Herndon and Joseph win Times-Mirror Athletes of the Year honors
The ceremony served as a finishing line for a banner year in Loudoun athletics, one that brought several state titles back to the county.
Recognizing the top male and female athletes of each Loudoun County school, the top honors were provided to soccer standout Ashley Herndon of Stone Bridge High School and record-breaking runner Patrick Joseph of Loudoun County High School.
Herndon has left her mark on the Bulldog soccer program, would be an understatement. Stone Bridge has consistently fielded one of the best teams in the state throughout Ashley's varsity career. She earned All-District, All-Region and All-Met honors in all four varsity years and was a two-time All-State selection. Ashley was a finalist for the Gatorade Virginia Player of the Year award in 2013. Also a defensive standout on the basketball court, Ashley scored 24 goals and dished 13 assists in 2013 to help the Bulldogs win the Liberty District title and produce an overall record of 17-1-2. Ashley scored 101 goals during her prep career, just shy of the Virginia High School League record for Group AAA schools. Ashley will next showcase her soccer skills at James Madison University.
Joseph is arguably the most decorated track athlete in the history of Loudoun County Public Schools. He recently ran a 4:07.88 mile at the prestigious Penn Relays, the third fastest time among high school boys nationally. Patrick won numerous district and region titles in cross-country and track. He also excelled at the state level, winning four individual championships and one relay title at the state meet. Patrick set meet records in eight events in 2013 and holds school records for the 800-meter run, 1,600 run and as part of the 1,600 and 3,200 relay teams. Patrick will run on scholarship for Virginia Tech's cross-country and track teams. Human geography is Patrick's favorite subject and his likely major at Virginia Tech.
The keynote speaker for the event was Mark Simpson, Director of Soccer Operations with VIP Sports & Entertainment. Currently organizing the new Virginia Cavalry FC soccer team for VIP, Simpson is best known for his time as a goalie and coach for DC United.
Sharing his thoughts on the skills provided by organized sports, Simpson read from a 1996 letter that had informed him that he had not been drafted and would return to the minor leagues. Even so, Simpson was able to join DC United later in the year and joined the team as they won the MLS Championship.
“I encourage each of you to take smart chances,” Simpson told the young athletes in attendance. “Follow your passion. Build others up around you. Be part of something special and life will have a meaningful purpose for you. “
The Athletes of the Year awards ceremony also served to recognize community athletics as well as Loudoun Soccer recognized two team members playing with their organization: Abby Downey and Jimmy Grace.
The Athletes of the Year were selected in a collaborative process with Loudoun County Publc Schools. Nominations were made by the athletic directors at each Loudoun public high school with the LTM grand prize winners being selected by a board of sports writers assembled by Times-Mirror Sports Editor Carl Lukat. Selections were based on general athletic ability, sportsmanship, academic achievement and civic outreach at school and in the community.
Sponsors of the event were the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation, Loudoun Soccer, Beckwith Bolle of Carter Braxton, Dulles Motorcars, Loudoun Hounds, Crown Trophy and Steigerwald, Gordon & Koch Wealth Advisors.
School-by-School Athletes of the Year
Briar Woods High School
Holly was a member of the Falcons' competitive cheer squad that won four consecutive state championships. She earned All-State honors four times and served as a team captain for two years. Holly also excels academically, winning an Excellence in Education Award. She will cheer at Penn State University.
Cameron helped the Falcons' football team win their third straight Virginia Division 4 state championship in 2012. Cameron served as a team captain for two years and was an All-State performer in each of his final three seasons. Also a two-year varsity baseball player, Cameron was on the honor roll all four years. He will play football at Wake Forest University on an athletic scholarship.
Broad Run High School
Briana was a three-sport athlete at Broad Run, competing on the Spartans' competitive cheer, gymnastics and track & field teams. She earned 11 varsity letters at Broad Run. Briana is also a National Honor Society member.
Logan earned three letters in both football and wrestling at Broad Run. He was selected as a team captain on the football and wrestling teams as a senior. Logan also garnered All-Cedar Run District selection in football. Logan reached the finals in his weight class in the district wrestling tournament and competed in the Best of the East wrestling tournament.
Dominion High School
Victoria "Tory" Wright
Tory was a standout of the Titans' softball team and also lettered in varsity basketball as a sophomore. Tory was a four-year varsity starter in softball, gaining first team All-District selection her final two seasons. Tory maintained a 3.85 grade point average as a senior. She will continue her softball career at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Sam played four seasons of golf at Dominion. He broke through in a big way as a junior by winning an individual state championship. Sam was the golf team's MVP and the Titans' Athlete of the Year in each of his final two years. He raised funds for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital through the Bubba Conlee Birdies for St. Jude Program.
Freedom High School
Katie ran cross-country and was a varsity swimmer for four years at Freedom. A swim team captain as a senior, Katie earned All-District honors in the 50 freestyle and 100 breaststroke events. She was part of the Eagles' district champion 200 freestyle relay team. Katie holds school records in the 100 breaststroke, 200 medley relay and 200 freestyle relay.
Brendan left his mark on Freedom's football and wrestling programs. He was a first team All-District running back in 2012, rushing for more than 1,000 yards and scoring nine touchdowns in a five-game span. Brendan won a pair of district wrestling titles, and placed sixth in the state. He holds schools records with 396 rushing yards in a single game and 56 wrestling wins in a single season.
Heritage High School
Alayna was a four-year member of the Pride's cross-country and track & field teams. She won the 3,200-meter run title at the 2013 district and region meets. Alayna ranks third in her class with a 4.48 grade point average. She plans to continue her academics and athletic career at George Mason University.
Nicholas played three seasons of varsity football and soccer at Heritage. He maintained a 4.01 grade point average. Nicholas was voted second team All-District as a defensive back. He was a three-year starter in soccer, serving as a team captain as a senior. Nicholas will attend The United States Military Academy at West Point in the fall.
John Champe High School
Madisyn "Maddie" Graham
Maddie competed on the Knights' soccer and swim teams. A team captain in swimming, Maddie placed third in the 500 freestyle at the district meet and posted a pair of top six finishes at regionals and two top 20 finishes at states. Maddie was also a team captain in soccer as a senior.
Joaquin made a big impact on the Knights' swim team as a freshman. He won Dulles District and Region II championships, and placed fifth in the state in the 100 breaststroke. Joaquin has a 3.9 grade point average and is a leader.
Loudoun County High School
Taylor was a three-year starter in volleyball. During her three seasons, Loudoun County won three district titles, three region crowns and two state championships. Taylor holds the school record for kills in a season. She will play volleyball at Towson University.
Patrick competed in three varsity sports at Loudoun County. He excels in cross-country and track & field, and was also a varsity swimmer. Patrick placed at the state level 11 times during his career. He will run on scholarship for Virginia Tech.
Loudoun Valley High School
Andrea was a three-year varsity member and captain of the Vikings' girls soccer program. She plays club soccer on the Braddock Road Youth Club 95 Elite team that is ranked No. 1 in the nation. Andrea maintained a 3.5 grade point average and received All-District honors in soccer. Andrea will play soccer on full scholarship at Pfeiffer University in North Carolina.
Josh helped Loudoun Valley advance to the state playoffs each of the last two years. He was the Dulles District Division 3 Player of the Year as a senior. Josh completed his prep career with the third most career points in school history with 1,004 and ranks third all-time with 109 career made 3-pointers. Josh will play basketball at Alderson Broaddus College.
Park View High School
Vanessa is an outstanding leader on and off the athletic field. She served as a team captian on the Patriots' cross-country and softball teams, while also volunteering through many organizations. Vanessa is currently on a church mission trip in Costa Rica. Accepting Vanessa's award is her father Tim Grapes.
Ronald has been one of the top performers on Park View's football and wrestling teams the last three years. Ronald's strength, determination and relentlessness made him a force on the football field. He won Dulles District wrestling championships in his final two seasons. Ronald produced a 38-3 wrestling record as a senior and broke the school record for pins in a season with 28 on his way to placing third in the state.
Potomac Falls High School
A three-sport standout, Eileen has been voted Potomac Falls' Athlete of the Year for three consecutive years. She holds at least six school records in track and volleyball, and also swam on a state qualifying relay team. Eileen placed second at the state meet in the 300-meter hurdles. Eileen was also chosen as one of the Times-Mirror's 2013 Future Leaders.
Zach played on the Panthers' football, wrestling and lacrosse teams. He advanced to the state wrestling tournament as a senior. Zach's quiet leadership was evident this school year with him being selected as a team captain on the football, wrestling and lacrosse teams.
Stone Bridge High School
A varsity soccer and basketball player, Ashley is best known for her soccer prowess. She helped the Bulldogs win several titles, including a state championship in her freshman season. Herndon was selected as the Liberty District's Co-Player of the Year with teammate Murielle Tiernan each of the last two years and earned All-Region honors all four years. Ashley will play soccer at James Madison University.
Jon was a member of the Bulldogs' football, basketball and track & field teams. He was a dominant force as a defensive lineman, earning Gatorade Virginia Player of the Year and VHSL State Player of the Year honors, along with making the Parade All-American team as a senior. Jon won a district title in the discus throw. He received many scholarship offers, eventually deciding to play for the University of Alabama.
Tuscarora High School
Takiea competed successfully in a multitude of events for the Huskies' track and field team. As a senior, Takiea earned All-District honors in the 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles, long jump and triple jump; All-Region honors in the 100 and 300 hurdles and she qualified for states in both hurdle events. Takiea is equally dedicated in the classroom and plans to continue academically and athletically in college.
Angel has been a driving force on a Tuscarora soccer team that has advanced to the state playoffs each of the last three years. He has received numerous honors for his soccer talents, including Player of the Year awards at the district and regional level. Angel has worked tirelessly in the classroom to be the best student he can be.
Woodgrove High School
Stephanie was a varsity starter in basketball, tennis and volleyball. As a senior, Stephanie earned Player of the Year honors in basketball at the district and regional level and was also first team All-State. She helped Woodgrove win six district and region championship banners in basketball and tennis. Stephanie will continue her basketball career at Bucknell University.
Tucker competed in football and lacrosse, serving as a team captain on both teams. He was first team All-District lacrosse in his junior and senior year and an All-Region choice as well. As Woodgrove's first Division I lacrosse signee, Tucker will play lacrosse at High Point University.
Loudoun Soccer Athletes of the Year
For the past three years, Abby has been a key player on the Loudoun 95 Red Freedom team. A versatile athlete capable of playing any position on the field, Abby's skills, physical abilities and competitive drive have helped lead the 95 Red team from a ranking of 350th nationally three years ago to a No. 12 national ranking this year. Abby, a junior, is also one of the top soccer players for Tuscarora High School's team. She played a big role in helping the Huskies go from winning three games in 2012 to becoming one of the top teams in the Dulles District in 2013. Abby has already committed to play soccer for George Mason University upon graduating in 2014.
Jimmy plays for the Loudoun 95 Red team where his skills as a player and a leader has inspired his teammates to do their best. Jimmy captained the Loudoun 95 Red to their first-ever Boys State Cup title in the fall of 2012. He is also a captain on Briar Woods High School's soccer team. The Falcons won the Region II championship this season and will play in the state semifinals Saturday at Radford University. Jimmy will continue his soccer career at Christopher Newport University and is expected to immediately compete for a starting position.
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