<b>Sneak Peak at Springfield Softball</b>
South County went undefeated against Patriot District opponents last season, but Hayfield, with the return of the Perry-Shifflett twins, could provide the Stallions with some serious competition.
Megan Perry-Shifflett, a shortstop, led the team with 24 RBIs and set school records in batting average (.561), on-base percentage (.623) and slugging percentage (.737, while Samantha Perry-Shifflett (.346 batting average in 2008) will move behind the plate to fill a void left by departed catcher Kelsey Talbot.
Twelfth-year coach Ron Giovannucci had his squad at 14-5-1 overall, 10-4 against district opponents last season, but senior pitcher Jennifer Windau, who posted a 1.31 ERA and 125 strikeouts, should help improve that mark.
First-year coach Joan Simmons-Tadlock inherits a Lee team that returns five starters from last year’s group, including catcher Noora Assad, outfielder Rachel Hudgens and first baseman Meghan Knapp.
Simmons-Tadlock, a 1978 Lee graduate and a former Lancer softball player, admitted that a lot of work is left to be done, but “the ladies are committed to improving their overall fitness levels by increasing their strength, flexibility and endurance.”
Teresa Scott takes over a West Springfield program that went 10-13 overall last season and 5-9 against Patriot District opponents. The Spartans lost to South County in the district title game.
West Springfield graduated its top two pitchers from last season, four-year varsity players Jess Thomas and Kat Rogers, along with infielders Jordan Jeter and Meredith May. Christen Gibson, a pitcher/infielder is gone, too.
Filling those spots will be a group of eight seniors, including tri-captains Sydney Button, Krista Pedersen and April Chicko. Megan Talley and Amy Fourney will assume the pitching duties.
<b>Morrison Improves at Tech</b>
A year after making the third-most saves in the country (207), Virginia Tech senior goalkeeper Kari Morrison, a Springfield native and graduate of Bishop-Ireton High School, is off to an even better start for the Hokies girls’ lacrosse team, bumping her save percentage from .469 to .484 and trimming her goals-against average from 13.0 to 11.68. With a 16-14 win last Saturday, March 14 over Boston College, the Hokies improved to 4-4 overall, 1-1 against Atlantic Coast Conference opponents prior to Wednesday evening’s game at Duke. Against the Eagles, Morrison made 11 saves. At Bishop-Ireton, Morrison was a first team All-Washington Catholic Athletic Conference selection during her junior and senior seasons.
<b>Braddock Girls’ Tennis Cruises</b>
Co-Champions of the Patriot District last spring, the Lake Braddock girls tennis team opened its 2009 season with a 9-0 win over T.C. Williams last Friday, March 13. Sophomore Shannon Lane Allin earned a 10-0 victory in her No. 1 singles match, while senior Chelsea Lane garnered a 10-3 win in the No. 2 singles match and junior Annette Cole won, 10-6, in the third singles match. Junior Megan Larsen, Sophomore Becca Kim and sophomore Tara Fialkow were also victorious. In doubles play, the No. 1 pairing of Allin and Lane won 8-0, and the Fialkow/Kim pairing and the duo of sophomore Nadia Laher and Cole also walked away with victories. Lake Braddock continued its winning ways with an 8-1 win over West Springfield Tuesday night.
<b>Nationwide Acclaim for Bruins</b>
Junior Liana Epstein was at the forefront of several outstanding performances for Lake Braddock indoor track and field athletes at this past weekend’s National Scholastic Indoor Track and Field Championships in New York City. Epstein earned All-American status by finishing third in the mile with a time of 5 minutes, 5.96 seconds. The girls’ 4x800-meter relay team (junior Kelly Hagan, sophomore Casey Lardner, senior Taylor Moore and Epstein) was also third with its time of 9:18.24, which was less than a second shy of the school record. The 4,000 distance medley relay team was the national runner-up with a mark of 12:01.86, and it broke the school record by more than 10 seconds. The foursome of Lardner, sophomore Becca Sinichko, Moore and Epstein broke the state record -- set by Jefferson in 1998 -- as well. Junior Alex Clark finished 14th in the 5-kilmoter run with a time of 15:51.49, and he was one of only two Virginians to break 16 minutes in the event. Senior Mike Santano competed in the Pentathlon and was 11th out of 24 competitors with a score of 3,169.
<b>Run a Mile Day</b>
On May 9, the American Running Association (ARA) will aim to show children and adults that running a mile can be fun and rewarding with the second annual National Run a Mile Day. The ARA is seeking hosts for the event in all 50 states, and organizers can raise money for the Run a Mile Day events by selling T-shirts that are purchased from the ARA. All event sites will receive low-cost T-shirts, recognition and stories at www.youthrunner.com and in Youth Runner Magazine, an eight-week walk-run training plan for youth groups from the ARA site and post photos and a video from Run a Mile Day events. For interested Run a Mile Day organizers, call 800-776-2732 (Ext. 13) or visit the organization’s Web site at www.americanrunning.org.
<b>Nereids Accepting Registration</b>
The Northern Virginia Nereids synchronized swimming team, in conjunction with the Girl Scout Council of the Nation's Capital, is hosting a synchronized swimming clinic on March 28. The Nereids are also accepting registration for the June-July “Summer Synchro” program. More details can be found at www.nvnsynchro.com.
<b>Sneak Peak at Fairfax Softball</b>
Paul VI lost seven seniors and five starters from last year’s 24-5 team, which went 15-1 against conference opponents and lost in the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association state title game.
Pitcher Julia Moore, the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference’s Most Valuable Player and a first team All-State selection last spring, is gone, as is third baseman Kathryn Naylor, a first team All-State and All-WCAC pick.
Filling those starring roles should be utility player Tara Wood, a second team All-WCAC honoree who hit .311 last spring and second baseman Alex Manikas (.351), catcher/infielder Kaitlin Smith (.338) and first baseman Daniela Conyngham (.310).
W.T Woodson finished 10-10 overall, 6-8 in games against Liberty District competition and the Cavaliers will try to improve upon those numbers with a young pitching staff that features a junior (Katy Stanley) and two sophomores (Naomi Kennedy and Erin O’Donnell).
Seventh-year coach Bobby Coleman will turn to senior third baseman Alex Winters, senior shortstop Rachael Keung and second baseman Tara Leeth to make up for the loss of right fielder Kris Hargrove.
<b>Paul VI Hoopsters Honored</b>
Five boys’ basketball players from Paul VI Catholic High School were selected to the All-Washington Catholic Athletic Conference teams. Senior Dominic Sanders and sophomore Deon Jones were honorable mention picks, while senior Raven Barber and junior Eugene McCrory were selected to the third team. Senior Erick Green was voted to the first team. Four players were honored on the girls’ side with junior Jessica Escorza and sophomore Meredith Mesaris named as honorable mentions selections, while senior Jasmine Murray was a third team pick and junior Blair Koniszewski was named to the All-WCAC second team.
<b>Laurel Hill Look Around the Diamond</b>
By establishing one of the Northern Region top’s programs since the school’s first baseball season in 2005, South County coach Mark Luther has demonstrated an ability to keep the talent flowing through his program. This year should be no different.
Though the Stallions graduated ace right-hander Jesse Beal (now in the Baltimore Orioles’ organization), shortstop Brent Frazier and outfielder Peyton Bartlett, the fourth-year coach also has a steady influx of talent coming back, including 11 seniors.
Senior Seth Jordan leads the returning crop of talent with a .473 batting average last spring. Jordan also hit seven doubles, six home runs and knocked in 31. Kyle Michaels, also a senior, hit .298 with three homers and classmate Nick Digby hit .333 and had 10 RBIs.
Last season, South County was 14-9 overall, 10-4 against Patriot District opponents and lost to Northern Region runner-up Chantilly, 6-2, in the region quarterfinals.
Robinson, behind George Mason-signee Brandon Kuter, a 6-foot-6 right-handed pitcher, will hope to improve upon last year’s 15-9 season in which the Rams went 7-5 against Concorde District opponents and lost to West Springfield in the Northern Region quarterfinals.
With the losses of shortstop Jimmy Kalina, first baseman Greg Jernegan and pitcher Eric Rabung, the Rams and second-year head coach J.D. Detwiler will turn to senior pitcher/shortstop Michael Del Buono, senior catcher Chris McCloud and senior second baseman Mike Kenah.
“We’re in a situation like we were last year,” Detwiler said. “We’re looking at a bunch of guys who are either underclassmen or inexperienced.
“But the guys who are seniors, even though there aren’t a lot of them, they’ve been on varsity for three years and they’ve done a great job of being leaders.”
Kuter, who went 3-3 with a 3.11 ERA and 28 strikeouts on the mound last season, should see his innings increase significantly, as he’ll team with junior Austin Freer atop the Rams’ rotation.