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The Caledonian Record's Modern Archive contains staff-written and other selected articles from 1997 to the present.

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LYNDONVILLE — The stars were out in full force Wednesday night as The Caledonian-Record put on its fifth annual NNEKY High School Sports Awards show at Northern Vermont University.

Exclusivity remains a key element in constructing our All-Area baseball squad. Our selections are voted on and debated by members of our sports staff. Players from all schools we cover are in play. A tough process, we’ve trimmed our list to 12 players, based on merit and regardless of position. Today, in no particular order, we present The Record’s 2019 Baseball Dream Dozen.

On the front page of the sports section of Thursday’s Caledonian-Record, there were two stories that celebrated two great athletes. At the top of the page was a story about how star quarterback Jake Cady donated his $1,000 check for being named Gatorade Player of the Year to the local efforts to start a flag football league for area youth. Right underneath that was a longer story about Layne Higgs being inducted into the Vermont Principal’s Association Hall of Fame. As much as their impressive athletic resumes connected these two historic figures in Academy sports lore, behind the scenes they were connected by something deeper—something alumnus Chris Ryan has dubbed “The Hilltopper Way.”

I told the students assembled in Fuller Hall on Thursday morning that they were experiencing what will be called an historic era at the Academy. We have celebrated dozens of “firsts in school history” that have coincided with the 175th celebration of our founding. That morning in Chapel, we honored the members of our Math team who had placed first among all New England boarding schools in the prestigious and rigorous Math Madness competition. The mathletes were joined by athletes on four winter sports teams who were defending Division I State Champions: Girls’ Basketball and Indoor Track, Boys’ Indoor Track, and Alpine Skiing. Not only is this the first time in history that we have been defending champs in skiing, but it is the first time four teams have won championships in the same season (and six championships over the past three seasons). On those teams sat individual Division I Champions, as well, and two fall 2018 athletes had attained individual honors that week, which was what prompted my remarks.