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Senior Spotlight: Dylan Washer Honoring Family Charger Tradition

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photo by Vanessa Fournier
Dylan Washer drives to the basket for Craftsbury Academy this past season.

by Ken Brown

CRAFTSBURY – Dylan Washer has been a multi-sport standout for Craftsbury Academy (CA) the last three seasons and has a chance to reach career milestones in his senior campaign, much like his grandfather and Charger great Allen Reed.

Washer has been a stalwart in Charger starting lineups on the basketball court and on the soccer pitch since he was a freshman. He was also a key cog on the baseball diamond this past spring as CA rebooted their baseball program at the junior varsity level with hopes of competing at the varsity level in 2024. With small high schools around the state farming out their athletic programs to co-ops or ending them all together the past five years, Washer has been a centerpiece in CA keeping their boys’ varsity programs in house with high participation rates. The Central Valley League was a safe haven for small Division IV schools to compete against each other for two decades, but was dissolved in the fall of 2019. Forced to join the Division III-rich Mountain League in 2020, CA has struggled to find team success, but Washer has shone and always looks forward to the challenge of competing against bigger schools.

“I think it can be harder to make a name for yourself playing at a small school, but you just have to be willing to work harder. Showing dedication to all of the sports programs at CA you play and sticking to them throughout the school year to make sure we have teams here is a good feeling. The advantages are all the relationships you have the opportunity to make throughout a small community. When you get a win against the bigger schools in our league, it always feels a little bit sweeter because you’re always going in as an underdog. Pulling off those kinds of upsets also teaches you that if you continue to work hard and keep trying, you can achieve anything you want in life,” said Washer.

photo by Vanessa Fournier
Dylan Washer fights for a loose ball last fall for the Craftsbury Chargers.

Washer has been a standout midfielder and goalkeeper for the Chargers on the pitch and their leading scorer on the hard-court the last two seasons. He averaged over 15 points per game for CA last winter, earning him Mountain League Honorable Mention honors. Despite a freshman season that was cut short by COVID, Washer is on pace to become the next 1,000-point scorer at CA. Family genes are on Washers’ side, with his grandfather Allen Reed excelling in all three sports for the Chargers in the early ’80s. Reed graduated as the school’s all-time leading scorer with nearly 1,700 career points, a record that stood for 35 years before being broken by Austin Masi in 2017. Washer appreciates the history of his family at CA and is grateful for a legacy that motivates him to be the best version of himself. Reed was a standout goalkeeper and pitcher for the Chargers on top of his heroics on the basketball court and the importance of participating and working hard in multiple sports isn’t lost on his grandson. The banner that hangs in the gymnasium honoring the 1,000-point scorers in school history has room for one more name on it before they start a new one and Washer wants to join his grandfather on that banner.

“My biggest influences in getting into sports were my grandfather and my mother. They always pushed me to do my best and they built the legacy that I’m trying to live up to. I choose to play multiple sports so I can meet new teammates and it helps me stay in shape for the basketball season. I believe that every sport feeds into each other. Soccer focuses on footwork and body control, while baseball helps with your hand eye coordination and timing. Sharpening those skills can only help take your game in basketball to a whole new level. My grandfather is the first name on that banner in the gymnasium and I want my name to be the last one. If I reach that milestone, it means I carried the torch that my grandfather handed down to me. It pushes me to try to live up to being as great of a player as he was,” said Washer.

Washer will be a senior leader this coming fall and while he would like nothing more than to achieve team success for CA’s young athletic programs, he values passing down the lessons he’s learned from past teammates even more. He believes that the hard work that you put in on the field, on the court, and in the classroom is all connected to becoming a good person in life. Those are the things he wants to pass down to younger players coming up through the program and the young fans in the community who watch him compete.

“This year I am looking forward to helping develop all the younger players on the team, while still trying to have fun and win games. I learned a lot last year being a captain alongside Dalton Gravel in all three sports that winning is not as important as helping the younger players as much as you can and just trying to be an overall good person. I’m looking forward to helping out and listening to any teammate that needs it this year, even if that means me staying in the gym or on the field longer after practice. An advantage and a responsibility in playing in a small school and in a small community is that you can have a great game and be a hero to some of these young kids watching you play. One piece of advice I would give the kids that look up to me is that if you put in the work, you can accomplish anything. When times get tough, just keep pushing through and fight for what you want in life. Sports isn’t everything, you need to be just as good in the classroom as you are on the field or on the court,” said Washer.

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