The playoff pairings for Division I football were released this week, and there was no surprise at the top.
Hartford, which punctuated an unbeaten regular season by defeating Rutland 47-37 last weekend, earned the No. 1 seed. The Hurricanes own a 23-game winning streak and have won four of the last five Division I titles.
Hartford, which went 8-0 during the regular season, has outscored its opponents 284-100 this year. The Hurricanes will face eighth-seeded South Burlington in Friday's quarterfinals. It will be the fifth time in the last six years that the teams have met in the postseason. Hartford is seeking its third consecutive state championship.
Friday's quarterfinals, (all games at 7 p.m.):
No. 8 South Burlington (4-4) at No. 1 Hartford (8-0)
No. 7 Champlain Valley (5-3) at No. 2 BFA-St. Albans (7-1)
No. 6 Colchester (5-3) at No. 3 Essex (6-2)
No. 5 Middlebury (5-3) at No. 4 Rutland (5-3)
The six teams that did not qualify for postseason play will play consolation games this weekend:
Spaulding at Mount Anthony, Friday (7 p.m.)
St. Johnsbury at Burlington, Friday (7 p.m.)
Brattleboro at Mount Mansfield, Saturday (1 p.m.)
Note: The Division II and Division III playoff pairings will be released next week.
The playoffs in each of the state's four divisions for boys' soccer, girls' soccer and field hockey begin Tuesday. A look at the contenders in each division, by sport:
Boys' soccer: Middlebury earned the No. 1 seed in Division I, but second-seeded Champlain Valley (12-1-1) may be the team to beat. CVU's Shane Haley scored 20 goals during the regular season. … Montpelier and Burr and Burton were the preseason favorites in Division II, and both will enter the postseason unbeaten (14-0-0). Burr and Burton, which won last year's championship, is the top seed. … Defending champion Peoples Academy (10-2-2) earned the No. 1 seed in Division III, and didn't allow a goal in eight of its 14 regular-season contests. … Proctor (12-1-1) is the No. 1 seed in Division IV, but lost to second-seeded Twin Valley (11-3) earlier this season.
Girls' soccer: Top-seeded Essex (13-0-1) is the first Division I team to enter the postseason unbeaten in seven years. Second-seeded Champlain Valley (12-1-1) returned many key players from the team that won last year's Division I championship. … Montpelier is the top seed in Division II. The Solons (10-2-0) earned a first-round bye. … Peoples Academy (13-0-0) will be attempting to win its fifth Division III title in the last seven years. The Wolves have outscored their opponents 75-4 this season. … Proctor (13-0-1) is the top-seeded team in Division IV, and is one of three unbeaten girls teams in the state. The Phantoms allowed eight goals in their 14 games.
Field hockey: Top-seeded South Burlington (12-1-1) lost to Middlebury in last year's Division I championship game, and will be looking to take another step forward this year. … Division II might be the most competitive of the three divisions. Windsor (13-0-2) and U-32 (13-1-0) are the No. 1 and No. 2 seeded teams, respectively, but third seeded Mt. Abraham (9-4-1) is the only team that beat Division I South Burlington this season. Harwood (9-4-1), the No. 4 seed, won last year's championship. … Top-seeded Rice (12-0-1) is the clear favorite in Division III. The Green Knights won 11 of their 12 games by shutout, and have allowed one goal during the regular season.
Mount Anthony Union junior Jesse Webb earned himself another trophy Sunday when he won the 285-pound (heavyweight) wrestling championship at the Super 32 Challenge in Greensboro, N.C.
Webb won the title by posting a 9-4 victory over Pennsylvania's Luke Fleck in the 285-pound final. He became the first Vermont representative to win a championship at the event, which featured wrestlers from 26 states.
Webb earned state championships in his weight class as a freshman and a sophomore. He had a bye Saturday, and won three matches Sunday to earn the title.
Roger Brown is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader and has been covering high school sports throughout New England since 1992.