Category Archives: sports

Football ready to recapture prestige

In his third season as head coach of the Falcons football team, Joseph Prince is looking to conquer the demons of seasons past. The last times the Falcons reigned victorious versus county rivals Liberty and Kettle Run were in 2002 and 2012, respectively. With that being said, no current players on the team have experienced beating the Eagles or Cougars.
In last year’s final game, the Falcons’ season ended in heartbreak in the Bird Bowl versus Liberty. In what appeared to be a secure victory, the Falcons held the lead by six points until late in the fourth quarter, when the Falcons fumbled the ball on the 10-yard line, allowing the Eagles to score with three seconds left. After converting the extra point, Liberty won the Bird Bowl 28-27.
That game and the 2016 season, in which the Falcons finished 4-6 and fifth in the Evergreen District, has stuck with the players and coaches throughout the offseason and into this year. A single word now is the team’s motto: Finish. Senior Cole Anderson, a team captain, has used that word as motivation.
“Our team goal is to definitely beat Kettle Run and Liberty—that’s always our team goal,” Anderson said. “We haven’t been able to win in the past couple of years, so that’s a big goal this season, along with having a winning record.”
The Falcons enter the 2017 season 1-2 after a 42-0 blowout loss versus the Dominion Titans on Sept. 8. The Titans defense held sophomore quarterback Jackson Eicher to 53 pass yards and junior running back Kevin Chavis to 32 rush yards.
The team-elected captains this season are seniors Franco Camarca, Joey Heisler and Anderson. Prince praised the trio’s value as leaders to the young team.
“I think they work hard, and the kids look up to them because of that,” Prince said. “Those three by far were who [the team] voted for.”
In past seasons, the Falcons have been a run-dominant offense without much game plan in moving the ball through the air; however, the coaching staff will be looking to to implement more of a passing game in the the Falcons’ offense this season, allowing for an for an increased dynamic overall.
“[We’re] trying to be able to throw the ball and move the ball through the air some more to ease up on the running game,” Prince said.
To complement that passing game is Eicher, who earned the starting quarterback spot by performing well in the preseason. Eicher completed 17 passes for 29 attempts for 240 yards in the Falcons’ 21-0 victory over Brentsville Sept. 1.
“He had a couple good scrimmages, he throws a nice ball, and he [has] a pretty good football IQ,” Prince said. “We just [have] to get him more experience under the gun, but he [has] a lot of potential to be a very solid quarterback if he develops, and that’s what we expect of him.”
The Falcons will compete in the new 13-team Northwestern District, which was established this season. It consists of 4A members FHS, Kettle Run, Liberty, James Wood, John Handley, Millbrook and Sherando. Prince said he was concerned about the challenging matchups throughout the schedule, especially the three-game road stretch in September against Dominion, Millbrook and John Handley.
“It’s tough,” Prince said. “Millbrook is talented, Sherando is very good, and John Handley’s improving.”
Additional concerns for Prince this season include the depth of the team and its lack of experience due to an underclassman majority.
“We’re young at some positions, and we’re making some mistakes that young players do,” Prince said. “Hopefully we can get them corrected; they are all correctable mistakes, but we just [have] to do a better job of coaching them up so they don’t make those kind of mistakes in a game. The game is a blur when you’re young sometimes, and we [have] to make them comfortable enough that the game slows down.”
To offset concerns over the inexperience of his younger players, Prince’s seniors will play a large role on the team this season. Along with Camarca, Anderson and Heisler, the senior core this season for the Falcons is represented by Greyson Thomas, Dakari Mullins, Amir Siders and Stephen Potucek. Juniors Chavis and Tommy Schrank add to the upperclassmen group. Chavis ran for 221 yards versus Brentsville.
“I think every year you have to look to your seniors,” Prince said. “I think your seniors have to be your best players or leaders, and I think if you look to one person, your team’s dead.”
One of the top goals for Prince this season is simple: Begin in the classroom. Along with beating the county rivals, having a winning season and making the playoffs, Prince said he wants his team to have a 3.1 average GPA. Last season, the final average GPA of the team was a 2.95.
Team chemistry is another priority that Anderson said he hasn’t seen a lot of in previous seasons.
“We’re having a lot more fun—we’re more of a family this year,” Anderson said. “We hang out a lot more outside of football, and once you have more fun you can play loose and win.”
Prince also emphasized the value of team unity.
“Football’s unlike most sports. In a lot of other sports, one athlete can make you very good; with football, it takes 11,” he said.
Prince said he is looking forward to growing as a team and placing focus on what is controllable.
“Football is always a journey. I’m looking forward to that journey and seeing how it goes,” Prince said. “Hopefully, it goes the way I want it to go. Hopefully, we get better every week. Hopefully, we learn some lessons of how to win, [and] hopefully, the kids will buy into everything. If we just control what we can control, we’ll be fine.”

~alex wright, sports director


Anderson will join Vikings lacrosse at Cleveland State

Senior lacrosse player Cole Anderson has seen his fair share of fame in the papers for his athletic achievements, but his most recent accomplishment might top the rest. Over the summer, Anderson committed to Ohio’s Cleveland State University to play Division I lacrosse.

Anderson has been playing lacrosse for only four years, beginning the sport his freshman year of high school. Even early on, he knew he wanted to continue playing the sport after high school.

“I knew I always wanted to play lacrosse in college ever since I picked up a lacrosse stick,” Anderson said. “It’s been my dream ever since then. It should be the dream for everyone no matter what sport they’re playing. It’s always a big deal when someone finally does it.”

For Anderson, the hardest part of the recruitment process may have been getting noticed. He played on a popular travel team over the summer called the Cavaliers to get recognition from certain colleges he wanted to attend. Schools such as Christopher Newport, Roanoke, and Cattawba made offers to Anderson, but none of them were Division I like he wanted. Eventually, Cleveland State recognized Anderson’s talented and sought him out.

“They actually reached out to me, I’m not sure how they found me, but they reached out to my coach at Fauquier, and he talked to them and set me up for a phone call with their coach,” Anderson said. “Then they invited me to their prospect camp, so I went and played. Then, a week later, they gave me an offer.”

Cleveland State is big on soccer and basketball, but only recently stepped up to the DI level in lacrosse. Anderson said he hoped to help make a name for Cleveland in the early years of its organization.

“Cleveland is a newer team. They just started out in Division I last year, so they have mostly freshmen on their team,” Anderson said. “They play a lot of big-name schools like Penn State, Ohio St., U.Va. Hopefully they’re getting better through the next couple of years so when I get there I can do my best to help.”

Of course many questions come with such a decision, a big one being: Why Cleveland? Anderson said the city is a good fit for a life after college and lacrosse.

“The city itself is really cool, the campus around the city. The coaching staff really liked me—and I really liked them, so it was a perfect fit,” Anderson said. “I’m going to major in sports management. There are a lot of intern opportunities in Cleveland like interning with the Cleveland Cavaliers or the Cleveland Indians. There are just a lot of opportunities for what I want to do in Cleveland. I also just want to stay around sports too.”

Although Anderson said he cannot tell how his first season with the team will go, he has an idea of how he wants to eventually impact the program.“I want to do as much as I can to help our team,” Anderson said.

“I know freshmen don’t  play that much their first year. I’m just gonna try my best—work hard and try my best every day.”

~nathaniel thomason, entertainment director

O’Saben ready to swing into college baseball at UMBC

Over the summer, senior Blaze O’Saben accepted a scholarship to play baseball at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. The UMBC Retrievers are an NCAA Division I baseball program, competing in the America East Conference.
O’Saben, who verbally committed to UMBC on July 5, began playing 12 years ago, at the age of 5. He said he became intrigued with playing in college during middle school, when his older friends and teammates began to talk about it. Since arriving at FHS, O’Saben has been a member of the varsity baseball team for four years, starting at shortstop. He said he hopes to achieve his sole goal of earning first team 4A all-state honors this season.
Senior teammate Dustin Donner said O’Saben adds tremendous value to the team as a whole.
“[He’s] a great teammate, and can make a team better on and off the field,” Donner said. “Blaze’s work ethic is incredible; he’s always at the cages taking grounders.”
Along with the Falcons varsity baseball team, O’Saben is a member of the Stars showcase baseball team. The Stars are the No. 2 organization from Virginia that puts players into college.
Matt O’Saben, Blaze’s father and coach at FHS, said he has enjoyed watching Blaze grow as an athlete throughout his life.
“I’ve had the opportunity to coach him through most of his baseball playing days,” Matt O’Saben said. “It has been fun to watch him go from tee-ball to high school, to grow and develop, to see him work day-in and day-out.”
A week before Blaze O’Saben committed, he visited UMBC for the first time after the coach invited him for an official visit to see the campus and facilities. However, O’Saben said he already felt comfortable and ready to call it home.
“I liked the environment,” he said. “All the buildings are open, and there’s a lot [to do] everywhere. I felt like I had been there before, even though I hadn’t; it was just a really friendly atmosphere.”
The recruiting process was very fast-paced. Blaze O’Saben received significant interest from Radford University, also an NCAA Division I program, located in southwest Virginia. However, UMBC offered a scholarship quickly, playing part into why he committed.
“It was a little hectic,” he said. “A couple colleges notified me all at the same time, and [UMBC] just got to me first. I was talking to Radford longer than [UMBC], but [UMBC] got to me with a scholarship before Radford did, so I went.”
Matt O’Saben said the family was at a baseball tournament in Atlanta when Blaze made his final decision to commit to UMBC.
“We were in our hotel room and the UMBC coach called him,” Matt O’Saben said. “We could hear the excitement in both Blaze’s and the coach’s voice through the phone. It was fun seeing and hearing the excitement. We [couldn’t] be prouder of him.”
Blaze, who is planning to major in business, will receive a 37 percent athletic scholarship his freshman year, with a 51 percent scholarship guaranteed for the following three years.
An attractive component of the process for Blaze O’Saben was the success of the program. Along with their conference tournament champonship, the Retrievers finished 23-25 last season, in their final game, losing to Maryland in the NCAA Regionals.
“I liked their record—it has been pretty good recently,” he said “They’re in a rebuilding stage and they’re still successful and they’re getting all new facilities.”
Matt O’Saben said UMBC’s philosophy as a university and baseball program fits Blaze well.
“We like UMBC’s academic programs and the straightforward nature and approach of their coaching staff,” Matt O’Saben said. “UMBC plays with a chip on their shoulder. They bring guys in that love to play and are willing to outwork their opponents. That fits Blaze’s style, attitude and personality.”

~alex wright, sports director

Field Hockey seeks return to postseason

With their current record of 6-1, the Falcon Field Hockey team is starting the season off strong. With a game against John Champe on Sept. 12, the girls dominated their home turf with a score of 6-1. Scoring four goals in the first half, the team ended the game in a mercy rule, leading by six points in the last 15 minutes of the game. Senior Jo Quinn St. Ledger (co-captain) scored her first two goals since the start of her field hockey career four years ago, along with sophomores Jamie Renzi, Lucy Arnold, junior Meredyth Rankin, and freshman Abby McCuskter.

“Champe got a few corners in a row but [junior] Taylor DeHaven (goalie) did a good job as goal keeper, but for the most part we kept the ball in their defense,” St. Ledger said.

With a score of 1-0, FHS beat Loudoun County’s Freedom on Sept. 11. DeHaven says that defense worked hard on keeping the ball out of the net and overall, the excitement on the game was due to the close score.

“[The game] started out really slow but we knew that if we really tried to communicate we would beat them,” DeHaven said. “After the first 15 minutes we still weren’t communicating a whole lot, which was one of our biggest problems throughout the whole game. We had a lot of fast breaks and give and gos; defense was great on keeping the ball out of the circle. I only got a couple shots on me.”

On Sept. 7, the Falcons secured a 2-0 victory against Kettle Run at Falcon Field, resulting in a 2-0 win for FHS. Coach Brooke Settle wasn’t able to attend, because she was on maternity leave taking care of her newborn son, Landon. Junior Madison Filson said that the team played in dedication to their coach, and used that as motivation to win against the county rival Cougars

“It was kind of intense; our coach wasn’t there so we were faced timing her during half time and it really hyped us it.” Filson said. “During the second half we definitely picked up the intensity and had the motivation to get those goals and try our hardest, even if we had no energy left. [Playing against Kettle Run is] always a hard game and we always put our best in the game, so it was huge to win.”

Despite being early in the season, senior Caroline Diehl (co-captain) is confident in the team’s playing ability and says that the team needs to focus on having the right mentality in order to be successful on the field.

“It’s all about mentality,” Diehl said. “A lot of times when we play other teams we [psych ourselves out]. We care too much about what other schools and teams are up to but it doesn’t affect us and we shouldn’t be thinking about it. [We need to] just pushing aside what we think is going to happen and just play.”

On Aug. 30, the Falcons lost 2-0 versus Briar Woods, suffering their first loss of the season. After starting the game with a lack of intensity in the first half, Diehl says that part of the loss came from the change in terrain, since Fauquier fields have grass instead of turf. She said that starting out strong and working on fundamentals is a key factor in improving their game skills.

“It can take a while to build up our intensity, so think that’s our main thing [to work on],” Diehl said. “Our old formation was very defensive minded, it had a lot of gap in it, but our new one is more offensive that has support everywhere; since it’s early in the season it’s hard to tell but I think it’s going to help us a lot in being a more offensive things.”

St. Ledger said that switching the team’s lineup after its preseason scrimmage helped create more flow on the field and perfect their passing triangles, a tactic used to have multiple passing options. She also said that team bonding is essential to having chemistry on the field in field hockey, a sport where players are constantly shifting positions. However, there is always room for improvement.

“We can always communicate more; when you have communication, things can go a lot smoother,” St. Ledger said.  

Diehl said a main goal for the team, aside from playing to their full potential, is to have fun. In addition to practices, the team also tries to bond outside of school as well, by going to team sleepovers.

“The closer we are, the better we’re going to play and mesh on the field,” Diehl said. “We do have some fun, a lot of the times we’ll always do team bonding games but when it’s time to practice we get serious.”

The team’s chemistry allows the girls to communicate well DeHaven added.

“We’ve played together for three and four years,” DeHaven said. “W know what everyone’s strength and weaknesses are. So we try to place everyone in the positions that work for them. We try to be a fast paced team, we’re just well rounded all and all.”

Despite the early season, the team is confident in their abilities and hopes to make it back to states this year, to finish what they started.

“Everyone who is on the team is good skill wise but some fundamental things go a long way, like our passing and our shots,” Diehl said. “I can already tell we’re improving on our mistakes.”

~erica gudino, editor-in-chief

Volleyball sets up for new season

In her 23rd season as volleyball head coach, Diana Story will face the challenging task of improving on last season’s grand success. In 2016, the Fauquier Falcons volleyball team secured a Conference 22 title, advanced to regionals and broke the school record for most wins in a season, with a record 23-4. However, with eight returners, all-state senior captain Maddie Carter said she is confident in the Falcons’ ability to use their experience and rise to the occasion.

“Most of us have played together before,” Carter said. “We know the court very well as a team, so working together will help us be successful. We have already been working very hard to get back into the groove of playing together, and everyone’s doing a great job of syncing as a team, which will play a huge role in how far we advance [with] our tougher regular season schedule.”

That schedule will feature the new 13-team Northwestern District implemented this season, which includes 4A members FHS, Kettle Run, Liberty, James Wood, John Handley, Millbrook and Sherando. Junior Jules Oravec, who received all-conference honors last season, said she is excited to compete in the district and work toward the goal of advancing past regionals.

“We just want to play to the best of our ability and give 100 percent every game,” Oravec said. “I’m looking forward to seeing how we match up with the new teams. I know it will be a challenging season, but I think we can compete consistently throughout it. [Last] season was very successful, so it’ll take a lot of hard work to match that record and to make it to states.”

Story said she had high expectations for her close-knit team heading into the season, hoping to win the new district and move onward in postseason play.

“We’re always working on basic skills and getting better at passing, setting, hitting and serving well,” Story said. “If we can have all that in one big package every night, we will be on point to do well.”

The starting lineup for the Falcons features senior co-captains Yvie Frazier and Carter, rounded off by juniors Rachel Crowe, Megan Constantino, Kayla Pavlock and Oravec.

“They are a great group of girls together and individually, which makes my job that much as their coach because I know them very well.” Story said.

As conference play approaches, Story, who was named 2016 Conference 22 coach of the year, said the team is promising and multidimensional, with each athlete playing an important role.

“It’s a well-rounded team. We had things that we did well and things that we need to work on—that’s how every scrimmage is supposed to be,” Story said.  “There’s six girls on the court at any time, and they all play integral spots on the court, depending on what we need that night.”

Some strong returners this season include seniors Carter and Frazier, along with juniors Kiki Scott, Crowe, Constantino, Pavlock and Oravec. New this season is freshman Kate Wilvert, who competed with the Falcons in summer camps, landing a spot on the varsity team.

“They’re a pleasure to be around daily,” Story said. “They step up to the challenge, and they’re willing to get out there and fight and play at a high level every day”

The Falcons enter the season 7-3, after securing a 2-0 victory versus county rival Liberty Sept. 12. On Sept. 9, the Falcons placed second, with a record of 2-2 in the Albemarle Invitational in Charlottesville. The team secured 2-1 and 2-0 victories versus Western Albemarle and Albemarle, however, failed to defeat Stone Bridge in both games, losing 2-1 and 2-0. The Falcons will face off against conference opponent Millbrook, Sept. 19 at 7:15 pm.

~alex wright, sports director