CASTLETON — Mount Anthony senior Andrew Gilbert was among the honorees at the 27th Annual Vermont Chapter Awards Dinner held at Glenbrook Gymnasium on the Castleton University campus.
The awards dinner, hosted by the Vermont Chapter of the National Football Foundation (NFF) on Sunday, honored the best of the 2021 football season.
Student-athletes and coaches from across the state were honored in addition to others who were recognized for their lifetime service and achievement.
Gilbert received the Robert Stafford High School Athlete Community Service Award for his work with the NAACP, volunteering at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic and helping put up holiday decorations in downtown Bennington.
He was also a camp counselor and he volunteered with Bennington Youth Football as an official. An honor roll student, Gilbert finished second statewide in a Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) competition in personal finance.
Gilbert also played in the senior north-south all-star game last November.
The community service award is sponsored by Fred Peet, lawyer.
Gilbert helped lead the Patriots to their first appearance in a Millennium State Championship game as a two-way starter during his senior campaign last fall.
Gilbert will continue his education and football career at Bridgewater State University.
Bennington County’s recognition didn’t stop there. Will Addington of Burr and Burton was one of six football scholar-athlete inductees from Vermont for outstanding football ability and performance, outstanding academic achievement, and outstanding school leadership and example.
Jonathan Terry of Bellows Falls, Oliver Orvis of Essex; Rutland’s Slade Postemski; Samuel Begin of Saint Johnsbury; and Dalton Clifford of Windsor joined Addington among the winners, and each student-athlete received a $500 scholarship from the NFF.
Camden Benoit of Winooski, a member of the Burlington-South Burlington High School Football Program, received the 2022 Brave Athlete Award and Scholarship, presented by Peet.
Benoit overcame a serious injury suffered in his first college game as well as a rare degenerative bone disease, to have an exceptional senior season. His resilience paid off – he was named his team’s defensive MVP and earned a spot in last fall’s Senior North-South All-Star Game. He also played basketball at Winooski High. This fall, he will attend Norwich University, looking to play caddy football.
Seniors Anthony Martinez (Brattleboro, Vt.), an all-league wide receiver from Castleton University, Jacob Schwab (Fairport, NY), also a Norwich University wide receiver, and defensive back Nate Stewart (Easton, Mass.) from Middlebury College were named inductees to the Vermont Collegiate Scholar-Athlete Hall of Fame, representing the three college football programs in the state. The day before dinner, Schwab graduated from Norwich and was commissioned while Stewart was one of seven Panthers recently appointed to the prestigious NFF Hampshire Honor Society.
Jason Aldrich de Barre, youth football program director for the Barre Youth Sports Association, won the Vermont Youth Football Leadership Award for his efforts with football in central Vermont.
The 2022 Vermont Coach of the Year award, named by state coaches, went to outgoing Essex head coach Marty Richards for leading the Hornets to the crown of the Division I 2021. Richards also won the award in 2020 after leading Mount Mansfield to its first-ever state title in 2019. Other Division Coaches of the Year were Bob Lockerby of Bellows Falls in Division II and Greg Balch of Windsor in Division III, both 2021 State Champions. in their respective divisions.
Longtime Director of Athletics at Norwich University, Anthony ‘Tony’ Mariano of Northfield, has been selected as the winner of the Contribution to Amateur Athletics award for nearly five decades of service to athletics in the ‘State.
An alumnus of St. Lawrence, he spent 14 years coaching men’s soccer and men’s hockey before leading the school’s athletic department as DA for the past 30 years. Mariano was instrumental in launching the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) in 2009, the football conference that once included Norwich and of which Castleton was an original member. He was also instrumental in Norwich’s current football conference, NEWMAC, adding the sport in 2017.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) of Middlesex received the final award of the evening, the Vermont Chapter’s Distinguished American Award. Originally from Montpelier where he grew up near the Statehouse, Leahy served as the state’s attorney for Chittenden County before being elected to the US Senate in 1974.
During his six-decade tenure representing Green Mountain State in the Senate, he was a lifelong supporter of education, human rights, and law enforcement, as well as one of the leading environmental and conservation legislators. He was also a strong supporter of athletics in Vermont at all levels.
The NFF and College Hall of Fame was founded in 1947 as a non-profit educational organization to administer programs designed to use the power of amateur football in the development of scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement for young people. For more information, visit www.footballfoundation.org.