Sports Shorts


By Joe Gonillo

Have you checked the calendar? January is just about over. From the return to school, exams, MLK Day, a quick free day for make-ups, to the start of the second semester, I am happy to see the cold, chilly month slip by. Let’s hope February is a tad… less frigid as we creep closer to the post season in high school sports. I believe the Super Bowl is this week. Get all your homework done before the game.


The boys’ hockey team fell for the first time this winter last week. In an exciting game, Rutland edged Essex 3-2 in overtime. Clawing their way back from a 2-0 hole, Zac Godin and Jacob Gaboriault scored in the game’s last five minutes to forge a tie. Godin and Zach McGinnis had assists as the Hornets peppered 46 shots on goal. They tied Rice 2-2 in their next game as Brendan Gleason and Ethan Bartlett lit the lamp. Erik Short made 22 saves. The Hornets are 10-1-3 and play road games at BFA and NCU this week.

The girls’ hockey team is 8-5 after a 1-1 week. A 4-0 win over Rutland saw Melanie Theriault score two goals and an assist while Kathleen Young scored once and added two assists. Amanda Sinkewicz scored the final goal. One of my stingers reported on their 3-0 loss to Hanover Saturday At Campion Arena, Hanover: Hanover scoring: Second Period: 7:26, Kelly Brigham (Eliza Laycock, Matti Hartman). Power play goal – ouch! Second Period: 8:23, Matti Hartman (Cate Wagner, Eliza Laycock); Third Period: 7:17, Kelly Brigham (Sarah Wagner, Emma Malenka). Goaltending: Hanover – Katie Fenton: 16 saves; our – Victoria Gibson made 32 saves. Busy night. They play Burr & Burton and Spaulding this week, the former at home Thursday at 7:45 p.m.


The boys’ basketball team celebrated Coaches vs. Cancer Week with a huge win over South Burlington Friday night at home 45-37 in overtime. Eli DiGrande scored 16 points as the Hornets, who led for most of the game, endured a buzzer-beating, game-tying hoop to send the game into the extra session. The Hornets have won two in a row and stand 8-4. This week they travel to Burlington and Colchester. The JV’s also played overtime dropping a three-point game to the Rebels. They are 7-5. The frosh are 8-4 and play at MMU Saturday.

The girls’ basketball team won twice last week beating Spaulding 50-31 and Burlington 48-40. They have won five games in a row. Taylor Truax led the Hornets with 26 points vs. the Tide. Essex topped the Seahorses in the Pink Zone game behind the scoring and toughness of senior Alex Esposito who poured in 18 points and had nine rebounds. Mychaela Harton scored 12 while Burlington’s Pascale Gulick, our EHS librarian’s daughter, had 15. The JV’s won as well, 40-35, to halt a losing streak and hopefully start one of their own. ADL topped EMS by a point in a squeaker as an Eagle shot banked in… at the buzzer. Alas, a toe was on the line preventing the tie and overtime. Once again, the games raised over $1,000 in the never-ending fight against breast cancer. Jay and Judy Brady deserve a gigantic amount of thanks for their efforts. Thank you to everyone who donated to the cause.


Our gymnastic team is 5-0 after defeating both St. Johnsbury and South Burlington Saturday afternoon at the EHS gym.

The Hornets scored over 140 points for the second straight meet totaling 140.8. South Burlington finished in second place with 121.1 and St. Johnsbury pulled in third hitting 103.4 points. Essex’s Kylie Svarczkopf was first in All-Around with 35.85. Freshman Allie Green second with 35.3, and sophomore Abbie Gehsmann third with a 33.85. They host Middlebury Friday evening at 7 p.m. in their final home meet of the season. They still have two more competitions remaining before states on Feb. 21.

Indoor Track

The boys’ and girls’ track team was back in Northfield at Norwich University on Saturday. In another event-abbreviated meet, as the college has time issues with high school track and field on Saturday, the Hornets competed in what was probably their final regular season meets before states next month. Highlights include firsts from Madison Stephenson high hurdles 9.94, Sade Hankey high jump 5-feet, Rose Monahan 2-mile 11.37.1, and the girls’ 4 x 800-meter relay team of Monahan, Katie James, Abby Trombley and Charlotte Murphy. Jessica Stowe and Morgan Whitney 3-4 in the 300-meter; the girls 4 x 200-meter relay Kristen Roberge, Claudia Bearman, Emily Singer, and Whitney ran third; the boys’ medley squad Jason Cooke, Nate Brennan, Angus Hutcheon and Nate Rodrigue-Hotchkiss fourth; Marisa Minadeo fourth in high hurdles. MMU’s Alec Eschholz won the 300-meter.


At the Bob Benore Invitational Invite in Vergennes Saturday the Hornets finished seventh as a team.

Individual accolades looked like this: Jack Carney first; John Stawinski third, Seamus Chisholm third, and Jeremy Jarvis fourth. Jarvis and the team had another reason to celebrate as the hard-working, mature, talented, tough – yet polite – senior recorded his 100th career-wrestling win. Congratulations Jeremy! This week the team is in Randolph… weather permitting.


The bowling team finished first Saturday in their competition: first place: Essex; second place: Hartford; third place: Spaulding; fourth place: South Royalton. Varsity Scores: Sabrina Liguori 131, 166, Brian Cookingham 114, 203, Mike Prim 155, 192, Ryan Ploof 188, 172, Tyler Richards 158, 225, Reese Meunier 121, 189; Reid Kamhi 116, 144, and Andrew Benoit 133, 141.

Alpine Skiing

The alpine ski team finished seventh of nine teams on the girls’ side and sixth out of 10 teams in the boys’ races in their first giant slalom of the winter. The girls are gaining experience with every run and continue to improve. Char Ouellette continues to be solid, and Hannah Danis continues her climb up the ranks. Meredith Payson is skiing well. The boys are battling a deep, veteran field (MMU, CVU, STOWE and BFA) that placed at least three individuals in the top 15. MMU was first in both races with Stowe second and CVU third for the girls. CVU was second and Stowe third in boys. Eric DeWitt placed 24th. He was supported by Chase Dunbar in 33rd. and Kevin Donley 37th. Brennan Goodrich rounded the scoring with a 39th place finish. Nice job!

Competitive Giving League

From Kristin Kany… The Competitive Giving League is back! The EHS Athletic Leadership Council is again sponsoring this community service competition, but this time Essex High School is going up against Mount Mansfield Union High School. That’s right – school against school – Hornets vs. Cougars. All students, faculty and staff are invited to participate in this competition. In last year’s three-sport seasons competition, EHS (and ADL and EMS in the spring) donated enough items for the local food shelf to provide nearly 1,000 meals for a family of four. Donations from the Competitive Giving League at EHS will again go to the Heavenly Food Pantry; and MMU will donate to their community’s local food bank branch. The weeklong competition begins on Monday, Feb. 9 and ends Friday, Feb. 13. The trophy ceremony for the victors will take place at the EHS-MMU boys’ basketball game on Tuesday, Feb. 17 (at MMU). Once again, community partner Ben & Jerry’s will provide ice cream or yogurt to the champions.

For more information contact

St. Mike’s

St. Michael’s College Alpine and Nordic skiing teams will host the St. Michael’s College Carnival this coming Friday and Saturday for their first home event since 2010. Alpine events will take place at Smugglers’ Notch Resort in Jeffersonville, while Nordic races are slated for Sleepy Hollow Inn, Ski and Bike Center in Huntington. Friday’s action begins with the first run of the women’s giant slalom at 9:30 a.m.


The Super Bowl is the most-watched sporting event in the nation. Kick back, relax and enjoy. Not really pulling for either side. Let’s see… cheater or egotistical coach. Tough choice. I like both quarterbacks though.

Thank You

We received a thank you note from the family of our high school co-worker Chris Demetrules. The IA was stricken in the fall, and many EHS teachers and staff have been a part of giving either a donation or some part of their personal leave time to him. We wish him a speedy recovery.

Contact Nancy Chalmers if you’d like to help or would like more information.


Some very sad news on many fronts last week. EHS teachers and friends Brian Walsh and Steve Roberts lost parents as Brian’s mom and Steve’s dad passed away. A very dear friend of ours, Larry Lee, lost his battle to cancer last week. Larry, his wife Jan, and son Josh lived on Rivendell through the 90s. Larry and Jan worked for USAIR. Josh graduated from EHS in the mid 90s, is married, and has two beautiful young children. Jan and Larry moved to Philly, then Denver with the company, and settled in Tampa. We visited them in 2008 during a February break in warm, sunny Florida. Larry coached freshman boys’ soccer and refereed the game at all levels. He also spent many, many years as the freshman boys’ basketball coach in the Rob Reardon era of Essex basketball. His teams were very good. We spent many Sundays at their home watching football and feasting in the early 90s during the Dallas Cowboys’ glory years and three Super Bowl wins in four years. Jan and my wife, Tina, were best of friends. Those were great times and special memories. He will be missed. Here is Jan’s address if you want to send a card:

3122 Cara Ct

Palm Harbor, FL 34684

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to my mom Rosemary Gonillo. She will celebrate next week. She is an all-star mom who is one of the most loving, caring, supportive people I have met in my life. She is the best cook in the world, and I am so glad she and my dad retired to Essex Junction back in 2000. Niece Kristin Hathaway Peet celebrates next week as well. She’s the mom of twins, a successful business professional, and also great cook who starred as a field hockey, basketball and Shot/Discus athlete in her glory years back in the mid-to-late 80s.

Happy Anniversary

Happy Anniversary to my brother and sister-in law Sandy and Hank Bechtel. Not sure how she puts up with him for 30/35+ years. Just kidding Henry. Congrats!