Tag Archives: sports

Football Frenzy: Falcons shine under the Friday night lights

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

Girls tennis remains undefeated

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

Track team defeats county rivals at conference meet

The track team won the conference meet against Liberty and Kettle Run on Feb. 8 by half a point over Kettle Run, 62.5 to 62. The girls and boys 4×4 and 4×8 teams all made it in first place. Senior Shayne Halligan won first in the 1000-meter run and the 1600-meter run.

“Conference was fantastic; it was the first time the girls won since freshman year. It was great being on par with the guys,” Halligan said. “I wasn’t thinking about coming in first or the points. I was just thinking run, and run fast.”

Senior Jordyn O’Saben, who placed second in the 1600 meter run, said that the conference meet was tough.

“I had so much adrenaline rushing through my body,” O’Saben said. “I knew I had to push myself harder than in previous races.”

In order to win conference, FHS had to place first in the last 4×4, with Liberty second and Kettle Run third. If Kettle Run had come in second in that last 4×4, they would have won.

“We call it the backyard brawl because we want to win conference. We do not want to lose to Kettle Run or Liberty,” coach Quentin Jones said. “The meet has gotten tricky since now it’s only three teams instead of five or six teams to water down the points.”

Due to the inclement weather, the team missed three meets at Woodberry, Culpeper, and Kettle Run at the end of January. Before conference, the team’s most recent meet was at Woodberry Forest on Jan. 15; the girls 4×4 and 4×2 teams won, and the boys came in second. Senior Raul Chavez came in first on the 1,000-meter run and first on the 1,600-meter run. In conference he came in first in the 1,600-meter run and fourth in the 1,000-meter run. Chavez felt very confident about the team’s chance of winning and is proud of making it to the 4×800 and 4×4 in regionals.

“The 1600 meter run felt pretty bad; it hurt. I went out fast,” Chavez said. “But I liked being able to provide [points] for my team to help win.”

Junior Haileigh Byrd came in first in the 55 hurdles and first in the long and triple jumps at Woodberry, which was the first time Byrd had jumped for the long and triple jumps. She strained her ankle jumping in that meet and was at risk of not being able to compete in conference, but she got second place in the 55 meter hurdles and fifth in the high jumps and qualified for regionals on Feb. 20.

“I thought I was going to do better,” Byrd said. “But I was able to make it to regionals.”
At conference, Byrd placed second in hurdles, and the long and high job, which qualified her for regionals on Feb. 20.

On Dec. 19, the boys team won a meet by the narrow margin of one point against a field of approximately 30 teams at Virginia Tech. Both the girls 4×8 teams have qualified for the state meet, and the boys 4×4 has also qualified. Members of the team can qualify for states by making the qualifying times or by consistently finishing in the top five. States is on Feb. 26 and 27.

“We want to push as many people as possible on to states,” Jones said.

The team is practicing three times a week, including two days with a variety of workout routines. With the week off due to the snow storm, the hurdlers received an extra day of practice on Feb. 2. The rest of the team is continuing on schedule and practicing at home.

“They did an excellent job competing, and we’re very pleased with their effort. The girls going into the [conference] meet had not beaten KRHS during the regular season,” Jones said. “They did such a great job, and it was exciting to see them win.”

~nina quiles, staff reporter

Teachers build on cheer bonds

Left to right: Mathis, Landsdowne, Craig

For two seasons, from 1999-2001, faculty members Genell Craig, Kristen Mathis, and Ian Lansdowne spent time together on the cheer team, where the three became good friends. Now, they have returned to teach together at the same high school from which they graduated.

Mathis and Lansdowne share a favorite memory from their cheer career: the night of the team sleepover in the gym.

“We practiced really late, sat around, watched movies, ran the halls, just having a great time,” Mathis said. “At some point through the night, we set off the school alarm because a couple of police officers showed up. All of us girls thought someone was breaking into the school to come get us, so we sent the guys out to handle it.”

Lansdowne also recalls that evening.

“All of a sudden this light comes from around the corner in the dark gym, and it was two policemen because the school alarm had gone off,” Lansdowne said. “No one knew what was going on, but all the girls pushed the guys at what they thought were intruders. We still laugh about it because they used [the] males as sacrificial lambs.”

Besides cheerleading, all three played another sport. Craig played basketball, Mathis played softball, and Lansdowne ran track and field.

“We were all really involved in athletics,” Mathis said. “So, most everything we did outside of cheerleading still involved sports games in some way.”

After high school, Mathis attended Radford University and majored in social science with secondary education.

“I never thought I would be teaching where I went to high school,” Mathis said. “Like most students in high school, I couldn’t wait to get out of Fauquier County and have new experiences.”

Lansdowne attended George Mason University where he ran track and field; he received his master’s degree in Education Leadership with a focus in administration from George Washington University. Lansdowne began teaching as an instructional assistant and then became a teacher. He and Craig are cousins, and have known each other for years.

“[We] have been best friends for a long time, so we talked and visited each other in [college],” Lansdowne said. “I would never [have] thought that I would teach with Ms. Craig. People think we are attached at the hip because they usually see us together. I wouldn’t [have] seen myself teaching with Mrs. Mathis, either, just because we were all so pumped to get out of here and move on.”

After graduating from FHS, Craig studied sociology, biology, and psychology before she became a psychiatric nurse one year after graduating from college. Craig was also an EMT and received her CNA and EMT license while attending FHS.

“Mr. Lansdowne had asked me if I was interested in doing a long-term substitute job last year, and it kind of just fell into my lap,” Craig said. “This year, I contracted and signed on as a full time teacher.”
The three love working with each other.

“It’s great. We still have that cheer bond,” Craig said. “I’ll go to Ms. Mathis room or Mr. Lansdowne’s room, and it seems like we’ll have moments when we’re back in it again.”
Mathis enjoys working with her cheer mates.

“It has always been a perk coming back to Fauquier to see all of the familiar faces, theirs included,” Mathis said. “We have a bond and experiences that will always unite us.”

Lansdowne said that teaching has strengthened the bond between them.

“We always speak to each other and are always laughing,” Lansdowne said. “Even when things around school get stressful or tough, we have someone else to talk to. We still have one another’s backs here at Fauquier.”

Cheering taught the three teachers valuable life skills.

“Our squad taught me that everyone is different and that it is important for people from different backgrounds to work together,” Lansdowne said. “We had guys that were wrestlers or football players along with a bunch of girls. We all had to work towards one purpose, and we had to learn how to communicate, which is something I still have to do to this day.”

~emma dixon, photography director

Wrestling victorious at states

On Saturday, the wrestling team emerged first at states at the 4A Virginia State Wrestling Championship in Salem, Virginia, becoming the first team to win states two years in a row. Sophomore Kyle Budd and senior Garrett Tingen both came in first place with 3-0.

Being that it’s Tingen’s third time at states, he had a lot of pressure on him before the match to keep his winning streak.

“I was just so happy for it to work out. No one wants to be the one to break the winning streak,” Tingen said. “Hopefully [my legacy] gives young wrestlers hope that they can be better and it will raise the bar higher for them to win.”

Wrestling Coach Doug Fisher says that this win solidifies the notion that if one is willing to work hard, anything is possible.

“Rob  Patchett is a great example of [working hard],” Fisher said. “He was a first year wrestler as a senior and had a great attitude and put forth the effort, and he not only qualified for our Regional tournament, but also scored points which helped the team win another regional title.”

Budd’s opponent that he defeated at states beat him at regionals, and they started out tied. He hopes to win states again next year.

“I want to be like Garrett and win states three times,” Budd said. “This year, all the finalist got to run out and be on stage, which made it more special this year. When I won, I just put my hands over my face. All the emotion came over me.”

~erica gudino and julia sexton, viewpoint director and co arts director

Wrestling team ready to wrangle

After winning the state championship in 2015, the wrestling team needs to stay focused and continue working hard to repeat their success this season, according to head coach Doug Fisher.

“It is easy to fall into the mental trap of thinking previous results are guaranteed by just showing up the next year,” Fisher said. “Their attitude and effort will be the deciding factor.”

On Dec. 5, the team competed at the Skyline Elite tournament with last year’s 6A, 4A, 3A, and VISSA championship teams all in attendance. The Falcons placed fifth out of 12 teams. In the same tournament last year, they placed third overall.

“The tournament went all right,” sophomore Franco Camarca said. “We just didn’t do as well as last year.”

Emerging leaders on the team include seniors Garrett Tingen and Caleb Strum and sophomore Kyle Budd, according to Fisher. Budd, who finished second in the state last year, plans on leading the team into a strong post-season performance by pushing himself and his teammates to work harder.

“As a returning starter, it is my responsibility to set a good example for my teammates by being at every practice, working hard and pushing myself to better my skills and techniques, and listening to our coaches,” Budd said. “Wrestling is a team sport driven by individual performances, so it is my responsibility to preform my best to put our team in the best position to win.”

The team is a mix of experienced and new athletes. The team lost half their starting wrestlers from last year, including Matt Raines, Trevor Marable and Daniel Ariola, who all went on to wrestle in college. Athletes competing for a starting spot are Strum, sophomores Camarca, Joe DelGallo, and A.J. Prudhum, along with freshmen Ethan Jordon and Kevin McEachin, according to Fisher.

“I want to make it to states and win states,” Camarca said. “I need to practice harder and get better.”

Junior Jackson McEachin will be out for five to seven months recovering from an ankle injury last spring. McEachin was set to wrestle in the 195 weight class this year.

Fisher’s main goal is to develop wrestlers who will be ready to compete at the highest levels in college.

“My goal is simple,” Fisher said. “Prepare FHS wrestlers to be able compete at the national level and be prepared to wrestle in NCAA Division I programs when they graduate, if they so choose, to continue their wrestling careers. With this focus, successful local and state level results will take care of themselves.”

The team needs to work on and be more disciplined in their stance and attack positions, but experience will be their strength, according to Fisher

“We have a lot of guys on the team that have been wrestling for many years, and if they have the right attitude, we should have a successful season.”

According to Fisher wrestling is “90 percent mental,” so handling adversity, distractions, and negative thoughts is a main objective.

“The guys need to get hungry again, if they are not already,” Fisher said. “And do the work that is required to have another shot at a title.”

~alex wright, sports director

Cheer excels during season, falls at regionals

The varsity competition cheer team won the district and Conference 22 championships, but fell short of regional and state titles. The team placed first out of six teams at the conference championship on October 20. The team also won the Evergreen District championship by a significant 10.5 point lead on Sept. 30 beating nine other teams.

But regionals on Oct. 31 was disappointing, with Fauquier scoring zero deductions on an almost flawless, difficult routine. Kettle Run placed second with two deductions, and William Byrd took the regional title, advancing them to states. Fauquier Cheer hadn’t been to regionals in eight years.

“We feel like we got cheated,” junior Jessica Meerman said.

The team got an overall score of 9 at conference competition, which is extremely good, but the judges gave the same routine a score of 2 at regionals.

“We walked into regionals having the highest competition score out of all 15 teams there,” junior Alexis Tafrawe said. “Everyone is just very confused, considering everything hit and the coaches said that’s the very best that we’ve ever done before.”

Besides the regional competition, the team saw major wins and accomplishments this season.

At the conference championship, the team felt like they finally got the recognition they deserved.

“All of our hard work was finally noticed,” Tafrawe said.

They placed higher than Kettle Run, who had taken first at an invitational the week before. The team was judged at the competition on their clean tucks, flips, and tumbling, and how in sync the girls were.

The team remained healthy with only two injuries; sophomore Emma Bejger had a broken wrist prior to the start of the season, but she returned to competition, and junior Josh William fractured his toe, but actually competed at regionals only a week after the accident.

“I think we went into the season humble and worked harder and harder each practice to make our best better,” Tafrawe said.

Co-coaches Ashlynn Foster and Brandy Schaeffe, and new assistant coach Tami Doorly prepared the team for many weeks and are pleased with their success.

“This year we have really been able to work together as a team and encourage one another. This bond has helped us to excel in executing advanced stunts and tumbling passes,” Schaeffe said.

The girls began preparing for this season last spring. The team must also be in top shape for competition and must train and learn new routines months prior to the start of the season.

“We started conditioning all the way back in April,” senior and team captain Alyssa Carter said. “We condition all throughout the summer every year.”

Although they did not meet their goal of going to states for the third year in a row, the team hopes to come back next season with the same work ethic they had this year.

“Our goal as a team was to be conference champs, and we really just kept our hearts set on it all season and worked really hard at the completion,” Meerman said.

~julia sexton, co-features director