7.05.2018

Peninsula Sports Club Hosts Annual Awards

Dr. William R. Harvey and Paul S. Trible, Jr., the presidents of Hampton and Christopher Newport Universities, shared the Herbert Morewitz Sports Person of the Year award at the 69th Annual Peninsula Sports Club Awards, held at the City Center Marriott on Monday evening.
Long-time Daily Press sports writer Marty O’Brien received the Bob Moskowitz Media Award, while Gene Thompson was honored with the Sports Person Emeritus Award. Belinda Langston, athletic specialist with over 40 years of experience in Newport News Public Schools, won the Charles Karmosky Award.
Menchville and Jamestown high schools captured the Julian Rice and Red Simpson awards, given annually to the most successful athletic programs in the Peninsula and Bay Rivers conferences.
Jamestown’s All-American volleyball player, and recent Maryland commit, Emma Schriner won the Betsy Thomas Outstanding High School Female Athlete, and Patrick McCormick, four-time state champion wrestler from Poquoson, won the Julie Conn Outstanding Male Athlete award.
The Thad Madden award was presented to seven recipients – Quanisha Bruce, Lisa Dillard-Hanks, Allen Iverson, Yvette Lewis, Francena McCorory, Bev Vaughan, Jr., and Keith Witherspoon.
Kermit Buggs, Troy Fullwood and Bill Nettles earned special achievement awards. Last fall, Nettles announced his 1,000th football game, at Todd Stadium.
The PSC also awarded ten $1,000 scholarships to Peninsula student-athletes.

6.21.2018

Remembering Coach Bev

Our Denbigh track community lost a great friend and coach last week with the passing of Louis Beveridge. Coach Bev’s impact on the youths of Denbigh High, Newport News, and Greensboro, NC, is immense and far too great to be described here. We love you and will miss you Coach, and your spirit of community activism lives within us all. Rest in Heaven, sir. You did great work here.

The last time we talked was at Big (Jaymes) Brooks' NN Track Hall of Fame ceremony at the end of March. The Hall of Fame event coincides with the Conn-Madden Relays, and it was a good meeting point as Denbigh had competed there (and the boys won in 2007!). Of course, on that evening, my comment to him was "at least we get to see each other for a happy occasion this time." So often, our meetings commemorated sad events, such as Adrian’s Holiday’s memorial service.

I always think of Louis when I see a teenager walking the streets of Denbigh looking like he's ready to do something wrong. The thought goes, "too bad that kid never met Coach Bev." He was a rare person, a transformational figure, and one who did so much for so many of the teenagers around here, and over the years, as I witnessed our "babies" from Denbigh track accomplish one great thing after another, it stood as an ongoing testament to his work here. Athletes from other schools used to come work out at Denbigh because they needed their fix of "Coach Bev!" How many other coaches can claim that?

And in my honest opinion, with no offense intended to any of the other coaches, I always figured he gave up the most to be a part of the team - working with the kids from early morning to late into the night. Elizabeth and I are going to miss you immensely, but thank you for allowing us to be friends and for me to witness your work in person. Rest in peace, Coach. Here is the article I wrote for last Monday’s Daily Press. It doesn’t nearly say enough.

“Louis Beveridge, former throwing coach for the Denbigh High teams of the early 2000’s, passed away on Tuesday, June 12 at the age of 57.

At Denbigh, Beveridge coached two state AAA champions – Jaymes Brooks (2006 – indoor track shotput) and Terrence Riggins (2007 – outdoor track discus) for the Patriot boys’ team that won a combined six consecutive indoor and outdoor Peninsula District championships between 2005-2007. Brooks, a recent inductee into the Newport News Track Hall of Fame, later played right guard for the Virginia Tech football team and was a second-team all-ACC selection, while Riggins played fullback at William and Mary.

However, Beveridge’s legacy stretched far beyond the shot and discus circles, as evidenced by the outpouring of condolences from former community leaders and athletes from all over Newport News. Along with track, Beveridge was also an assistant coach on the football team under head coach Tracy Harrod.

Said former Denbigh principal Michael Evans on a social media post, “You were an asset as a parent, coach, and friend. My years as principal at Denbigh were filled with memories of your support and your love for people.”

Beveridge’s initial memorial service was held on Tuesday, June 19 at 1:00 PM at Faith Community Church, located at 417 Arlington Street, Greensboro, NC 27405. A separate service will be held in Newport News in the near future.”

6.07.2018

As seen on MileStat.com: Spollen's Story

A ROAD LESS TRAVELED

Ocean Lakes High in Virginia Beach is well known throughout the state of Virginia for its rotating platoon of quality distance runners. Led by longtime coach Mike Nestor, this year’s team was well represented at the 6A State track meet at Todd Stadium.

The list was impressive and topped off with Brent Bailey, a triple gold medal winner at the indoor state meet, and a miler of extraordinary ability - one who carried a best time of 4:09 for the 1600 meters into this weekend’s meet. Tyler Lipps, a 4:17 miler, was also on the list. Both runners placed in the 1600, with Bailey taking the runner-up position and Lipps fourth.

Davis Young, a 1:55 800-meter runner, was also among the Dolphin state qualifiers. Young placed second in the 800, just behind Patriot’s Adam Wosahla.

However, it can be argued with an air of certainty that no Dolphin runner faced more adversity on the road to Todd Stadium than junior Will Spollen.

Spollen is a pleasant young man whose demeanor shows no sign of the struggle he has conquered to date. 

As a youngster, Spollen endured two brain surgeries to cure conditions that would require a medical degree to understand, much less spell. He does add that one of the surgeons who operated on him was Dr. Ben Carson, better known to many of us as a presidential candidate and current secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

While his childhood health issues are unrelated to his new ones, they begin to speak of Spollen’s ability to handle adversity and persevere.

His current situation made itself known in the middle of Spollen’s indoor season last year as a sophomore.

“I was running in the conference 3200 and just kind of ran out of gas,” said Spollen, in a matter of fact voice. “I totally forgot the last 800, but remember that my breathing was short and I was 30 seconds off my best time.”

A look at Spollen’s season time’s show a 16:18 at the Adidas XC Challenge in North Carolina followed by a 19:51 and 22:52 in subsequent weekday conference meets. Regardless of the exact moment, Spollen realized that “it wasn’t that I just ran a bad race.” In fact, he had reverted back to form and run 16:03 at the 2016 MileStat XC Invitational, with the race he spoke about being a 16:36 in a sixth-place Conference 1 championship effort.

A visit to the local cardiologist followed.

“He thought it was arrhythmia, but I know my body,” said Spollen. “That race hurt!”

A visit to another cardiologist, this one in Washington, DC, led to a procedure, one that ended with an implantable monitor for Spollen. While his heart vitals became easier to track, he was still not able to race at peak performance for the beginning of his sophomore outdoor season.

After a 10:22, followed by 10:35 and 10:56 performances in the 3200, Spollen seemed to find his stride again at the Lee-Davis Invitational, running a 9:57. However, his body paid for the effort.

“I’m a super positive guy, but that was the most frustrating feeling. At (Lee-Davis), I stumbled across the line. It was almost scary, but my thought was that I’m going to keep running.”

Two weeks later, he ran a PR, clocking 9:30 at the Dogwood Classic in Charlottesville. It’s a time he wouldn’t come close to until Saturday when Spollen placed eighth in the 6A 3200 in 9:41.29. Again, he fell to the track, but looked up to tell MileStat photographer Mary Ann Magnant, “That was a great race!”

Spollen credits some proactive changes with helping him continue to run at a high level. “I’ve been hydrating more, taking in more salt.” He also believes that saunas help. “Tyler Lipps talked me into it, and I was hesitant, but I think it widens my blood vessels and increases blood volume.” In spite of later bouts with plantar fasciitis and a stress fracture that elevated to a metatarsal fracture, Spollen pushes on.

“Running is what defines me and makes me most proud,” said Spollen. Speaking of his challenges, he adds, “It makes everything else so easy.”

His outlook for the future is uniquely positive. Now an All-State track athlete, Spollen looks toward “big goals” for the upcoming cross-country season. “I’m going to enjoy a week off, but get right back to running.”

“It’s not bad to be scared,” adds Spollen in a final thought. He quotes one of his favorite authors, adding, “Courage is being willing to face fear.” And with earnestness, he finishes his thought with an interesting perspective on his situation. “I’m thankful that a lot of this has happened by my junior year. Now I know what works and what doesn’t.”

5.28.2018

Forge's All-State CB Sarratt Ready To Field More Offers

One of the highlights from last Saturday’s Falls Church 7-on-7 Passing League & Tournament was having the opportunity to see a variety of All-Region and State players competing against each other every 30 minutes – depending if one was at the correct field.

Josh Sarratt, Colonial Forge’s star slot receiver, return man and defensive back was a good example of this. The junior was in action against Tuscarora QB Justin Allen, Yorktown signal-caller Grant Wilson, and the offenses (and defenses) from Lake Braddock and Hayfield, among others. 

The off-season is beginning to heat up for last season’s Region 6B defensive player of the year. Although he has only two formal offers to date, from UNC and Howard, more are expected to arrive at the Stafford school. For the record, the outgoing Sarratt, affectionately known as “Cheese” welcomes all-comers.

“I will listen to any school that’s interested,” said the 5-10, 170-pounder.

According to his self-evaluation, it has been a good off-season so far. The sting of Forge’s bitter season-ending playoff loss to Oscar Smith is not evident, at least outwardly. What is left for Sarratt and his Forge teammates is a shot at redemption, one which will not be easy after losing several key seniors to graduation from last year’s 12-1 squad.

Still, according to Sarratt, the pieces can be put back into place.

“We’re a young team, but we have some good kids. There’s a good energy, and we will be ready for next season.”

Sarratt is also pleased with the ease of the head coaching change, with John Brown taking the place of his father, Bill, who “retired” after last season.

“The transition is smooth with the new coach,” said Sarratt, noting that the Coach they call “Big Brown,” is “still here,” serving in an assistant capacity for his son.

There is still planning to do this spring for the speedy (4.51 for 40 yards) recruit, as he approaches senior year and the prospect of many more offers. 

“I’m getting together my list of one-day camps,” adding that Old Dominion might be the next stop. Wake Forest has expressed serious interest, and as schools reach out, Sarratt will plan his itinerary.

Asked what would make for a good college fit, Sarratt said that he prefers “a place that’s comfortable, where the coaches are genuine and truly care about us.” Because of his diversity as a football player, he has not been pigeonholed into a collegiate position yet. “On offense, they want me to play slot, and on defense some free safety or nickel (back). But I think of myself as an athlete.”

For good reason. Last season, Sarratt gained 1,908 all-purpose yards as a rusher, receiver and returner, and picked off four passes for good measure, as the Eagles raced to a 12-0 start, and held the top spot on the VHSL Region 6 rankings for several weeks, before dropping a heartbreaker in the 6B final to Smith, losing the game on a fourth down fumble in overtime.

And if Josh Sarratt has his way, the tide will turn for his Eagles in 2018, and the Forge will find its way to the 6A State Championship game.

5.10.2018

Newport News Archers Qualify for Nationals (with team members)

Three Newport News teams, Gildersleeve Middle, Richneck Elementary and B.C. Charles Elementary schools, qualified for the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) Eastern National Archery tournament, which will take place from May 10-12 in Louisville, KY.
For Gildersleeve, it will be their seventh trip to Nationals over the past ten years, according to head coach Steve Cretacci, who is in his 11th year at the helm.
Leading the team of 22 archers is a quartet of standouts. Brothers Bryce and Brett Spain excelled at the state tournament. According to Cretacci, Bryce has maintained over a 280 average this season and shot 286 at States, while Brett hovered close to a 280 average. Sixth-grader Caitlyn Hollis garnered several scores in the high 270’s, while Kasey Twitchell, an eighth grader, was also close to a 280 average.
Richneck had a six-year winning streak at the Newport News city tournament broken this year, placing second. However, the team regrouped at the NNPS-sponsored regional NASP tournament in January to qualify for the state tournament in Doswell in March. At Doswell, they qualified for Nationals, according to Coach Jim Riley. In all, 23 archers will represent Richneck in Kentucky.
B.C. Charles, coached by Beneline Williams, also made the cut for Nationals, qualifying 24 archers as they won the regional tournament to advance to States. Charles placed fourth at the state meet, and featured Grace Holland, who was second in the elementary girls’ division.
B. C. Charles Archers
Abigail Barrett
Bailey Barrett
Balen Caballero
Kylie Campbell
Gabby Carter
Taylor Crawford
Madison Dietz
Natalie Dietz
Brooke Ferguson
Grace Holland
Konnor Moody
Nikki Salatamos
James Salyers
Danica Schmidt
Sydney Sessions
Cecilia Sherman
Ethan Sleeth
Claire Smith
Alana Strange
Gabriel Taha
Jalen Terry-Winston
Razvan Verde
Evan Williams
Charlie Wilson
Richneck Archers
Gabrielle Gauthier
Ariana Robertson
Audrey McGrew
Adasyn Spindler
Darielys Diaz-Rodriguez
Kai-Ya Moore
Julia Diggs
Joshua Barnhart
Hudson Smith
Jeremy Barbee
Jacob Rodriguez
Brian Kilmartin
Harmonie Webb
Haley Harris
Sariah Webb
Rhianna Vaughn
Susan Kersey
Brielle Lacayo
Seliyah Viens
Makayla Cromwell
Samere Coleman
Maddox Evans
Evan Kim

Gildersleeve Archers
Carlton, Ian
Briggs, Ashton
Caldwell, Matthew
Evans, Cayden
Hager, Cheyanna
Herber, Ethan
Hollis, Caitlyn
McAninch, Avery
Morgan, Rachael
Rawls, Skylar
Slaughter, Kaden
Smith, Keira
Spain, Brett
Spain, Bryce
Taha, Haneen
Trau, Hayleigh
Tucker, Anna
Twitchell, Kasey
Walls, Drew
Welch, Bryson
Wells, Carson
Westphal, Keaton

4.28.2018

Replacing Ricky Slade (as seen on UltimateRecruit.com)

The first thing one notices is the energy. Juanya Braxton has barrels to burn, keeping his compact physique on the move. If it’s not the energy, one can’t help but notice the smile. Braxton can light up a room with his 100-watt grin, which is outshined only by the Hylton back’s self-confidence.

(Video at: http://www.ultimaterecruit.com/nova-football/clash-spotlight-mvp-hylton-rb-juanya-braxton-video/)

“You’re ready to write about me?,” asks the Bulldog to a reporter, midway through Sunday’s “Clash of the Titans” camp. While the question sounded overly confident, it became evident by day’s end that the answer would be yes, as Braxton was announced as the Northern Virginia 
regional running back MVP of the Clash.

The junior’s self-confidence will come in handy, especially as Hylton coach Tony Lilly and his staff try to reconfigure their team after the loss of several key seniors, including All-American running back Ricky Slade. Addressing the situation on Sunday, defensive coordinator John Harris, asked about the 2018 forecast for the Bulldogs, quipped, “well, first we have to make up 2,000 yards.”

Braxton acts ready for the responsibility. “I can’t wait to accept the challenge,” said the 5-8, 170-pound runner over the phone on Tuesday. “I’m training every day, and sometimes I’ll train, go to school, train, go to work, come back and work out some more.”

The rusher’s personality and work ethic are most evident in the weight room, where Hylton’s 6 AM lifting sessions are a crucial component of the strength program. “His energy builds the team up,” says quarterback Keyshawn Copeland, “especially that early in the morning. He’s real hype and loud!”

And self-aware. With Slade gathering almost every running back carry for the Region 6A finalists, it was hard for the younger backs to get experience. In need of advice, Braxton went straight to the source.

“He (Slade) showed me a lot of things, especially with agility and explosiveness,” said Braxton, who also worked on his speed and claims a 4.58 40-yard time. “He taught me how to not only make a move at the right time, but to make sure it’s the RIGHT move,” he added with emphasis on the concept that not every move will work in a given situation. He made the most of their one season together. “When I realized how good he is, I spent as much time with him as possible.”

Now, Braxton, who also plays outside linebacker and cornerback on the defense, hopes to put his new skills to good use. Sunday’s display was just a start. “I want to show the coaches that I can replicate what Ricky did.”

And in August, he’ll get his chance.