Irish line readies for nasty Clemson defensive front

Members of Stanford’s defensive line prepare for the snap during a game against Notre Dame earlier this season. Stanford outside linebacker Thunder Keck, who grew up in Montpelier, will compete with the Cardinal at 11 a.m. on Dec. 31 in the Sun Bowl. The game will be broadcast on CBS.

There’s something extra special in the Montpelier water these days — and it’s not the fluoride.

At least a dozen Capital City athletes competed at the collegiate level this past fall, marking an impressive turnout for the smallest state capital in the country. Six individuals who were either raised or currently live in Montpelier are playing at the Division I level. It’s an astounding figure for a town, population 7,484, where less than 100 students graduate each year.

The hallways of Union Elementary, Main Street Middle School and Montpelier High School have been graced by some big names in the past. Track and field star Mollie Gribbin recently competed for three D-I programs — Dartmouth, Missouri and Nebraska. Jill Dellipriscoli (UVM) and John Dellipriscoli (Manhattan) were D-I soccer standouts a decade ago, while Josh Crane played Ultimate for one of the top teams in the country at the University of Colorado.

In 1998, a pair of Nordic skiers who grew up in Montpelier — Laura Wilson and Marc Gilbertson — both made the Olympics and raced during the Winter Games in Nagano, Japan. Twenty years later, Capital City product Amanda Pelkey was selected to Team USA for women’s hockey. She helped her squad capture the gold medal during the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

The success of Central Vermont’s homegrown talents has been undeniable, and many future stars are already in the pipeline. Here’s a look at the current crew of college athletes with strong ties to Montpelier:

Thunder Keck

Stanford Football

The 6-foot-3, 205-pound outside linebacker played eight games during his lone year of high school football at the Hotchkiss (Connecticut) School. Known for his work ethic and explosive speed, the sophomore earned Pac-12 All-Academic honorable mention honors for the Cardinal. His sister Zion, a 2011 MHS grad, was a D-I rower for Michigan State. Their father Eric was a 245-pound member of the U.S. Ski Team before beefing up to become a 300-pound All-Ivy League defensive tackle for Columbia University at the age of 27. Thunder’s grandfather, Tom, was a longtime teacher at U-32. Stanford (8-4) will face Pittsburgh at 11 a.m. on Dec. 31 in the Sun Bowl.

Matt Hynes

UVM Cross Country

In 2015, Hynes led MHS to its first state title in 29 years with a one-point victory over U- 32. The Catamounts sophomore hasn’t slowed down, guiding his team to victory at a Boston meet with an 8-kilometer time of 25 minutes, 7.4 seconds. He smashed his previous record by 45 seconds and has a bright future at UVM, which placed a program-best 13th at NCAA Northeast Regionals.

Theresa Noonan

UVM Cross-Country

A former two-year captain for the Solons, Noonan cranked up her mileage during the last two seasons with the Catamounts. The sophomore has set a pair of personal records at UVM, recording a 5-kilometer mark of 19:58.5 last year and finishing a 6K race in 25:03.9 at this year’s Paul Short Invitational. The Cats placed third at the America East Championships, marking their best finish since 2014.

Joe Parento

UVM Soccer

As a high school freshman, Parento helped the 11-4-2 Solons make a run to the Division II semifinals. He transferred to CVU, where he went 40-8-3 with the soccer team, powered the top line in hockey and helped CVU win its fifth straight lacrosse title. UVM finished 11-7-1 this year after going toe-to-toe with NCAA Tournament qualifiers UConn, Duke, New Hampshire, Colgate and LIU Brooklyn.

Walker Bean

Dartmouth Skiing

A Junior National Championships qualifier for GMVS, Bean took his skinny skis across the Connecticut River to compete for the Big Green. Eleven months ago, he placed 17th in 15-kilometer freestyle and eighth during a 1.5K classic sprint during an FIS-sanctioned race at Rikert Nordic Center. He also finished 10th in a World Loppet 50K classic marathon in Isafjordur, Iceland. Back home he was 36th for the 10K freestyle discipline in a SuperTour race at Craftsbury.

Cricket Basa

Holy Cross Soccer

Last year Basa was named Vermont Coaches Player of the Year and earned All-American honors, finishing her career with 56 goals and 22 assists in 46 games. She didn’t suit up for Holy Cross this year due to an early-season injury but she’s working hard to make an impact in the Patriot League next fall. Basa has the same jersey number – 15 — that was worn by former U-32 and Holy Cross captain Emily George, who played in 66 matches for the Crusaders.

Jackson Watson

Middlebury Soccer

Watson was also one of Vermont’s top hockey and tennis players while competing for the Solons and spent a post-grad year at Deerfield (Massachusetts) Academy. He followed in the path of older sister Carly, honing his skills at MHS before stepping up to NESCAC competition at Middlebury. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound senior fullback played three years for the Panthers, who went 10-4-3 this past fall and earned their second straight NCAA Tournament bid.

Allison Chadwick

Castleton Soccer

The ultra-dependable goalie closed out her career at MHS in 2017 with 22 shutouts in three seasons. This year Chadwick and the Spartans finished a modest 7-12, but Castleton showed its class during a pair of 2-0 losses to both NCAA finalists. Castleton held D-III champ Williams scoreless in the first half and limited national runner-up Middlebury to one goal through the first 87 minutes.

Ivan Bansah

Norwich Soccer

The hard-nosed defender has been a late bloomer who continues to improve every year. He was part of Montpelier’s 2012 team that went 17-1 and he also played basketball and Ultimate, leading MHS to back-to-back state championships in Ultimate. This year the Cadets went 11-3-4 and recorded eight shutouts, including a scoreless tie against Middlebury.

Dashiell Vermilya

Norwich Soccer

The Montpelier resident was a three-sport standout at U-32, where he was a talented basketball guard and a sprinter on U-32’s state championship track and field team. During his tenure with the Cadets soccer team, he’s embraced more of a defensive role, appearing in 53 matches and making 41 starts. Last season, the junior midfielder was one of four players to start all 18 matches.

Jeremy Hoyne-Grosvenor

Bowdoin Cross-Country

Hoyne-Grosvenor became the national indoor leader in the 3,000-meter distance in 2017 with a time of 8 minutes, 32.71 seconds while competing for the Solons. His older brother, Daniel, was also a standout runner who later raced for Yale University. Jeremy carved his own path to success, smashing the Division III record for the 1,500 by crossing the line in 4 minutes, 0.1 seconds. Hoyne-Grosvenor now competes for the Polar Bears, who placed sixth at the NESCAC Championships.

Tyler Cain

Roger Williams Tennis

Cain went 45-8 over four years as the Solons’ No. 1 player and now competes for the Hawks. He opened the fall portion of the schedule with victories against Stonehill and at the Connecticut College Invitational. Roger Williams will kick off a 12-match season on Feb. 12 at the Drew University Tournament.

Maralina Moore

Pratt Institute Soccer

Moore made seven starts and played in nine of 11 games for the Cannoneers, scoring two goals. The team outscored opponents 12-1 during the final three games, defeating the College of New Rochelle, Pine Manor and Yeshiva.

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