Stowe High School has a pair of new varsity head coaches.
Justina Wentworth Reichelt is the next coach for Stowe’s storied field hockey program while Shane Bufano will lead the boys soccer team, a program that has won eight-straight state championships dating back to 2012.
Both coaches officially take the reins of their teams when school-sanctioned practices begin on the first day of school, Tuesday, Sept. 8. Games should begin later in the month, provided schools remain open for in-person learning and high school athletics stay on track during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Bufano is the founder and director of the Burlington-based Queen City Football Club. An assistant coach at St. Michael’s College for two seasons, Bufano also was on the staff of the South Burlington boys soccer team from 2011 to 2014.
A graduate of Champlain Valley Union High School and 2009 graduate of Green Mountain College, he most recently coached at Northern Vermont University-Johnson, where he is still the head coach of the men’s team and an assistant for the women’s squad. With no varsity competitions at NVU-Johnson this fall due to the pandemic, Bufano has taken on the additional challenge of trying to guide the Raiders to an unprecedented and historic ninth-straight state title.
“I’m pretty close with Coach Buczek,” Bufano said. Buczek has been at the helm for the majority of Stowe’s recent success, and when he decided to leave the program after title No. 8 Bufano reached out to Stowe Athletic Director Kevin Lipple about the vacancy.
“Stowe’s a really good fit for me, I’m really excited to take over,” Bufano said. “Obviously it’s a great program already, and I think I can give a new spin on Coach Buczek’s style to a pretty new group.”
Bufano said word of his hire leaked earlier this summer, and several returning Stowe players made a point of attending a preseason soccer academy he and several other college coaches were putting on to get to know their new coach. Since then Bufano’s been driving to Stowe two or three times a week to play pickup games with a group of boys who will be vying for spots on the varsity team this fall.
“It’s been pretty good getting to know them; there’s plenty of talent there,” Bufano said.
Justina Wentworth Reichelt
Wentworth Reichelt is the assistant director of campus recreation at the University of Vermont. Since moving to town in 2012 the field hockey enthusiast has watched with interest as Stowe’s varsity squad continues to be one of the premier programs in the state.
She has been playing field hockey for decades; after her high school career she played four seasons at Keene State College, where she was an Academic All-American, graduating in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education. Already a coach by then at several summer camps, she fell in love with field hockey all over again while playing the sport with both men and woman during a year in England while in college.
“In America, it’s not as common for men to play but in most other countries there are men’s and women’s teams,” Wentworth-Reichelt said.
She took a job as the varsity head coach at New Canaan High School in Connecticut for a few years after graduation while working as a physical education teacher there. In 2006 she took a job at Keene State College and earned her masters degree from Plymouth State University in 2009. She and her family moved to Vermont the next year; that’s when Wentworth-Reichelt rediscovered her passion for field hockey yet again, and after a decade in the Green Mountain State she decided it was time to get back into coaching.
“I get excited just holding a stick in my hand,” she said, and watching Stowe’s field hockey squad the last few years has definitely given her the coaching bug again.
“When I saw the position open up, I jumped on it right away. I love coaching, I love field hockey and I’ve wanted to be part of Stowe’s program for a long time,” she said.
Wentworth-Reichelt sees the coaching job as a great way to become a bigger part of the larger Stowe community, and she thinks being part of a team is crucial for high schoolers now more than ever with the lack of socialization and interaction with peers during the pandemic.
She’s also hoping to grow the feeder program for the varsity squad while continuing the success enjoyed by the Raiders over the past few decades.
“There are some big shoes to fill, but I hope to be able to keep all that going,” she said.