Wolfpack roughs up rugby competition

When one discusses a fast-paced, hard-hitting sport, the first thing that comes to most American’s minds is football. But, rugby actually much faster and tougher than football. The Warrenton Wolfpack, the local youth rugby club, has been playing since 2007.
“[Rugby] looked like a fun and interesting thing to do,” junior Anthony Wright said. “It was so different from every other sport I’ve ever played or heard of. You have to have more focus to play rugby; it is not like football. Games can change at any time, so you have to have a positive mentality.”
As the precursor to American football, rugby combines the finesse of soccer with the physicality of football. Behind soccer, rugby is the second most popular team sport played around the world. Although it is not as popular in America, a 2010 survey by the National Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association ranked rugby as the fastest growing sport in America.
Rugby matches are mainly played during the spring, summer, and fall, but the players practice year round. People who come new to the team have to suffer through veterans, such as junior Brady Burr, showing them the ropes.
“The big thing is just teaching them the rules,” Burr said. “Some guys can be un-athletic types, but they can be very good at rugby if they just know the rules.”
In rugby the ball can only be passed backwards. When the ball goes out of bounds, it is thrown back in by the team that did not put the ball out of bounds. The most complicated rule in rugby is offside. Generally speaking, if you are on the offense team and are in front of the ball, you are offside.
“I wanted to play for a year or two,” junior Marcus Smith said. “I wanted to give a new sport a try and I love it. I’m still a little lost with all the rules and stuff, but I still like it.”
Scoring in rugby is called a try; a player scores a try by crossing the try line and placing the ball onto the ground. Play is continuous, much like in soccer, and is stopped only when there are penalties or if the ball goes out of bounds.
Playing rugby takes not only strength, but serious endurance and stamina because play is rarely stopped.
“I like the intensity of [rugby],” Wright said. “Rugby is very fast-paced and keeps you on your toes. I also like the shorty-shorts.”
Senior Tyler Kovalik has been playing rugby for five years, and finds that the most exciting part of rugby comes from the team, not from the physical play on the pitch.
“I like the team unity,” Kovalik said. “When we are out on the field, there are 15 guys working as one organism; it’s exhilarating.”
Although Warrenton is the Wolfpack’s home base, the majority of games are played out of Fauquier County. The team participates in major tournaments up and down the East coast. The Wolfpack has placed top three in tournaments in North Carolina, New Jersey, and Pittsburgh and they have had nine players nominated for the Virginia All-State rugby team in the summer, 2012.
The spring season officially began March 16. The Wolfpack holds open practices every Tuesday and Thursday at the American Legion post in Warrenton. Anyone can show up as long as you are ready and willing to play.

~Josh Henry, design editor

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‘Jonesy’ helps athletes grow: Coach serves up education and inspiration for students

You might know coach Quentin Jones as the man always rushing through the hallways in cowboy boots on some unknown mission, or as your biology teacher or the track coach. You might be one of the few students to know him as coach “Jonesy.”
“He’s kind of like a father figure,” said senior Curtis Grady, who has run track and cross country throughout high school. “He’s always there for us to help us succeed, and he’s really approachable and fun to be around.”
In June, Jones will have been at FHS for 14 years, as a teacher of both biology and employment training, and the head coach for cross country, winter, and spring track.
“The best things about [teaching and coaching] kind of go hand-in-hand,” Jones said. “It’s rewarding seeing people grow and develop, to kind of see the lights go on when they start understanding a topic or when they realize they’re physically able to do something.”
Senior Marissa McGinty has been on the track team all four years of high school and looks up to Jones as a coach and leader.
“He makes sure we get things done, but he makes it fun,” McGinty said. “He’s always available. We can always talk to him at the beginning of practice or in between classes when he hangs outside his room, even just to stop by and say, ‘hey.’”
One of his assistant coaches, math teacher Mark Scott, considers Jones a good leader.
“I have a lot of respect for coach Jones,” Scott said. “He allows his coaches to coach, listens when we have suggestions, and offers suggestions or advice as needed.”
While being a coach for all three sports seasons may sound like a challenge, Jones handles it with patience and care.
“Being the head coach especially, there’s just so much going on,” Jones said. “Sometimes it’s hard to coach. You have to coordinate all the buses for students for track meets, parents call you, the weather goes crazy… sometimes I don’t get a chance to say hi to my athletes!”
Despite all the demands on his time, Jones makes it a point to get to know all his athletes and help to train them as much as possible.
“I ran track in high school, although not as fast as some of my athletes now,” Jones said. “But I had a coach that had one assistant, and there were about 60 kids. He would just say, ‘Go run,’ and that was our practice. We’d do a five mile run and that’d be it. It made me realize that I wanted a coach at every position, to really teach the kids the techniques and individually help them improve. Just to hear them say, ‘Oh, I can do this’- that’s why we do it.”
Sometimes, however, getting a student to that point can be hard.
“I don’t want it to sound bad, because coaches had to deal with me [as a young person], too,” Jones said. “Coaching a young person is hard, because their mind is just in a lot of different places. It’s hard to make them see their own potential because they have a lot of different priorities.”
For inspiration, Jones relies on his faith, and tries to encourage students as the head of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
“The church plays a large part in my life,” Jones said. “I was introduced to FCA in high school, and when I came here two older coaches asked me to kind of take over, so that’s how I got into it. It’s nice, because we’re not shoving anything on anyone.”
McGinty, also a member of FCA, marvels at how Jones handles the club in addition to all his other duties.
“He’s very active,” McGinty said. “Between being a teacher, running the track team, and being a dad, he finds time to support us in FCA. He has a lot on his plate, and he balances it really well.”
Although his schedule may groan under the weight of his responsibilities, Jones looks forward to many more years as a teacher and coach.
“It’s hard to say what the best part [of FHS] is,” Jones said. “I have great memories, like winning the state championship, but really everything is great. There’s lot of laughter here, and lots of good people I work with.”

~Fiona McCarthy, staff reporter

Augustine dominates softball field

Senior Justina Augustine began playing softball when she was 10 years old. Eight years later, she has become one of the district’s top players and has signed with Longwood University’s Division 1 softball team.
“One of my neighbors needed a player on their team, and we had just moved to Warrenton so I decided to give it a try,” Augustine said. “It was love at first sight.”
Head coach Mark Ott saw potential in Augustine when he first saw her play as a freshman and has watched her develop throughout her career to the player she is today.
“She came in great as a freshman, but she’s gotten stronger and faster which has helped her game dramatically,” Ott said. “Lots of kids play sports because they love playing the game, but she is the sport; her life revolves around softball.”
While softball is primarily a team sport, Augustine enjoys the individual dynamic of the game.
“Each person has a job, and if they don’t do it, the game doesn’t come together like it should,” Augustine said.
Augustine has improved her abilities through various camps and Jim Pulchine’s Life Fitness class, where she has increased her strength. She also plays on three travel teams, in addition to co-captaining the school team with senior Ashley Brown. Because of her position, Augustine has had to prove herself both as an athlete and a leader.
“I’m more of a natural leader than a vocal one. I lead by example, and I’m always willing to help,” Augustine said. “I try to lighten the mood because I can be silly sometimes.”
Augustine primarily plays shortstop, but she also catches and plays in the infield. She made first team all–district and all region, second team all–state, and won player of the year last season. Augustine’s accolades and talents intimidate both the competition and her teammates.
“Playing with her is a little scary,” junior Josie Adgate said. “When I throw with her, I feel like I’m going to die. Her fast release is intimidating.”
Though she started on varsity her freshman year, Augustine continues to work on improving her game.
“It’s safe to say that I’ve gotten a lot stronger as an athlete because I’m more confident,” Augustine said. “My mental part of the game has developed, too, because once you’ve experienced something so many times, it’s easier to adapt.”
Longwood University offered Augustine a scholarship her sophomore year. She committed to the school her junior year, and signed with them this year.
“Becoming a college athlete has been a huge dream of mine since I was 12 years old,” Augustine said. “It’s nice to say that all my hard work has paid off.”
As Augustine recalls her fondest memories, beating Kettle Run her junior year stands out the most.
“Were down by 10 in one of the last innings and at the last second we broke through and scored several runs,” Augustine said. “It was a great game!”

~Maddie Lemelin, features/arts director

Holmes at home on pole vault

No one at FHS knows pole vaulting quite like senior Grant Holmes. With his technique constantly improving, he placed 10th in the New Balance Indoor Nationals on March 9 at the Armory in New York City.
“I was happy just to be there,” Holmes said. “I didn’t really care about where I placed, but getting in the top 10 was pretty cool.”
Holmes went to Fork Union Military Academy for sixth and seventh grade, where he began his pole vaulting career.
“In sixth grade, I saw pole vaulting and thought that it looked like it would be cool to try out,” Holmes said. “There was a guy jumping 14 feet, and that looked pretty beast to me as a sixth grader watching.”
Holmes has developed a technique over the years that works for him.
“I have a really good plant and swing, which is the take-off positioning,” Holmes said. “You have to have your hands up when you take off, but the top of my vault isn’t where I want it to be. You’re supposed to be inverted, and propelled straight up, but I tend to go sideways; we call it flagging out. I know exactly what I have to do, and I know exactly what I’m doing wrong, but it’s just so hard.”
The strength of Holmes’ ability has been recognized by his coach, Ted Uhler.
“This is the fourth year I’ve had him, and he enjoys the sport a lot. He’s really dedicated,” Uhler said. “He’s always looking for ways to improve. Currently, his best record is 14-7, which is five inches from a school record set in 1994, and his goal is to beat it.”
Freshmen Jimmy Filson is trying pole vaulting for the first time and admires Holmes’s talents in track and field.
“He’s absolutely amazing,” Filson said. “He’s really good at teaching, and he gives me something to aim for.”
Freshman and first time pole vaulter Ava Thornton sees vaulting as an opportunity to develop in track and field, and believes Holmes is the perfect role model.
“It’s impressive to see how far he’s come and how committed he is,” Thornton said. “He’s helped me with techniques and showed me tips to get over the bar.”
As a captain of the team, Holmes leads by example.
“I like being watched,” Holmes said. “It pushes me further. Watching the new vaulters helps me, too. It kind of reminds me of the basics that are easy to forget about. It’s so complex, sometime the simple stuff can help me out.”
Senior Ryan Enos, a longtime close friend of Holmes’s, has observed his positive attitude first hand.
“He has a good attitude towards the other vaulters in competitions,” Enos said.
Holmes and Enos have a special bond over pole vaulting. Since both recognize and understand the vault is important to the sport; they feed off of each other, improving technique.
That positive attitude and determination contributes to Holmes’s performance, and helped him get to nationals.
“It was a big honor to be chosen,” Uhler said. “They only select the best athletes in the nation to compete.”
Looking back on nationals, Holmes was a bit disappointed in his performance.
“As far as jumping, I did all right,” Holmes said. “I could have done better.”
After high school, Holmes intends to pursue pole vaulting at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, where he has a scholarship for half of his tuition. This spring, Holmes desires to jump five meters, a distance of 16-5.
“If I get my form down, I can clear 16-5 easily,” Holmes said. “I’m currently 84th out of about 8,000 vaulters in the nation. Being in the top 10 percent is awesome, but making [16-5] would probably get me a bigger scholarship to VMI.”
Pole vaulting has made up a big part of Holmes’ life and high school career.
“You have to be insane to [pole vault],” Holmes said. “Just go look at it; just watch it one time.”

~Ryan Perry, staff reporter

Morrison cradles pressure with ease

Although only a sophomore, Robert Morrison is a key player for the boys varsity lacrosse team. Starting varsity as a freshman, Morrison has high hopes for the season.
“Last year we were an average team,” Morrison said. “This year we are definitely going to be district champs. We are a young team, but a strong team.”
New head coach (and Robert’s father) Eric Morrison decided to cancel the Junior Varsity team to create a large varsity team, along with a practice team made up of freshman who did not make varsity. According to Morrison, having his father as his head coach has not added much pressure.
“He’s harder on me than the other kids,” Morrison said. “It’s not too bad though; it will only make me better.”
According to his dad, Morrison has the potential to be an impact player this year, but he would like to see him taking the shot more.
“Lacrosse is a team sport, and Robert is not a selfish player,” coach Morrison said. “He would rather feed the ball to a teammate than take the shot himself. But he wants to be better than last year, and I expect that he will increase his number of goals to become one of the leading scorers on the team.”
Junior Kenneth Palmer also lauds Morrison’s positive attitude.
“He has a great attitude about playing,” Palmer said. “He’s easy to work with and is a good teammate. He has the potential to score a lot of goals and lead the team.”
According to Morrison, his father initially inspired him to play lacrosse.
“He played in high school and in college,” Morrison said. “He really was my biggest influence.”
Morrison has had years of experience with lacrosse, playing for recreational and travel lacrosse leagues before playing for FHS, which contribute to his skill and leadership.
“As a returning varsity starter, Robert knows what it means to be a leader,” coach Morrison said.  “As a freshman, Robert gained a lot from last year’s seniors and team captains. With the four seniors on the team, there is a strong leadership presence. Robert knows what it takes to be a leader, and I look for great things from him over the next two seasons.”
Morrison also plays for the Battelax elite travel team, a lacrosse league for Fauquier and surrounding counties. According to Morrison, the travel lacrosse team faces highly skilled competition from states like Maryland. Although college seems far away, Morrison has already begun looking at schools where he could play lacrosse, including Washington & Lee and Roanoke College.
“Robert is disciplined and committed to the sport,” coach Morrison said. “As soon as he knew he loved the sport, he had a stick in his hand working countless hours on his skills. He is also great at meeting his academic and athletic responsibilities.”
To be able to compete at the collegiate level, Morrison knows there are skills he needs to work on, especially stick handling with his less dominant hand.
“I need to improve my off hand,” Morrison said. “It’s the biggest aspect that college coaches look for.”
With any athlete there are pressures to perform well, but Morrison feels extra pressure that comes from being a younger player who is counted on so heavily.
“It’s tough sometimes,” Morrison said. “But I’ve got a great team around me to take some of the pressure off. The biggest problem I faced last year was my size, but I had a around me to keep my confidence up even when I wasn’t doing too hot.”

~Caroline Liebel, staff reporter

Political thriller becomes entangled in its own manipulative machinations

Is it good? Yes. Could it be better? Probably. Does it really need to be? Probably not. Like its protagonist Frank Underwood, House of Cards, a first foray into Netflix-produced programming, is unashamedly itself. Its premise is fairly straightforward: House Majority Whip Frank Underwood (D-South Carolina) helps elect president Garrett Walker, in exchange for the promise of promotion to Secretary of State. When he is passed over after the election, vengeful machinations ensue.
Wife Claire (Robin Wright) backs Underwood (Kevin Spacey) through the conduit of her tightly-run clean water non-profit. The senator also executes his smarmily Southern puppeteering with personal Chief of Staff Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly) and Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara), a stereotypically spunky young reporter working for the fictional Washington Herald. Zoe just wants to get somewhere. Unfortunately, Underwood seems to be doing most of the thinking for Zoe, feeding her juicy advance scoops and scandalous editorials that hang on the skeleton in a Congressman’s closet. Finally, Underwood lures budding Pennsylvania Representative Peter Russo (Corey Stoll) into doing his bidding by lifting alcohol and prostitution charges against him; apparently booze, blunts, and babes are not unfamiliar to this Friendly American Congressman.
The hooplah surrounding the show occasionally distracts from the show itself. The entire first season of House of Cards was release at one time up front and available solely online, a practice that has been hailed as “the future of TV,” as Internet access and television streaming (via Netflix and…other providers) continues to expand. I like having shows online. I watch more TV programming on Netflix than movies, and it’s pleasant to be able to finish an entire series in bed, on my laptop, without having to wait week-by-week for the next episode. But I’m not sure if I started and finished HOC so quickly because I liked it, or because it was available and I just wanted it to be over.
Frankly, I decided to watch HOC because it stars Kevin Spacey. Creator David Fincher aptly hailed Spacey’s work on a recent production of Richard III as quality preparation forHOC; Underwood’s sheer, pleasantly distributed ruthlessness and sassy direct-to-camera asides echo Shakespeare’s villain. Spacey obviously relishes his role, which makes the rest of the show at least bearable.
I feel obligated to like this show, because of Kevin Spacey, because I should support Netflix’s gutsy venture, but…eh. HOC’s impossibly sleek, pristine production interferes with everything else. Even in supposedly gritty scenes, involving Peter Russo, cocaine, and an old hippie, the light falls just so on the dusty yellow couch in the run-down home. HOC looks as if the production team paged through Pottery Barn and the Washingtonian and rented photo spreads that don’t look real or lived-in, but eerily perfect. Shots of the Underwoods’ impeccable downtown townhouse make me want to throw duvets or spill lemon juice around the kitchen. These sets are just too clean. They’re disquieting.
I felt that same disquiet about the oddly trope-y characters, as though I’d seen versions of these people before. Ah, yes, the young politician struggling to recover from drug and alcohol addiction. The frighteningly cool-as-ice, uber-capable power wife, a frustratedly frumpy managing editor, and the jilted head of a teacher’s union populate a cast I’ve seen somewhere before. And this is the show’s tipping point to meh, for me, at least – none of the characters “clicked” for me. The character I wanted more of was essentially cast aside after the second episode: Catherine Durant, Underwood’s longtime friend whom he promotes to Secretary of State in his place. I’d much rather go globetrotting with Catherine Durant that schmooz-plotting with Frank Underwood.
There’s something about this show, like The Big Bang Theory, that unsettles me. Maybe it’s the tropes, maybe it’s the broad, sleek production, maybe it’s Underwood’s relentlessly precise machinations; whatever the cause, something is out of place. Plot and character and design slip into neat little boxes that portray Washington as the legendary stereotype of itself the parties, the politics, glossy modernity smashing into American Neoclassicism. I’m reminded of Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette; fed up with the endless, farcical etiquette at the royal palace, Marie complains that “this is ridiculous.” Her companion the Comtess de Noailles simply replies, “This, Madame, is Versailles.”

~Sophie Byvik, editor-in-chief

“Crysis 3” – Long on style, short on substance

The Prophet has returned, but he’s not offering a religious experience. In Crysis 3, the latest installment in the EA games first-person-shooter series, the main character, Prophet, and his high-powered suit of armor are back and kicking CELL’s (CryNet Enforcement and Local Logistics) backside yet again. However, CELL is not the only enemy; the alien race Ceph still lurks in the shadows of New York City in the year 2047.
Crysis 3’s weak storyline prevents this series from being great. The plot is vague at critical points, especially regarding the powers of Prophet’s nanosuit. This one suit has the power to destroy an entire alien race, but how?
The game begins 20 years after Crysis 2, during which Prophet has been busy hunting down the Alpha Ceph. As the game begins, Prophet has been captured by the villainous group CELL. (How did that happen when he has a suit that makes him virtually invincible?) Never mind, because Prophet is freed to join the fight by rebels who are combating CELL and their dastardly plot to rule the world through the monopolization of energy. However, as the game progresses, the Ceph alien menace returns, and Prophet is once again caught in a firefight between CELL and the Ceph.
Although the storyline of this game is less than refined, the campaign playthrough is. The maps of 2047 New York are large, but very manageable. The difficulty system is not very challenging, but for people playing this game for the first time, it should be helpful. Also, the newest weapon in the series, the Predator Bow, is the coolest thing, like, ever. The bow, combined with the invisibility feature of the nanosuit, make for one of the most deadly combos in videogame history.
Crysis 3 gets an A-plus in one specific category – graphics. This is the most beautiful game on the market. Crysis 3 boasts the most realistic storms, jungles, wastelands, and half-destroyed New York City that anyone has seen in a console videogame. Character animation is also near perfection. Not only do the enemies look flawless, but the simple motions of Prophet, such as when pulling back the Predator Bow, are crisp.
The multiplayer feature of Crysis 3 is still not refined on console. A high-powered computer is much more serviceable for this game. That being said, the multiplayer is still fun and challenging. For those new to the series, it takes some getting used to playing with the armor and invisibility modes of the nanosuit. Overall, the multiplayer feature is just as pretty as the rest of the game, but not top-of-the-line.
This game will not please everyone, but it is worth a try. This will be more of a bargain-shopper game. Wait a few months for the price to drop $20 and then buy. Crysis 3 is the best-looking game I have ever played. Although the campaign can be uninteresting and confusing at times, the sheer fun of being an unstoppable force of nature (with a bow) is over the top.

~Josh Henry, design editor

Fauquier High School's student newspaper. By the students, for the students.