BENNINGTON >> With seven of the nine first-place votes, the Southern Vermont College men's basketball team was chosen in the 2015-16 preseason coaches poll to once again finish at the top of the New England Collegiate Conference standings.
Announced on Tuesday, SVC took 78 points in the poll, followed by defending champion Regis' 69 points with the other two first-place votes. Elms and Mitchell both accumulated 56 to round out the top four placements. Daniel Webster, Becker, Wheelock, Newbury and Lesley rounded out the poll.
The Mountaineers, led by third-year head coach Dan Engelstad, are looking to reach the NECC playoffs for the third straight season and make it back to the league's championship.
"The bar has been set high by this group of returners and newcomers," he said. "We know that this year the Conference has improved and that the path to the championship will not be easy. I look forward to seeing how this team rises to the challenges."
SVC had a 25-4 overall record last year for the team's most-ever victories, going a perfect 16-0 in NECC play. The Mountaineers fell to Regis in the title game before being selected to the ECAC Division III New England Championship tournament for the first time in program history. SVC won the tournament to claim SVC's first-ever ECAC crown.
"Last year we fell short of our goal: making it to the NCAA tournament," continued Engelstad. "After the letdown of not making the NCAAs, our guys regrouped and made a great ECAC run to bring home a championship. That showed a lot about the character and determination of last year's team. This year, we hope to put ourselves in a good position to compete for an NECC championship and a trip to the NCAA tournament."
Engelstad returns 13 players for the 2015-16 campaign including senior captain Antoine White who became Southern Vermont's all-time assists leader last year. White averaged 3.6 helpers per game while adding 7.2 points and 3.9 rebounds per contest. Also coming back for the Mountaineers is senior DeShawn Hamlet, the 2015 NECC Player of the Year; he tallied 19.4 points and 7.6 rebounds per game, marks that put him third and fourth in the conference, respectively.
Senior Casey Hall looks to continue his post presence for SVC after putting up 9.4 points and 2.7 blocks per game a season ago. Guard William Bromirski will also return for his senior season after registering 10.3 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last year.
Southern Vermont begins the season this Friday with its home opener, welcoming MCLA to the Mountaineer Athletic Center for a 7 p.m. tip-off. SVC then heads to Maryland for the Hoopsville National Invitational Classic where the team takes on NCAA tournament teams Salisbury (Nov. 20) and the University of St. Thomas (Nov. 21). The Mountaineers will visit Castleton on November 29 before starting conference play on Dec. 3 with a rematch against Regis at the MAC. They soon-after partake once again in the Tri-state Shootout Tournament, this year's being hosted by RPI on Dec. 12-13. Additional non-conference contests slated for SVC are a Dec. 21 meeting at Bates College, and a January 4 showdown at Middlebury.
Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving
ARLINGTON >> Runners, walkers and kids of all ages are invited to participate in the 20th Annual Running of the Turkeys held on Thanksgiving morning in East Arlington. The event includes a 5K (3.1 miles) run and walk as well as a Kids Fun Run. The race is hosted by the Batten Kill Valley Runners Club.
The run and walk take off promptly at 9 a.m. on November 26 at Fisher Elementary. The Kids Fun Run is scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m.
Entry forms are available at the Batten Kill Valley Runners website at www.bkvr.net and online registration is available at www.finishright.com. Race Day registration is available from 7:45 until 8:30 a.m. but participants are encouraged to register in advance.
Turkeys will be given to the overall male and female winners and apple pies will be awarded to the overall second and third place male and female finishers in the running and walking events. All finishers of the Kids Fun Run receive awards for completing the event. Special Turkeyware will be given to the first 300 registrants.
Commemorative long-sleeved shirts are available for an additional cost and must be ordered by November 15. Participants who bring a plate of fresh home baked goods to share will be entered into a special raffle for a sweatshirt or cap. Discounts are available for all entries postmarked by November 15.
We encourage you to bring all family members to experience this unique event and to work up an appetite for your Thanksgiving dinner. Other surprises are planned so come join the fun! For more information, call Anita at (518) 677-8333.