CLAREMONT — Wow, what a strange ride it’s been. What began last winter continued through the spring and summer seasons that left whole communities and student athletes with no sports, until the fall season brought us back. With the nod from the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association (NHIAA) and Vermont Principals Association (VPA), our local schools began preparations for a bit of inter school athletic competition and not a moment to soon. With safety guidelines in place that reflected the best know practices at the time, the fall season jumped off a bit later than usual but nonetheless allowed our high school teams and communities to feel a bit of normalcy.

Vermont took a bit of a different approach than the New Hampshire schools but in the end, everyone played games and our region was treated to a lot of success along the way. Looking back to see how things started and where things ended up is just remarkable. Playing local schedules much like the old Connecticut Valley League (CVL) days, proved that we have some of the best programs, coaches and athletes anywhere. When the regular local season completed and playoffs were allowed, or local teams excelled in a way that is remarkable.

“I think playing a local schedule prepared us better than we would have thought,” said Newport’s state champion head coach John Proper in a recent interview.

Those words could have not been truer because of the results. I would argue that playing teams from our region is like no other because there are some quality programs that are unmatched anywhere and the proof is in the championships our local school won. Going forward and reviving the CVL makes sense in so may ways but that’s something we will discuss at a later time.

State championships are not easy, they are hard and when you have five local teams grab those titles and a few more teams play for a crown, it really is impressive.

Bellows Falls field hockey, Sunapee boys soccer, Newport football, and the Windsor football and field hockey teams traveled to all corners of the state to take on the best of the best and they all were rewarded with loud parades where the towns could enjoy the success of these teams as they all returned as state champions.

The Eagle Times covers 10 schools as best as we could and we always want to be better. It was our pleasure to be able to be there for as many games as possible including every championship game this season.

As a sports department we would like to congratulate all the athletes, athletic directors, coaches, trainers, bus drivers, groundskeepers, ticket takers, parents and fans for making this season an unforgettable experience.

Our photographers and reporters: Doug MacPhee, Kristie Lisai, Denise Hopta-Hunter, Bill Murphy and Cody Nichols have tried to bring our readers the best local coverage we could and I hope we were able to preserves some memories, and add a bit of joy to the fall season for everyone.

Thank you from everyone at the Eagle Times sports department for an unforgettable season.

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