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Mark Benetatos is out as Mill River boys varsity basketball coach after just one year. Benetatos who led MSJ to the Division 2 state championship in 2012 finished with a record of 11-9 in the regular season for the Minutemen who eventually lost to U 32 in the Division 2 semi’s.

A dozen exceptional Vermont sports legends make up the 2014 induction class of the Vermont Sports Hall of Fame.

This year’s class features four Olympians from the Summer and Winter Games, a Major League icon on the mound and in the broadcast booth, the nation’s top auto road rally racer, the state’s leading high school basketball scorer, the hall’s first inductees in tennis and golf, a legendary collegiate coach along with a nationally recognized stock car racing promoter and the founder of the state’s longest trail.

The inductees are:

John Buffum,auto rally racing,Colchester
Bobby Cochran,alpine skiing,Richmond
Marilyn Cochran,alpine skiing,Richmond
Tom Curley,motorsports, [recipient,David K. Hakins Award]
Mike Gallagher,Nordic skiing / running,Rutland
Ted Hoehn,tennis,South Burlington
Jade Huntington, basketball, Bradford
George “Doc” Jacobs,contributor,St.Michael’s College
Ernie Johnson,basebal l/ media,Brattleboro
Mae Murray Jones, golf,Rutland
Judi St. Hilaire,track / running, Lyndonville
James Taylor, Historic inductee [outdoors / Long Trail founder

One of the inductees is:

Mike Gallagher of Rutland for Nordic skiing/running
Gallagher (1941-2013) was among the most successful of U.S. Nordic skiers during his career.

At 1959 graduate of Rutland High School, he won the U.S. junior cross country ski title in 1959. In his career, the Castleton State College graduate (1967) won nine U.S. national cross country championships and he was a member of three U.S. Olympic teams (1964, 1968, 1972). He also competed in three FIS world championships.

His most cherished result was a 19th place finish in the prestigious Holmenkollen (Norway) 50-kilometer classic in 1968.

After his competitive ski days, Gallagher served as the head coach of the U.S. national ski team (1980-86) with fellow Vermonter and Vermont Sports Hall of Fame inductee Bill Koch among the team members. He was a U.S. Olympic team coach in 1980, 1984 and 1992.

Gallagher was inducted into several halls of fame, including the National Ski Hall of Fame, the Castleton State College athletic hall of fame and the Vermont Ski Museum Hall of Fame. Ski Racing magazine said in 2013, “If you Nordic ski raced in the U.S., you likely passed through his sphere of influence as Gallagher was a mentor to hundreds.”

Gallagher also enjoyed a successful running career, winning the Mount Washington Road Race four consecutive years (1968-1971) and was a 2001 inductee in the Mount Washington Road Race Hall of Fame. He also set New England state college records in the 880, mile and 2-mile during his days at Castleton.

Gallagher passed away on his 72nd birthday in 2013.

This year Castleton is pleased to induct an impressive trio of alums into the Castleton Hall of Fame during Homecoming Weekend on Sept. 20. The inductees include former basketball standout George Price '89, former baseball standout Chad Whittemore '01 and Dr. Bonnie Van Lunen '90.

Arguably one of the most complete forwards in the illustrious history of Castleton basketball, Price's name is littered throughout the program's record book. He is a member of the winningest class in the team's history and the only player to ever lead his team in scoring four consecutive seasons. He currently ranks fourth all-time with 1655 points and is one of two players with over 600 rebounds and 200 steals. Price was also selected NAIA Honorable Mention All American twice.

Whittemore was a four-year standout and helped set the table for the impressive success of Castleton baseball over the past ten years. As a junior in 2000 he was named team MVP while leading the team to its first winning record in seven seasons. Overall he was named team MVP three times and captained the squad his senior year. Whittemore finished his career with then program records of 124 hits, 27 doubles and 40 extra base hits. Additionally he batted over .415 twice in his final three years while recording 104 hits and 67 runs scored over that span. Whittemore also earned All-Conference honors in each of his final two seasons.

Van Lunen is currently an associate professor at Old Dominion and graduate of Castleton's physical education program. She was also a four-year letterwinner as a member of the softball team. As an educator Van Lunen has distinguished herself, earning a master's degree and then a doctorate from the University of Virginia in 1998. She has co-authored over 50 papers in the last ten years alone and in 2007 and 2011 was honored with the Outstanding Research Manuscript in the Athletic Training Education journal while working at Old Dominion. A year later she received the DCOE Publications Award from the Darden College of Education for co-authoring 14 publications during the academic year.

These three join an impressive group of Spartan alumni and supporters who have helped Castleton become one of the top athletic programs in the region. They will be inducted in a ceremony that begins at 9 am on Saturday, Sept. 20 as part of homecoming weekend activities.

Castleton womens hockey standout Nicoline Yensen who is from Denmark has decided to follow former coach Bill Bowes to the University of New Hampshire. Jensen was the leading scorer her freshman and junior years.

The homecoming football game between Castleton and RPI will be videocast on the Northeast Sports Network, and be televised live on PEGTV channel 20 on the Comcast system starting at 11:40 AM on September 20th.

Catch you next week!

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Finish Line

Champions Crowned at the Bowl

On a sunny fall Sunday afternoon Devils Bowl Speedway closed out their asphalt season with the Vermont 200. In the modified division Ron Proctor and Jessey Mueller split the twin 50 lap features and Todd Stone nailed down his 2nd consecutive track championship. The Late models capped off the night with a 100 lap feature and Trampas Demers held off all challengers for the win. Nick Sweet finished in 3rd capturing the Vermont State Late Model championship. In a close battle between Jamie Fischer, Justin Masteron and Emily Packard, Fischer emerged as the Devils Bowl track champion. Addison's Chuck Bradford was crowned champion in the mini stock division.

Devils Bowl will return to action on September 26 for a three race series on a dirt track being constructed with the help of Fabian Earthmoving in the infield of the asphalt track. I have already decided to give it a catchy name the Bullring at the Bowl.

NASCAR legend Bobby Allison was on hand at the Bowl Sunday serving as Grand Marshall. My father and I had a chance to meet him and his wife and even got a photo with them. Bobby was one of the legends of NASCAR who took the sport from the grassroots level to what it is today. If you ever need an example of man who has true faith look no farther than Bobby as he has been thru a career-ending and almost fatal crash that took away many of his memories, the loss of two sons who had promising racing careers and a separation from his wife although they are now back together.

In other action this weekend Albany Saratoga closed out the season with the Northeast Crate Nationals and Tim Hartman Jr was the big winner Fonda Speedway was rained out Saturday night and will close out their season next weekend.

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Don Chioffi

Well, It has been three weeks since I have had even two minutes to put any pen to paper, and with the trauma and drama of the Fair now behind us (I think), My wife and I finally got to take a welcome few days off and visit with some friends in NY and haul my camper out there for the Salmon and Steelhead season. Interestingly enough, for some strange reason the fish simply are not in the river yet. For over twenty years I have experienced runs in the middle of August and certainly many runs in early September around Labor Day. Not so this year. After a nice party on Sat night at the local Country Club in Mannsville, I wasn't really up for an early start this Sunday (well, my head was not in any case) so I kind of meandered into the day with some camp set up and a very nice late breakfast in Sandy Creek at Sara Lynn's Diner.

Don's King Salmon

Yours truly, with the latest first of the season King Salmon I have ever landed. This one, about a 26 pound loaded female was caught and given to a great friend who wanted it for his sister----so she got the meat----I got the joy of the catch. For an early fish---this is really big!!

When I finally got to the river at 1 PM I checked out some spots downtown and saw no one with any fish on and little evidence that there were any fish at all in the river. I then proceeded up to the 81 split spot where the fish have to climb some distance and usually show themselves to their main predators----man. I hadn't been there for more than 15 minutes when a lone straggler came blistering up the river showing a trail with her tail. Things couldn't have gone more fishingly for me, as the big female was on a track to come just about 10 feet from me to my left, which gave me a perfect cast line to the fish.

As you can see from the picture with this story, the rest was history. I do not care how many of these brutes one catches, the NEXT one is always the most important one, the greatest challenge, and the most fun. Then there is always the fact that this one is the FIRST one of the season, which always makes it special. I know that these pictures of large King Salmon are special to many of my readers, even though they are kind of generic and one looks pretty much the same as all the others. I can assure you that is not the case and that every one of them is very special to me. This one is very special as there were times during the last few weeks that I seriously doubted whether I would ever get back to the Salmon River for this year's season. Well, joy of joy! I really did get my life back, as least for a few days, so I thought I would share with you the results of my fall transition. Until next week, good sports.

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