In girls field hockey: Falcons clinch Division III state championship

The Division III State Champion Falcons.  In the top row, from left to right:  Steph Tarryk, Jess Buckles, Alexis Bussiere, Kate Patenaude, Hayley Young, Brittany Fortier, Mariah Gentley, Morgan Greene, Aimie Morse, and Coach Chantelle Bouchard.  In the bottom row are:  Phoenix Alix, Kendra Fecteau, Kaitlyn Young, Adrianna Fournier, Kortni Driver, Brittany Royer, Bayla Stewart, Brianne Tetreault, Bethany Desrochers, and, lying down, Bailee Desrochers.   Photo by Chantelle Bouchard

The Division III State Champion Falcons. In the top row, from left to right: Steph Tarryk, Jess Buckles, Alexis Bussiere, Kate Patenaude, Hayley Young, Brittany Fortier, Mariah Gentley, Morgan Greene, Aimie Morse, and Coach Chantelle Bouchard. In the bottom row are: Phoenix Alix, Kendra Fecteau, Kaitlyn Young, Adrianna Fournier, Kortni Driver, Brittany Royer, Bayla Stewart, Brianne Tetreault, Bethany Desrochers, and, lying down, Bailee Desrochers. Photo by Chantelle Bouchard

copyright the Chronicle November 5, 2014

by David Dudley

BURLINGTON — The North Country Union High School Falcons defeated the Stowe Raiders 1-0 to clinch the Division III state championship in Burlington Saturday.

Brittany Fortier scored the game-winning goal eight minutes into the second half to lift the Falcons to their first state title since 1980.

“From the first day of practice, our girls had it in their minds that they were going all the way this year,” Falcons Coach Chantelle Bouchard said in a phone interview. “I knew we had a shot because we had made it to the semifinals for two consecutive years, and we had ten seniors this year.”

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In girls tennis: Falcons take match, Rangers put up stiff competition

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Ranger Olivia McKenna reaches and returns the ball in girls varsity doubles tennis play at Lake Region on Monday.  Photo by Richard Creaser

Ranger Olivia McKenna reaches and returns the ball in girls varsity doubles tennis play at Lake Region on Monday. Photo by Richard Creaser

by Richard Creaser

copyright the Chronicle 5-21-2014

ORLEANS — The North Country Falcons claimed a 5-2 win against the host Lake Region Rangers in girls varsity tennis play on Monday afternoon. The victory marked the Falcons’ first of the season but continued Lake Region’s losing streak.

Although the Rangers are still looking for their first team win, Monday’s match proved that the two sides are not so far apart. Ranger Sydney Whipple came out on top of an epic duel against Falcon Danielle Therrien in the number two doubles match 8-6.

“I’d say it was my long shots that made the difference,” Whipple said after the match. “When I placed them well it cut off the angles. It’s something I’ve been working on, and today it just worked really well for me.”

LRtennis NCdoubles web

Erica Tweed shows good form as she returns mid-court during Monday’s doubles match against the host Lake Region Rangers. Tweed and her partner Samantha Stanhope would eventually best Rangers Juelia Bollens-Lund and Olivia McKenna 8-4 for the win. Photo by Richard Creaser

Whipple commended Therrien on her ability to drop short, shallow shots throughout the contest. It forced Whipple to scramble and dig deep in order to return the shots.

“I’ve had some problems chipping this year,” Whipple said. “Usually I would chip short and hit the net. Today I was getting more of them to drop in.”

Nora Muhonen would secure Lake Region’s other match win, defeating Falcon Kristina Gauvin 8-4 in the number three singles contest.

Falcon India Bluett bested Ranger Alyssa Lawson in the number one singles match 8-2, and Falcon Brianna Grimm bested Lake Region’s Karina Cimbarová 8-1 in the girls number four singles. North Country’s Emily Dobler bested Alora Rowell 8-2 in the number five singles match.

LRtennis Grimm

North Country’s Brianna Grimm runs in to return the short hop against Lake Region’s Karina Cimbarová in girls varsity tennis play on Monday. Grimm would come out on top 8-1 en route to a 5-2 team victory for the visiting Falcons. Photo by Richard Creaser

The doubles matches proved among the more competitive contests on the day. The North Country number two doubles team of Erica Tweed and Samantha Stanhope were challenged by the Lake Region pair of Juelia Bollens-Lund and Olivia McKenna, emerging on top 8-4. In the number one doubles match, Falcons Meira Buck and Hailie Lyons came out on top 8-4 against the Rangers duo of Rachelle Cotnoir and Jade Piette.

Lake Region Coach Greg Hennemuth said that he has been impressed by the strides made by the team over the season. He gave credit to former coach Laura Laramee for reviving a Ranger tennis program that never quite seemed to get off the ground in the past.

LRtennis Whipple web

Lake Region’s Sydney Whipple used a combination of hard baseline shots and timely chip shots to give Lake Region its only singles match win of the day on Tuesday against North Country’s Danielle Therrien. Photo by Richard Creaser

“She really got the girls interested and excited about tennis,” Coach Hennemuth said. “I had tried to get something going years ago, and it just never seemed to take hold.”

He said that the addition of a third court at the high school last year has allowed Lake Region to host matches after several years of playing home games at the Derby municipal courts in Derby Center.

contact Richard Creaser at nek_scribbler@hotmail.com

 

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In boys tennis: Falcons win over U-32 on strength of singles matches

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Nathan Marsh is enjoying his second season on the North Country Falcons tennis team, having come late to the program.  A lifelong hockey and soccer player, Marsh has emerged as one of the top four singles players in the Falcons tennis program. Photo by Richard Creaser

Nathan Marsh is enjoying his second season on the North Country Falcons tennis team, having come late to the program. A lifelong hockey and soccer player, Marsh has emerged as one of the top four singles players in the Falcons tennis program.
Photo by Richard Creaser

copyright the Chronicle May 14, 2014

by Richard Creaser

NEWPORT — The North Country Falcons tennis team extended its winning streak to two matches and evened up their season record at 3-3 with a 4-3 win over the visiting U-32 Raiders on Thursday, May 8. Coming into the contest, Coach Gary Atchinson predicted that the victory would be attained or lost on the strength of the singles matches.

“Our top four are very strong with a lot of experience,” he said. “We kind of need that to balance out the fact that we have a lot of inexperienced players.”

The Falcons team has only nine players — the exact number needed to field a team for each match. With very little wiggle room, it falls on the team to perform to its maximum capability each and every time. So far, they have not disappointed, Coach Atchinson said.

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In boys baseball: Falcons come out on wrong end of pitching duel

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by Richard Creaser

NCbasevEsx Gonyaw

Sophomore catcher Andrew Gonyaw rips a shot to third base during Thursday’s 2-0 loss to the visiting Essex Hornets. Photo by Richard Creaser

copyright the Chronicle April 30, 2014

NEWPORT — The purported game time temperature was 46 degrees, but it certainly didn’t feel that way Thursday as the North Country Falcons hosted the Essex Hornets for the first game of the 2014 season at Falcon Field. A strong, frigid wind out of the northwest played a pivotal role in the game.

“We made a lot of good contact,” Falcons pitcher Wyatt Prue said after the game. “We just couldn’t find the holes. If not for the wind, we might have had at least a couple fewer outs.”

Prue and Essex pitcher Nathan Baez matched up well in the contest. Though Baez would pitch seven scoreless, Prue finished his complete game effort, yielding only a single earned run in the Falcons’ 2-0 loss. Continue reading

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In field hockey: Falcons and Hilltoppers battle to 1-1 tie

field hockey tangle

Falcon Mara Spates (right) battles with St. Johnsbury’s Emily Reardon during Saturday’s varsity match at North Country. Photo by Richard Creaser

by Richard Creaser

copyright the Chronicle 10-20-2013

NEWPORT — Saturday morning’s match between the North Country Falcons (7-3-3) and the visiting St. Johnsbury Academy Hilltoppers (2-9-2) was a fitting regular season finale for both squads.  While both sides flashed moments of offensive brilliance, the attack was outshone by the defensive prowess of the game’s two goalies — Falcon Myrriah Gonyaw and Hilltopper Grace Desrochers.

Falcons Coach Chantelle Bouchard was pleasantly surprised to learn that St. Johnsbury’s goaltender was a JV call-up, brought in to replace injured starter Bea Brody. Continue reading

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In Alpine skiing: Race shortened due to cold temperatures

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North Country Falcon Justin Berthiaume tucks into a tight corner on the slalom course at Jay Peak on Friday.  Photo by Richard Creaser

North Country Falcon Justin Berthiaume tucks into a tight corner on the slalom course at Jay Peak on Friday. Photo by Richard Creaser

by Richard Creaser

copyright the Chronicle 1-20-2013

JAY — The sun may have been shining, but it was the only weather effect working in anyone’s favor on Friday morning.  The North Country Union High Falcons held their Alpine ski meet at Jay Peak’s Stateside facility in freezing cold temperatures.

The race was originally slated to allow racers two runs down the grand slalom course.  The bitter cold quickly reduced the race to a single run each for both male and female varsity skiers.  The decidedly unpleasant temperatures offered no particular advantage or hindrance to racers, North Country Coach Mark Rappold told the Chronicle.

“The hill and the weather are the same for all competitors so training, natural abilities and the will to get to the finish is what drives them all,” Coach Rappold said.

The will to finish was perhaps never greater than it was on Friday.  A brisk wind coupled

North Country Falcon Evan Clarke slides into one of the few patches of sunlit slalom course during Friday's alpine ski contest at Jay Peak's Stateside facility.  Clarke would finish the slalom course with a time of 58.22.Photo by Richard Creaser

North Country Falcon Evan Clarke slides into one of the few patches of sunlit slalom course during Friday’s alpine ski contest at Jay Peak’s Stateside facility. Clarke would finish the slalom course with a time of 58.22.Photo by Richard Creaser

with temperatures in the single digits presented its own unique problems.  Many of the racers, and even Coach Rappold himself, reported minor cases of frostbite.  Coach Rappold said that the frostbite he sustained was still painful more than 24 hours after the race.

“Shortening the race may have saved some fingers and toes from severe frostbite,” he said.

Justin Berthiaume was the top Falcon racer on the day taking sixteenth place with a time of 52.56 behind event winner Ryan Susslin of BFA-St. Albans.  North Country’s Jed Wheeler, Evan Clarke and Braxton Birchard finished twenty-ninth, thirty-second and thirty-third respectively with less than two seconds separating them on the clock.  North Country’s only female competitor, Jani Masi, finished with a time of 1:15.59.  The top female racer was Mount Mansfield Union’s Darcy Patnode.

Coach Rappold spoke highly of the development of the team since the start of the season.  Though it is a young squad, with enough training he feels confident that North Country might again return to the state meet later in the season.

“I’m very pleased,” Coach Rappold said of his squad.  “They have come a long way since the first day of on-hill training.  Miles and miles of skiing are what make great skiers and racers, so commitment to anything will make you better at it.”

The Falcons travel to Hard’ack for a BFA-St. Albans hosted event on Friday, January 25.

Contact Richard Creaser at nek_scribbler@hotmail.com

Colchester's Margaret Rodriguez bends into a turn during Friday's Alpine meet at the Jay Peak Ski Resort hosted by North Country Union High School. Rodriguez would finish in nineteenth spot.  Photo by Richard Creaser

Colchester’s Margaret Rodriguez bends into a turn during Friday’s Alpine meet at the Jay Peak Ski Resort hosted by North Country Union High School. Rodriguez would finish in nineteenth spot. Photo by Richard Creaser

 

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Sports briefs – Nordic skiing update

January 2

Nordic skiing night relays at Montpelier High School

North Country fared well in the Montpelier High hosted night relays on Wednesday, January 2.  Both the Falcons and Lady Falcons relay teams posted fourth place finishes in the event.  The Lady Falcons relay team of Haley Jo Tetreault, Jade Dandurand and Laura Smith completed the relay with a time of 34:40, five minutes off the pace of event winners Eliza Merrylees, Lyra Wanzer and Orli Schwartz from U-32.  The Falcons squad of Brian DeLabruere, Sam Brunette and Dan Decelles finished with a time of 26:49, two and a half minutes behind event winners Will Johnson, Karl Schmeckpeper and Ben Merrylees representing U-32.

Craftsbury Academy Charger Jared Benson and his partners Danny Stames and Charles Belisle, participating on a combined team from Peoples Academy and Craftsbury Academy, finished with a time of 36:39.  Lady Charger Sabrina Thompson and her Peoples Academy partners Emma Lodge and Caitlyn Bain finished with a time of 55:45.  — submitted by Alex Gratton.

January 7

Nordic skiing at Burke hosted by St. Johnsbury Academy

The North Country Falcons enjoyed a strong showing, recording a first-place team finish in varsity girls Nordic racing and a second-place team finish in varsity boys racing.  Senior Haley Jo Tetreault led the Lady Falcons, recording a third-place individual finish with a time of 25:35, 2:07 behind race winner Lauren Gillot of St. Johnsbury Academy.  Jade Dandurand finished in seventh place with a time of 29:31.  Brian DeLabruere led the Falcons with a fourth-place individual finish and a time of  22:13, less than two minutes behind event winner Sam Puddicombe of Stowe.  Alex Cotnoir finished eighth overall with a time of 23:32.

On the junior varsity circuit the Falcons enjoyed more success as Parker LaCourse and Fred Petzoldt captured second and third places with times of 14:17 and 14:18 respectively.  Beka Young was the top Lady Falcon JV racer, taking fourth place with a time of 20:25.  — submitted by Alex Gratton

Submit sports news by phone or e-mail to Richard Creaser at (802) 873-3028 or nek_scribbler@hotmail.com.  The deadline is noon on Tuesdays. 

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NC Falcons host Nordic ski meet at Mount Hor

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North Country's Sam Brunette (right) moves to pass Brattleboro Union High's Oliver Pomanzi in boys' varsity Nordic ski action on December 28.  Brunette's time of 20:29 was tops among the Falcons on the day. Photo by Richard Creaser

North Country’s Sam Brunette (right) moves to pass Brattleboro Union High’s Oliver Pomanzi in boys’ varsity Nordic ski action on December 28. Brunette’s time of 20:29 was tops among the Falcons on the day.
Photo by Richard Creaser

by Richard Creaser

copyright the Chronicle 12-30-2012

WESTMORE — Thursday evening’s deep blanket of snow created much improved conditions as North Country Union High School held its first home Nordic ski meet of the season atop Mount Hor on Friday, December 28.  Conditions this year were a far cry from last year’s opening meet.  Last season volunteers repeatedly threw shovels full of snow over bare patches and some of the larger rocks in an effort to maintain passable trail conditions.

“We had a lot of trouble finding snow last season,” North Country Coach Alex Gratton recalled.  “It’s tough to keep up morale, to get excited about the season when you barely have a chance to get on the snow.”

So far, the 2013-2013 season has promised much greater things.  The team has taken advantage of man-made snow on the trails at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center hitting their trails at least once a week.  In addition the team traveled for a three-day skiing getaway at Mont-Sainte-Anne in Quebec.

“We weren’t able to take that trip last year because they didn’t have any snow either,” Coach Gratton said.  “This season is shaping up much better, snow-wise.”

Skiers from nine different schools in Vermont and from Lebanon High in New Hampshire traveled to Westmore for the Falcons’ home meet.  Though North Country did not fare so well in the standings on Friday afternoon, it did little to dampen their enthusiasm for their team or their chosen sport.

North Country Falcon Bradley Dopp digs deep as he races toward the finish line during the Friday, December 28 Nordic ski meet at Mount Hor in Westmore. Dopp would complete the course in 23:22. Photo by Richard Creaser

North Country Falcon Bradley Dopp digs deep as he races toward the finish line during the Friday, December 28 Nordic ski meet at Mount Hor in Westmore. Dopp would complete the course in 23:22.
Photo by Richard Creaser

“We’re a pretty tight group,” varsity skier Bradley Dopp said after the race.  “Most of us run cross country or track too.  So we’ve known each other for quite a while.”

That camaraderie is what distinguishes this Falcons’ team from most other squads, varsity skier Brianna Grimm said.  The fellowship among the athletes is what enables them to push themselves onward.

“We’re basically one big family,” Ms. Grimm said.  “We encourage one another a lot.”

Encouragement is something that all athletes needed to tackle the challenging Mount Hor course.  The initial stages involve a sprint over relatively level ground followed by some twists and turns and then The Wall.  The Wall is an imposing vertical ascent in the middle of the course.

“That big hill was a real challenge,” junior varsity skier Zachary Charbonneau said.  “That was probably the toughest part.”

The Wall is an imposing obstacle that requires that skiers conserve enough energy to tackle it.  The tendency might be to take off at speed through the early part of the course but that could leave you stranded once you hit the hill, Mr. Dopp said.

“It’s easier to go faster than you ought to,” Mr. Dopp said.  “But if you’ve skied this course before and you know that hill is coming, you save a little something.  You can make back a lot of time coming down.”

Timing and pacing are crucial skills to master for both Nordic skiing and cross-country running, Ms. Grimm said.  As a result athletes spend a lot of time running and working out their cardiovascular system to develop endurance.

“There’s really no way to prepare yourself for a hill like that,” Ms. Grimm said.  “You just do it.”

“It just goes straight up for like a quarter of the course,” Mr. Dopp said.  “It’s a bit rough and you gotta work hard but it’s so worth it when you get to the top.”

That work ethic and a willingness to support and encourage one another makes this team a pleasure to work with, Coach Gratton said.  The 17 members of this year’s squad are as close to a family as any group could be, he said.

“They are just so positive,” the coach said.  “I’d take these kids anywhere.  We might not be a big team but we’re very close.”

Coach Gratton took a moment to congratulate Alex Cotnoir and Sam Brunette on strong runs.

“You were lookin’ good out there,” he told Mr. Brunette.  “You had a lot more energy.”

“I thought I went a little slower than I ought to,” Mr. Brunette replied.  “But I felt good going up The Wall.”

Mount Mansfield won the team varsity girls title while Mount Anthony edged U-32 for the varsity boys title.  North Country finished in sixth and seventh place in the girls’ and boys’ divisions respectively.

Annavitte Rand was the top girls’ finisher completing the course in 18:25, 12 seconds ahead of Burlington High’s Halie Lange.  Haley Jo Tetreault posted the top time among the Lady Falcons cruising in to a finish time of 22:30 and only eight seconds out of a three-way tie for twelfth place.  Jade Dandurand was NCU’s next top finisher with a time of 26:11.

U-32’s Ben Merrylees was the top boys’ skier finishing with a time of 17:12, a full 16 seconds ahead of second place skier Luke Johnas of Mount Anthony.  Alexander Cotnoir held North Country’s fastest time landing in a three-way tie for eighteenth place with a time of 19:54.  Falcon Sam Brunette finished in a two-way tie for twenty-seventh overall with a time of 20:29.

Falcon Adele Woodmansee finished second in girls junior varsity action only four seconds behind event winner U-32’s Audrey Oliver’s time of 9:17.  Alexander Cope had the fastest time among the Falcons’ junior varsity racers finishing in seventh place overall with a time of 9:57.  Teammate Fred Petzoldt finished 20 seconds behind to take ninth place overall.

Contact Richard Creaser at nek_scribbler@hotmail.com

For more sports stories, please see our website sports section or subscribe to our print or online edition. Click on this link for a full high school winter sports schedule.

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In boys basketball: Falcons top Thunderbirds in high scoring affair

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North Country’s Kendrick Gray (center behind number 22) jumps to block a shot by Missisquoi Valley’s R.J. Machia as Falcon Jason Hatin (right) and Thunderbird Alex Deuso look on. In mid-flight Machia would execute a maneuver that enabled him to bounce pass to Deuso for the basket. Photo by Richard Creaser

by Richard Creaser

copyright the Chronicle 12-15-2012

NEWPORT — It was a wild and wooly affair as the host North Country Falcons staved off a late run by the visiting Missisquoi Valley Union Thunderbirds to snag the 94-90 win.  Late foul trouble allowed the Thunderbirds to claw back into contention in a fourth quarter that saw the two teams score a combined 64 points.

“My boys delivered what I promised at the beginning of the year — an entertaining team,” North Country Coach Brian Bonvechio said after the game.  “We kept trying to attack, attack, attack.  We don’t play the slow game very well so we need to keep up the tempo.”

The tempo was clearly something the Falcons needed to build toward.  Through the first half of the game the Falcons rarely had the lead, often finding themselves chasing down MVU on the score sheet.  What kept the Falcons in the contest throughout the game was a barrage of three-point field goals and solid shooting from the foul line.

Sophomore Matt Duncan was among North Country’s most proficient shooters on the day.  Though held to a single three-pointer in the first quarter, Duncan came alive in the second notching nine of the Falcons’ 27 points heading into the half.  He finished the night with six of the team’s 13 three-pointers as well as going eight for 11 from the free throw line and adding in a couple of two-point baskets for good measure.

“You gotta run and gun and hit the shots,” Duncan said after the game.  “I really gotta give credit to the team for giving me those shots.  I just went out there and did what I had to do to get the win.”

North Country’s Matthew Duncan (center, number 21) springs in for the lay-up through a defensive screen on Missisquoi Valley Union defenders Alex Deuso (left), Matthieu St. Amour (right) and Alex Larose (obscured right) as Falcon Colton White (background left) moves in for the rebound. Duncan would finish the game with 30 points including six three-point field goals and shooting 8 for 10 from the free throw line. Photo by Richard Creaser

The Thunderbirds battled intensely under the net limiting North Country’s opportunities for rebounds.  MVU’s tight control around the net enabled them to establish a first quarter lead of 18-14.  As the Falcons settled into their outside shooting routine, however, control of the net became less of an issue for North Country.

With Rejean Roberge, Tyler Paxman and Matt Duncan landing three-pointers in the quarter, North Country managed to remain in contention. Paxman’s buzzer beating three-pointer to end the second trimmed MVU’s six point lead and finished the half with North Country down 44-41.

Though the third quarter wasn’t as productive as the second in terms of total points scored, 24 points in the third compared to 27 in the second, MVU’s own offense faltered to a game-low 11 points.  For the second straight quarter the home team outscored the visitors.  Duncan poured in three more three-pointers with Paxman and Tyler Sanville also contributing to the cause.

Foul trouble caught up to both sides in the final quarter of play.  It also contributed to an offensive explosion on the part of both teams.  Matthieu St. Amour, the Thunderbirds leading offensive contributor, would foul out in the final quarter.  After recording 45 of his team’s points, his loss to the MVU cause could not be underestimated.  St. Amour finished the game with ten two-pointers, five three-pointers and shot 10 for 17 from the free throw line.

“We drew way too many fouls at the end,” Coach Bonvechio conceded.  “They went to the line a lot and that really cut down our lead.”

As the Thunderbirds likewise ran into foul trouble the Falcons managed to maintain their lead.  Duncan shot 3 of 4 in his final two trips to the free throw line and Jason Hatin shot a perfect 5 for 5 on foul shots in the game, including 4 for 4 in the final quarter alone.

Duncan lead all North Country players with 30 points in the win while three other players contributed with double digit figures — Hatin with 15, Colton White with 11 and Paxman with 10.  St. Amour was the clear top offensive player for the Thunderbirds with his 45 points accounting for half of his team’s output on the evening.  Tyler Cooper scored 17 points for MVU while Nathan Lumsden contributed 13 in the losing effort.

Contact Richard Creaser at nek_scribbler@hotmail.com

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