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2 0 1 R 5-2016 E T N I W

VOL 7 . ISSUE 14 :: MAY 8, 2016



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05 Blue Ridge BaseBall staRts a new

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x’s and o’s 05 er 2015-2016 wint


IF YOU BUILD IT... Blue Ridge baseball is back on its feet


ALL-SP WINTER EDITION Our seasonal awards


GAME TIME STAB boys lacrosse tops Woodberry


MAKING A CONNECTION Hicks takes over for Nelson football

vol 7 . issue 14 :: May 8, 2016


Play wint

VOL 7 . ISSUE 14 :: MAY 8, 2016


07 the all-sP winteR squads

er 2015-2016

S TA F F Bart Isley, Creative Director Bob Isley, Infrastructure Director Ryan Yemen, Creative Editor O N T H E COV E R Albemarle’s Myles Adams-Yates M I S S I O N S TAT E M E N T Local sports are the lifeblood of every community in America, and we’re here to reach beyond the basics and give compelling accounts about Central Virginia athletes to our readers. CO N TAC T U S [ e ] [ p ] 434-249-2032

Community Partnership

e run the Albemarle boys basketball team was the historic highlight for basketball in Central Virginia, quickly forgotten

estern Albemarle, Blue Ridge and St. Anne’s-Belfielld, all state tournament qualifiers. On the girls side, St. Anne’s-

and Miller continued to carry the flag. In the pool, Western Albemarle continued what’s been a half-decade of domi-

nd on the mat, we had a private school champion and public state runner up. What a season it was. And so we’re pleased to introduce the Winter edition of the 2015-2016 All-SP awards.

Presented by:

Stories by Ryan Yemen and Bart Isley /// Photos by Ashley Thornton, John Berry and Brian Mellott


Working hand in hand with Red Shoes Cville to support the Ronald McDonald House of Charlottesville. Choose the Red Shoes Cville special at


Neighborhood play Miller shortstop Tanner Morris finds Ethan Murray at second base in a 1-0 win over Covenant. The game was shortened because of weather (which was the case for just about every game that actually got played the last two weeks). While Morris is having an exceptional season, particularly at the plate with a .529 batting average, Murray’s been a rock defensively at second base. He has nine putouts and 14 assists and just one error on the year. ✖ (Photo by Ashley Thorton)

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First Quarter If you build it...

Blue Ridge baseball looks to piece things together By Bart Isley


Blue Ridge’s Josh Toston is a gritty shortstop and leadoff hitter for the Barons. (Bart Isley)

{ KICKSTARTING IT } It only takes a little perspective to see the improvements for BRS



{ WINS } 2016 2010-2015

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ake no mistake, what Blue Ridge baseball is undergoing isn’t a rebuild. It’s a resurrection. We’ve seen a number of once proud programs fall on hard times in Central Virginia. But hard times are one thing.

Not being capable of fielding a team that could handle a varsity schedule and scheduling only junior varsity squads? That’s another matter entirely. “It’s been really fun, you see some kids that come in and they’re really excited about baseball and that kind of changed the culture quickly,” said Blue Ridge coach Bryan Puckett. Since 2010, the Barons have posted a 5-52 record with just two of those wins coming in the last couple of years. One was against Eastern Mennonite in 2014. The other? Covenant’s junior varsity in 2012. But this year the Barons, with a renewed focus under Puckett and his coaching staff, have won a pair of games, and more importantly, they’re playing much more fundamental baseball. They’re right where they’re supposed to be backing each other up. They’ve got pitchers who can throw strikes, they’ve got base runners making the right decisions. The Barons can turn double plays, including a textbook 1-4-3 in the seventh inning of a recent clash with United Christian. Routine flies are back to being, well, routine. That all sounds kind of basic, but when you’re in the midst of coming back from the dead, it’s about taking steps, not putting it all together at once. “Last year you pretty much started from really, really basic fundamentals so this year, having those guys, the baseball IQ is definitely up,” Puckett said. “There’s a lot of situational baseball that we’re still working on but from a skill position (standpoint) we’re not starting with how to throw a baseball.” Those baseball-oriented student athletes, guys who make getting better in the offseason a priority, have been a key part of

this surge. There’s Hunter Hacker, who threw a complete game one-hitter in a 5-1 win over Roanoke Catholic and hits No. 3 for the Barons. Leadoff hitter Josh Toston, who is capable of making some slick defensive plays at first base, and catcher Elliot Appelman. Jaden Frazier is a 6-foot-7 basketball reserve who is a strong pitcher. The Barons are also recruiting on campus just like a lot of boarding school programs, pulling in players like Frazier and Fuller Crocker who was a lacrosse goalie or Blue Ridge basketball point guard Josh Colon, who plays some centerfield. This edition that comes from a variety of athletic backgrounds is laying a new foundation. They’re the bridge between the program that retired athletic director Carl Frye founded in 1970 and went 16-5 with in 2007 and a brighter, exciting future. Sure there are errors, balls that a player takes a bad angle on and misheard signals. Cutting down on those mistakes is one of those next steps. Another of those next few steps in the resurrection? The new field that Blue Ridge is slated to soon break ground on and that the Barons should be playing on next season. “Come August they’re going to break ground on the lower field renovations and part of that will be a renovation to the baseball field and that’s going to be exciting,” Puckett said. It may be a long process, but the Barons are clearly headed in the right direction. ✖

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College Update

We’ve gone digital

Western tennis alum doing well at Washington and Lee

But you can have it in print too!

By Bart Isley A lot of hard work goes into playing at the collegiate level in any sport. In an international sport like tennis with just a handful of spots open on each team every year across the nation, it’s particularly challenging to reach the level of play that college requires and then find a spot. Which is why when you can find a spot at an incredible academic school, play a lot and get a chance to compete for championships, you’ve found a tremendous mix. Former Western Albemarle girls tennis star Emily Kochard has found just that kind of mix at Washington and Lee as she plays for the Generals’ squad that is the top seed in the ODAC tournament and has posted a 16-5 record on the season. Kochard was a force from day one at Western, earning a spot at the top of the ladder as a freshman and manning that No. 1 slot for the next four seasons that included a team state championship run during her senior year in the spring of 2014. Kochard led a senior class that went 81-5 in four years at Western and the state championship in her

final year was the school’s first in that sport. At Washington and Lee, she’s made an impact lower down on the ladder, but with similar results for the team. Kochard has an 11-7 individual record this season playing mostly in the No. 6 spot while also pairing with three doubles partners, Rachel Hicks, Melinda Kauffman and M.H. McNeal to post a combined doubles record of 14-7. That’s a solid sophomore campaign and builds on the success of her freshman season where she got her feet wet at the college level with a 5-1 record. The Generals won an ODAC tournament title recent too after entering the tournament seeded No. 1 and rolling to a championship with a 5-0 victory over Randolph Macon. The Generals are ranked 15th in Division III. Off the court, Kochard has earned ODAC’s All-Academic award while also being tabbed as a Washington and Lee scholar athlete. Like we said, finding that mix of academics, playing time and the chance to compete for titles is tough. But in Lexington, Kochard has found each and every piece. ✖

BELOW » Now at Washington and Lee, Emily Kochard led Western Albemarle to a state title in 2014 and is making an impact for the Generals. (Ashley Thornton)

HOW TO GET A PHYSICAL COPY OF SCRIMMAGE PLAY Step 1 :: Click here and head to the MagCloud version of the magazine. It’s going to look like this below:

Step 2 :: Click the Buy Print button next to the magazine and follow instructions to order Step 3 :: Wait patiently by your mailbox Step 4 :: When it arrives, take it out and read or stash away to your heart’s delight! :: 06

ER 2015-2016 T N I W

While the run the Albemarle boys basketball team was the historic highlight for basketball in Central Virginia, quickly forgotten were Western Albemarle, Blue Ridge and St. Anne’s-Belfielld, all state tournament qualifiers. On the girls side, St. Anne’sBelfield and Miller continued to carry the flag. In the pool, Western Albemarle continued what’s been a half-decade of dominance. And on the mat, we had a private school champion and public state runner up. What a season it was. And so we’re pleased to introduce the Winter edition of the 2015-2016 All-SP awards.

Presented by:

Stories by Ryan Yemen and Bart Isley /// Photos by Ashley Thornton, John Berry and Brian Mellott

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- B OYS B A SK E T B A L L -

















FIRST TEAM Javin DeLaurier /// St. Anne’s-Belfield, Sr. All-VISAA Division 2 first team, Duke signee, 21.9 ppg, 12.9 rpg, 3.3 bpg

SECOND TEAM Jake Hahn /// Albemarle, Jr. All-VHSL Group 5A second team, All-JD first team, 14.3 ppg, 5.9 rpg

Scott Spencer /// Blue Ridge, Sr. All-VISAA Division 2 first team, Clemson signee, 14.2 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.4 spg

Tyler Creammer /// Miller, Sr. All-VIC, VMI signee, 9.8 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 1.1 bpg

Malik Johnson /// Blue Ridge, Sr. All-VISAA Division 2 first team, Canisus signee, 12.4 ppg, 4.2 apg, 1.8 spg

Matt Shobe /// Covenant, Sr. All-VIC Division 2, 12.4 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 1.3 apg

Austin Katstra /// Albemarle, Jr. All-VHSL Group 5A first team, JD Division 5 POTY, 14.3 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 2.5 Ryan Ingram /// Western Albemarle, Jr. All-VHSL Group 3A second team, JD Division 3 POTY, 14 ppg, 3.8 spg Aamir Simms /// Blue Ridge, Jr. All-VISAA Division 2 second team, 13.4 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 2.0 bpg Leon Ragland /// Buckingham County, Sr. All-VHSL Group 2A first team, 16.6 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 2.2 spg Caleb Gage /// Charlottesville, Sr. Jefferson District Division 4 POTY, 14.2 ppg, 3.0 apg, 2.5 spg

HONORABLE MENTION Jalen Harrison /// St. Anne’s-Belfield, Sr. Jermaine Pace /// Louisa County, Sr. Tyreek Ragland /// Charlottesville, Sr. Ron Alston /// Miller, Sr. Dylan Breeden /// Madison County, Jr. Ukari Brooks /// Monticello, Jr. Myles Adams-Yates /// Albemarle, Sr. Joe Foley /// Woodberry Forest, So. B.J. Snead /// Goochland Sr. Elijah Smoot /// Orange County, Sr. Chris McGahren /// Western Albemarle, So. Anthony Lee /// Nelson County, Sr. Detwon Shelton /// Fork Union, Sr. Josh Colon /// Blue Ridge, Jr.

Chance Sheffey /// Miller, Sr. All-VISAA Division 2 second team, 15.3 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 2.3 apg, 1.2 spg Max Johns /// Woodberry Forest, So. All-Prep League, 13.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.3 apg, 1.0 bpg Isiah Smith /// Madison County, Jr. All-VHSL Group 2A second team, 14.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 6.0 apg Kam’ron McCain /// William Monroe, Jr. First team All-Bull Run, All-Conf. 28, 11 ppg, 3.5 apg, 5.0 rpg Jayden Nixon /// St. Anne’s-Belfield, Jr. All-Prep League, 12.7 ppg, 5.1 rpg

ALL-DEFENSIVE TEAM Michael Vale /// Western Albemarle, Sr. Lead post defender for Warriors, 21 blocks Myles Adams-Yates /// Albemarle, Sr. Top defender for Group 5A semifinalists, 1.3 spg Ron Alston /// Miller, Sr. Top defender, guarded at four positions, 1.1 spg, 1.0 bpg Jack Twombly /// Goochland, Sr. 10.3 rebounds per game, averaged double-double Dre Twyman /// Madison County, Jr. Top defender, 1.3 spg, 1.0 bpg., team high seven drawn charges :: 8


JAVIN MONTGOMERY-DELAURIER, ST. ANNE’S BELFIELD The list of homegrown Central Virginia players who have been recruited and signed by Duke University’s men’s basketball team since the turn of the century is as follows: Javin MontgomeryDeLaurier. The St. Anne’s-Belfield boys basketball team enjoyed an incredible run the last few years culminating with this season’s run to the state final four. Montgomery-DeLaurier was the single biggest factor in that run as the Duke-bound senior reached his full promise with a strong, resilient supporting cast that included Jayden Nixon, Matt Palumbo, Jalen Harrison, Kareem Johnson and Nic Kent among others. A strong rotation with the kind of centerpiece that can change everything. Montgomery-DeLaurier was an absolute force on both ends of the floor, averaging 21.9 points, 12.9 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 2.1 steals and 3.3 blocks per contest. He shot an astonishing 60 percent from the field including 40 percent from beyond the arc. He led the Saints in every major statistical category. He led Central Virginia in rebounds and blocks and was in the top five in every other category. That just hasn’t been done very often. It’s as complete an effort as anyone has seen in the last few decades against a challenging

schedule that pitted MontgomeryDeLaurier against some of the state’s top talents. Watching Montgomery-DeLaurier develop from a talented young freshman who was still figuring things out into a force of nature has been one of the most impressive transformations around. There was certainly promise early on, but it’s taken an incredible amount of hard work for DeLaurier to get where he’s gotten. Even a year ago at this time, he didn’t hold an offer from Duke, but as the old cliche goes, overnight successes are often years in the making. MontgomeryDeLaurier further bolsters that belief. Those in and around the STAB program all talk about how many hours Montgomery-DeLaurier spent in the gym. The extra shots he took, the extra work he put in even when people were urging him to wrap it up. Montgomery-DeLaurier was willing to make the sacrifices it took to be great, and not just at basketball, he made them to do well in the classroom too. That takes dedication, focus and balance all coming together at once. That doesn’t happen very often. Javin Montgomery-DeLauriers don’t happen very often. ✖


DARREN MAYNARD, WESTERN ALBEMARLE To explain the kind of job that Darren Maynard did this year you have to be careful, because it can come off as insult to his team. It’s not that Western Albemarle wasn’t talented. In fact, that’s far from the case. But the simple truth is that the Warriors didn’t have that one player that was a true game-changer. Instead, they had a starting five and bench deeper than any other in the area. All in all, Maynard had a team with a handful of players that would probably start for a lot of other teams, but there he was trying to figure out how to make it work. Rather than force players to become something more than they were or were ready to become, Maynard took his veteran guard in Ryan Ingram and turned him into an enigma in a good way, and then took his roster and turned his squad into a situational team. Western’s defense has always been solid, and with so many

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available players, this unit became more aggressive, easily dealt with foul trouble and never had to rely on any one player to carry the offense. On any given night it could have been Ingram. Or Chris McGahren. Or Josh Coffman… and on it went. Maynard turned Michael Vale and Carrington Murphy into solid defenders in the paint and contributors on offense. He found a way to relieve the pressure on Ingram at guard by getting a ton of quality minutes out of Nick Yancey. The Warriors won the Jefferson District title and went on to make the Group 3A playoffs for the first time since 2009-2010, a team that was loaded with front end talent back then between Christian Pierce and Dante Crawford. But this team was different. It was one that adapted to each situation it faced. Western topped rival Albemarle in

two of its three meetings. The Warriors worked their way through a tough Conference 29 field to the Region 3A West tournament where they earned a Group 3A bid. This was a healthy mix of seniors and juniors, but Western had to endure a lot of growing pains in the previous campaign. Call it a twoyear coaching job. Maynard took this group — and it’s important to note how vast the group was as it extended so far beyond the starting five — and got them to play his successful brand of basketball. Maynard’s brand, one of team defense, great free-throw shooting — your basics, your fundamentals — is always going to go far when you’ve got players willing to buy in. This year, Western had that perfect mix on the roster and put together the best season that the program has seen in seven years. ✖


DALTON TAYLOR, MADISON COUNTY With Isiah Smith, Dre Twyman and Dylan Breeden officially hitting the veteran status in their high school careers this year, Madison County was ready to take the next step to becoming a viable force in the Bull Run District. All three of the aforementioned did their job, but this team got off to its best start since its unbeaten state title run back in 2009-2010 thanks in large part to a freshman. It was Dalton Taylor who gave the Mountaineers the pure outside shooting threat they had been missing since Bobby Ford was a junior three years ago. Taylor delivered his share of daggers as the Mountaineers finished second the Bull Run District and went on to qualify for the Region 2A East tournament. His 14.8 points, five rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.6 steals per game showed that he was more than just an outside threat though. While Taylor hit 46 percent of his 3-pointers and was a 79 percent free-throw shooter, his defense almost went under the radar because of the impact he had on the other end of the floor. Taylor earned a second team All-Bull Run nod and was first team All-Conference 34. He was the team’s two guard playing off of Smith who ran the point. His 10-for-10 effort at the free throw line clinched Madison’s win over East Rockingham in the Region 2A East quarterfinals. And even though he came in as a freshman, a lot of pressure was on Taylor as he’s the son of one of the program’s legendary figures, Tim Taylor. The elder Taylor  not only helped Madison earn a state tournament berth as a player, but also coached the Mountaineers to a Group 2A final four showing in 2008-2009 before leaving the reigns to Ben Breeden. Breeden was the coach for the Mountaineers when they won the next year and also was a player for Madison in the state tournament during his playing days. Tim Taylor is now on Breeden’s staff as assistant, adding an extra element of interest that was Dalton Taylor’s first year at Madison. It’s fair to say that Taylor is just taking the first steps to following in some familiar footsteps. ✖ :: 10


















FIRST TEAM Bri Tinsely /// St. Anne’s-Belfield, Jr. All-VISAA Division I first team, 17.4 ppg, 5.2 apg, 3.9 spg Sam Brunelle /// William Monroe, Fr. VHSL All-Group 3A first team, Region 3A East POTY, 25.0 ppg, 17.3 rpg Alajiah Ragland /// Charlottesville, Sr. JD D4 POTY, VHSL Group 4A second team, 15.6 ppg, 4.2 spg

SECOND TEAM DaJour Strother /// William Monroe Jr. All-Conference 28, All-Bull Run District, 9.7 ppg, 6.8 rpg Destinee McDonald /// Charlottesville, Jr. First team All-JD, 14.3 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 3.0 spg, 2.6 apg Emily Coffman /// Western Albemarle, Jr. First team All-JD, 7.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.4 spg, 2.3 apg

Imani Bryant /// Miller, Sr. All-VISAA Division II first team, 14.4 ppg, 13.1 rpg, 3.4 bpg

Kianna Scott /// Monticello, Sr. First team All-JD, 11.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 3.3 apg

Emily Maupin /// Covenant, Jr. All-VISAA Division II first team, 26.0 ppg, 20.1 rpg, 3.1 bpg

Laine Harrington /// Orange County, Jr. First team All-JD, 11.1 ppg, 2.3 spg, 2.0 apg, 5.7 rpg

Ashley Taylor /// St. Anne’s-Belfield, Sr. All-VISAA Division I first team, 13.6 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.1 bpg

Yasmine Tyler /// Louisa County, Jr. First team All-JD, 10.4 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 3.0 spg

Kiani Hudgins /// Orange County, Sr. Jefferson District Division 5 POTY, 14.2 ppg, 3.8 spg, 3.9 apg, 5.0 rpg

Micah Maloney /// Miller, Sr. All-VISAA Division II first team, 8.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.5 spg

Kate Stutz /// Fluvanna County, Sr. Jefferson District D3 POTY, All-Conf. 29 first team, 15.8 ppg, 9.8 rpg

Jayla Davis /// St. Anne’s-Belfield, Jr. 9.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.7 spg

HONORABLE MENTION Secret Bryant /// Miller, Jr. Aiyanah Tyler-Cooper /// Albemarle, So. Chaniyah Brown /// Fluvanna County, Sr. Danicia Randolph /// Nelson County, So. Anne Ridenhour /// Albemarle, Jr. Lexi Lomax /// Orange County, So. Natalie Marbury /// Western Albemarle, Sr. Tyi Skinner /// Louisa County, Fr. Makayla Morris /// William Monroe, Sr. Mariah Brown /// Monticello, Jr. Sierra Smith /// St. Anne’s-Belfield, So.

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ALL-DEFENSIVE TEAM Sam Brunelle /// William Monroe, Fr. Emerged as a defensive force in the paint, 2.9 bpg, 1.8 spg Sierra Smith /// St. Anne’s-Belfield, So. Dominant rebounder, tremendous team defender in post, 12.9 rpg Julia Hawes /// Western Albemarle, Sr. Drew top backcourt defensive assignment for Warriors, 1.5 spg Joviah Winkey /// St. Anne’s-Belfield, Fr. 2.8 spg as first year player, relentless defender off the bench Aiyanah Tyler-Cooper /// Albemarle, So. Critical defender for Patriots who can guard multiple spots, 3.9 spg


BRI TINSLEY, ST. ANNE’S-BELFIELD Sometimes, the impact a player has goes well beyond the numbers and the easiest spot for that to be the case on a basketball team is at point guard, where you can control the pace and dictate the way the squad plays like Bri Tinsley did this season. Tinsley, who is a coveted Division I prospect, helped lead the Saints to the VISAA Division I state semifinals against an extremely challenging schedule that included dates with nationally-ranked squads and several state powerhouses. Despite not playing with a traditional center and relying largely on the active, relentless effort of Sierra Smith on the boards, Tinsley triggered a high octane, pressure-oriented attack from the Saints that jumped on teams from the outset of games. Tinsley is largely the reason STAB could employ those tactics as she took another leap as a floor general after already getting two pretty solid seasons under her belt. She learned how to harness her speed and change gears to keep defenses off balance in an array of different situations. She also got extremely good at getting everyone on the squad involved from senior Ashley Taylor to freshman Vanessa Woodfolk, making the Saints extremely dangerous as opponents faced a game of pick-

your-poison. Locking Tinsley down proved to be a nearly impossible task for defenders as she broke them down off the dribble or created space to unleash 3-pointers or mid-range jumpers. She shot 51 percent on the season and was equally efficient from beyond the arc, hitting 44 percent of her attempts. Already at the 1,000 career point mark, Tinsley averaged 17.3 points per game this season and was particularly efficient as a ball handler, averaging 5.2 assists and just 1.9 turnovers per game. Throw in a whopping 3.9 steals per game and a host of other turnovers she helped force via STAB’s traps and Tinsley’s numbers are a model of efficiency and allaround impact. Tinsley, who committed to James Madison before the Dukes’ coach Kenny Brooks left for Virginia Tech, will eventually make some collegiate coach and program happy. She’s a college-ready point guard who’s developing a mastery of her spot. For now, she’s got one more year of high school ahead of her and a chance to cap one of the finest careers in recent memory. And she’s a large reason that the Saints have and will continue to be premeire players at the Division 1 level. ✖


JAMES BRAXTON, MILLER What Miller’s girls basketball team accomplished this year was not easy. Buying into a system when you’re not winning is tough. Because there were so many new pieces, it took time for James Braxton and his staff to identify what each of his players were capable of. The end product was one that relied on Imani Bryant and Micah Maloney to dominate in the paint, Secret Bryant to run the point, and then a slew of role players to take on substantial jobs, tasks that differed on any given night. Aby Morrill exemplified one of those athletes as she turned into a sniper outside, hitting 33 percent of her shots from beyond the arc, but was also second on the team in assists per game. Hannah Woodard, a freshman, managed to play in 29 games, averaged 5.3 points and 3.5 rebounds to ease the pressure put on the rest of Mavericks front court. :: 12

With Imani Bryant, Braxton was able to get incredible production. The Howard-bound senior had 14.4 points, 13.1 rebounds and 3.4 blocks per game. Throw in Maloney’s 8.3 points and 5.7 rebounds and a team best 1.5 steals per game and suddenly you have a rock solid front court tandem. Junior guard Secret Bryant came along as the season progressed to become a firecracker in the backcourt. Bryant finished second in scoring with 10.8 points and led the passing attack with 4.6 assists per game and 1.3 steals per contest. With five different players averaging at least 5.3 points a night, the Mavericks went from a team leaning on individual play to a unit that worked together and became something larger. The run to a second straight state championship was relatively smooth from January on. After falling to TPLS Christian by one point

in mid-February, the Mavericks reeled off seven straight wins, all by double digits until the D2 championship game. In the finals against NSA, the Mavericks depth was on display, and so too were fundamentals as Miller took a late fourth-quarter lead and finished the game at the free-throw line. This was Braxton’s third straight state title win in a row, but also his fifth in the last seven years. He’s obviously no stranger to winning it all. However, the way he helped guide this team was different than previous championships. The Mavericks had to take some lumps early on, but when they figured out who they were, they were a freight train and one that dismantled third-seeded Seton before taking down top seed Nansemond Suffolk. That’s earning a state title the hard way, by peaking at just the right time.✖


SAM BRUNELLE, WILLIAM MONROE There’s no doubt that Sam Brunelle and her William Monroe squad was the story of girls basketball this season as the freshman sensation burst on the scene and instantly became one of the area’s most feared players. Brunelle ran roughshod over the Dragons’ opponents this season, posting numbers unlike any we’ve ever seen from a freshman. A season stat line of 25 points per game, 17.3 rebounds, 2.9 blocks and 2.5 assists is incredible. For a ninth grader, it’s almost unbelievable. She also shot 47 percent from the field, and north of 50 percent on shots inside the arc. Brunelle’s height is the first thing that strikes any observer, but Brunelle is polished and skilled enough after years of hard work that she’d have just as much of an impact if she was six inches shorter, it would just come in a different package. She’s an incredible dribbler who understands how to force defenders to go where she wants them to go. On the boards, she has high end anticipation already and a sense for how to get in the right place at the right time. That allowed her to set a VHSL single game rebounding record during the year. In fact, she often served as the Dragons’ main ball handler, especially after senior Makayla Morris went down with an injury and despite some predictable turnovers as defenses collapsed around her, Brunelle handled seemingly every game situation with poise that isn’t characteristic of a freshman. Brunelle is the rare elite player who also makes everyone on the team better. She gets everyone involved and got a lot of help as the year wore on from fellow post player Dajour Strother, who emerged as a force underneath that forced opponents to be honest in how they marked Brunelle. Brunelle is transformative, productive and dynamic. She’s everything you want in a high school player. And she’s only just getting started. ✖

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ELERI HAYDEN, WESTERN ALBEMARLE The leg injury Eleri Hayden suffered was gruesome. If you were in the gym, the severity was apparent from the first moment. Which is what makes the one-year comeback that Hayden made from the injury that held her out of soccer pretty incredible. “It was a lot of blood, sweat and tears,” Hayden said in December. Hayden wasn’t just back at it either. She was better than she’d been as a freshman, better than she was in the few games she played in as a sophomore. Hayden averaged 7.5 points, a team high 5.0 rebounds and 1.7 steals. One of the highlights came early on too, a year to the day when Hayden was hurt, as she scored 17 points, 15 of them before the break against Liberty-Bedford. “It was crazy, it just came out of nowhere,” Hayden said. Hayden had other huge nights too as Western’s program took another step out of the trough it had entered over the last couple of years and became one of the toughest outs in the Jefferson District. She scored 18 points and pulled down 11 boards when the Warriors upended Orange County in late January. “To be back and playing basketball at a good clip is just awesome,” said Western coach Kris Wright. “Anyone that was in this gym last year knows how scary that moment was. To see her be able to play this way is such an awesome, awesome feeling as a coach.” That’s the feeling that a lot of blood, sweat and tears will give you. ✖

TEAM SPOTLIGHT BLUE RIDGE FOOTBALL AND BASEBALL Charging just $6 for a car wash, the Barons’ football and baseball teams paired together to raise money for April’s March of Dimes. In four hours the BRS athletes managed to raise an impressive $600 as they detailed 100 cars off of Greenbrier and Route 29 in Charlottesville. Truly outstanding work, Barons! What a succesful fundraiser!

495 Brookway Drive, Charlottesville, VA, 22901 434-296-9821

Come see our team at Taylor’s for all your collision repair needs. Taylor’s has been family owned and operated since 1986. Always remember you have the right to choose where your vehicle is repaired.


GIRLS Brazil Rule /// Western Albemarle, Sr. VHSL Group 3A runner-up 100-fly, fourth place 200-free Stephanie Nardone /// Fluvanna County, Sr. VHSL Group 3A 10th place in 200 IM, seventh place 100 butterfly Maggie Woods /// Albemarle, Sr VHSL Group 5A runner-up 50-free, seventh in 100-free Alexa Owens /// Louisa County, Sr. VHSL Group 4A runner-up 200-IM, fourth place 500-free Colleen Higgins /// Western Albemarle, Sr. VHSL Group 3A runner-up 100-breast, fourth in the 200-IM Morgan James /// Western Albemarle, Sr. VHSL Group 3A third place 50-free, fifth in 100-free

BOYS Nick Pease /// Albemarle, Sr. VHSL Group 5A runner-up 100 fly, runner-up 100-back Cole McMahon-Gioeli /// Charlottesville, Sr. VHSL Group 4A fourth Place 50 free, eighth place 100 fly Brian Hynes /// St. Anne’s-Belfield, Sr. VISAA state second place 500-free, third place 100-fly Aaron James /// Western Albemarle, Sr. VHSL Group 3A champion 50-free and 100-free Nick Switzer /// Woodberry Forest, Sr. VISAA state champion in 100-breast, runner-up in 200 IM Caleb Smith /// Albemarle, So. VHSL Group 5A third place 200-free, sixth place 500-free

Megan Jones /// Albemarle, Sr. VHSL Group 5A eighth 100-breast, ninth 50-free

Nathaniel Bennett /// Fork Union, Fr. VISAA state runner-up 50-free, fifth place 100-fly

Charlotte Rumsey /// Western Albemarle, Sr. VHSL Group 3A sixth in 200-IM, eighth in 100-fly

Hogan Harper /// Albemarle, Sr. VHSL Group 5A third place 200-IM and 100-free

Ashley Huang /// Albemarle, Sr. VHSL Group 5A 10th in 100-back, 11th in 100-fly Alex Neillan /// Orange County, Sr. VHSL Group 5A 10th in 100-fly


August Lamb /// Western Albemarle, Fr. VHSL Group 3A third place 100-free, fourth place 200-free Danny Parshall /// Louisa County, Sr. VHSL Group 3A third place 200-IM and 100-back GIRLS: Brazil Rule /// Western Albemarle, Sr. BOYS: Nick Pease /// Albemarle, Sr. Dan Bledsoe /// Western Albemarle Coached both girls and boys programs to state title wins


Best of luck to our 2015 student athletes as they embark on their college careers. Jake Allen


Harvard University

TaylorAnne Barry

Women’s Soccer

Randolph-Macon College

Jeremy Benner


Sewanee – The University of the South

Fritz Berry

Men’s Lacrosse

Trinity College

Molly Brooks

Women’s Squash

Bates College

Sadie Bryant

Women’s Lacrosse

Gardner-Webb University

Eric Buhle

Men’s Lacrosse

University of Richmond

Emily Carden

Women’s Lacrosse

Washington & Lee University

Gideon Elron

Men’s Lacrosse

Wesleyan University

Julia Haney

Women’s Lacrosse

Princeton University

Khalig Howard

Men’s Lacrosse

Denison University

Lang McNeely

Men’s Lacrosse

Rhodes College

Parker Morris


Cornell University

Rhys Nordstrom

Men’s Squash

Bard College

Austin Park

Men’s Lacrosse

Amherst College

Lee Parkhill


Christopher Newport University

Brodie Phillips

Men’s Lacrosse

Dickinson College

Rob Schotta

Men’s Lacrosse

Denison University

Audrey Schreck

Women’s Lacrosse

University of Denver

Bredt Stockwell


Sewanee – The University of the South

St. Anne's-Belfield School

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Jeffery Sisk /// Louisa County, Sr. VHSL Group 4A runner-up at 113 pounds Russ Hill /// Western Albemarle, Sr. VHSL Group 3A third place at 145 pounds

Zach Gibson /// Madison County, Sr. VHSL Group 2A fourth place at 145 pounds

Logan Zimmerman /// Monticello, Sr. VHSL Group 3A fifth place at 120 pounds

Zach Scharf /// Covenant, Sr. VISAA fifth place at 132 pounds

Austin Mills /// Louisa County, Fr. VHSL Group 4A fifth place at 120 pounds

Dustin Shifflett /// Orange County, Sr. Group 5A North third place at 195 pounds

Greg Sizemore /// William Monroe, Sr. VHSL Group 3A sixth place at 220 pounds

Davis Smith /// Woodberry Forest, Sr. VISAA third place at 160 pounds

Rick Weaver /// Covenant, Fr. VISAA heavyweight state champion

Darby Henagan /// Woodberry Forest, Sr. VISAA third place at heavyweight

Joseph Manuel /// Madison County, Sr. VHSL Group 2A third place at 220 pounds

Jarret Grimsley /// Louisa County, Sr. JD champion at 132 pounds

Jalyn Simms /// Madison County, Sr. VHSL Group 2A third place at 132 pounds

Nate Riley /// Western Albemarle, Sr. VHSL Group 3A sixth place at 182 pounds


Corey Champion /// Orange County, Sr. Group 5A fourth place at 138 pounds

Jeffrey Sisk /// Louisa County, Sr. State runner up in competitive weight class at Group 4 Colin Anderson /// Covenant Guided young Eagles squad to strong showing in D2







ALBEMARLE’S MADDIE WILLIAMSON For a brief period of time last year, a back injury seemed destined to take tennis away from Albemarle’s Maddie Williamson. Or, rather, the playing part of tennis. Williamson wasn’t about to abandon her team. “We went about a week with kind of the mindset that she wasn’t going to play tennis again ever,” said Albemarle girls tennis coach Rich Lindsay. “She embraced that and said ‘how can I help’... she was talking about kind of a player-coach type role.” Williamson was eventually cleared to rejoin the squad as a playing during last season’s Conference 16 title run for Albemarle. She won in the No. 1 spot 6-4, 6-3 in the conference championship match. She also won her third-straight conference doubles championship. “She’s fought through a lot of adversity and the fun thing about Maddie is that she always comes back,” Lindsay. “She always finds a way to get better and most importantly help her team.” The Patriots’ senior, who is now the squad’s No. 2 player on the ladder, carries a 4.48 GPA and is headed to the University of Virginia this fall. She’s a member of the National Honor Society, the Spanish Honor Society, BETA, Patriot Athletic Leaders (PALs) and Female Athletes Striving Together (FAST). Despite all that involvement and all those accomplishments, perhaps the most lasting legacy is the way Williamson put her team first at one of her most vulnerable moments.

ABOUT HARGRAVE MILITARY ACADEMY Hargrave believes individual achievement is a gamechanger for all students, both on and off the field. With a college acceptance rate of 100% and a heavy emphasis on academics, your son will have competitive advantages ahead of his peers including leadership and character development.

The Academic athlete of the issue is selected by Scrimmage Play’s staff with the consultation of coaches and athletic directors. To nominate an athlete email

1-800-432-2480 | WWW.HARGRAVE.EDU I M P R O V E D G R A D E S / 1 0 0 % C O L L E G E A C C E P TA N C E F I N D U S O N FA C E B O O K :: 18

Game Time St. Anne’s 13, Woodberry 9 By Bart Isley

Saints attackman Phillip Robertson had five goals in his team’s win over the rival Tigers (Bart Isley)

19 :: scrimmageplay

Sometimes you just need a change, a shift that creates a spark. When St. Anne’sBelfield’s boys lacrosse team needed one Friday night in a 13-9 win over Woodberry Forest, they turned to sophomore Michael DiGiacomo, a player who already made a change that helped the Saints when he converted from shortstick midfielder to close defense before the season started. “When it comes to (being) a team guy, Michael’s done everything you could ask,” said STAB coach Bo Perriello. “Switching positions, he’s become one our most reliable close defensemen, we run him at longstick middie and then today we needed him to move up to faceoffs and he did a great job there.” DiGiacomo put together a dominant second half on faceoffs and in the process he helped STAB rip off a decisive 5-0 run to start the second half that transformed a game that was deadlocked at 5-5 at the break, putting the Saints in control. “It’s big, we run on emotion definitely,” DiGiacomo said. “We get the bench hyped, that gets the team hyped and turns the game around. We spent most of the third and fourth quarter on the offensive end and it showed on the scoreboard. It all started in the middle of the field and with Kareem (Johnson) and (Zach) Caton getting the ground balls after my faceoff pulls.” DiGiacomo won 10 straight faceoffs to start the second half, reversing a first half where the Saints struggled to gain possession despite several solid pulls that just didn’t work out. “Magnus (Gould) has done a great job there for us, but we’ve got to be able to react, it’s kind of a chess match facing off and sometimes he’s going to have the answer and sometimes he’s not,” Perriello said. Controlling possession, as it usually does, gave the STAB offense a chance to get in

rhythm. Four different Saints scored during the third-quarter burst with Chris Woodfolk, George Marshall, Joe Robertson and Phillip Robertson (twice) carrying the load. Woodfolk and Marshall’s emergence gives the Saints’ incredibly dangerous offense an added dimension. “We feel like the guys who are our role players are outstanding players in their own right,” Perriello said. “Sometimes they get lost in the shuffle when you’ve got some of the firepower we’ve got on attack. .” Phillip Robertson finished with five goals an assist to lead the way while Joe Robertson had a hat trick and two assists. Marshall and Woodfolk scored twice each, with Marshall adding an assist — he scored both his goals on with aggressive runs from the top of the formation. Jack Schultz had a goal and two assists. Connor Shellenberger finished with two assists to round out the bulk of the Saints’ offense. Patrick Blake made eight saves in the cage for the Saints. Kareem Johnson led STAB with six ground balls. The Tigers rebounded from the rough third quarter to make a fourth-quarter push, pulling within three goals at 11-8, but that lull in consistency was the difference in the game. “We’ve proven we can play with the big dogs, we just have to do it consistently,” said WFS coach Spotty Robbins. “We lose a little bit of alertness there on defense, we get a little wide-eyed when things don’t go our way. It’s a matter of regrouping and staying consistent.” Lee Cozart finished with a hat trick while Ford Beazley, Keen Griffin and Max Bozymski had two goals each. Ian Weinberg had a game-high nine ground balls. Senior keeper Holden Fockler had a solid night in the cage. He finished with 10 stops. Both squads are in position to make the VISAA Division I playoffs with a week left in the regular season. ✖

See a photograph you like? Defensive stand Warriors goalie has more than one trick | By Ryan Yemen

At Scrimmage Play we pride ourselves on offering the best possible graphics Two years ago the Western Albemarle boys to Shin, who doubles as a Junior National Judo soccer team get was fueled its underclassmen medalist, we can our byhands on, in both our but has developed into one of the with sophomores and freshman bearing the area’s most versatile goalkeepers. magazine as well as at our website at brunt of the work load. The netminder has shown he’s capable of Now two years later, forwards Aaron Myers making big saves, particularly in the team’s and Alex Nolet, as well as senior defender two ties. In the first game of the season, Tom Rogers are all in their senior seasons and looking to earn a Region II bid, something that Orange County snatched away from them in the Jefferson District semifinals last season. After the first month of play, the Warriors seem to have the defensive side of the equation figured out and junior goalkeeper Kai Shin is a big part of that. Before Western went on its spring break, none of its four opponents were able to score more than once, a testament to the team’s play in the middle of the field, but also a nod

Shin endured wave after wave of Albemarle attack, but stood tall and showed no rust in the 1-1- tie. But while Shin’s on the field because he can make stops, his strong leg has also been of great use as he’s able to easily clear the zone but also spark fast breaks all by himself. The Warriors averaged a little over two goals per contest before the break, but if that average starts to increase, don’t be surprised if it’s because of Shin’s ability to contribute to the transition game. ✖

We want to make sure that our readers have the same opportunity to have these photos. If something catches your eye in either the magazine or on the web, you can order the photograph for yourself.

Whether it’s a 4x6 glossy print or a 13x11 mounted photo, we’ve got a full range of possibilities for you to choose from. Simply visit our smugmug website at Covenant 1/2 page

Western Albemarle’s Kai Shin hauls in a shot during his team’s 1-1 tie with Albemarle that kicked off the soccer season for both squads. (Frank Crocker)

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Making a connection Building a football program takes the entire village


nytime there’s a new hire for a football program, it’s an exciting time. It was supposed to be that way for Nelson County when Mark Poston took over. As a coach who employed the fast-paced offense that made him successful at East Montgomery, there was an element of plug and play expected. But what do you do when the system doesn’t fit the program? Poston had depth, a feeder program underneath him previously. The Governors didn’t have that, and when Poston’s system wasn’t able to take root because of that and the combination of transfers and the general malaise that shakes up participation at a small school that comes with losing, well, another transition comes. Matt Hicks is the new coach at Nelson County, a young fiery one in a program that needs that. He’s the first hire for new Athletic Director Michael Young, an assistant on the previous football staff. Did Nelson just find its solution to its football problem? It’s been a long time since the Governors have mattered in that department. But they also play in a Dogwood District with Appomattox, Altavista, Dan River and Gretna, all of them big-time perennial programs on the state level. Perhaps no program faces the uphill battle that Nelson does of any school looking to rebuild. But what’s interesting to me about the Governors is that Poston tried to put in place the things that would make Hicks successful after he left. He got a middle school program started. If you don’t think that’s important, talk to Goochland coach Joe Fowler. Since he took over, the Bulldogs have been the big players in the James River District, and every year threats in their region, and made a number of state tourney runs. Goochland came up to Group 2A for two years between 2009 and 2010 and won the Jefferson District in its first year despite the enrollment discrepancy. They played in back-to-back Group 2A title games when they returned in 2011. They expect nothing less each year. Goochland has the continuity that the programs of its size, Nelson included, have to have to achieve. So the really interesting question here is did Poston leave Hicks something to work with? The Governors were young for three straight years because of transfers, lack of participation that happens when you haven’t won in a while. A new coach always brings out a deeper roster, but a lot of times, if a team doesn’t see results out of the gate, that dwindles. It’s a sad trend, one I wish wasn’t there as any former high school athlete can tell you, the wins and losses are rarely the source of your appreciation or entertainment later in life. But in Hicks what Nelson is getting is a coach that’s eager to prove himself. He’s been a member of a Monticello team that was coached by Brud Bicknell, someone who built it up from its inception. He’s coached under Brandon Isaiah, someone who took over from Mike Alley who rebuilt that program from the inside out. It’s actually the Alley to Isaiah transition that make Hicks an intriguing hire. Alley had to do a lot of the messy work before getting the Patriots to the playoffs in 2013. Isaiah took over a better product than Alley inherited (including ending a long playoff drought), but it was one that was still transitioning. Isaiah, to his and his team’s credit, is on the verge of becoming something big. So maybe Poston left Hicks in similar position, albeit that the Governors don’t have

22 :: @scrimmageplay

“All it takes is three wins to get your foot in the door... So what’s four wins?” that one near group to point to to say “hey, they made the playoffs, why can’t we?” But if you know the current playoff format, at the Group 2A level, and sometimes even higher than that, all it takes is three wins to get your foot in the door. Four wins is a virtual lock for a spot, but probably an ugly matchup. So what’s four wins? Every year, even the teams in the most dire of straits finds themselves in a situation at least four times where if one play goes the right way, they can put themselves in a position to win. The thing I came away with Hicks after his introduction was that he’s not trying to build Rome in a day. He wants a simple run game and a defense that does the best with the numbers it has. That’s realistic. That’s a start. Hicks isn’t promising a state title to his young players. And that’s what Nelson needs right here and now. If Hicks gets things turned around, it’s going to be one of the best stories in football we’ve seen in awhile. ✖

Ryan Yemen,


back talk »

How would you fix a football progam that’s been struggling? Email:

Success stories begin here.

Success Story: Christian Hackenberg There aren’t many athletes that can say they’ve been under the recruiting spotlight like Fork Union graduate Christian Hackenberg. From the day he committed to Penn State back in 2011, his decision was questioned by both local and national media. Hackenberg never faltered and instantly became the face of the Nittany Lions’ attempt to crawl out of the unprecedented situation that left the program under heavy NCAA sanctions. After helping Fork Union win a VISAA Division 1 championship as a sophomore and then leading the way to a state runnerup showing in 2012 as a senior, Hackenberg shipped off to Happy Valley and wasted little time making an impact. As a true freshman quarterback, Hackenberg was named Big Ten freshman of the week five times. He finished with 2,995 yards passing (second in the Big Ten) and 20 touchdowns while throwing just 10 interceptions. He had four 300-yard passing games to tie a school record. As a result, he won the Big Ten’s Freshman of the year award. In 2014 as a sophomore, Hackenberg was 270 for 484 passing and finished with 2977 yards and 12 touchdowns. As a junior, Hackenberg led PSU with 2,386 yards passing with 16 touchdowns and just five interceptions. The Nittany Lions finished 7-6 and were eligible to play for a bowl for the first time since 2010. Officially old enough to do so, Hackenberg declared himself for the 2016 NFL Draft after PSU’s bowl game with Georgia. He was invited to the NFL Combine in February and drew plenty of attention as a potential second day selection come April. Sure enough, on April 29, the New Jork Jets used their second pick, and selected Hackenberg with the 51st overall pick. He’s played in state title games, bowl games and now he’s acheived the ultimate dream of playing on Sundays. It’s hard to believe but Christian Hackenberg’s football journey is still in its infancy.

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Volume 7, Issue 14  

All-SP Winter Edition