Coach: Mike Sullivan (second season)
Last season: 8-9; lost in the Division I playdowns
Key returnees: Paige Niarchos, senior, shortstop; Riley Canty, junior, pitcher; Sophia Dattilio, senior, outfield; Shayla Lawrence, junior, outfield; Kylie McClure, sophomore, catcher.
Key newcomers: Too early to tell
Outlook: While the Champlain Valley Union softball team didn’t graduate a lot of players last season, they certainly lost a lot of leadership on the field. The Redhawks will have to replace Natalie Gagnon’s bat and Hattie Roberts in the circle but coach Mike Sullivan says this group is more than capable. “We probably have the most talented bunch we have had in a long time,” the second-year coach said. “I have two people at every position, with no drop off in talent.” Riley Canty will take over as the team’s starting pitcher, while captain Paige Niarchos will lead at the plate. The group will need a few games to get the starting lineup just right – weather delayed the team’s scrimmages – but Sullivan is looking for this squad to improve on last year’s winning season.
Opener: Today, April 12, at Vergennes
TRACK AND FIELD PREVIEW
Coach: King Milne and Jess LaPlante (first season as head coaches)
Last season: Girls – second place in the D-I track and field championships; Boys – fourth place in the D-I state track and field championships
Outlook: After graduating a slew of top athletes, both the CVU boys and girls track and field teams find themselves in a bit of a rebuild this season. On both sides, the Redhawks’ strength will be in their runners, with the girls featuring top sprinters and the boys looking solid in relay events. With the usual Vermont weather, the field athletes are just getting warmed up but Milne says the team will find its groove after the first couple of meets. The girls team is aiming for another top-three finish after coming in second at last year’s state meet. Meanwhile, the boys team looks to continue to improve in preparation for the state championships.
Opener: Today, April 12, at South Burlington