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VOL 7. ISSUE 19 :: AUGUST 7, 2015


All Scrimmage Play Award


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ON FULL DISPLAY Young STAB lacrosse stars enjoy summer tour


ALL-SCRIMMAGE PLAY The End-of-Year edition of All-SP


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DOG DAYS OF SUMMER Orange baseball makes the most of Legion

vol 7. issue 19 :: august 5, 2015

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VOL 7 . ISSUE 19 :: AUGUST 7, 2016


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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 Brendan Moyers 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

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In memoriam

Craig Gill was an institution at Buckingham County, a staple of football in the state of Virginia. A Fork Union graduate, Gill started his final coaching stint in Buckingham in 1995. For 20 years he led the Knights, and for the last seven years, Buckingham has made the VHSL playoffs. Under Gill the Knights made a run to the Group A championship game in 2002 and the Group 2A final four in 2013. Gill never lost a home playoff game. After a three-year battle with cancer, Gill died on July 8. He was 63 years old. He will be missed. ✖ (Photo by Ryan Yemen)

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Noah Crutchfield works in a lineman drill. Just two weeks before officially starting their training camp, Western Albemarle held a mini-camp in July for four days in an effort to get a jumpstart on what will be a transitional year. With the graduation of Osiris Crutchfield, Sam Hearn, Oliver Herndon and Matt Mullin and others, this Western team will have a different look. With Noah Crutchfield, Luke Tenuta and Derek Domecq back in the fold though, coach Ed Redmond has the tools to get the Warriors going again in 2016. ✖ (Photo by Ryan Yemen)

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And so it begins

First Quarter

On full display

STAB’s Shellenberger and Barger take to summer circuit By Bart Isley


Shellenberger (above) and Emmett Barger have boosted their collegiate profile this summer. (Ashley Thornton)

{ THE BIG THREE } Shellenberger’s 2016 stat line.


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he elite summer lacrosse circuit is a unique environment. Young players, even as young as eighth grade, play in a series of showcase tournaments with travel teams and allstar units, often in front of huge groups of college coaches.

It’s an environment that demands that players walk a fine line between being hyper aggressive and getting a chance to show what they’ve got and also show enough ability to be a team player to be a good fit for the nation’s top programs. The way players walk that line can make or break dreams and careers. “It’s kind of cool because you get to meet a bunch of different kids but since it is a showcase-type event, kids are definitely, if you’re uncommitted, you’re getting the ball and you’re going to the goal to shoot basically,” said STAB boys lacrosse standout Connor Shellenberger. Shellenberger and Emmett Barger have found a way to walk that line and in the process they’ve created a lot of incredible opportunities. The two rising sophomores, who played with MadLax out of McLean, put together big-time summers while driving up and down the Eastern seaboard. Shellenberger, a Johns Hopkins commit, garnered significant national acclaim while Barger emerged as one of the most intriguing uncommitted members of the class of 2019 before making a verbal commitment to Notre Dame in late July. Barger was well-aware of how he had to approach the events, finding that balance between flashing his skillset and proving he could be a good teammate. “A lot of college coaches see (being team-oriented) as a benefit so those are the kind of kids that they recruit out of showcases, not just kids that will score a million goals,” Barger said. But of course, those million goals don’t hurt. It’s a delicate balance. Shellenberger came into his freshman year at STAB after committing to Hopkins, one of the sport’s blueblood programs. Having his commitment secured changed the situation for Shellenberger this summer as he didn’t have quite the pressure

that surrounded Barger and many others. Instead, he could focus on improving his game and testing himself against top competition in tournaments in Long Island, Philadelphia, Baltimore and points in between. “You don’t have the pressure of trying to impress all the coaches, you really only have to impress one but you don’t really have to impress him because it’s a done deal,” Shellenberger said. “You do have the added pressure because people do come to watch, the parents are judging, the other team is judging.” That comfort and approach paid huge dividends as his stock rose even higher than it already had, prompting a lot of phone calls to STAB coach Bo Perriello from college coaches across the country. “I think increasingly there’s a strong argument that Connor is considered the best player in his class in the nation,” Perriello said. “I’ve certainly had upwards of a dozen college coaches indicate that to me over the last few weeks.” He’s also got a running mate in his class in Barger, who came to the sport recently but has gotten a spark from his natural athleticism, which has resulted in a rapid learning curve. “I think it’s equally impressive that a kid like Emmett who’s only had a lacrosse stick in his hand for slightly less than three years is being talked about in the same breath (as Shellenberger) and is considered one of the top 20 players in the country in his grade.” The challenges of the summer lacrosse world are undeniable. But when it works, when it clicks for players like Shellenberger and Barger, a world of possibilities open up. ✖

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Former Blue Devil competing for Egypt in Rio By Bart Isley Ali Khalafalla was a one-man wrecking crew for Fork Union swimming as a senior. He was the Scrimmage Play swimmer of the year in 2014 after setting new VISAA state marks in both the 50 and 100-meter freestyle races. He powered the Blue Devils to a team state championship in the process before heading to Indiana University. Now he’s got a chance to make some noise on the international stage. Khalafalla is swimming for Egypt in the 2016 Olympics in Rio. On Thursday, August 11, Khalafalla will compete in the 50-free for the Egyptian National team, one of the premier events in the swimming program. Khalafalla earned his spot with a 22.25 clocking at the Arena Pro Swim Series back in March, then the 10th fastest time in the world. “I’m now in a position where I can improve a lot,” Khalafalla told Olivia Ray of the Hoosier Sports Report in June. “Looking back at what I did in Orlando...I think this is my time to do big things for my country.” Khalafalla qualified on the heels of an

incredible sophomore season at Indiana where he earned four All-American honors in the NCAA Championships. He finished 11th in the nation in the 50-free and set an IU record, breaking it seven times over the course of the season. He also placed 21st in the nation in the 100-free while swimming on a pair of top 12 relay squads for the Hoosiers. At the Big Ten Championships he swam on a conference champion relay team and also took a silver medal in the 50-free while grabbing a bronze in the 100-free. That built on a strong freshman campaign where he was a second team All-Big Ten selection. He also became the fastest-ever Egyptian sprinter in the pool, breaking the 50-meter national record set back in 1995. Khalafalla came the United States from Egypt to accelerate his swimming career and his educational pursuits and was quick to credit his time at Fork Union as a big factor in his development. “That helped me a lot,” Khalafalla told Ray. “(I) improved in every way, academic and (in) athletics.”✖

BELOW » Fork Union graduate Ali Khalafalla, now at Indiana University, will swim for Egypt in the 2016 Rio Olympics. (IU sports information)

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! ::



The spring season finished with quite the bang. Both the Western Albemarle and Albemarle boys soccer teams won state titles. There were a handful of state runner-ups, between St. Anne’s-Belfield’s boys lacrosse and William Monroe baseball. Central Virginia track and field remained strong in both the public and private ranks. In the end, it’s easy to argue that the spring was the finest of the seasons in 2015-2016. And without further ado, allow us to put a bow on another great year of high school athletics. Stories by Ryan Yemen and Bart Isley /// Photos by Ashley Thornton, David Balaban, Grace Wilbanks, Bart Isley, Ryan Yemen

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Western Albemarle’s Gannon Willcutts somehow seems to take everything in stride. He never seems rattled and never too excited, because he competes with a rare joy. No matter where he is -- on the track practicing, on the trail climbing a hill or celebrating a state title -- Willcutts always seems happy, thrilled to take on the next challenge. With the way things have gone at Western, the Princeton-bound senior has every reason to be that happy, especially after capping his career with a senior season that was one for the books. That included a fifth-place finish in the Penn Relays in the 3000 meters, a state championship in the 1600 meters (while in part just trying to get in a fast race in preparation for New Balance nationals) and a region title in the 800 meters just during outdoor track. Before that was an indoor state title double in the 1000 and 1600 as well as individual and team state championships in cross country back in the fall. In a long history of accomplished runners at Western Albemarle, Willcutts stands out in part because of his versatility. He’s won outdoor, indoor and cross country individual championships. No matter

what the season and no matter what the distance, Willcutts always seems to get the job done. Over the last three years, he’s been a fixture on the state cross country scene, breaking through with the individual title this year that helped spark Western to a team championship. He’s also taken care of business in the classroom, opening up the chance to head to one of the Ivy League’s finest institutions. The most memorable moment though may just be one of the first Willcutts created back in the fall of 2013. That year, there were a lot of question marks beyond then-senior Ryan Thomas of Albemarle. There was unknown after unknown in every lineup and one local coach said before the race “don’t worry, some Western kid is about to come out of the woodwork.” It could have been coincidence, but it felt more prophecy when Willcutts came clocking in on the two-mile relay course with the second fastest individual split behind Thomas to lead the Warriors to a win. Willcutts seized the spotlight that day and he hasn’t given it back since, putting together a tremendous career for the Warriors. ✖


Some things speak for themselves. Kareem Johnson played three sports for St. Anne’s-Belfield, as usual. But in 2016, the worst any of those teams finished was in the VISAA final four. Johnson was a big time playmaker at receiver and linebacker for the Saints during football season. He had 793 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns to lead state finalist STAB’s passing attack and he’s sixth all-time in Central Virginia for career receiving yards. On the other side of the ball he was the VISAA Divison 2 player of the year as a linebacker that moved like a free safety. He’ll suit up for William and Mary in football this fall. Just weeks later, Johnson took to the hardwood where the Saints put together their best season since 2008. As a guard, Johnson was a two-way force as well. He averaged 8.5 points and 1.8 assists to go along with 4.3 rebounds and

2.1 steals. Yes, it was the Javin DeLaurier show and for good reason for the Saints on a nightly basis, but Johnson was a pivotal role player and a consistent one at that, allowing DeLaurier to shine as a the featured athlete. The Saints won 20 games and made it to the Division II final four, falling in the semfinals to eventual state champion, Virginia Episcopal. And there’s lacrosse. As a defender, Johnson was goalkeeper Patrick Blake’s best friend. Johnson flew around the field, was a ground ball machine and physical defenseman who did not shy away from contact. And, surprise, the Saints made it to the Division I title game. He was All-VISAA D1. Johnson was a team player in all three sports and his teams won a lot of games. His 2016 was as succesful and well-rounded as any we’ve ever seen in the seven years we’ve been around. ✖ :: 08


Her name has been synonomous with all three of the sports she’s earned letters at while playing for Fluvanna County. Kate Stutz played a variety of roles, and played all of them at a high level, bringing a yeoman-like work ethic to each that set an example for the younger talent playing around her. Entering her fourth season as the volleyball team’s setter, Stutz did her most sefless work in the fall. With the Flucos in a full rebuild after losing key players like Maddie Kline, Leslie Walters and Tiffany Shaheen, Stutz was the one of the lone returning starters that helped bridge the gap and usher along what should be a new wave of Fluvanna hitters. She had 539 assists and played great defense with 188 digs. It led to her garnering first team honors on the All-Conference 29 squad. In the winter, Stutz was a dominant force in the paint. For years, the forward spent time guarding dominant forwards like Albemarle’s KK Barbour and Charlottesville’s Kendall Ballard. This year, Stutz was the dominant forward in the Jefferson District. She averaged 15.8 points and 9.8 rebounds per game, essentially putting up a double-double night in and night out. In turn,

the Flucos won a share of the Jefferson District title and went on to make their way through Conference 29 play and qualify for the Region 3A West tournament. For her effort, Stutz was named the JD D3 player of the year and was first team All-Conference 29. In soccer, Stutz, once again, a returning stalwart on a team that had more than a handful of newcomers, helped the Flucos try and rebuild after two highly succesful years in 2014 and 2015. Stutz’s play at midfield gave the Flucos an a first line of defense in front of stand out defender Cyan Coates but also an outlet to help create offense for forwards Lindsey Price and Alyson Moore. The Flucos did a solid job in their rebuild, and again, thanks to Stutz — who was a second teamer on the All-C29 team — stand poised to take the next step foward in 2017. She wasn’t the glorified hitter in volleyball. She wasn’t the shooting guard in basketball. She wasn’t the striker in soccer. Instead, Stutz was the glue for each team she played for. She did the little things, a hard worker that led by example. It's hard to find that type of athlete in three different sports. ✖


Leon Ragland /// Buckingham County, Sr. Dynamic football and basketball player for Knights Jalen Harrison /// St. Anne’s-Belfield, Sr. Starred in football, basketball and baseball for Saints

Kiani Hudgins /// Orange County, Sr. Star basketball player, also played volleyball Annie Cory /// St. Anne’s-Belfield, Sr. Standout in field hockey and lacrosse

Alex Lomong /// Fork Union, Sr. Ran cross country and both indoor and outdoor track for FUMA

Jeana Grace Kelliher /// Madison County, Sr. Volleyball and softball veteran for Mountaineers

Ryan Grady /// Woodberry Forest, Sr. Played linebacker in football and also participated in cross country

Gena Lewis /// Monticello, Sr. Ran cross country and played soccer for Mustangs

Bryce McGlothlin /// Monticello, Sr. Played football, basketball and baseball at high level for Mustangs Matthew Rose /// Covenant, Sr. Standout tennis star for Eagles Ethan Blundin /// Albemarle, Sr. Standout football player for Patriots Rashawn Turner /// Madison County, Sr. Track and field standout for Mountaineers

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Gwen Pattison /// Albemarle, Sr. Ran cross country, indoor track and field and played lacrosse Emily Dahnert /// Covenant, Sr. Star tennis player for state champion Caroline Clarke /// Charlottesville, Sr. Standout for Black Knights in field hockey and lacrosse Kaitlyn Mason /// Louisa County, Sr. Led Lions soccer team


The eighth edition of the Scrimmage Play football preview is in the works. Check back soon to read about each and every football team in Central Virginia and what rests ahead for the fall. :: 10



Phillip Robertson /// St. Anne’s-Belfield, Sr. First team All-VISAA D1, 41 goals, 9 assists, 38 ground balls


Joe Robertson /// St. Anne’s-Belfield, Jr. First team All-VISAA D1, 50 goals, 28 assists, 49 ground balls Will Werner /// Charlottesville, Sr. Second team All-Group 4A Oakleigh Archer /// Covenant, Jr. First team All-VISAA D2 Ian Davis /// Albemarle, Sr. Second team All-Group 5A Josh Reiss /// St. Anne’s-Belfield, Sr. All-Prep League, 19 goals, 28 assists, 47 ground balls Taylor Brower /// Woodberry Forest, Sr. First team All-VISAA D1 Carter Elliott /// Western Albemarle, Sr. First team All-Group 4A Michael Colberg /// Covenant, Sr. First team All-VISAA D2 Oliver Herndon /// Western Albemarle, Sr. First team All-Group 4A Kareem Johnson /// St. Anne’s-Belfield, Sr. First team All-VISAA D1, 55 ground balls Matt Mullin /// Western Albemarle, Sr. Second team All-Group 4A Jack Schultz /// St. Anne’s-Belfield, Sr. All-Prep Leauge, 34 goals, 16 assists Jackson Sours /// Western Albemarle, Sr. Second team All-Group 4A Malcolm Melstrell /// Albemarle, Sr. Second team All-Group 5A

HONORABLE MENTION Connor Shellenberger /// St. Anne’s-Belfield, .So Luke Reilly /// Western Albemarle Sr. Daniel Hummerl /// Monticello, Sr. Shane Ford /// Blue Ridge, Jr. Jack Loffreddo /// Western Albemarle, Sr. Brian Young /// Monticello, Sr. Javon Johnson /// St. Anne’s-Belfield, Jr. Aaron Brown /// Blue Ridge, Sr. Sav Moore /// Covenant, Sr. Ty Ewen /// Blue Ridge, Jr.

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While Phillip Robertson’s younger brother Joe Robertson led STAB’s electric offense in scoring and was also a major factor on ground balls, Princeton-bound Phillip Robertson’s steady leadership and productivity were key reasons why the Saints were back in the state championship game a year after winning the title in 2015. Despire replacing essentially the entire defense, goalie and key midfielders like Rob Schotta and Lee Parkhill, STAB found its footing and made a major run to the state final four, then knocked off Paul VI to get a shot at St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes. Out of the midfield, Phillip Robertson scored 41 goals, dished out nine assists and picked up 38 ground balls along the way. But perhaps most importantly, the relentless senior helped set the tone for the Saints and held his teammates and himself to a higher standard.

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR CONNOR SHELLENBERGER ST. ANNE’S-BELFIELD, SOPHOMORE It was going to take a special freshman to work his way into the offensive rotation this year at STAB with an array of weapons back in the fold for the Saints. Shellenberger, a Johns Hopkins pledge, was that special, scoring 20 goals while registering 18 assists as part of a dynamic, potent STAB offense that averaged nearly 12 goals per game.


Forged another Warriors team that finished as the Group 4A state runner-up for the second straight year.



Annie Cory /// St. Anne’s-Belfield, Sr. All-American, first team All-VISAA D1, 95 goals, 13 assists


Caroline DiGiacomo /// St. Anne’s-Belfield, Sr. All-LIS, 79 goals, nine assists Hanna Schuler /// Western Albemarle, Sr. First team All-Group 4A Evie Maxwell /// Monticello, Fr. First team All-Group 4A Maddie Hunter /// St. Anne’s-Belfield, Sr. All-LIS Kira Repich /// Western Albemarle, So. First team All-Group 4A McKenzie Maurer /// St. Anne’s-Belfield, Jr. All-LIS, 38 goals, 43 assists Summer Larese /// Monticello, Sr. First team All-Group 4A Mailynn Steppe /// St. Anne’s-Belfield, Sr. All-LIS, defensive anchor for VISAA D1 semifinalist Hannah Curry /// Western Albemarle, Sr. First team All-Group 4A Gwen Pattison /// Albemarle, Sr. First team All-Group 5A Mackenzie Trainor /// Monticello, Sr. First team All-Group 4A Jenn Wendelken /// Albemarle, So. First team All-Group 5A Sammie Magargee /// Western Albemarle, Jr. Second team All-Group 5A Brittan Schoed /// St. Anne’s-Belfield, Sr. All-LIS

HONORABLE MENTION Kate Snyder /// Western Albemarle, Sr. Kelsey Meyers /// Albemarle, Fr. Julia Haws /// Western Albemarle, Sr. Neely Craig /// St. Anne’s-Belfield, Sr. Ivy Allen /// St. Anne’s-Belfield, Fr. Courtney Ott /// Fluvanna County, Sr. Liz Llera /// Covenant, Sr. Caroline Clark /// Charlottesville, Sr. Maggie Randle /// Charlottesville, So. Lizzy Shim /// Covenant, So.

When St. Anne’s-Belfield’s girls lacrosse team needed Annie Cory to step up this season, Cory was ready. After years of starring but sharing the field with Julia Haney and Audrey Schreck, Cory was suddenly the Saints’ marked woman. Instead of forcing things though, Cory found ways to get everyone involved, and with help from Caroline DiGiacomo, McKenzie Maurer and Maddie Hunter, the Saints offense found a rhythm many didn’t expect, advancing all the way to the state semifinals. That’s a testament to Cory’s abilities as a leader, facilitator and scorer. She poured in 95 goals and dished out 13 assists while also playing a major role on draws, defending and, at times, willing the Saints to hard-fought wins. Cory is headed to Princeton this fall, and she’s left an indelible mark on the STAB program, helping turn what may have been a rebuilding year into another tremendous campaign.

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR KELSEY MEYERS ALBEMARLE, FRESHMAN For a team that clawed its way into the Group 5A state semifinals, Albemarle was absurdly young, with a mere handful of seniors and emerging stars all over the field. Kelsey Meyers was one of the brightest, earning first team all-region honors on attack. There were times where it looked like the Patriots were too deep offensively to be shut down and Meyers was a big reason why.


Led an absolutely revamped Warriors roster to within a game of Group 4A state title game. :: 12

- SOFTBALL FIRST TEAM Lexi Lomax /// Orange County, So. Second team Group 5A, first team All-Region 5A North, All-C16


Khouri Turner /// Albemarle, Sr. Second team All-Region 5A North, .500 avg, 20 runs scored, 16 RBI Brooke McAllister /// Albemarle, Sr. First team All-Conference 16, .419 avg, 22 runs scored , 11 RBI Hannah Jones /// Orange County, Jr. First team All-Conference 16 Sarah Sharp /// Louisa County, Sr. First team All-Conference 19 Kaitlyn Spencer /// Goochland, Jr. Second team All-Group 2A, first team All-Region 2A North, All-C35 Taylor Robinson /// Louisa County, Jr. First team All-Conference 19 Megan Shifflett /// Madison County, Sr. First team All-Conference 35, All-Bull Run District Kayley Norford /// Monticello, Sr. All-Conference 29 Alexis Wayland /// Wiliam Monroe, So. Second team All-Region 3A West, first team All-Conference 28 Logyn Estes /// Madison County, Fr. First team All-Conference 35, All-Bull Run District Jessica Ford /// William Monroe, Fr. Honorable Mention All-Group 4A, first team All-Region 4A North

HONORABLE MENTION Sam Breeden /// Madison County, Sr. Makala Thomas /// William Monroe, Jr. Toria Belew /// Fluvanna County, Jr. Jeanna Kelliher /// Madison County, Sr. Kara Madison /// Western Albemarle, Sr. Hannah Shifflett /// Monticello, Sr. Kennadie Batchelor /// Louisa County, So. Becca Cruthers /// Fluvanna County, Jr. Hannah Fletcher /// Louisa County, Jr Mariann Smith /// Madison County, Sr. Kaitlyn Johnson /// Orange County, Sr. Morgan Mitchell /// Louisa County, Jr. Lindsey Slaughter /// Orange County, Fr Hannah Carpenter /// William Monroe, Jr. Kasie Pace /// Albemarle, So. .

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Lexi Lomax is everything you could ask for in the batter’s box. She hits for average (.543 on the season), she’s patient and she rarely strikes out. Lomax hits for power (4 home runs) and was a team leader in extra base hits. And while she has home run pop in her bat, her speed and baserunning IQ make her a problem on any ball hit in the gap. With Hannah Jones in the lineup hitting behind Lomax, opponents had to pick their poison between the two. Defensively, Lomax was as good at shortstop as anyone in Central Virginia. A rangy defender with great arm strength, she worked exceptionally well with newcomer, second baseman Lindsey Slaughter and the lengthy Jones at first. As a result, the JMU commit earned second team All-Group 5A honors.


With McKenzie Flora gone, the Dragons needed a pitcher. What they got in Jessica Ford was a hard-throwing freshman that is poised to carry the load the next three years. A talent that is drawing plenty of collegiate attention, Ford was more than just a strong pitcher, she was the insurance policy offensively infront of power hitter Alexis Wayland. With Ford, the Dragons’ future is bright.


Made Western Albemarle contend with top Jefferson District teams, made the Warriors competitive at Conference 29 level.

- BASEBALL FIRST TEAM Cody Spencer /// William Monroe, Sr. First team All-Group 3A, All-Region 3A East, Bull Run District


Bradley Hanner /// Orange County, Jr. Second team All-Region 5A North, first team All-Conference 16 Bobby Nicholson /// St. Anne’s-Belfield, Sr. First team All-VISAA D1, Prep League Patrick McDonald /// Woodberry Forest, Sr. First team All-VISAA D1, .519 BA, 0.33 ERA Henry Kreienbaum /// Western Albemarle, Sr. First team All-Group 3A, first team All-C29 R.J. Payne /// William Monroe, Jr. First team All-Group 3A, Region 3A West, Bull Run District Calder Clay /// Woodberry Forest, Jr. All-Prep League, school record .561 BA Connor Gillispie /// Miller, Sr. First team All-VISAA D2, All-VIC Luke Burton /// Covenant, Jr. First team All-VISAA D2, All-VIC Banks Northington /// Charlottesville, Sr. First team All-Region 4A North, .537 BA, .920 fielding pct. Bryce McGlothlin /// Monticello, Sr. Second team All-Region 3A West, First team All-Conference 29 Tanner Morris /// Miller, Jr. First team All-VISAA D2, All-VIC

HONORABLE MENTION Derek Domecq /// Western Albemarle, So. Clay Agee /// Louisa County, Jr. Coleman Duty /// Goochland, Sr. Hunter Foster /// William Monroe, Sr. Chris Smith /// Madison County, Sr. Ryan Porter /// Albemarle, So. Dylan Shifflett /// William Monroe, Sr. John Reynolds /// Louisa County, Jr. Jacob Haney /// Covenant, Jr. Sam Hearn /// Western Albemarle, Sr. Adam Hackenberg /// Fork Union, Jr. Tre Bright /// Fluvanna County, Sr. Andrew Harcum /// Goochland, Sr. Jacob Grabeel /// Fork Union, Jr. Jake Talley /// Louisa County, Sr. Ethan Murray /// Miller, So. Matt Shobe /// Covenant, Sr.

The bottom line is when Bradley Hanner pitched for Orange County, the Hornets didn’t just have a great chance of winning — the odds are they did. With a 0.81 ERA and ability to fan batters with a live fastball and a killer tandem of breaking balls, Hanner was unhittable when in the zone, and in 2016, he was almost always in the zone. His 19-strikeout no-no against Fluvanna County might be the ‘wow’ moment of his season, but his pitching in the Conference 16 and subsequent Region 5A North tournament deserves even more attention. He also managed to hit .385 at the plate. But his offense was simply icing on the cake. He was the most dominant force on the mound in Central Virginia from March until the end of May. What’s scary is he’s got another year to add to his resume.


For a veteran team with a lot of depth, it’s not easy to work your way up in the lineup. Donovan Jackson did just that for an Eagles team that made it to the VISAA D2 quartefinals. Jackson hit .429 on the year and had a home run, 13 RBI and 22 runs scored. His consistency and power is something that Covenant coach Jeff Burton is excited to have for another two years.


Managed impressive run to the Group 2A championship game and state runner-up status with a balanced lineup. :: 14

- GIRLS SOCCER FIRST TEAM Sunny Gelnovatch /// Albemarle, Sr. First team All-Group 5A, Region 5A North, 9 goals, three assists


Hannah Eiden /// Albemarle, Jr. First team All-Group 5A, Region 5A North, 10 goals, three assists Hannah Keith /// Monticello, Sr. First team All-Region 3A West, Conference 29 POTY Rachel DeMasters /// Wiliam Monroe, Sr. First team All-C28, Bull Run District POTY, 31 goals, 10 assists Jane Romness /// Western Albemarle, So. First team All-Region 3A West, five goals, three assists Ianna Pickering /// Charlottesville, Sr. 10 goals, seven assists Juliet Karnes /// William Monore, Sr. First team All-Conference 28, eight goals, five assists Brooke Bauman /// Albemarle Jr. Second team All-Region 5A North, All-C16, seven goals, 11 assists Cyan Coates /// Fluvanna County, Sr. First team All-Conference 28 eight goals, five assists Shannon Moore /// Western Albemarle, So. First team All-Region 3A West, three goals, one assist Caitlyn Harvey /// Western Albemarle, So. Second team All-Region 3A West, 13 goals, one assist Alyssa Harris /// Nelson County, Sr. Second team All-Group 2A , first team All-Group 2A East Leticia Freitas /// Albemarle, Jr. All-Conference 16, eight goals, five assists Aiyanah Tyler-Cooper /// Albemarle, Jr. Second team All-Region 5A North, 13 shutouts

HONORABLE MENTION Madison Kersey /// Albemarle, So. Megan Schnell /// Albemarle, Fr. Ariana Mills /// William Monroe, Jr. Alexandra Blaine /// Monticello, Sr. Katie Stutz /// Fluvanna County, Sr. Caroline Riordan /// Western Albemarle, Sr. Emily Trebour /// St. Anne’s-Belfield, So. Elizabeth Fabiano /// Western Albemarle, So. Emily Thorne /// Charlottesville, Jr. Gillian Borton /// St. Anne’s-Belfield, So. Lesley Jenkins /// Goochland, Sr. Laila Whynott /// Tandem, So.

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It’s not effortless by any stretch of the imagination, but Sunny Gelnovatch makes it look that way when she controls the pace of games for Albemarle’s girls soccer team. Gelnovatch is capable of controlling possession with her feet or coming up with a ball in the air to keep control for the Patriots. She’s crafty too, playing well beyond her years while keeping the opposition off balance. Throw in clutch too as she scored the game-winner in the Region 5A North semifinals to vault the Patriots into the state tournament, ending years of frustrations for a program that always seemed to come up one decision short. She finished with 12 goals and six assists on the year, was named the Conference 16 and Region 5A North player of the year. Quite simply, Gelnovatch was the area’s most complete player in 2016.


Western Albemarle’s girls soccer team was young in 2015. They were young again in 2016, and they may have found a way to get even younger by integrating a strong freshman class that included defender Julia Berg. Berg was an immediate starter on the backline for the Warriors, giving Western’s traditionally stingy defense another foundational piece that helped lift them into the region semifinals


Coached an impressively youthful Patriots to the Group 5A final for for the first time in program history.







WILLIAM MONROE’S GREG SIZEMORE Fullbacks are a dying breed in the professional, college and, increasingly, high school ranks. But But Greg Sizemore proved just how useful they could be as he helped clear the way for Malik Mallory and Malique Shackleford last season. Sizemore was a big reason the Dragons finished the year strong after an offensive scheme shift and gained some valuable momentum heading into the offseason. Now Sizemore is back for his senior season, playing fullback and defensive line for Monroe and he’s also enjoying some serious success in the classroom, posting a 3.6 GPA while also wrapping up his associate’s degree through dual enrollment in addition to a high school degree. He’s found a way to balance football, wrestling and throwing shotput with his schoolwork. “We have study hall sessions so if we really need to we can always go down (there) the coaches keep a nice environment,” Sizemore said. “But even if I don’t go to study hall, I just know it’s something I’ve got to do it.You can’t just be a football player, you’ve also got to be a student and that comes first.” That hard work has opened up some serious opportunities for Sizemore at the next level and that academic record, combined with football, should lead to a fruitful collegiate career. For now though, he’s focused on helping spark the Dragons to a strong year in 2016.

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- BOYS SOCCER FIRST TEAM Brendan Moyers /// Albemarle, Sr. Group 5A POTY, Region 5A North POTY , Conference 16 POTY


Griffin Coffey /// Albemarle, Sr. First team All-Group 5A, All-Region 5A North Jonanthan Whyte /// Western Albemarle, Sr. First team All-Region 3A West Aidin Sinclair /// Western Albemarle, Sr. First team All-Group 3A, Region 3A West, C29 POTY Carter Allbaugh /// Fluvanna County, Sr. First team All-Region 3A West Hussein Osman /// Charlottesville, Sr. First team All-Conference 23 Jed Strickland /// Western Albemarle, Fr. First team All-Region 3A West Andrew Weber /// Albemarle, So. First team All-Conference 16 Alex Pfster /// Charlottesville, Jr. All-Conference 23 Jake Gelnovatch /// Albemarle, Sr. Second team All-Region 5A North Jacob Hegemier /// St. Anne’s-Belfield, Sr. Second team All-VISAA D1 Alex Berton /// St. Anne’s-Belfield, Sr. Second team All-VISAA D1 Michael Colberg /// Covenant, Sr. Second team All-VISAA D2 Randolph Walker /// Woodberry Forest, Sr. Second team All-VISAA D1

HONORABLE MENTION Jake Paulson /// Western Albemarle, Sr. Michael Vaughn /// Albemarle, Jr. Jordan Parks /// Albemarle, Jr. Matt Rafaly /// Fluvanna County, Jr. Colin Moore /// Western Albemarle, Sr. Abibi Osman/// Charlottesville, Jr. Evan Blow /// Charlottesville, Jr. Jaciel Castillo /// William Monroe, Sr. Joespeh Herrera /// Orange County, Sr. Fabio Turdos /// Monticello, Sr. David Smith /// William Monroe, So. Zach Wright /// William Monroe, Sr.

17 :: scrimmageplay

There have been some fantastic seasons by senior boys soccer players in the last few years, from Forrest White’s explosive senior campaign in 2014 to Marcel Berry’s Gatorade state player of the year effort in 2015. Albemarle senior Brendan Moyers continued that string, powering a run to the state championship by the Patriots with an electric combination of speed and savvy. One of the area’s smartest and athletic players, Moyers was a threat to score at all times, either in combination with teammates or on his own on a deep run. He notched 16 goals and dished out another 15 assists, highlighted by the game-winner in the state championship clash with Falls Church. Moyers is headed to Virginia Tech next year, but what he did in 2016 will be remembered for years to come as helped a highly-touted squad reach its full potential.


JED STRICKLAND WESTERN ALBEMARLE, SOPHOMORE Western Albemarle’s season had a few stumbles but Strickland, a sophomore, proved to be a steady hand on defense for the Warriors as just a sophomore. Western put things together at the right time of year and made a huge run to the state championship, with Strickland serving as a big contributor while also scoring the title match’s game-winning goal.


First-year coach with Warriors wins state title after facing tough Region 3A West, Group 3A playoff bracket.

TEAM SPOTLIGHT LOUISA COUNTY FOOTBALL On “tax free shopping weekend” the Louisa Education Foundation was able to get the Lions football team to volunteer and help to “stuff the bus.” There’s always need for school supplies for those who cannot afford them. The Lions and the LEF teamed up and will officially “unstuff the bus” on August 10. Great job, Louisa! Great job, Lions!

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to our 2016 student athletes as they embark on their college careers. Pierce Bower Zach Caton Annie Cory Javin DeLaurier Caroline DiGiacomo Jalen Harrison Maddie Hunter Brian Hynes Kareem Johnson George Marshall Matt McHugh Polly McNeely Bobby Nicholson Samuel Piller Kaitlin Reese Josh Reiss Phillip Robertson Mailynn Steppe Ashley Taylor Fitz Woodrow John Woodson

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- GIRLS TENNIS FIRST TEAM Maddy Ix /// Western Albemarle, Sr. C29 singles and doubles champion, Region 3A West semifinalist


Maddie Williamson /// Albemarle, Sr. No. 2 player for Patriots Hannah Kerans /// Western Albemarle, So. Group 3A doubles finalist Beth Shafer /// Albemarle, So. No. 3 player for Patriots Jenna Pierides /// Monticello, Sr. Conference 29 singles semifinalist, No. 1 player for Mustangs Emily Dahnert /// Covenant, Sr. No. 1 player for VISAA D2 champion Neely Craig /// St. Anne’s-Belfield, Sr. No. 1 player for Saints Molly Gudka /// Orange County, Sr. No. 1 player for Hornets Corinne Jennings /// Covenant, So. No 2. player for VISAA D2 champion Zimako Chuks /// Monticello, Sr. No. 3 player for Mustangs

HONORABLE MENTION Lauren Kearns /// Western Albemarle, Sr. Caroline Guill /// Louisa County, Sr. Elizabeth Kockard /// St. Anne’s-Belfield, Sr. Grace Barrett-Johnson /// Albemarle, So. Rosie Ix /// Western Albemarle, Fr. Savannah Diamond /// Western Albemarle, Sr. Hannah Battiger /// Fluvanna County, Sr. Hannah Green /// Monticello, Sr. Ashley Lainhart /// Monticello, Sr.

Maddy Ix has had a monster career for Western Albemarle’s girls tennis team, and her final campaign was no exception as Ix managed to advance to the state semifinals in Group 3A singles and the state final in Group 3A doubles. Ix was the Warriors’ number one player this season on a squad that got tripped up in the Region 3A West semifinals against eventual state champion Cave Spring. Still, Ix finishes her career with three trips to the team state final from 2013-2015 including the 2014 state championship. She won more than 100 wins during her career, entering the lineup as a freshman and immediately contributed in a big way. While close losses may have denied her a storybook finish, Ix was tremendous all season and ends her career as the area’s best, a standard by which future local tennis players will be judged against.


There aren’t many freshmen who could’ve handled the challenging spot Briana Boland found herself in during the VISAA Division II state semifinals. Boland had a chance to clinch the state championship for the Eagles 5-4 against Hampton Roads Academy, capping a strong freshman campaign with a clutch performance.


Strong campaign for an emerging program under Allen.

19 :: @scrimmageplay

- BOYS TENNIS FIRST TEAM Mathew Rose /// Covenant, Sr. No. 1 player for Eagles, second team All-VISAA D2


Chase Berstine /// Goochland, So. Group 2A singles state champion Daniel Thomas /// Western Albemarle, So. No.1 player for Region 3A west semifinalist Jack Tribble /// Western Albemarle, Sr. No. 2 player for Region 3A west semifinalist Charlie Shepherd /// Albemarle, Jr. Conference 16 singles and doubles runnerup Doyeop Kim /// Albemarle, Jr. Conference 16 doubles runnerup Billy Boyle /// Woodberry Forest, Sr. No.1 player for VISAA D1 semifinalist, first team All-VISAA D1 William Van Hassell /// Woodberry Forest, Sr. No. 2 player for VISAA D1 semifinalist, second team All-VISAA D1 Keegan Campanelli /// Fluvanna County, Sr. No.1 player for Flucos Sam Crowell /// Monticello, Sr. No. 1 player for Mustangs

HONORABLE MENTION Diego Valenzuela /// Woodberry Forest, Sr. Sam Conner /// Albemarle, Sr. Beau Merhige /// Western Albemarle, So. Nicholas Bajs /// Fluvanna County, Jr. Richmond McDaniel /// Woodberry Forest, Jr. Jacob Webster /// Orange County, Sr. Chris Ways /// Charlottesville, Sr.

Matthew Rose has been a fixture in the Covenant School boys tennis program’s lineup since he joined the squad, and during that time the Davidson-bound senior has been a reliable part of that ladder. He averaged more than 15 wins per season for the Eagles, helping the program contend for state playoff spots, final four berths and titles in that span. This season he embraced a leadership role with the Eagles as part of his final campaign. He sparked Covenant to a No. 6 finish in VISAA’s Division II, earning a spot in the state quarterfinals. Rose may not have gone out with a state title, but he left a mark on the Eagles’ program, setting a standard that will be a challenge to match for years to come.


NICHOLAS HAGSPIEL WESTERN ALBEMARLE, SOPHOMORE Breaking into the lineup at Western Albemarle is no easy task no matter what year you are, but sophomore Nicholas Hagspiel got into the mix with the Warriors and was a key player for Western all season as the Warriors made a run to the Region 3A West semifinals.


Led the Tigers to a state semifinalist spot in the challenging VISAA Division I bracket. :: 20


Getting to the top of the mountain is one thing, staying there is another. Kathryn Mayo has proven she’s up that task. Three trips to the Group 5A outdoor championships in three years and has three straight 800-meter state titles. Mayo cruised to a win by more than three seconds. She also ran as part of the Patriots’ third place 4x800 squad at the state meet and raced to a region title with that group in the weeks leading up to the state championships. Mayo has proven she’s a force and appears set to build on that campaign in her senior season.

GIRLS HONOR ROLL Kathryn Mayo /// Albemarle, Jr. Group 5A champion in 800, third in 4x800 Zoe Clay /// Western Albemarle, So. Group 3A champion, fourth 800, fourth in 4x800


Grueling doesn’t even begin to describe what Alex Lomong took on at the VISAA championship. Lomong had a triple bill of the 800, 1600 and 3200meter races against the best the private school ranks had to offer. Lomong triumphed in all, grinding out a trio of huge wins. Just weeks before, he’d competed in one of the finest 800 meter races in high school history, clocking a time that earned him a spot at Ohio State. Lomong has piled up championships in his career, but three in one day coupled with that 800 at the Dogwood Classic made for his most memorable campaign yet.

BOYS HONOR ROLL Alex Lomong /// Fork Union, Sr. VISAA D1 champion in 800, 1600, 3200 Gannon Willcutts /// Western Albemarle Sr. Group 3A champion in 1600, fourth 4x800

Ryann Helmers /// Albemarle, So. Group 5A third in 3200, seventh 1600, third in 4x800

Michael Davenport /// Woodberry Forest, Sr. VISAA D1 champion in 100, 200, runnerup in long jump

Madison Masloff /// Western Albemalre, Sr. Group 3A champion in pole vault

Dequane Simmons /// Orange County, Sr. Group 5A state runnerup in 400, fourth in 300 hurdles

Aaliyah Witt /// Louisa County, Sr. Group 4A sixth in long jump, eighth 4x800 Kiana Richardson /// Louisa County, Sr. Group 4A third in 100, eighth in 4x800

21 :: scrimmageplay

Robert Singleton /// Woodberry Forest, Sr. VISAA D1 runnerup in 1600, 3200 Rooney Turay /// Albemarle, Sr. Group 5A eighth place in 300 hurdles

- TRACK AND FIELD Gabriella Brock /// Albemarle, Jr. Group 5A sixth in 3200, 14th in 1600 Brandy Brown /// Louisa County, Sr. Group 4A fourth in long jump

Terrell Jana /// Woodberry Forest, Jr. VISAA D1 third in 100, 200, fourth in long jump and triple jump Jack Claiborne /// Woodberry Forest, Sr. VISAA D1 runnerup in 300 hurdles, third in high jump

Jayla Davis /// St. Anne’s-Belfield, Jr. VISAA D1 champion in 100, long jump

Mark Burns /// Fork Union, Sr. VISAA D1 champion in 110 hurdles, 300 hurdles, runnerup in 200

Taylor Robinson /// Louisa County, Jr. Group 4A third in 100 hurdles

Ben Gersbach /// Albemarle, Sr. Group 5A seventh in 800

Kristen Cabera /// Fluvanna County, Sr. Group 3A sixth in 800 Matasha Martin /// Fluvanna County, Sr. Group 3A fourth in 100 Bri Tinsley /// St. Anne’s-Belfield, Jr. VISAA D1 champion 200, runnerup 100 Gena Lewis /// Monticello, Sr. Group 3A eighth in 800


Trevor Stutzman /// William Monroe, Jr. Group 3A fourth in 1600, fifth in 3200, fourth in 4x800 Stephen Guo /// Woodberry Forest, Sr. VISAA D1 runnerup shotput Romello Blanton-Wade /// Fork Union, Sr. VISAA D1 champion triple jump, sixth hurdles, seventh long jump Tariq Carrington /// Charlottesville, Sr. Group 4A fourth in 100, fifth in 200 Curtis Phillips /// Woodberry Forest Guided Tigers to a wild fourth straight VISAA D1 team championship

- GOLF -

H O N O R Fitz Woodrow (pictured) /// St. Anne’s-Belfield, Sr. VISAA D1 co-player of the year Sam McNamara /// St. Anne’s-Belfield, Sr. VISAA D1 co-player of the year Peter Knade /// Woodberry Forest, Sr. First team All-VISAA D1 Andrew Jacobs /// Woodberry Forest, Sr. First team All-VISAA D1 Basil Boyd /// Woodberry Forest, Sr. First team All-VISAA D1 Banks Northington /// Charlottesville, Sr. Region 4A North qualifier A.J. Stouffer /// Charlottesville, So. Region 4A North qualifier Emmy Timberlake /// Charlottesville, Sr. Region 4A North qualifier

R O L L Zach Russell /// Charlottesville, So. Region 4A North qualifier Austin Crenshaw /// William Monroe, Sr. Group 3A qualifier on Region 3A East qualifer Yancey Harrison /// William Monroe, Sr. Top four player for Region 3A East qualifier Chase Northcutt /// Albemarle, Sr. Top scorer for Patriots Dixon Hass /// Western Albemarle, Jr. Top scorer for Warriors Cooper Ezell /// Albemarle, Jr. Top scorer for Patriots

COACH OF THE YEAR Marc Hogan /// Woodberry Forest Pushed Tigers to VISAA D1 championship :: 22

Game Time

Seniors wrap up JSL careers By Bart Isley

Monticello alumnus and JMU-bound Brian Young competes during the JSL championships. (Tom Pajewski)

23 :: scrimmageplay

Brian Young, who is headed to James Madison next year and won’t be swimming in college knew he was facing his last competitive swim. The Monticello alum went out in a big way though in the 200-free relay swimming for Glenmore Country Club on day one of the Jefferson Swim League championships. “Anchoring is my favorite part about relays, I love being last and having the pressure on me,” Young said. “We talked about it all year, this one relay. We love this relay, we live for it. Great way to end it, best way to end it” Young capped his career with a win and a JSL record as he, Sam Holstege, Noah Holstege and Teddy Leeds Armstrong combined to break their own record from 2015 and win the event. Glenmore had to hold off a strong charge from Boar’s Head led by Aaron James and August Lamb to defend their title including Young battling James in the final leg. “We knew we would have a tough race with Aaron James and August Lamb from Boar’s Head, we really had to kick it in this year,” said Covenant graduate Sam Holstege, another swimmer wrapping up his JSL career. “I ended on a high note, and I know it’s just going to keep getting better and better once I get to college.” Holstege is headed to Calvin College to join his brother, Eli who is Glenmore’s head coach. This year’s JSL field was highlighted by a particularly strong field of senior boys like Holstege, Nick Pease, Brian Hynes, Matt McHugh, Jack Robbins, Nick Switzer, Chas Sigloh and Hogan Harper, who is already at West Point and couldn’t compete in the championship meet. Eli Holstege has a name for that group, and he should know, he was a part of a strong contingent a couple of years back when he was still swimming for Covenant and Glenmore, a group that included UVa’s Matt Lockman and Alex Montes de Oca. “I like to call them the titan groups,” Holstege said. “All those guys, it is so fun to watch them swim.” Fairview coach J.J. Bean and Boar’s Head’s

Dan Bledsoe agreed that the depth of this year’s senior boys was particularly strong — one of, if not the best ever. The battle in the 100-IM where 14 swimmers swam under a minute with James taking home the title was an excellent example of that depth as four future college swimmers filled in the top four slots with Fairview’s Switzer taking second, Forest Lakes’ Pease finishing third and Jack Robbins taking fourth for ACAC. McHugh and Switzer were a big reason why with McHugh, who is headed to Denison to swim, taking setting a new record in the 50-fly with a win while also taking second in the 50free. McHugh broke Lockman’s 2013 record by three hundreths of a second. It’s now the fifth record that McHugh is part of or holds outright. “This is my last year and I knew I needed to go out with a bang and my teammates did too because (a lot of us) are seniors,” McHugh said. Switzer, meanwhile, set a new record in the 50-breaststroke, beating the 2009 mark of a former UVa swimmer, Nick Montes de Oca. Switzer, who is bound for UVa to swim, also took second in the 100-IM as well as the 50back and combined with McHugh, Ben Paschina and John Messimer to win the 200 medley relay. Forest’s Lakes’ Pease, headed for South Carolina, won the 50-back in the 15-18 group and set a new meet record in the process. James won three events for Boar’s Head with titles in the 50-free and 100-free joining his 100-IM championship. Other big nights on the first day came from City’s Ashley Huang in the 15-18 year old girls group, winning the 100 IM and 50-fly while also taking second in the girls 50-back. Forest Lakes’ Maggie Woods won the 50-back and 100-free and took second in 50-fly behind Huang. Fairview’s Gabby Tosi took second in 100 IM, and swam with Beth Kelly, Rachel Wang and Grace Farmar to take home the 200-medley title. Boar’s Head’s Morgan James won the girls 50-free. Fry’s Spring’s Mack Lawson won the 50-breast. ✖

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.

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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Summer investment The advantage of playing American Legion baseball

For most teams, there’s a break before the offseason begins. But when it comes to baseball, and more specifically, at Orange County, June and July are simple extensions of the season thanks to American Legion play. One season bleeds into the other so there’s this great opportunity to grow as a program. While teams like Albemarle Post 74 draw from a number of schools such as William Monroe, Western Albemarle, Monticello and so on, Orange Post 156 draws Hornets only. While it puts Post 156 at a competitive disadvantage in Legion play, it’s a move that actually strengthens the high school program on both varsity and junior varsity level. “We run it differently than most teams because we are only pulling from Orange County, not any other school,” said Post 156 and Orange County varsity coach Dave Rabe. “The reason we’ve done it this way is because when you take the best kids from a number of different schools, you’re leaving out the middle of the road kids that need to be challenged and play against higher caliber talent.” Using the American Legion season in that way is a fascinating approach to building a better high school program. What Rabe is doing isn’t trying to take say a Bradley Hanner and make him even greater, he’s trying to take a kid hitting in the bottom of the order, a kid just on the cusp of making the varsity team, and throwing them up against some collegiate level talent. Because while Post 156 is playing the long game, the other teams aren’t. So when Post 156 played host to Albemarle Post 74 at the end of June, the Orange batters got to go up against recent Miller graduate Connor Gillispie, who’s headed to Virginia Commonwealth University to pitch. Gillispie was outstanding in the meeting, but there’s no question that Post 156’s roster is better for having faced him, and the likes of him whether it’s against Post 74 or Spotsylvania Post 320, etc. Facing good pitching is only going to make you better and the reverse is true too. Pitching against great hitters is only going to help you along the way. “The experience they’re getting between this year and a last — no, we haven’t won a lot of ballgames, we didn’t win any last year — but you can’t put a price tag on the experience,” Rabe said. “It’s made us a better high school team, there’s no doubt.” Lots of baseball players play in different leagues or showcase tournaments rather than play Legion. In a lot of ways, the baseball scene outside of high schools is about individual performance, just like so much of athletics is now. It’s about getting recruited. A lot of times that only means delivering great metrics. From Rabe’s vantage point — and if you ask Post 74 coach Mike Maynard, he’ll echo similar sentiments — the gamesmanship and competition on the Legion circuit helps to build smarter, more competitive baseball players. “You look at some of the other leagues and it’s not the same quality of playing against an Albemarle or Spotsylvania in Legion,” Rabe said. “High school wise, that helps tremendously. Superstars will always be good. It’s the middle of the road guys, the average guys that can help you most to win or lose tight ballgames. It’s always them that has to step up.” And one of the underlying stories from this spring on the diamond was Orange County inching closer to the form it had in 2008, 2009 and 2010 when alumni like D.J. Brown,

26 :: @scrimmageplay

“You can’t put a price tag on the experience. It’s made us a better high school team, there’s no doubt.” Derek Justice, Trey Maupin and so on had the Hornets contending for state tournament bids. There’s little question that the program is recovering from the hangover that came with moving to the Commonwealth District in 2011. A slew of talent wound up transferring during that time frame and since Rabe took over in 2015, he’s been trying to play catch up. The Hornets made it through Conference 16 play this year and on Hanner’s back, nearly shocked the field, coming just a win away from making the Group 5A tournament field. After another summer of building on the Legion circuit, it will be quite interesting to see just how improved Orange is this spring. The way that Post 156 has become a development tool for the high school program is truly impessive. ✖

Ryan Yemen,


back talk »

Which offseason programs help benefit your school? Email Ryan:

Success stories begin here.

Success Story: Micky Sullivan Few can say they are Fork Union through and through quite like Micky Sullivan can. From alumnus to administrator, he’s spent the majority of his life as a Blue Devil. And after nearly 40 years at the school, Sullivan officially retired this spring, handing over his role as Athletic Director to another FUMA alum, Brooks Berry. Sullivan graduated from Fork Union in 1966 before enrolling at the school for a postgraduate year to try and improve his chances at landing a scholarship for football. It worked and he picked East Tennessee State University. During Sullivan’s junior year, the Buccaneers went 10-0-1 and in the Rice Bowl found a way beat Louisiana Tech which was led by eventual NFL hall of famer, Terry Bradshaw. Sullivan finished at ETSU in 1971 earning a history degree. Sullivan returned to Fork Union in 1975 as a teacher and a coach. Over the next five years his roles included assistant postgraduate football coach, assistant prep basketball coach, assistant prep baseball coach, prep wrestling coach, junior prep basketball coach and eventually, prep football coach. In 1980 he returned to his home in Huntington, West Virginia to work for his family’s business, the Sullivan Distributing company, but just three years later, he was back at Fork Union. As the program’s longest tenured prep football coach, he won seven VISAA championships, with the most recent coming in 2010. He’s coached countless collegiate talents and more than a handful of whom became NFL players, from Eddie George to Chris Perry to Russell Bodine to the New York Jets’ 2016 second round pick, Christian Hackenberg. In 1995, he took over the role of Athletic Director and helped the Blue Devils other athletic programs grow across the board. Sullivan retired as the prep football coach after the 2012 season. Now he’s retired from the front office. Since he first came to Fork Union as a student in 1963 until now, if ever there is a Blue Devil, it’s Micky Sullivan.

Fork Union Military Academy is the leading Christian military boarding school for boys in grades 6 - 12 and PG. — 1-800-GO-2-FUMA

Volume 7, Issue 19