Observer photo by Al Frey
Madi Oliver keeps her head down on the ball during CVU golf practice at Cedar Knoll Golf Club.

GIRLS GOLF

Coach: Tammy Anthony (fourth season)

Last season: Fourth place in the Vermont state tournament

Key returnees: Madi Oliver, senior; Gabriela Torrens-Sperry, junior; Elena Godbout, junior; Taylor Hoar, junior.

Key newcomers: Marie Ananour, junior; Rachel Hoar, senior; Alyssa Provost, junior; Courtney Vincent, junior.

Outlook: The Champlain Valley girls golf team continues to grow, having moved up to a fourth-place finish in the state tournament last season after finishing seventh in 2016. The Redhawks look to continue to make strides this year with team captians Madi Oliver and Gabriela Torrens-Sperry bringing leadership and knowledge to a team made up of players with a wide variety of skills.

“Our goal is to take the No. 1 spot in the states in early October,” coach Anthony said. “I think this season has a lot of potential.”

Opener: Wednesday, Sept. 5 at Enosburg

BOYS GOLF

Coach: Seth Emerson (seventh season)

Last season: Second place in the Division I state tournament

Key returnees: Ben Gramling, senior; Nate Godbout, junior; Andrew Wilkinson, senior; Evan Forrest, sophomore; Cam Labounty, senior; Kyle Rexford, sophomore.

Key newcomers: Alex Leonard, sophomore; Finn O’Brien, freshman.

Outlook: After a second-place finish in the D-I state tournament last season, the Champlain Valley boys golf team is ready to take a run at the title this year. With only one golfer lost to graduation, the Redhawks are an experienced group with a lot of depth.

“We have six guys that can shoot mid- to low-80s and a couple of guys that should be in the mid- to high-70s,” Emerson said. “I think we are poised for a really strong year.”

Opener: Thursday, Aug. 30 at North Country Invitational

BOYS SOCCER

Coach: Rob Cole (second season)

Last season: 13-4, lost in the Division I semifinals

Key returnees: Aidan Johnson, goalkeeper, senior; Jami Lashua, defense, junior; Erik Stolen, defense, junior; Jonah Roberts, midfield, junior; Nathaniel Sampson, midfield, senior; Caleb Martin, midfield, senior; Nick Durieux, forward, senior.

Key newcomers: Cullen Swett, defense, junior; Giacomo Sinopoli, midfield, junior; James Schmidt, forward, junior; Sam Johnson, forward, junior.

Outlook: Returning a core from last year’s team that advanced to the D-I semifinals, this year’s Redhawks are looking to build on that result. With several players who can play multiple positions, the early season will see CVU try different combinations on the field, according to coach Cole.

“We have a tight-knit, talented group of players who set high standards for themselves,” Cole said. “Our challenge will be to find the right system to get the best out of us.”

Opener: Friday, Aug. 31 at Burr and Burton

GIRLS SOCCER

Coach: Stan Williams (sixth season)

Last season: 17-0, Division I state champions

Key returnees: Sydney Jimmo, midfield, senior; Sara Kelley, midfield/forward, senior; Madi Hubbard, midfield, senior; Elizah Jacobs, midfield, senior; Lily Cazayoux, midfield, senior; Ella Woodruff, midfield, senior; Maryn Askew, goalkeeper, junior; Quinn Boardman, defense, junior; Catherine Gilwee, midfield, sophomore; Olivia Zubarik, midfield/forward, sophomore; Olivia Morton, midfield, sophomore; Dylan Walker, defense, sophomore; Jess Klein, defense, sophomore; Josie Pecor, forward, sophomore.

Key newcomers: Too early to tell

Outlook: Champlain Valley returned to the top of high school girls soccer last season after a one-year hiatus, winning the D-I state championship and capping off an undefeated season. This year, the Redhawks return almost all of that title-winning squad, including goaltender Maryn Askew and a dominating midfield.

CVU will have to replace the goalscoring of Charlotte Hill and the leadership of its departed captains. Still, the Redhawks have all the ingredients to remain the team to beat in D-I.

“We have great depth, team speed and a tremendous work rate,” coach Williams said. “I am excited to work with this group and to see what they become.”

Opener: Tuesday, Sept. 4 at Rutland

Observer photo by Al Frey
Raz Hansen spikes the ball on the first day of volleyball practice at CVU.

BOYS VOLLEYBALL

Coach: Jeff Boliba (third season)

Last season: Division I state champions

Key returnees: Noah Allen, junior, blocker; Baker Angstman, junior, libero; Jacob Boliba, junior, hitter/setter; Liam Freeman, senior, hitter; Ethan Harvey, junior, hitter/setter; Devin Rogers, sophomore, blocker; Raz Hansen, senior, hitter; Alden Randall, junior, hitter; Cooper Snipes, senior, hitter; Storm Rushford, junior, setter/hitter.

Key newcomers: Too early to tell

Outlook: Last season, despite battling a lot of adversity, the Champlain Valley boys volleyball team captured its second straight D-I state title. This year, the team has its eyes set on making it three in a row. Returning a number of key players, including Baker Angstman, who anchors the team’s defense at the libero position, and Noah Allen, a intimidating force as a blocker, the Redhawks also features a ton of depth.

“We have a versatile group of players that allow the coaching staff many different options for lineups, positioning and game strategy,” coach Boliba said. “We are focused on having all our players performing at their optimum level and playing volleyball at a championship level.”

Opener: Tuesday, Sept. 4 vs. Vermont Commons

Observer photo by Al Frey
Mackenna Boyd makes a pass from the back line on the first day of volleyball practice at CVU.

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

Coach: Jeanne Nauheimer (first season)

Last season: Lost in the Division I state championship

Key returnees: Rayona Silverman, setter, senior; Makenzie Detch, setter, senior; Sarah Johnson, setter, junior; Natalie Senior, middle, senior; Mekkena Boyd, middle, junior; Reilly Wells, hitter/setter, junior; Leah Boget, setter, junior; Julia Daggett, defense, senior.

Key newcomers: Lena Hansen, hitter, junior; Taylor Detch, hitter, sophomore; Lily Menk, setter/blocker, junior; Audrey Olsen, setter/blocker, junior; Alli Selweh, setter, senior; Chloe Snipes, hitter/setter, freshman; Jo Paradee, hitter/setter, junior.

Outlook: After winning the state’s first title in 2016 and falling in last year’s championship match, the Champlain Valley girls volleyball team is clearly a contender in Vermont. That does not change this season, with a great mix of returning experience and new energy. With strong hitters and an aggressive service game, the Redhawks will look to build on accuracy as the season opens.

“They are all hungry to learn and improve,” said first-year coach Jeanne Nauheimer. “The team has such good chemistry and positive energy, I feel like there is no stopping them.”

Opener: Thursday, Sept. 6 at Mid-Vermont Christian

Observer photo by Al Frey
Abigail Willis gets a soft landing with a little help from her friends at a recent CVU cheerleading practice.

CHEERLEADING

Coach: Courtney Troescher

Key returnees: Shayla Lawrence, senior; Deona Proulx, junior; Binny Patton, junior; Lily Michalek, junior; Annalise Kramer, junior.

Key newcomers: Abby Willis, freshman; Hannah Fuller, junior; Alexis Stillwell, freshman.

Outlook: After coming back from a four-day camp, the Champlain Valley cheerleading team is hard at work preparing for the upcoming fall season. The group will rely on its returning core of leaders as they set to kick off the season. The main focus of the season for the Redhawks will be Vermont’s third-annual Game Day competition and getting their routine competition ready.

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