When it comes to his school’s community, BFA-St. Albans’ Ian Carpenter is without question a devoted participant.
Whether through engaging in Unified Sports programs, the Nordic ski team, track and field, cross country, or the Penguin Plunge, Carpenter’s schedule is no picnic to maneuver. And that is without mentioning the crown jewel of activities to Carpenter — musicals.
“Ian’s passion is musicals. He is very versed in that field,,” BFA Unified Basketball coach Kasia Bilodeau said. “His parents have taken him all over New England to see those kinds of things. But he has also been to all sorts of sporting events, so his parents make sure that he has lots of experiences”
After the curtains closed on the fall performance of Shrek the Musical, the student who has never missed out on a production of a school musical still had plenty of items to check off on his daily to-do list. After a successful Nordic season that saw Carpenter complete his first unchaperoned 5-kilometer race, the entirety of his spring attention shifted toward the track and Unified basketball teams.
With a 77-65 defeat to the Bellcate Bulldogs in basketball last week, the previously undefeated BFA Unified team missed out on a chance to play in the state championship game at Castleton University. But Bilodeau said the season was still a major success.
“Would we have liked to win? Of course. You don’t enter something wanting to lose. It was a remarkable season, and we didn’t expect it at all,” she said.
After having discussions with athletic director Dan Marlow about whether there would be enough interest to even field, the BFA student body stepped up to make a tremendous season possible for Bilodeau’s squad.
“My teammates help me with everything, and help me to get a lot better with basketball,” Carpenter said.
Finding a silver-lining after the upset loss to Bellcate proved no problem for the upbeat Carpenter, who was quick to mention that BFA was awarded silver medals a week earlier for finishing second in a 3-on-3 tournament in Castleton.
For Carpenter, one of the best aspects of high school athletics has been the thrill of crossing the finish line. Perhaps that is why track and the junior are such a perfect match. The self-described “finisher” loves to hear the echoes of the crowd as he comes down the home stretch in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, as well as the crowds at cross-country and Nordic events.
Serving as a coach for all three sports, Mike Mashtare has formed a great connection with Carpenter over the years.
“Ian is a pleasure to coach. He is always quick to say, ‘Hi coach’ and give a high-five or handshake. It is especially rewarding to watch his growth through three seasons of athletics. Each sport is so different and watching him adapt to each is fun to watch. Cross Country is long and grueling, Nordic is very technical, and track being very explosive. He does a great job in each,” Mashtare said.
Outside of musicals and athletics, Carpenter has made contributions to the BFA community through charitable programs he has participated in. In January, Carpenter was one of many BFA students taking the daring plunge into frigid Lake Champlain at the annual Penguin Plunge in Burlington.
BFA students’ participation in the Penguin Plunge raised money to assist the Unified team for years to come, including new uniforms next year.
“It is fun to work with Ian because he is willing to try anything. He takes on whatever it is we are doing, and makes that his passion. Musicals will always be way up there, of course,” Bilodeau said.
Carpenter will enjoy what is left of the spring season before returning for his final year of high school next fall. His school spirit and sense of community involvement will surely survive one more summer vacation.