For one day out of the year, bitter in-state rivals put aside their hate and differences, and come together for a greater cause.
The Castleton and Norwich men's lacrosse teams worked side by side for the second annual Climb For Connor event on Feb. 20-21 to help raise money and honor the memory of former Norwich men's lacrosse player Connor Roberts.
The event? A staggering 24-hour rock wall-climbing marathon, where all members of the Castleton men's lacrosse team constantly scaled the wall, showing their support for Connor.
With help from numerous Castleton faculty, staff and students, including President David Wolk, the event saw over 130 different climbers going up and down the wall.
Roberts tragically passed away in June of 2014 from a sudden heart attack following his sophomore year at Norwich. His older brother, Ben, played lacrosse and hockey at Castleton before graduating in 2014, while his sister Danielle was a member of the women's hockey team at Castleton from 2011-2013.
As St. Albans natives, there are also many Castleton students and athletes who have been friends with the Roberts family since childhood.
Castleton men’s lacrosse player and St. Albans native Isaac Devoid is one of those childhood friends. Devoid said the amount of support they’ve received from the community is “overwhelming” and “a joy to see.” He hopes the tradition will carry on even after he’s graduated.
"For us, the climb is a way to remember Connor and honor the memory of a great competitor and friend," said Devoid. "It's been over a year and a half since he passed away and the three things that stick out in my mind when I think about him are that he was exceptionally hardworking, a great teammate and one of the most courageous people you could surround yourself with."
Devoid said the climb has raised about $5,000 and proceeds fund scholarships for students at BFA St. Albans.
Although this year’s climb is wrapped up, those interested can donate at anytime at either Climb4Connor@gmail.com or donate directly online. All proceeds go to the Connor Roberts Memorial Fund, which was established by the Roberts family and friends to ensure a better future and for Connors memory to live on.