The cheer team placed third at the conference tournament on Oct. 22, following a win at the mini-conference on Sept. 28 that earned them a bid to regionals. They hope to place well at regionals on Oct 29, and eventually states, by relying on their strengths.
“One of our main assets this year is how many tumbling skills we have,” cheer coach Ashlynn Foster said. “The level of gymnastic skills has dramatically increased over the past few years, and this year we have more skills than teams in the past. We’ve also really improved on executing very difficult stunts.”
Although the team uses the same routine at each competition, the girls are constantly practicing and looking for ways to improve it by making it more complex and adding harder stunts. They are also preparing for future competitions by working on consistency and precise performance of stunts.
“There are no second chances, so we’re constantly working on how we can execute our skills better and to make sure that we are able to hit them when the team competes on the mat,” Foster said.
Practice for the fall season started in March; since then, team members can now do stunts, like high-to-highs and 360s, that involve cooperation between the flyer and the base. The stunts can lead to serious injury if the flyer falls. Upperclassmen are pleased with the team’s progress.
“[Our] tumbling has gotten so much better,” senior captain Jazmine Fitts said. “We’re doing really hard stunts compared to my freshman year when I was doing straight-up heel stretches, and now I’m doing high-to-high tick- tocks. I never thought I’d do that. We’ve just grown so much in the past four years and since March.”
According to Foster, the team’s biggest competition is not another school, but rather the VHSL scoring rubric. Specific skills need to be executed to earn points, so many of the teams are working hard to execute the same skills.
“VHSL has continued to change the scoring rubric over and over, making this year especially challenging,” Foster said. “It’s a little unfortunate because the rubric has taken a lot of creativity away. Every school is working on the same stunts, just in a different order. So, as long as we can execute them the best, then hopefully we can come out scoring the best.”
The team has formed a strong bond, and coaches have assigned “cheer sisters,” pairing athletes together to support one another. They have team dinners at each competition.
“We always help each other out, especially as cheer sisters,” freshman Brielle Phillippe said. “We always try to give each other advice. It’s like a sisterhood.”
Unfortunately, the team did not make it to states last year, but they did compete both years previously, and they hope to return again this year.
“Our biggest goal is winning states, and we’ve been told by our choreographer that we have a lot of potential, too,” Fitts said. “[We need to] go through [and] watch our routine, and basically find what we’re doing wrong, and then make it better and do what the judges want, because that’s what’s going to get [us] there.”
~emma dixon, copy production editor
featured image by emma dixon
After beating John Handley, 46-21, on Sep. 9, the Falcon football team stands at 2-1 and moves closer to achieving their goal of making the playoffs.
Junior Dakari Mullins contributed to the Falcons offensive effort against the Judges.
“We need to stay positive and have a good attitude about every day,” Mullins said. “We need to play together as a team, listen to coaches, and do our best on and off the field.”
After finishing with a record of 5-5 last year, the Falcons look to improve early in the season. However, in his second year as head coach, Joe Prince knows there’s room to grow as a team. Prince is working to recruit players and coaches because the number of participants is low.
“We’re not as tough as I want, but we’re working on that and we [have] a good group of guys,” Prince said. “Last year, one of the things I learned was that our numbers were down, so we went out and tried to get more kids to play. It’s hard to get coaches in the building. It’s a process of trying to get everything to work together. We have to improve our facilities, improve our coaching abilities, and improve our kids by getting more out, bigger, faster, and stronger.”
On Sep. 2 the Falcons fell to Heritage after allowing the Pride to come back from a score of 12-0 at halftime to win 21-12, giving the Falcons their first loss of the season. The first game of the year concluded in a 42-12 victory over Loudoun County.
The Falcons will be running a balanced offense, with senior Ryan Crabtree at quarterback taking the snaps. The Falcons will be shifting quickly to outnumber the opponent, with a strong backfield and receiving corps to make up the play style. Along with the offense, the Falcons will play a 3-4 attacking defensive set while trying not to give up any cheap plays.
According to Prince, goals for this year are simple: make the postseason and have a winning record. Junior Cole Anderson describes the team as a family and credits the Falcons on working together to be successful.
“One of the big goals is to beat Liberty and Kettle Run,” Anderson said. “We can do that by working hard in practice and playing well as a team.”
The team’s motto, “68 and breezy,” reflects the goal of remaining calm and moving on to the next play. As the season progresses, the Falcons look forward to the obstacles they will face down.
“Football’s a journey and a lot of things happen week to week,” Prince said. “I want us at the end of the year to say we played hard every game, we overcame the obstacles we could, we won the ones we should’ve, and we won some we were not supposed to. I’d like for us to go as far as we can, and I’d like to see the kids enjoy themselves along the way.”
~ by alex wright, sports director
Junior Carson Fernandez is a member of the prestigious 4×800 relay team that currently holds the past two state championships titles. In addition, on April 15, Fernandez broke the school record of 9:41 for the 3200 meter at Woodgrove High School with a time of 9:39. During the indoor track season, he finished fourth in 4A classification at states.
His goals for spring track include another trip to states to capture yet another championship title.
“This year definitely [we want to] win a state championship-that’s top of the list-and continue the domination of our relays with the 4×4 and 4×8,” Fernandez said.
On April 29, Fernandez, and the other relay team members, seniors Raul Chavez and Madison Curry and junior Sam Oravec, attended the Penn Relays in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the oldest and largest track and field competition in the United States.
“It’s a special event which you are invited into, or taken in by request, if you have a good enough time,” Fernandez said.
The relay team came in fifth place at the Penn Relays event.
“It was a fun experience,” Fernandez said. “The only way to be good at Penn Relays is to have the experience, and having it from before, so the only thing to take from it is the experience, it’s the only way to prepare for it.”
Fernandez has been running track for three years now; he does cross country, winter, and spring track. His parents persuaded him to try track because his father ran it in college and regretted not doing it in earlier in high school.
“What got me into it, I guess, is the people, the time you spend with your friends,” Fernandez said. “That’s what makes it the most interesting, having a group to yourself. My teammates, they’re my closest friends. I do everything with them; we attend team dinners, watch movies, and play games.”
Fernandez also has earned the respect of his coaches.
“Carson is a talented runner who, most importantly, works extremely hard and is also very competitive,” distance track coach Mark Scott said. “He consistently puts in quality effort, day in and day out, and takes advantage of his opportunities to compete.”
With doing track year round, Fernandez is constantly busy, between practices and participating in meets, and his parents give him unlimited support.
“My family always attends each meet I go to,” Fernandez said. “My mother takes photos and sends them to the Fauquier newspaper. My father always comes out and supports me, as well, and makes sure I have all the equipment I need.”
Fernandez is in Photojournalism 3 and has spent this semester doing a spread on current events for the school yearbook and helping out classmates.
“I like the idea of taking pictures and journalism, as well,” Fernandez said. “Some of my earlier influences [that got me into it] would be watching Superman, the animated series, as a kid and being interested in the idea of Clark Kent and journalists.”
Fernandez is not sure about continuing track in college, but leaving a legacy and being remembered provides him with motivation to continue to excel in high school.
“What keeps me going is the hope that I would one day have a state ring of my own,” Fernandez said. “Being remembered, of course and, leaving a legacy behind.”
~ luz gonzalez, advertising manager
Junior Kelley Violett’s motivation to excel in athletics stems from her need to be physically active; she enjoys activities that are hands-on, including playing tennis and weightlifting.
“I tried all the other sports, and I never connected with anything else; I was just natural at tennis,” Violett said. “It’s the only sport where you [compete] one-on-one with someone.”
She has been playing tennis since she was 10 years old and plans to do it for the rest of her life. Violett coaches at the Montclair Country Club and helps kids improve their tennis.
“My coach contacted me and asked if I would coach the little kids camp; I’d be coaching tennis and teaching them how to play,” Violett said. “I like helping people learn, and since tennis is my passion, I like to share it. Also, watching them play is kind of funny and entertaining.”
Violett has been on the school tennis team since freshman year and works with new players on perfecting their skills. The team’s record is 9-0 ,while Violett’s record is 3-6.
“She has a lot of leadership; she has done a lot of stuff during the off season with professionals in different groups,” tennis coach Robert Devears said. “This helps with the instruction mentality in our practices.”
The biggest obstacle that Violett’s had to overcome while playing tennis is a mental block and stress. She also suffered a back injury while weight-lifting, but that didn’t stop her from playing.
“My freshman and sophomore year I would give myself a really hard time when I lost. I would get flustered and worked up; it would affect my game,” Violett said. “For the past year I have been working on improving that.”
Violett began weightlifting sophomore year to help improve her tennis skills and plans to continue strength training throughout her life. Currently, she squats 185 lbs, benches 110 lbs, and deadlifts 95 lbs.
“I wanted to do a physical class; I tried Life and Fitness, and I loved it so much that I kept going,” Violett said. “I appreciate the strength aspect of [weightlifting]; it helps [me] with tennis. It takes your entire body to [weight-lift, and] I get more strength and stability.”
Violett has also been interested in rocketry since she was nine years old and joined the National Association of Rocketry.
“She has a level one junior certification, which means she’s allowed to launch high powered rockets, the ones that you have to be on a field and let the FAA know that planes can’t fly around that area,” Violett’s mother Mary Violett said.
Violett enjoys hands on activities, including graphic imaging; she attended a programing camp that introduced her to graphic imaging and began teaching herself. She hopes to attend Virginia Tech University and play tennis in college. She also hopes to have a side job in coaching tennis and a career in graphic imaging.
“When you’re using computers to make art, it’s different than actual pen and paper. You can Photoshop it and make surreal type images,” Violett said. “The field of technical drawing is really available. They need [people to work on] video games, movies. My inspiration is Avatar; when I first watched that and found out that it was all CGI (computer-generated imagery), I thought that the technological development was [impressive].”
~ erica gudino, viewpoint director
The girls tennis team maintained their flawless 12-0 record in their recent match against Liberty in the first bout of the Conference 22 Tournament. Bolstered by a strong roster, the team has persevered despite match cancellations and the occasional knee injury.
According to coach Robert Deavers, the team’s advantage lies in its balanced composition.
“We’re very strong all through. A lot of teams are what we like to call ‘top heavy,’” Deavers said. “Their one, two, and three [players] are very strong, but then you see a weak falloff. We’re strong one through six. Even our seven, eight, and nine, if they were at another school, they’d probably be in the top six. We have such a big group of talent; that’s what helps us win all of our matches and keeps us strong.”
Inclement weather has prevented the team from practicing, and has lead to the cancellation of three games, postponing matches against Freedom, Culpepper, and Eastern View.
“We haven’t been able to practice since, like, two weeks ago. [The rain] has taken away some of our edge and we’re rusty, but we’re fighting through it,” junior Kelly Violett said. “The girls are really tough and resilient.”
Moreover, the rain has affected the seeding of the Conference 22 tournament.
“Normally the true winner of the conference gets the automatic bid to regionals, but we’ve had to pool that, and it’s going to be whoever finishes first and second in the conference tournament goes to regionals,” Deavers said.
Weather permitting, the team will play Freedom in the second round of the tournament on Friday.
“Our last game against [Freedom] was close; it was 5-4,” Co-captain junior Rachel Crawford said. “But everyone has grown since then, so I think we’ll be fine.”
Crawford lauds the team’s skill and dedication.
“We have a very strong team this year, a little stronger than last year. The girls come out every day ready to play,” Crawford said. “Everyone has a lot of power to their stroke. We’ve played a lot of games in a row which I think builds the girls’ confidence, especially when they win.”
Crawford’s personal goals for the season involve rebuilding and supporting the team’s future growth in addition to improving her own skills.
“In two years, I’m going to be gone, so hopefully we can build the team strong for when all the juniors and seniors have left because we have a very young team this year,” Crawford said. “I was surprised at the amount of freshmen that tried out this year, and all of them are very strong; half of our top six are freshmen players. It’s really nice to see all these players coming out and having such incredible skill.”
Violett said the team’s competitive mindset provides an edge, and she is confident about their continued success.
“We definitely will win conference and go to regionals,” Violett said. “We’ll play our hardest and stay mentally and physically strong. We haven’t lost yet, and we don’t plan to.”
~lana heltzel, editor-in-chief