Up in Minnesota, the Macalester College Scots are heading to their first NCAA Division III baseball championship tournament, thanks in large part to a local player.
The Scots are going to the tournament after winning the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship Saturday. Jared Abelson, a 2015 graduate of South Lakes High School, started the title game with a leadoff single and scored on a hit by the next batter, setting the pace in a 13-5 win over Bethel University. Abelson ended the game 2-for-5 with an RBI, and he ended the three-game playoff tournament with a .500 batting average.
The sophomore’s playoff performance was no fluke. Abelson, who plays center field and catcher, finished the MIAC season sixth in the conference in batting average (.371), hits (53), runs scored (35) and on-base percentage (.451).
In 2014, Abelson told the South Lakes Sentinel why he loves playing baseball.
“It’s all about overcoming obstacles. The beauty in baseball is that you don’t have to be 6’5″ to be the best player. Anyone can be great; you just have to be the hardest working guy, especially in the offseason.”
According to his profile on the Macalester College Athletics website, Abelson is 5 foot 9.
Photo via Macalester College Athletics
Youth baseball players in Northern Virginia, including Reston-Herndon Little Leaguers, are getting new digs this season thanks to the Washington Nationals.
The Major League team’s Nationals Youth Baseball Uniform Program has been providing, at no cost, team shirts, jerseys and caps to youth baseball and softball players in DC since 2015. This season, they have expanded the program to two Northern Virginia leagues, including Virginia District 4 Little League, of which Reston-Herndon is a part. The Northern Fairfax County Babe Ruth league is also now part of the program.
More than 4,500 players in Northern Virginia will join the program through the expansion, the team says, bringing the number of overall participants to over 8,300. All teams in each league wear Nationals jerseys, differentiated through the use of various team styles and colors.
To celebrate the program’s expansion, the team’s Racing Presidents and representatives from their front office will participate in the 2017 Reston-Herndon Little League Opening Day parade and celebration, scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday at Reston Town Center. Players will be sporting their new Nationals uniforms at the event.
The Uniform Program is a partnership between the Nationals and Inova Sports Medicine, who will also have staff participating in Saturday’s event.
In addition to the apparel, players are also given the opportunity to attend a Nats game through a complimentary ticket offer. Nationals players also visit leagues throughout the season, according to the team.
Image via Nationals Youth Baseball Uniform Program
The South Lakes Seahawks will be well-represented at the conference championship next month after performances in recent days.
At the Northern Virginia Invitational, April 7-8, the following team members hit qualifying marks for postseason competition:
- 400 meters: John Eggeman (junior)
- 3,200 meters: Marissa Banga (freshman), Sean Casey (junior), Isabelle Gulgert (sophomore) and Peter Sepulveda (senior)
- 300-meter hurdles: Abby Wickman (senior)
- discus: Jamie Richard (junior)
- pole vault: Megan Allison (junior) and Abby Wickman (senior)
- shot put: Madie Evans (junior) and Jessica Rice (senior)
Participating at the Arcadia Invitational in California, the sprint medley relay team — Hannah Waller (freshman), Cara Hutson (sophomore), Olivia Beckner (junior) and Devyn Jones (senior) — set a school-record time of 4 minutes, 6.84 seconds. Jones also hit state-qualifying times in the 100-meter and 300-meter hurdles. Waller did so in 100 and 200 meters.
Also in California, Timiebi Ogobri (senior) ran a state-qualifying time in the 100 meters; while Sophie Halkett (sophomore) and Alex Loukili (junior) both qualified in the 800 meters.
At their final event during spring break, last Thursday, more SLHS athletes qualified at the Leslie Sherman Memorial Invitational.
- 200 meters: Timiebi Ogobri (senior)
- 400 meters: Timiebi Ogobri (senior)
- 800 meters: Olivia Beckner (junior) and Alex Loukili (junior)
- 4×100-meter relay: Devyn Jones (senior), Hannah Waller (freshman), Danielle Spears (sophomore) and Rhema Konadu (freshman)
- 4×800-meter relay: Peter Sepulveda (senior), Sean Casey (junior), Alex Loukili (junior) and Jack Watkins (senior)
- discus: Jamie Richards (junior)
- shot put: Ronak Cuthill (junior)
The Seahawks next compete in a conference meet Wednesday at Langley High School, followed by the Hall of Fame Invitational at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke on Friday and Saturday.
Image of Devyn Jones, Hannah Waller, Cara Hutson and Olivia Beckner at Arcadia Invitational, courtesy South Lakes High School track and field
According to the entry list for the 121st annual event, the following individuals from Reston were registered for the race: William D’Agostino, Emmett Delaney, Marcy Foster, Lisa Johnston, Vince Kelley, Mark Langham, Deedee Loughran, Bin Mu, Douglas Pepelko, Sherri Ranney, Catherine Reen, Bob Reinhold, Rebecca Scott, Jie Zheng and Malissa Zimmerman.
In addition, three runners from Herndon — Pei Han, Mckell Poulton and Kiley Trennepohl — are listed among the registrants.
Local runners’ times, via the event’s Results page, are displayed below.
The men’s and women’s marathon winners, respectively, were Geoffrey Kirui (2 hours, 9 minutes, 37 seconds) and Edna Kiplagat (2 hours, 21 minutes, 52 seconds), both of Kenya.
The 2017 Runners Marathon of Reston on Sunday was paced by 20-year-old Ben Connelly.
Connelly, a club runner at the University of Virginia, took the 26.2-mile race in a time of 2 hours, 51 minutes and 57 seconds. He was the only runner to complete the course in under 3 hours.
We are just now receiving word that Ben Connelly is your 2017 Reston Marathon CHAMPION!!!
— Club Running at UVA (@UVaClubRunning) April 9, 2017
The rest of the male Top 5 included Robert Young (3:01:10), Erick Kuhlmann (3:03:06), David Simons (3:03:15) and Scott Melchior (3:05:05).
The winner of the women’s marathon was Kacey Gibson, an assistant coach for the Christopher Newport University running team. The 27-year-old completed the course in just under 3 hours and 17 minutes.
The rest of the female Top 5 included Alexandra Peterson (3:23:20), Paulina Campbell (3:23:31), Sam Kubica (3:24:09) and Erica Cline (3:37:30).
The half-marathon winners were Alexander Hetherington (1:21:17) and Brittany Leuenberger (1:28:25). Relay winners were “Team Fantastic Four” (3:25:10).
Race proceeds go to the Reston Runners Community Fund, designed to support the Reston community by providing scholarships to area student-athletes and financial support for athletic programs.
Photo of Connelly crossing the finish line via Runners Marathon of Reston/Facebook
Princess Aghayere is making a name for herself during her sophomore season on the University of Pennsylvania women’s basketball team.
The 2015 South Lakes High School graduate was named the Ivy League Player of the Week for her performances last week on the hardcourt. She posted a career-best 21 points during a Friday victory over Columbia, and followed it up the next day with a 12-point performance in a win over Cornell.
Some of her highlights from the weekend’s action can be seen on the Ivy League Sports YouTube channel.
On the season, Aghayere is averaging 5.6 points per game, tops among the team’s non-starters.
During her career at South Lakes High School, Aghayere earned first-team All-Conference recognition three times, and was second-team All-State twice. She also lettered in cross country and volleyball.
Aghayere is enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences at Penn, on a pre-med track. In a video released by the school earlier this year, she discussed her background and her goals for the future.
The defending Ivy League champions, the Quakers are undefeated (7-0) in conference play so far this season.
Photo via Don E. Felice/PennAthletics.com
The South Lakes High School track teams are once again on the top of the heap in the Liberty Conference. The boys closed out their ninth consecutive title this weekend at the championships in Landover, Maryland, while the girls took their sixth straight.
Junior runner Olivia Beckner, who had already set multiple new records earlier this season, won both the 1,000 meters (2:55.67) and 1,600 meters (5:04.44) in meet-record times. She also won the 3,200 meters (10:47:17) in school and conference record time.
Senior Devyn Jones won the 300 meters in 42.72 and finished third in the 500 meters (1:20.52) and fifth in the triple jump (33-08.75). She won the 55-meters hurdles in conference record time on the first day of the championships, as well as finishing second in the long jump and sixth in the high jump that day.
Jones was part of a SLHS sweep of the 500 meters. The race was won by junior Aly Rayle (1:19.62), followed by freshman Mary Gregory’s second place finish of 1:19.69. Rayle and Gregory teamed with sophomores Sophie Halkett and Cara Hutson to win the 4-by-400 meter relay in 4:09.53.
The Seahawks also won the top three spots in the 1,000 meters with Beckner leading the way, followed by Halkett (3:05.81) and sophomore Jordan Anderson (3:07.76).
On the boys’ side, seniors Timiebi Ogobri and Don’ta Whitley had outstanding performances for the Seahawks.
Ogobri, who successfully defended his 55-meters title on Day 1, won the 300 meters in 36.54. Sophomore Stevie Jones was third (37.19) and Whitley finished fifth (37.43). Ogobri was also fifth in the triple jump (39-04.00) and teamed with Jones, sophomore Nicky Napolitano and junior Carson Frutchey for third in 4-by-200 meter relay (1:35.34). Whitley was second in the triple jump (42-01.75), second in the 500 meters (1:08.61), sixth in the high jump (5-08.00), and teamed with senior Dimarcus Vilcheck and juniors John Eggeman and Houston Nelson for third in the 4-by-400 meter relay (3:38.21).
Senior Peter Sepulveda was third in the 1,600 meters (4:36.57), followed by juniors Alex Loukili (4:37.35, 4th) and Sean Casey (4:38.76, 5th). Loukili ran a 2:40.55 for third in the 1,000 meters while Casey finished fifth with a 2:46.85.
South Lakes will next compete in the 6A North Region Indoor Championship on Wednesday, Feb. 15 at the Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex in Landover.
The Cleveland Indians got off to an early lead in Game 1 of the 2016 World Series Tuesday when outfielder Brandon Guyer was hit by a pitch to force in the Indians’ second run. The Indians went on to crush the Cubs 6-0 and take a 1-0 lead in the series.
If you are looking for a local guy to cheer for, Guyer’s the one.
Guyer, 30, is a 2004 graduate of Herndon High School, where he also was a star tailback for the Hornets. He is still remembered for scoring seven touchdowns — a school single-game record — in the 2003 Homecoming game against West Potomac.
But back to baseball. Guyer was part of the Hornets 19-4 Concorde District championship squad in 2002, which was the last time Herndon won a district title. As a senior, he had 23 RBI, a .483 batting average and was walked 19 times.
He went on to play at the University of Virginia, and then moved through the minors. He briefly made an appearance with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2011, hitting a home run in his first at-bat against Baltimore.
By 2014, he was back in the majors for good. In 2015, he led the American League in being hit by the most pitches. The Major League single-game record for being hit by pitches is three, and that has happened to Guyer several times, most recently on April, 21 2016. That’s why they call him “La Piñata.”
Guyer — who is married to former Fox5 sports anchor/reporter Lindsay Murphy — was traded to the Indians on Aug. 1.
Look for Guyer as the series continues Wednesday in Cleveland. Game times is 7 p.m. on Fox5.
Photo courtesy Cleveland Indians
South Lakes High School football coach Trey Taylor was named the Washington Redskins Foundation’s High School Coach of the Week last week — and that was before SLHS earned another victory to improve to 8-0.
The award is given out each week by the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation and Inova Sports Medicine.
The Seahawks earned their biggest victory of the season Oct. 14 with an upset over then-No. 8 Madison. South Lakes then climbed 10 spots in the Washington Post poll. The Seahawks are the No. 8 team now. The team beat Langely 42-14 on Friday.
“Coach Taylor does a great job of helping each of his players recognize their full potential,” Linda Jones, SLHS Director Student Activities, said in a release. “He encourages his players to focus on academics first and to always do the right thing.”
The Redskins and Inova highlight some of Taylor’s accomplishments on and off the field since arriving at SLHS in 2014.
Coach Taylor has used community outreach as an opportunity to advocate team building amongst his student-athletes. Coach Taylor and his players are active in the “Readers Are Leaders” program with Terreset Elementary School and assist with the Reston Youth Association’s football camps and clinics. Players also help South Lakes custodial staff move school furniture before the start of every school year.
All South Lakes football coaches are Heads Up Football certified and emphasize the importance of proper tackling techniques to players. Taylor encourages his players to seek out the assistance of the Athletic Training staff when necessary. Additionally, he holds clinics for youth football coaches on proper techniques.
The High School Coach of the Week program is an NFL-wide initiative designed to recognize area high school football coaches who continuously demonstrate hard work and dedication to their football programs, the health and safety of their players, and who make a difference in their communities.
The Redskins Charitable Foundation has convened a panel of local high school football media experts to provide nominations of deserving high school coaches for consideration and selection.
Each coach chosen throughout the high school football season will receive a $2,000 donation from the Redskins Charitable Foundation to their football program and a framed certificate signed by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden, Redskins President Bruce Allen and General Manager Scot McCloughan, as well as other giveaway items from the Redskins Charitable Foundation and Inova Sports Medicine.
Coach Trey Taylor at SLHS football practice/file photo
The South Lakes Seahawks toppled No. 8 Madison 21-13 Friday, handing the Warhawks their first loss of the football season and taking the top spot in the Conference 6 standings.
With the victory, the Seahawks, ranked No. 18 by the Washington Post last week, will surely rise in the region-wide standings this week. They are now 7-0 (4-0 Conference 6).
A key play came in the third quarter. With Madison at fourth and goal on the Seahawks 1 yard line, South Lakes’ defense stopped Madison’s Nick Quinto from reaching the end zone.
SLHS coach Trey Taylor called the goal-line stand “one of the greatest I have ever seen.”
The game was WTOP’s “Game of the Week.” Madison had won 15 of its last 16 games, losing only to Chantilly in last year’s playoffs.
Quarterback Devin Miles passed for 232 yards. Spencer Alston ran in all thee of SLHS’ touchdowns.
South Lakes next plays at Langley Friday at 7 p.m.
Photos Courtesy David Cordts
The game is one of three candidates to be WTOP’s “DMV Game of the Week,” and it is depending on reader/listener votes to earn the honor.
WTOP will cover one of three games live Friday — and post interviews, photos, video from the game. the choices are South Lakes-Madison, Eleanor Roosevelt -Wise or top-ranked DeMatha vs. Gonzaga.
Read more about the games and cast your vote on WTOP’s website.
The deadline for voting is 11:59 p.m. Wednesday.
Photo: football/Credit: eteamz.com
Grant shot a 68 on Tuesday, which helped him win the individual medal by eight shots.
As a sophomore in 2015, Grant finished one stroke behind the winner. Grant was also the winner of last week’s Conference 6 tournament at Herndon Centennial Golf Course.
Grant, along with other regional qualifiers move on to the Boys 5A-6A state championships in Mosely, Va., Oct. 10-11.
Read more about Kurtis and see regional tournament pictures in this Washington Post story.
After a 56-18 route of Washington-Lee last week, South Lakes High School’s football team moved up in the Washington Post’s Top 20 Poll.
The 5-0 Seahawks — who were without starting quarterback Devin Miles after he went out with an injury halfway through Friday’s game — are now now No. 19. Last week, the team entered the poll at No. 20.
There are no additional details on Miles’ injury or whether he will be back this week. Coach Trey Taylor says the team does not comment on player injuries for privacy reasons as they are minors.
South Lakes is averaging more than 48 points per game behind the rushing duo of Spencer Alston and Albert Mensah. Read more about them in this Washington Post story.
Next up for South Lakes: Crosstown rival Herndon (1-4) in the annual “Baron Cameron Bowl.” The game is at Herndon Friday at 7 p.m.
South Lakes’ football’s 75-8 victory over McLean on Friday has earned the Seahawks a spot in the Washington Post’s High School Top 20 this week.
South Lakes (4-0) entered the poll at No. 20 based on the performance in which eight different players scored touchdowns and the Seahawks led 61-0 at halftime.
It was the biggest victory since Coach Trey Taylor took over the team prior to the 2014 season. The Seahawks were 8-2 last season, earning a trip to the Virginia 6A North Region Playoffs.
The margin was believed to be the biggest for the school since 1978.
“In general, I am happy with how we have progressed this season form last,” said Taylor. “We have had guys step up and replace players who graduated and we are playing well as a team. We are still a young group and have lots of things we need to fix if we want to improve as a team. That is our focus; we need to be better than last week.”
Leading South Lakes’ effort was junior running back Albert Mensah, who rushed six times for 127 yards (an average of 21.2 yards per carry) and two touchdowns; junior wide receiver Chris Ezidinima (33-yard touchdown catch); senior punt returner Andrew Funaki (50-yard return for a TD); junior quarterback Devin Miles (10-yard TD run); junior running back Spencer Alston (two-yard TD run); junior receiver Noah Seneca (13-yard catch); and sophomore running back Xavier May (scoring on runs of six and four yards).
There is still time to register for Saturday’s Susco 8K: Running with Tim.
The race is an annual event that honors Tim Susco, a 1999 South Lakes High School graduate who died of a bran aneurysm in 2007.
The race benefits both brain aneurysm and organ donor awareness. Susco was an organ donor, and his parents have, over the years, met several recipients of Tim’s otherwise-healthy organs.
The race begins at South Lakes High School at 8:30 a.m. There is also a 2K fun run/walk that starts at 8:35 a.m.
Online registration is closed, but you can register at packet pickup at SLHS ($35) Friday night or at the race ($40) Saturday morning starting at 7 a.m.
The course will go through streets near SLHS. Roads will not be completely blocked, but certain lanes will be for runners only. So plan ahead and use caution.
Affected streets include Ridge Heights Road, South Lakes Drive, Twin Branches Road, Glade Drive and Soapstone Drive.
See the full course on the race website.