Once a year, two teams come together for 24 hours to climb a rock wall in remembrance of a fallen student, Connor Roberts.
Roberts tragically died in the summer of 2014, a week after he had turned 21, from a sudden heart attack.
Every year, the Castleton men’s lacrosse team, and Norwich men’s lacrosse team up to put the rivalry aside to help raise money, climb a wall and be a community for 24 hours straight.
“This year was going to be really eye opening for us since now no one at Castleton or Norwich really knows me or the Roberts or even played against Connor,” said by Connor’s best friend Zach Devoid.
Devoid had been a lifelong friend of Roberts and was a big part of starting this fundraiser and a big part of keeping it going; climbing himself and setting up the Go Fund Me account and more.
“It’s pretty cool how all the freshman kind of buy in and come together and donate, raise money … I think moving forward we will be able to keep doing this and keep his legacy on not even knowing Connor,” he said.
With most of the current players unaware of Roberts’ story, alumni worry that it’ll become hard to get interest and raise money. But they’ve been surprised
at how many were eager to participate and help raise money in the fifth event.
“It’s a long process and it’s hard, but it’s a good time and for a good cause,” said freshman Collin Johnson. “It’s definitely good growing a connection between the family of Connor and the players.”
Roberts was a player at Norwich while his brother, Ben, was a player for Castleton. And while Connor wasn’t at Castleton, he had very strong ties here.
“We are getting to a point where kids on our team didn’t know Ben or play with Ben, and kids at Norwich didn’t play with Connor or know Connor and they’re all learning about the Roberts family and about Connor’s untimely death and kind of spreading Connor’s message to bring people together,” said Castleton head coach Bo McDougall
While bringing people together is a large part of this fund-raiser, it is more important to raise the money. Every year there is a goal set and this year over $5,000 dollars was raised. The plan is to use the money to help support a local athletic team around Vermont, Devoid said.
“Last year, somebody actually reached out to us in Vermont and a young child was having heart issues so we donated the money to the surgery that he needed,” he said.
To the players, although it is one of the most tiresome days of the year, they’re proud to bring together a community and spread a message and help keep Connor’s legacy alive.
“It’s a really good cause and it gives both teams kind of a sense of community to climb for 24 hours and support a really good cause and keep Connor’s legacy alive,” said senior Colin Clark.