It was a banner week for county athletes across the spectrum of winter high school sports.
After capturing the final two Central Region All-Around gymnastics titles, Patrick Henry’s Kristen Valasek, beset through the season by a healing wrist, recovered from a mistake on the beam to win the first-ever Conference 11 All-Around individual title Saturday at Deep Run High School.
“I tried to put [the wrist] aside, and put forth a 100 percent effort, not only for myself but for my team,” Valasek said. “We really wanted to make it to Regionals as a team, and I’m happy we could pull it out.”
Valasek teamed with sophomore Keion Greenhow for a one-two punch, as Greenhow finished second in the All-Around, helping the Patriots finish with 140.525 points as a team, second to Deep Run, who had 141.250 points. Valasek’s final score was 37.175, while Greenhow finished with 36.925.
The top individual finishers overall for Atlee and Lee-Davis – Derika Banks and Madison Godsey – finished tied for seventh with 35.075 points. Lee-Davis placed fourth in team competition (137.700), while Atlee was fifth (133.225).
In individual categories, Greenhow captured the vault with the tournament’s highest score, a 9.7. Valasek won the bars with a 9.425, and placed third on floor exercise at 9.450.
The floor belonged to Lee-Davis, as Becca Fields won with a 9.625, followed by Godsey at 9.575.
Patrick Henry defeated Deep Run by a 10th of a point at a meet in early January, so precedent is there for the Patriots to leapfrog the Wildcats at Saturday’s 5A South Regional Championships, also being held at Deep Run. But there are other strong contenders looming on the horizon.
“We won’t add very much, but we need to be consistent, and have fun. Going against the teams from the Virginia Beach area is always a daunting task,” Patriots head coach Austin Beazley noted. “This is the first time our team has advanced out of what we used to call our region, so I want them to enjoy the experience.”
Meanwhile, Hanover placed second as a team at the Conference 12 Tournament held earlier in the week. The Hawks finished with 134.65 points, behind champion Mountain View (138.075). Ashleigh Bryant, by finishing fourth in the All-Around, qualified for all four events at Saturday’s Regionals.
The following county athletes will compete Saturday:
All-Around – Valasek and Greenhow, Patrick Henry; Bryant, Hanover (eligible for all events); Team – Patrick Henry and Hanover; Vault and Floor – Godsey, Fields, Kinsee Stonebreaker, Kylie Stonebreaker, Lee-Davis; Banks, Atlee; Bars – Banks, Atlee; Katelynne Gillis, Hanover (Gillis also qualified on Beam and Vault); Floor – Kate Lewis, Atlee; Beam – Julia Grubbs, Leah Kemler, Hanover.
Overcoming innumerable injuries, the resilient Hanover wrestling team took the first-ever Conference 20 team championship away from Glen Allen Saturday at Dinwiddie High School with six individual championships. The Hawks won the overall crown by a mere three points.
Winning conference titles were Gray Hart (106 pounds), Tyler Flora (120), J.D. Gregory (126), Corbin Allen (152), T.J. Allen (182), and Bishop Guempel (195). Reggie Mouton finished second at 138 pounds. Allen was named the tourney’s most outstanding wrestler, while head coach Aaron Bradley was named Conference 20 Coach of the Year. The Hawks participate in the 4A South Regional Championship Friday and Saturday at Woodrow Wilson High School in Portsmouth.
In Orange Friday night, Patrick Henry captured the inaugural Conference 16 team title, defeating Albemarle, Halifax County, and Orange County. Four Patriots won individual titles: Jake Harris (182), Tanner Jonske (220), Jeremy Roup (132) and Luis Sagal (113). The Patriots move on to the 5A North Regional Finals this weekend at North Stafford High School.
At the Conference 11 Tournament Saturday at Mills Godwin, Hayden Keener led the Lee-Davis charge, but the team fell three points short of the team title, falling to the host Eagles 203-200. Keener, the Conference winner at 113 pounds, was named the tourney’s most outstanding wrestler.
Other Confederates to win individual titles were Chris Morris (132), Andrew Anthony (145), David Boyle (152) and William Hazelwood (285).
Atlee finished fifth overall at 146 points. The Raiders had two individual champions: Tanner Bazemore at 170 pounds and Charlie Belvin at 182 pounds.
The Confederates, and all Raiders who placed in the top four at the Conference level, will compete this weekend at the 5A South Regional Tournament at Clover Hill High School in Chesterfield.
The Atlee girls won the Conference 10 team championship Friday in Newport News in the first-ever tourney pitting the Raiders against teams from the Hampton Roads area in the postseason’s first round.
Freshman Olivia Fisher led the way with two victories, the 50 freestyle and the 100 backstroke, while Oakleigh Hogg placed second in the 100 breaststroke. Both the girls and boys 200 medley relay teams were victorious. Overall, the Atlee boys team finished second.
Lee-Davis, in its first-ever Conference 9 Tournament in Virginia Beach, placed fourth overall in boys and girls competition. Individual champions included Hannah Ikenberry (100 backstroke, 200 freestyle), Molly Sheffield (200 IM), and Jordan Witherow (boys 400 freestyle).
Qualifying swimmers for the Raiders and Confederates next move to the 5A South Regional Finals this weekend at Old Dominion University.