BY ADAM SAMROV and GEOFF SMITH
Banner Sports Staff
How do you try to summarize 365 days of sports? Seemingly every day, memories are made on sports teams across the area. From youth sports to high schools and colleges, sports memories always find a way to stick around in our thoughts and often become the topics of conversations when old friends meet later in life.
So while we prepare to head into 2014 and make the most of another year given to us, let's take a look back at the top 10 moments from 2013 that will surely be talked about for years and years to come.
1) MAU wrestling wins 25th title
It was a historic season for the Mount Anthony Union High School wrestling team right from the beginning of the year -- with the Patriots going for its 25th consecutive Vermont state title.
After a season where the Patriots went undefeated, beating some of the best that New England had to offer -- Springfield Central and Danbury were just two of those dual meet wins -- MAU traveled to Vergennes for the state tournament.
Over a weekend at the end of February, Mount Anthony made a statement, completing the "March to 25", scoring the second-most points in the tournament's history and beating second-place St. Johnsbury by 217 points. Eight individual champions were crowned at the same time, including Jesse Webb, who won his third title in three years at 285 pounds.
"It's a magical, magical moment," said Mount Anthony coach Scott Legacy after the finals were finished. "Twenty-five years ago, when we won the first one, if you told me that I'd be standing here talking about 25 in a row, I'd have said you were nuts. Then two happened and three. Some were close, some were big blowouts. I'm living in this world where I can't believe we've actually reached this."
The next week, the Patriots traveled to the New England championships in Providence, R.I., looking to win the seventh regional title in program history.
After a steady first day of the tournament, Mount Anthony rocked on Day 2, getting two individual regional champions in Webb and Miguel Calixto and a third finalist in Troy Gassaway to win by more than 40 points -- clinching the crown before the finals even started -- and breaking a nine-year drought.
"People keep asking me how it feels and it's awesome. It's been nine years since we won a New England title," Legacy said. "Ending their streak isn't as important as the fact that we won one. I'm just ecstatic for this group of kids. I hope the smile explains it all." -- AS
2) MAU year in track
The Mount Anthony Union High School track and field program had one of its most successful years in program history, scoring individual championships in both indoor and outdoor track and top finishes as a team in both disciplines.
After a indoor season that saw the Patriots fiercely battle and compete with the top programs in the state, MAU went to Norwich University for the state tournament. Both the boys and girls scored top four team finishes.
The first individual crown took a season to work for and just over seven seconds to secure. Shelby McLenithan was neck-and-neck with South Burlington's Kayla Gilding in the 55-meter dash, out-leaning her for a winning margin of 2 one-hundredths of a second.
It was the first winter individual crown for the Patriots since 2010.
The second one wasn't far behind at Jon Polen scored the 55-meter hurdles title and four school records were set overall.
The outdoor season was just as impressive, as three Patriots won championships in June.
Distance runner Marc Brandmeyer won the 3,000-meter title by 23 seconds -- an eternity -- the same margin as his cross-country victory the year before.
Also, Leniesha Williams and freshman Grace Page scored titles, Williams in the 100-meter dash and Page in the 400. Williams won the 100 by 0.05 seconds, and Page was the only ninth-grader to win an individual title at the state meet. Page won the race in 59.45 seconds, the only runner to do it in less than a minute.
The girls were third, their best showing since 2000, while the boys were fifth overall.
Polen returned at the New England championships after a narrow defeat at states and made a major impact. He shattered the school record for the 110-meter hurdles and broke a 19-year-old Vermont mark.
He was third at New Englands in 14.55 seconds, topping the mark of 14.61 set in 1994. He also competed at Nationals in New York City, one of the only Patriots to ever do so. -- AS
3) Luis Weierbach wins New York wrestling state title for Hoosick Falls
Hoosick Falls wrestler Luis Weierbach had one goal in mind for his season last year, one that every wrestler who steps on the mat has -- winning a state championship.
As the season progressed, Weierbach, wrestling at 106 pounds as a junior, defeated every opponent in his way, some by decision, others by fall. After missing the league championships in January due to illness, he won another sectional title, then repeated as the small-school champ in dominant fashion.
Making the state tournament for the third straight season, Weierbach grinded out wins -- 2-0 victories in the quarterfinal and semifinal. Then in the final against Section III's Danny Fox, he scored an early takedown and held on for a 3-1 win, taking the title and finishing the year 37-0. It was the first championship for a Panther in program history.
"First of all, I'd like to thank my coaches, my community, my family, my teammates, everyone that has helped me get here," Weierbach said. "I wouldn't be here without them." -- AS
4) Arlington girls basketball starts 0-4 and 2-5, reaches state final at Barre Aud
After falling to West Rutland for a fourth straight defeat to start the season, then slipping to 2-5 by Jan. 15, the Arlington Memorial High School girls basketball team had something to prove.
From that point, the Eagles went 11-4, using suffocating defense to reach the Final Four as a six-seed, one of the lowest seeds to get to Barre in Division IV history.
Everyone contributed, from senior captain Rayleen Sherman to Molly Elwell and sisters Jennah and Julia Lacoste and the rest of the roster in between. During the streak, someone different always came up with a big play.
In fact, in the semi final against West Rutland -- a team 21-1 coming in,, Sherman willed the Eagles with an injured leg, scoring 23 points to propel them into the finals.
"The girls have more confidence in themselves, getting older, more mature," said Arlington coach Larry Andrews before the final against Proctor. "They believe in what we're doing."
The fairy tale ended with a loss to Proctor in the championship, but the year was one to remember for Arlington girls basketball. -- AS
5 Mount Anthony's Emily Cross breaks a bunch of girls lacrosse records
Mount Anthony Union High School junior forward Emily Cross re-wrote the Patriots record book in girls lacrosse in 2013, setting all sorts of marks.
Twice on the season, Cross tied the scoring record for goals in a game with nine -- the first time on a rainy day at the Vets Home Field against Pittsfield. The second time was much more important, scoring nine in a 15-12 playoff win against Spaulding.
"Emily is a strong player with good stick skills and her teammates do a great job of feeding her the ball," said Mount Anthony girls lacrosse coach Tom Otero. "She can get open and she's a sure catch if they put the ball around her. That's what makes her so difficult, she can catch in traffic and control it and get quick shots. Her stature is short, but her play is tall."
Record-breakers weren't relegated to just game marks. She also smashed the goal scoring record for the season, finishing with more than 80 goals, topping the old mark by more than 20.
Finishing second in assists at the same time, Cross earned an all-state nod.
2014 looks to be more of the same for Cross, now a senior, as she looks to lead the Patriots to a state championship. -- AS
6) SVC men's basketball shocks Williams, starts year 7-3.
Anybody on the Southern Vermont College men's basketball team will tell you that the end of the season is far more important than the start. But for a team that entered the 2013-2014 season with just three wins over the previous two seasons, what the Mountaineers did to start the year was remarkable.
Chosen as the cupcake team most years in the Williams College Tip-Off Tournament, SVC (ranked 410 out of 414 D-III teams heading into the year) had been on the receiving end of a few thumpings over the years. But when the Mountaineers and the Ephs (ranked third to start the season) met to start this year, the Mountaineers thumped back.
Down nine points with 4:17 to play in the game, the Mountaineers stormed back into the contest. Driving the lane and forcing fouls, the Mountaineers hit clutch free throw after clutch free throw to bring the game to 87-86 late. Then, just when it seemed like the lead was just too much to handle, DeShawn Hamlet was fouled with three seconds left. Hamlet hit both free throws, and the rest is now Southern Vermont legend.
Since then, SVC has gone on to its best start in nearly two decades. Besides a 7-3 record heading into 2014, the Mountaineers also brought home their first Tri-State Shootout title in the five years the team has participated.
But through all the wins during this start, it will be the one against Williams that always sticks out the most. -- GS
7) Close finishes at Mount Anthony: BBA boys soccer wins The James with five seconds left, MAU extracts revenge with a golden goal a month later, and Gabby Loomis scores as time expires to put MAU field hockey into D-1 semifinal
There is nothing like a game that is decided in the closing seconds. And for fans of Mount Anthony Union High School athletics, the Patriots found themselves on both sides of last-second wins.
The first came in September. In the final of the John James tournament, the MAU boys squared off with Burr and Burton Academy under the lights at Spinelli Field. Back and forth the teams would battle, with MAU going a goal up twice in the contest only for BBA to come back and tie it.
Then, with just five seconds left, BBA found the winner to end a game that no one will soon forget.
BBA's senior captain Reid Conde drew a penalty inside the MAU box, which teammate Wes Lord was able to finish from the spot to give the Bulldogs a thrilling, and controversial, 3-2 win. The win also gave the Bulldogs three-straight James championships.
"I've been in three of these [finals]," Conde said after the game. "And none have felt like this.
Conde's coach, Peter Mull, added that "it's the James. Anything can happen, and it usually does."
The Patriots would extract a bit of revenge a month later, though, winning another 3-2 contest when Brad Anair hit home from the penalty spot in overtime to give MAU the win after BBA had battled back from 2-0 down to tie it in the second half.
And for as memorable as those two games were for the soccer fans in the community, MAU's Gabby Loomis provided field hockey fans with a goal to remember as she sent her team to the Vermont Division I field hockey semifinals on a score that came with no time left on the clock.
Playing against Rutland, the Patriots would find themelves down 1-0 after 12 minutes of play.
Kori Bow would draw things level later in the first half, but it would take until the final second, and a little longer after that, for MAU to score the winner.
On a penalty corner, Loomis, a senior captain on the squad, hit the ball into play. As the ball worked around the circle, it fell to the stick of Makayla Farrara, another senior captain, who whipped the ball towards the cage. The ball, though, was destined to go wide until Loomis was able to put her stick out, stop the ball from rolling out of play, and redirect it into the cage for the walk-off win.
"I thought overtime was coming," Loomis said afterwards. "But I was like ‘this is the last chance.' I stopped thinking about it, just stopped thinking about what I needed to do and just did it." -- GS
8) Hoosick Falls field hockey finishes regular season undefeated; goes 19-1 overall and reaches states for first time since 2009
It was one of those seasons where everything came together for the Hoosick Falls Central School field hockey team.
Blessed with talented senior leadership and a ridiculously strong core of younger players, the Panthers rolled to a 16-0 regular season to secure a Wasaren League crown. During the stretch, the Panthers allowed only three goals, posting a whopping 13 shutouts, and posted a 4-0 win over bitter rivals Greenwich with four games to go.
The team kept the momentum going throughout the Section II tournament, scoring 12 goals over three games while only allowing their opponents one goal during the stretch. Matched up with Greenwich in the finals, the Panthers put an exclamation point on the season by winning 2-0 and bringing home the 19th Section II championship since 1971.
After the game, coach Denise Campbell said that "we've been so close so many times. It was finally nice to break through and come out on the better end, it's a great feeling."
Caytlyn Springer, a player on the team, added that "it means a lot because we've worked so hard to get to this. Coming in we were so pumped to win, we finally did it and everyone is ecstatic."
The team's season would end in the regional tournament, as the Panthers fell to Cazenovia 2-0. But even in defeat, the players recognized what they had done in 2013.
"It was great," senior Ashley St. Onge said of the season. "This is the greatest team I've ever played on and it was the best season I've ever had." -- GS
9) Young guns set records at Hoosick Falls: Haynes breaks girls soccer goal mark as a sophomore, Ryan sets field hockey goalscoring record that stood for 20+ years
Usually, breaking records is something that is reserved for upperclassmen in high school. Usually, it requires that extra bit of maturity that comes as an athlete grows older. Usually, records are made by players capping off their decorated careers.
But at the Hoosick Falls Central School this fall, it was two young guns that broke records, giving fans a preview of what is still to come. And make no mistake about these girls: They might be young, but they brought a wealth of experience into the start of the year.
Sophomore Jordyn Haynes would break the first record this year in soccer. Haynes was able to break the scoring mark set by Grace Delurey the season before in a game against Mount Anthony Union High School midway through the season.
Her first strike in the game was her 68th goal, breaking the record, and her second helped kill off the threat of MAU getting back into the contest. By the time the dust was settled on the year, Haynes bagged 23 goals and upped her career total to 84.
The second record-breaker would be freshman Liz Ryan in field hockey.
Ryan would break the single season scoring mark during the first game of the Section II Class C field hockey tournament.
In the Panthers' 7-0 blowout over Granville, Ryan was one of seven Hoosick Falls players to find the back of the cage, scoring her 24th goal of the season in the process. The previous record of 23 goals was first set by her coach, Denise Campbell, in 1990, and was matched in 2009 by Samantha Skott. Ryan ended the season with 26 goals. -- GS
10) Cambridge and Hoosick Falls both win Super Bowls
New York State's Section II in high school athletics stretches from Lake George all the way down into the Capital Region. But in Class C and Class D football over the last decade or so, it might as well start in Hoosick and end in Cambridge.
In 2013, the Cambridge Central School team brought home its 13th sectional title since the start of the 1990s, while Hoosick Falls Central School posted its fifth-straight Sectional championship and seventh since 2000.
And the most remarkable part about the two runs? Neither team was supposed to go that far.
Cambridge was supposed to be in a down year, with more questions than answers on the roster as the Indians entered the season. For Hoosick Falls, nearly everyone in the region thought that Chatham would, finally, get the better of the Panthers when the Super Bowl rolled around.
But in both cases, the teams put forth that extra bit of grit and determination to bring home more silverware.
Hoosick Falls did so behind a brilliant defense. The Panthers gave up 19 points all season heading into the Super Bowl against Chatham, posting five shutouts while recording 15 interceptions and 11 fumble recoveries. No matter what teams threw at Hoosick Falls, the Panthers responded in style on the defensive end. The team extended its Section II winning streak to 50 games.
All the work culminated in a 21-8 win over Chatham in the Section II finals, with the Panthers recovering four fumbles and two interceptions in the win. The team would pick up another win the following week in regional action, a 27-6 win over Ogdensburg Free Academy, before falling in the state semifinals to Rye Neck 14-0.
Cambridge would also rely on a strong defense, but the Indians' strength truly came in the form of its rushing attack. Juniors Caleb Rowland and Chris Warnke dominated contest after contest, with both amassing over 1,000 yards on the ground as the Indians tossed aside any and all competition that got in the way.
Their work resulted in a 36-14 win over Rensselaer in the Class D Super Bowl, a game in which Rowland went for over 100 yards on the ground while racking up two touchdowns. Warnke also made a huge contribution, although his came on the defensive end when the linebacker intercepted a pass and brought it back for the game-sealing touchdown.
Cambridge's season would end the following week in regional play, as the Indians fell to Moriah 34-32. -- GS
The Burr and Burton Academy boys hockey team reaches the Lake Division finals...Hoosick Falls Central School baseball coach Mike Lilac wins his 300th career baseball game...Mount Anthony Union High School boys lacrosse team goes 14-2, posting best regular season record in school history, and makes state semifinals...Mount Anthony wrestling sees Jesse Webb, Austin Price and Rachel Hale sign Letters of Intent to wrestle in college, Patriots also see Aaryngston Bibens sign to play Division I basketball...Arlington Memorial High School boys basketball team reaches D-IV Final Four...MAU's Birger Vigsnes, Al Plante and BBA's Steve Houghton inducted to Vermont Principals' Assocation Hall of Fame...BBA girls lacrosse makes it to the state finals...Post 13 wins state semifinals on walk off, has walk-off taken away on technicality, only for Tanner Williams to secure the win an inning later...BBA baseball starts 10-0, reaches D-II finals on Noah Rizio's three-run walk-off double against Missisquoi...HFCS adds boys and girls lacrosse, with the girls winning first home game and Noah LaBarge scoring first goal in HFCS history...Bennington Little Leaguers win district championship, U15 Babe Ruth team wins Vermont title...BBA girls tennis reaches finals four fourth-straight season...MAU girls tennis wins first playoff game since 2005...Bennington native Jessie Donavan competes in the Ironman race in Hawaii...MAU swimmer Heather Foley sets school records and is named MVP of Berkshire League, leads team to Berkshire League crown....HFCS wrestling wins second-straight Class C title, also won state small-school championship...MAU competitive cheer wins state title...