Andy Gardiner

Andy Gardiner is a former sports writer for USA Today and the Burlington Free Press, who lives in Burlington.

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

From the very first steps it took 27 years ago, what is now called the People’s United Bank Vermont City Marathon has been known for its commitment to the relay element of the race. VCM organizers made the relay a signature piece of the event when almost no other marathon offered that option.

It may be the first day of spring, but area men’s and women’s college hockey teams are still rolling along in playoff form. Vermont, Norwich and Plattsburgh all face win-or-go home challenges this weekend.

Tonight, the Vermont men face Massachusetts-Lowell in the Hockey East semifinals at Boston Garden, while Plattsburgh State hosts the women’s NCAA Division III final four with a showdown against Norwich. On Saturday, Norwich plays at Amherst and Plattsburgh goes to Trinity in the men’s NCAA Division III quarterfinals.

Brian Jenkins / UVM Athletics

Unless an invitation to the CBI or CIT tournaments comes Vermont’s way, the college basketball post-season ended last weekend when the Cats were knocked off by Stony Brook in the America East semifinals. But the area landscape is still jammed with championship action in hockey and skiing.

Brian Jenkins / UVM

Barring a season-making upset, the college career of the most talented women’s hockey player the state has ever produced will end this weekend in Boston. Senior Amanda Pelkey will lead seventh seeded Vermont against No. 2 Boston University in a Hockey East playoff series at Walter Brown Arena, hoping she can extend the Catamounts’ season a little longer.

St. Michael's College

The resurgence of the St. Michael's men’s basketball program over the last two years has been fueled by a combination of factors. The Purple Knights have flourished under the leadership of head coach Josh Meyer, who moved up to become head coach at the start of the 2013-14 season after serving two years as SMC's top assistant.

After finishing seventh last season in the rugged Hockey East conference, league coaches stuck the University of Vermont Catamounts in the No. 8 position in this year’s preseason poll. Understandable, perhaps, but shortsighted.

If you opened one of Buddy Teevens’ veins, no one would be surprised if the blood that flowed was colored Dartmouth green.  Over the school’s 125-year football history, it would be difficult to find someone  whose life has been more closely tied to the program than Teevens’.

At first blush, the 2014 Division I boys' soccer post-season looks like business as usual. Perennial power Champlain Valley Union has once again marched through the playoffs and is within sight of yet another state title.

But there is a significant difference between this 12-3-1 CVU team and the one’s before it that rolled up 16 championships for the school known state-wide as "Soccer Central."

Vermont Lake Monsters

In many ways, David Newhan has been working his way toward Burlington for most of his life.

The first-year manager of the 2014 Vermont Lake Monsters, brings a unique baseball resume to the dugout. Newhan, 40, spent parts of eight seasons in the major leagues among five teams and put in even more time bouncing back and forth in the minors. He served as a minor league batting coach in the San Diego Padre organization the last three seasons before joining the Athletics, the parent team of the Lake Monsters, the short-season Single A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics.

Ask Emily Kinneston and Kaelyn Kohlasch if they remember the last time they lost a high school game and they both have to pause for thought. It takes a minute before they travel back to a soccer match against Essex -- in 2012.

Since that defeat the two Champlain Valley Union seniors have been unbeatable in soccer and basketball. When Kinneston and Kohlasch lead the Redhawks into the Division I championship game against Rice on Saturday at Patrick Gymnasium, they have a chance to make history.

Andy Wong / AP

We’re in the last week of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. VPR’s Mitch Wertlieb and Andy Gardiner talked about some of the most recent results.

Vermonters In Sochi: Olympic Athletes, Events And Results >>

NBC Olympics/ USOC

On the eve of Sochi, Clark won her fourth Winter X Games halfpipe gold medal in a row (“The best preparation for a big event is competing in a big event,” she says) and is primed for the big stage.

“This journey really started four years ago,” Clark says. “My goal was to get my riding to where my standard stock run would be competitive enough to make the team. I didn’t want to have to make the ride of my life to just (earn a spot on the Olympic roster).

Mikhail Metzel / Associated Press

They range in age from 16 to 30 and feature more newcomers than veterans. They are overwhelmingly female and are bunched primarily in the freestyle skiing and snowboarding events.

They include medal favorites, dark horses and the longest of long shots. Many are native born sons and daughters; others are transplants that came to the state to hone their skills to the highest level.

Courtesy UVM

The University of Vermont men’s basketball team has piled up five consecutive 20-victory seasons while the Middlebury College men have gone 147-26 with six straight NCAA tournament appearances since 2008. Both programs are expected to extend that high level of success this winter.

University of Vermont

Can the University of Vermont mark the 50th anniversary of its hockey program by returning to post-season glory? Does Norwich University have enough experience to extend its streak of appearances in Division III’s Frozen Four? And is Middlebury College poised to end a three-year absence from the NCAA tournament?

The United States women’s national hockey team will return to one of its fondest cities when it kicks off its pre-Olympic tour with a game against archrival Canada on Saturday night at Gutterson Fieldhouse.

Trent Campbell

McCallum Foote reached a long-sought milestone this summer that had only a tangential connection to his skills as a record-setting quarterback for the Middlebury College football team. It took 20 years, a dedicated diet and countless hours in the weight room, but Foote now officially weighs more than 200 pounds.

“That was really a proud moment – I’ve been working a long time for that,” said Foote, a 6-2, 201-pound senior who played at 187 pounds last season. “When I got on the scale I actually took a picture and sent it to my teammates, saying ‘Finally!’ “

Shane Busano

A familiar face is back in the newly expanded dugouts at historic Centennial Field as the Vermont Lake Monsters return for their 20th summer of minor league baseball in Burlington.

Rick Magnante returns for his third season as manager of the Oakland Athletics’ affiliate in the short-season New York-Penn League. It is the first time the team has had that degree of continuity at the top, something Magnante sees as a bonus.

AP/Alden Pellett

A field of 524 individuals registered for the first KeyBank Vermont City Marathon in 1989 and 414 of them completed the 26.2-mile course. In the 23 subsequent races, the number of runners who have finished every marathon has shrunk to an elite group of five.