Amid the challenges and grief associated with COVID cancelations and delays, I resolved to channel my disappointment into a more positive space. I redoubled my efforts to tell stories that would remind us of the great times we've shared in the past and the extraordinary athletes who've competed in Franklin County.

When I began sharing the stories, the community responded with gratitude; that further ignited my enthusiasm! Thank you, everyone, who took the time to let me know how much you enjoyed reading about others' exploits!

I've selected ten stories I'll never forget from a year where stories of the past filled so many of my pages. If you're not on this list, please don't feel that your story didn't impact me; I never leave an interview feeling like I haven't received an incredible gift!

Jeff Harvey

Jeff Harvey: Ronald Chagnon (center) and Jeff Harvey (right) with Coach O’Connor (left) in 1955, during Harvey’s sophomore year.

Milkshakes and Tackles: Harvey reflects on impact of sports

• Jeff Harvey: Harvey grew up in Franklin County, playing high school for St. Anne's. He went on to play football at UVM and later fought in Vietnam. Listening to Harvey talk about how athletics have been a central theme to each phase of his life was extremely impactful. It was incredible to hear Harvey speak of drinking fountain sodas at the local drug store and then, in the same conversation, speak of helping lead troops to battle as a soldier.

Read the profile here.

Nate Loughlin

Nate Loughlin: Nate Loughlin (front) on the field at Bishop’s.

Nate Loughlin: I spoke with Loughlin in the fall of 2019, shortly after he began his collegiate football career at Bishop's University in Canada. This fall, I reached out to Loughlin for an update, and the conversation we had led to a candid and powerful discussion on the importance of mental health and the value of seeking help before things get too difficult. I admire Loughlin's honesty and courage.

Read the profile here.

Kevin Priest fenway

Kevin Priest: Kevin Priest and his grandson Cole at Fenway Park in 2017.

Kevin Priest: baseball is a game built on the past, the present, and the future, and Kevin Priest is a man who embraces that concept. Baseball has played a role in every stage of Priest's life, whether he was playing in a 'sandlot' in Massachusetts, watching Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle at Yankee Stadium, or coaching at the youth level.

Read the profile here.

Eno Celebration.jpg

Rodney Burns: The Enosburg Hornets celebrate their quarterfinal win over Thetford in 2017.

Rodney Burns: Rodney recounted the 2017 Enosburg baseball quarterfinal as his Unforgettable Game. This one brought a smile to my face. My son Caleb played for Rodney and hit the home run in this game. It was so much fun reliving the moment and hearing the coach recount the events.

Read the profile here.

2013-14 Hornets

Nick Carpenter: The 2013-2014 Enosburg Hornets. Left to right, back row: Cam Caforia, Calvin Carter, Eric Savoy, Jyi Larivee, and Coach Matt Luneau. Left to right, front row: Justin Soule, Nick Carpenter, Brandon Robtoy, and Matt Perley.

Nick Carpenter: The Unforgettable Game Carpenter shared brought tears to my eyes. I grappled for quite a few days with how best to tell the story of an incredible night that included the thrill of a win for Enosburg over in-county rival MVU and the depth of sorrow as the community retired the jersey of Brandon Gleason.

Read the profile here.

Matt 27 Todd 29.jpg

Larry Trombley: Matt and Todd Raleigh, the core of MVU’s power, prepare for at bats.

Larry Trombley: Where do I start? I spent a few hours at the Trombley's home chatting with Larry and pouring over newspaper articles and photos from MVU's incredible three-peat baseball state titles. Larry has a passion for the game and a perspective on his players that bring the games and the people that played them to life!

Read the profile here.

cal raleigh

Cal and Todd Raleigh: Cal Raleigh at work behind the plate.

Cal Raleigh: My interview with Todd and Cal was like watching events come full circle. After talking with Larry Tromblay earlier in the summer (and Jack Eldridge in previous years - MVU baseball coach), I had a good understanding of the success the Raleigh family enjoyed in Swanton. It was incredible speaking with Cal and knowing that his father grew up playing ball in a neighborhood right here in Franklin County. I wish Cal the best in the years ahead!

Read the profile here.

Nate.jpg

Nate Selby: Nate’s story of determination and persistence is inspiring for people of all ages.

Nate Selby: Everyone loves a Cinderella story, and Nate's account of walking on to the Franklin Pierce football team is no exception. It didn't take long for me to know how Nate got his start with Franklin Pierce. He's a young man with an incredible work ethic, a drive to succeed, and an eagerness to give his best for his team.

Read the profile here.

1979MVU boys soccer team

1979 MVU boys’ soccer team: Top row, left to right: Coach LaShure, John Raleigh, Mike Lucier, Bobby Demar, Adam Mapes, Randy Dumont, Glen Stimets, Dave Dulude, Nic Perretta, Joe Favero, Dave Gaboury, Jim Capsey Front row, left to right: Billy Thompson, Alan Ouimette, Mike Pilbin, Doug Desorcie, Wayne Thomopson, Gary Lavoie, Randy Bushey, Joe Corey, Bill Burton, Mike Boucher, Alain Boulette Missing: Harold Porter, Steve L’Esperance, Ron Johnston Managers: Kelly Pleu, Becky Duffy

Gary LaShure: MVU soccer final 1979: Gary and I usually talk about golf since I know him as the MVU boys' golf coach. Long before he was teaching young Thunderbirds to swing a club, LaShure was leading the boys' varsity soccer program. Gary's wit and his passion for people and sport make any conversation interesting. Hearing him recount the run for this title gave me goosebumps, but it also had me laughing.

Read the profile here.

Tom Macdonald

Tom Macdonald, Coach of the Year: Coach Tom MacDonald poses for a team photo with the 1977-78 St. Lawrence women’s club hockey team.

Tom MacDonald: Tom has been part of the Bobwhite hockey program at BFA St. Albans for...well...a long time! He was named coach of the year this last winter, and it's a recognition he's earned. Tom has been a teacher of the game for decades, and his contributions to the game reach beyond the boundaries of St. Albans. Check out the article; I bet you'll learn some things about Tom you didn't know!

Read the profile here.

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