A dynasty has brewed in Rutland County over the last half decade.
The Rutland cheerleading team has established itself as the top Division I team in the state, with five state championships in a row.
When they make the trip to Vergennes on Saturday, winning No. 6 will be squarely on the mind.
Essex and Mount Anthony were second and third respectively last winter, so they should give the Raiders some tough competition.
Fellow Rutland County team, Mill River, is coming off a Division II championship, its third in four years.
Fair Haven had a third-place finish at last year’s state competition, so the Slaters will look to spoil the Minutemen’s championship defense on Saturday.
Other area schools like Otter Valley, Springfield and Poultney will compete as well.
A big matchup in Division II girls basketball is on tap Friday night. Springfield travels to Manchester to take on Burr and Burton at E.H. Henry Gymnasium.
The Cosmos were sputtering for a while, losing four of five games, before a dominant win against a struggling Woodstock squad.
Springfield was once near the top of the D-II standings, but has fallen to the middle of the pack. A road win against a veteran BBA squad could be just what they need for the final push.
“Both teams are looking to make a statement with a win,” said Springfield coach Pete Peck. “This game has big implications for seeding.”
An intriguing matchup will be the battle in the post. The Cosmos’ Gabby Wardwell had size and skill on her side, while BBA’s Carol Herbert has grit and a never-ending motor.
“Carol uses her body well and she’s active in the post,” Peck said.
“Gabby is one of those rare bigs that has speed and also good hands. She’s a tough matchup for opposing defenses,” Peck said.
Guards Hailey Perham and Julianna Albero have stepped up in a huge way to complement Wardwell.
“They both have become leaders,” Peck said. “Hailey is one of the best point guards in the state, in my opinion. She has some of the best basketball IQ I’ve seen in a player I’ve coached.”
The Rutland boys basketball team had hovered around the .500 mark for much of the season and currently sits one game below the line.
The Raiders travel south to play Mount Anthony Friday night. Rutland had a dominant win against MAU at College of Saint Joseph, but the Patriots are always a different team in front of the “Kates Krazies” of Kates Gymnasium.
The Fair Haven boys basketball team bounced back from its first loss with a win against Otter Valley on Wednesday, but the Slaters face a huge challenge on Saturday against Brattleboro.
The Division I Colonels are as hot as any team in the state and come off a close win against Rutland that seized control of the Southern Vermont League A Division race.
The guards in that matchup are burners, so expect this one to be fast-paced from the opening tip.
The Proctor boys basketball team that lost to Twin Valley during the Bob Abrahamson Tournament is much different than the one that travels south to play the Wildcats on Saturday.
The Phantoms are playing their best basketball of the season and everyone is chipping in to lead the charge. Saturday’s game could be a preview of a possible matchup at the Barre Auditorium.
A few other state meets are set for this weekend.
Gymnastics teams travel to Essex High School Saturday for their championship competition.
The Hornets were last year’s state champion, which was their 13th title in 14 years.
Dance will take center stage for its championship at Vergennes after the cheerleading competition wraps up.
Indoor track has its state championship meet Sunday at the University of Vermont.