Jacob Whitcomb

Champlain Valley Union High School lacrosse midfielder Jacob Whitcomb in play against Burlington in 2021.

The 2021 sports season still saw the lingering cloud of COVID-19, which caused a late start to the winter season in January and restrictions on all sports through the year.

But the teams — and athletes persevered — celebrated on the fields, courts and ice hockey rinks through all three seasons and local sports had memorable moments throughout the year.

Champlain Valley athletes returned to action in February after COVID-19 caused a lot of caution around the start to the 2021 winter season.

Alpine and Nordic skiing and snowboarding started on time, with those sports held outdoors and requiring less restrictions.

The Vermont Principals’ Association required masks for athletes and allowed no fans for indoor sports but the Redhawks were able to compete, exciting for athletes who watched last year’s spring season canceled and saw an early end to the 2020 winter season.

COVID-19 did stop some seasons prematurely. CVU girls’ basketball was one of the teams forced to exit the postseason after a positive test.

Shelburne’s Nick wins two World Cups

Shelburne native Megan Nick found herself on the top of the podium not once but twice in 2021, capturing her first two World Cup wins in women’s aerials.

Nick, who graduated from Champlain Valley, competes on the U.S. Ski team and got her first two wins as she gears up for a push for the 2022 Olympics.

She landed a full double full — two flips with three twists and a double flip in the second twist — to grab both victories.

Boys’ tennis breaks 21-year title drought

Champlain Valley boys’ tennis beat Burlington by a narrow 4-3 score in the DI state championship to capture their first trophy in 21 years.

Ben Sampson, Henry Bijur and Charlie Mjaanes each won singles matches and the doubles pair of Aiden Greer and Cooper Whalen netted a win in their match.

It was the fifth title overall for the Redhawks, who handed the Seahorses their first loss of the season in the championship match.

Baseball sends off coach with title

After coach Tim Albertson decided to hang up the cleats after 12 years with the Champlain Valley baseball program, the players decided to send him off in style.

The Redhawks won the DI state title game 13-0 to win the crown and help Alberston ride off with some hardware.

It was the second title in a row for CVU, which also return most of their championship roster next spring and will look to make it three for three.

Shelburne woman plays for national team

Champlain Valley Union High sophomore Elise Berger was one of 40 girls from around the country invited to a national girls’ baseball development camp in October.

Berger was also one of a handful of those players invited to play with the Women’s National Development Team.

She played on the CVU boys’ baseball team and is likely the only female baseball playing in high school.

Eight in a row for boys’ lacrosse

The Champlain Valley boys’ lacrosse team completed a second half comeback in the DI state championship in June to capture its eighth title in a row this season.

The team had a new coach, had to navigate COVID concerns and recover from a lost season in 2020 in order to capture the crown.

The team also had to overcome Burr and Burton, which had a lead entering the fourth quarter before CVU came back to win the game.

CVU football advances to the first DI final

The football team took a large step forward during the 2021 fall season, advancing all the way to the state championship game for the first time in program history.

The Redhawks, who played in the Division II state final in 2009, lost a close one to Essex 21-19 in a snowy contest in November.

The CVU team, which went to the no-tackle, seven versus seven final game last year, is looking to build a program of annual contenders on the gridiron.

Both CVU ski teams capture state titles

The Champlain Valley boys and girls ski teams both skied away with Division I state titles in March, with the boys grabbing their first-ever state crown.

The Redhawk boys placed five skiers in the top 15 in the giant slalom race to emerge with the victory.

For the girls, a couple of early did-not-finish results forced the Redhawks on their three finishers to clinch the win.

The dual win for both teams was the first time a school had captured both titles in alpine skiing.

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