Tag Archives: track

Fernandez beats three school records

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 managercarson

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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

‘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

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

Track takes a run at state competition

The varsity indoor track and field team traveled to Charlottesville to compete in the Region II championships hosted at Fork Union Military Academy on Feb. 13. The girls won third place with 52 points and the boys took fourth place with 47 points. thirteen athletes will move on to the VHSL AA state competition on Feb. 23 at Liberty University in Lynchburg.
The team ended the regional meet with victories in the 4×400 meter relay for the girls and boys teams. The boys team had a dramatic finish, beating the second place team by only milliseconds.
Freshman Tyler Benson will also advance to the state meet in the 4×400 meter relay and 300 meter dash.
“It’s a crazy experience,” Benson said. “I’m a freshman and I’m running against these juniors and seniors. I love the feeling after the race, the rush and how it feels.”
Senior Briana Hill placed in the top three for all three of her events and was a part of the girl’s 4×400 meter relay that placed first. Hill is advancing to states for all three of her events and hopes to get new personal records in her individual events. The girls 4×400 school record for indoor track is set at 4:16, and the team ran 4:19.80 at regionals meet. Hill hopes to obtain the school record at the state meet.
“Overall, it was okay,” Hill said. “I think we could’ve gotten second place overall, but it was good we walked away with a gold in the 4×400.”
Head coach Quentin Jones was pleased with the results from the regional meet, and has high hopes for the states.
“I always love how we finish the meet,” Jones said. “No matter what happened during the meet, the 4×400 is like the last hurrah.”

~Sarah Thornton, managing editor

Former track star molds young minds

by sarah thornton
Science teacher Ian Lansdowne lectures students during an earth science class.

Ian Lansdowne does it all. He teaches earth science and special education by day, and coaches cross country and track and field by night.

“I originally started teaching just to fulfill a need,” Lansdowne said. “I eventually became accustomed to it and grew to enjoy teaching.”
Lansdowne started his running career at FHS, where he ran track. After graduating in 2001, he attended George Mason University, majoring in psychology with a minor in education, while running for the Patriots.
“I came back to FHS and coach [Quentin] Jones was still coaching, and he asked me to join him,” Lansdowne said.
According to Lansdowne, when he learned of an opportunity to teach at FHS, he knew it was a good place to teach.
“It felt like home,” Lansdowne said.
According to Lansdowne, he coaches because it’s another way to reach students and have a positive impact on them.
“By coaching, I get to have a different view of the students,” Lansdowne said. “I get to have a different relationship with them outside of the classroom.”
According to Jones, Lansdowne brings a lot of experience to the team, with his extensive high school and college running careers.
“He excelled at hurdles, sprinting, and jumping when he was an FHS athlete,” Jones said. “Then he ran at GMU, so he knows how the athletes feel; how hard it is to have everyone counting on you.”
The team had a scrimmage against Woodberry Forest on Dec. 9 where they did really well despite losing many top performing seniors who graduated last spring.
“We lost a lot of seniors and the team is really young,” Lansdowne said. “But there were a lot of impressive performances out of the younger members, and the veterans help them to prepare for what they had to do and excel at the meet.”
According to Lansdowne, a major goal for the team is to develop the younger athletes and defend the district title.
“We want to develop uprising talent,” Lansdowne said. “We want to make some noise when it comes to regionals.”
Not only does Lansdowne enjoy working with the athletes, but he also enjoys working with Jones.
“He is a fun person to be around,” Lansdowne said. “He’s always positive and upbeat and allows me to grow and develop as an assistant coach.”
Senior Sam Donahue enjoys Lansdowne’s fun, encouraging coaching style.
“He’s definitely not a scary coach; he’s really funny and makes everyone laugh,” Donahue said.
According to freshman Liam Holland, a student in Lansdowne’s earth science class, Lansdowne’s easy-going personality makes him not just a teacher, but a friend.
“He’s probably the best teacher ever,” Holland said. “He’s not strict, and he’s more like a friend than a teacher.”
Outside of teaching and coaching, Lansdowne is also an action-hero movie buff. Among his favorites are the X-Men movies, any film based on Marvel Comics, including Captain America.
“I grew up with them,” Lansdowne said. “They’ve gotten a lot cooler since I was younger.”
Lansdowne also enjoys going to the beach, and engaging in outdoor activities, such as hiking, fishing, and walking around D.C. to see the museums.
“I’m inside the school building all day,” Lansdowne said. “I don’t want to be in a building afterwards, that’s one of the things I enjoy about track practices.”

~Caroline Liebel, staff reporter