MAU, BBA work out field hockey agreement

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BENNINGTON — Thanks to some quick work between the Mount Anthony and Burr and Burton athletic departments, players on the disbanded MAU field hockey had a chance to join the Bulldogs this season.

At the annual Vermont Principals' Association media day in Montpelier on Thursday, assistant director Bob Johnson confirmed that a member-to-member agreement is in place for MAU field hockey players to join the BBA team.

MAU junior Abby Farrington was the only player to take advantage of the agreement, joining the Bulldogs officially on Wednesday.

"From our perspective, here's a kid that's passionate about field hockey and wants to play in college," said BBA athletic director Dave Miceli. "We're in a position where we can support it and fortunate enough to have room for a member-to-member agreement."

According to the VPA's high school policies, a member-to-member agreement, "...is designed to provide a short-term fix for a school with low participation and an opportunity for a student/athlete from another school(s) to participate on a team that a sending school does not offer."

On Monday, Mount Anthony athletic director Ashley Hoyt made the decision to disband the MAU field hockey team due to low participation. At the same time, Hoyt and Miceli were working together to give players an option to play this season.

"She's been receiving some [Division II] offers, and it was a priority for me to give the upperclassmen a chance to play the sport they've played," Hoyt said. "Just based on geography, BBA was the best choice."

"Usually you can anticipate it," Dave Miceli said. "If we can provide an opportunity for kids in a sport they don't have or keep a program alive, either is a great reason to make it work."

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MAU and BBA already have a pair of member-to-member agreements. For swimming, Mount Anthony is the only school in Vermont that offers the sport, so kids from Arlington and BBA that want to swim for MAU can do so. Also, since Burr and Burton has the only hockey program in Bennington County, MAU athletes have the opportunity to join the hockey team and play for BBA.

"We want young people to stay excited about the sports they want to play and not worry about town lines," Dave Miceli said.

BBA field hockey coach Barb Miceli said Farrington came to practice earlier in the week as a guest.

"She knows a few of the BBA kids, a couple of them played in the same showcase," Barb Miceli said. "She's not a stranger to them. They knew MAU might not have a team, so it wasn't a surprise."

Farrington wasn't guaranteed a varsity spot either. Miceli said she tried out, just as the rest of the BBA girls did.

"As soon as it was official, she had her tryout," Barb Miceli said. "She's practiced three or four times and [Wednesday], we named her to the team."

Another piece to the member-to-member agreement is that the receiving school has to have room to accept an athlete from a sending school. The normal complement of players for field hockey is 20 players, so up to four MAU players could have come in. With Farrington on board, the BBA varsity has 18 players.

"We've never done a member-to-member before," Barb Miceli said. "If more had wanted to try out, they would have a spot. Their placement on either varsity or junior varsity is based on skill."


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