Category Archives: Washington Post

From Sierra Leone to the mat, this trio of George Mason wrestlers is tied together

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One is an Olympic hopeful. The other two are the first members of their families to attend college. All three trace their roots to a war-torn country across the Atlantic Ocean, and by varying routes, they all found their way to the same college wrestling team.

Ibrahim Bunduka and Konbeh Koroma were 7 years old when they arrived in Alexandria after fleeing Freetown, their families desperate to escape a civil war that claimed at least 50,000 lives in Sierra Leone. Sahid Kargbo remained in Alexandria all along; his parents and older brother left Freetown in 1991, just before the war spread.

The three George Mason University students share a unique heritage, but their true common ground is on a wrestling mat.

Kargbo opted to redshirt this winter in an effort to qualify for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Koroma will wrap up his college career this weekend at the Eastern Wrestling League championships in Lock Haven, Pa., where Bunduka, a redshirt sophomore, will look to cap a strong season as the Patriots’ lead-off wrestler at 125 pounds.

With their final meet together looming, the three brothers in singlets find themselves on the precipice of new phases in their lives — a long leap from where they began. Continue reading From Sierra Leone to the mat, this trio of George Mason wrestlers is tied together

Steph Curry uncorks game-winner, sets record, crushes Thunder’s soul

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Steph Curry is a ruthless, hyper-coordinated cyborg designed to wreak havoc on NBA teams from long distances. The latest evidence was on full display in Oklahoma City in a 121-118 Warriors win on Saturday night.

That dagger marked a fitting end to arguably the most entertaining game of this NBA season, one in which Curry went absolutely bananas from three-point land, again. The reigning MVP finished with 12 three-pointers, tying the NBA single-game record and breaking his own single-season mark in the process.

Continue reading Steph Curry uncorks game-winner, sets record, crushes Thunder’s soul

Wrestling: Lake Braddock’s Wiles twins blaze a path of redemption

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No one has displayed more hunger on the wrestling mat this season than Lake Braddock’s Wiles twins. Dante and Darius Wiles, who from the stands can only really be differentiated by Dante’s conspicuous knee brace, have pinned nearly every opponent that’s been thrown at them during their senior campaigns. They’re both undefeated this season, and they’re both aching to redeem for the failures of their recent past.

In fact, the only wrestlers hungrier than this year’s Wiles twins might have been last year’s Wiles twins. Continue reading Wrestling: Lake Braddock’s Wiles twins blaze a path of redemption

National Signing Day 2016: Woodbridge DL Kyree Campbell signs with North Carolina

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Everybody wanted a piece of Kyree Campbell during his recruiting process. Woodbridge’s brawny 6-foot-5, 314-pound defensive lineman received over 40 Football Bowl Subdivision offers, the overtures stretching from Alabama to Ohio State, from Auburn to Notre Dame.

But no school remained more loyal to Campbell than North Carolina. Head Coach Larry Fedora personally visited the prized lineman nearly a dozen times, and the Tar Heels proved more active on social media than a teenager on vacation. “I literally hear from UNC on Twitter twice a day,” Campbell said last February.

Campbell rewarded North Carolina’s persistence with his verbal commitment last August, and he affirmed his own loyalty by officially signing with the Tar Heels on Wednesday morning at Woodbridge Senior High. Continue reading National Signing Day 2016: Woodbridge DL Kyree Campbell signs with North Carolina

Hylton lineman Silas Dzansi wastes no time committing to Virginia Tech football

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Everything about Silas Dzansi’s young football career to this point has been about speed. At 6-foot-6, 260 pounds, the burly Hylton lineman runs the 40-yard dash in a nimble 4.9 seconds. A basketball player with little interest in football his freshman year, he took only two seasons to develop into a college prospect. And when Virginia Tech dealt him a scholarship offer on Monday, he took almost no time to make his college decision.

Previously a Delaware State commit at defensive end, Dzansi flipped his commitment Monday when Virginia Tech offensive line Coach Vance Vice visited the Woodbridge school to make an official offer. Nine days ahead of National Signing Day, the Hokies became the only FBS school to extend Dzansi an offer. Aside from Delaware State, the raw prospect had talked to coaches from Temple, Rhode Island, Virginia State, Virginia Union, Hampton and Shepherd.

“I grew up with Virginia Tech,” said Dzansi, the Hokies’ 19th commitment in the Class of 2016. “They were the first college football team I ever watched. Virginia Tech is my dream school. I’ve always wanted to go there. I love the atmosphere, the coaches.” Continue reading Hylton lineman Silas Dzansi wastes no time committing to Virginia Tech football

NBA coaches are not happy about the Cavaliers’ firing of David Blatt

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Most everyone was taken aback by the Cleveland Cavaliers’ firing of coach David Blatt on Friday. Reporters and fans scratched their heads at the notion that a coach with a 30-11 record — good for first place in the Eastern Conference standings — could get the axe, especially after guiding his team to the NBA Finals last season. Even LeBron James was “surprised and caught off-guard,” or so he said.

Prominent among the befuddled masses are the rest of the league’s head coaches, who on Friday and Saturday voiced unanimous disapproval. The coaching community didn’t like the precedent it set for a league that seems ever more impatient with its carousel of coaches.

Dallas Mavericks Coach Rick Carlisle, who spoke on the matter for more than five minutes Friday evening, had some particularly harsh words. Continue reading NBA coaches are not happy about the Cavaliers’ firing of David Blatt

House bill could alter Virginia High School League’s voting structure

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The Virginia High School League looks poised for another restructuring, but a bill put before the General Assembly last Wednesday could portend more profound changes to the league’s voting structure down the line.

One day after the VHSL announced a shakeup in its conference and regional groupings, Delegate Glenn Davis (R-Va. Beach) introduced a piece of legislation aimed at eliminating the league’s longstanding one-vote-per-school policy in favor of a more representative model based on student enrollment. The move would tilt voting power away from small schools scattering the state and toward larger schools in highly populated areas like Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads and Richmond.

House Bill No. 965 asserts that no public school should remain a member of any organization that classifies schools based on student enrollment — as the VHSL does — unless that organization “apportions voting rights to member schools based on the same formula.” The VHSL, a private, non-profit organization overseeing all the public school sports teams in the state, currently provides each of its 316 member schools with one vote in membership meetings, regardless of student body size or athlete participation numbers.

Davis proposed similar legislation last January, only to see HB1415 killed by the Education Committee before it could get to the floor of the General Assembly. The bill’s demise didn’t surprise Davis, who pointed out that legislation often takes two or three go-arounds to get passed by legislators pouring over some 2,000 bills during the General Assembly’s 45-day regular session. This year’s session extends to 60 days, as it falls on an even-numbered calendar year.

[Virginia High School League to revert to former district and region format]

Davis believes a more straightforward approach gives his bill a better chance of passing this time around. Last year’s iteration focused on the way VHSL dues are paid, stipulating that schools paying more in annual dues should receive more votes during state-wide legislative matters. The concept seemed simple enough, but it failed to address a complicated due-paying formula that fluctuates year-to-year based on changing enrollment and participation numbers.

This year’s bill deals only with alignment, suggesting that schools and regions with more people should carry more votes.

“The goal still is to provide the parents and students in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia and Richmond the same voice as those in other parts of the state have,” said Davis, an alumnus of 5A South region member Green Run High. “That was the goal last year; that’s the goal this year. The parents feel as passionate about it this year as they did last year.” Continue reading House bill could alter Virginia High School League’s voting structure

Bengals nearly beat the Steelers, then remember they’re the Bengals

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The Cincinnati Bengals’ fourth-quarter comeback against the Pittsburgh Steelers Saturday night was highly improbable. Their subsequent meltdown was even more jaw-dropping. That is, until you remember they’re the Cincinnati Bengals.

In one of the most bizarre finishes to an NFL playoff game in recent memory, the Bengals overcame a 15-0 fourth-quarter deficit, coughed up a fumble with 1 minute 36 seconds to go on the Pittsburgh 26-yard line, then committed back-to-back personal fouls — first on Vontaze Burfict, then on Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones — to set up Steelers kicker Chris Boswell’s game-winning 35-yard field goal.

The 18-16 defeat was soul-crushing, even for a fan base intimately familiar with the Bengals’ annual postseason routine since their last playoff win in 1991.

The Bengals have been one of the league’s most consistent teams since quarterback Andy Dalton arrived in 2011, as they’ve gone 52-27 in the regular season since that time. But it hasn’t yielded the woebegone franchise any playoff glory, nor has it done any favors for Coach Marvin Lewis, who now falls to 0-7 in his playoff career. Lewis is the second-longest tenured head coach in the NFL behind New England Patriots boss Bill Belichick.

The Steelers, meanwhile, emerged from the devastating collapse unscathed and feeling pretty good about the whole thing.

Standout point guard James West IV transfers back to Freedom-Woodbridge

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Fortunes change from year to year, but perhaps no high school basketball team in the area has undergone a reversal as dramatic as the Freedom-Woodbridge boys this season. The Eagles graduated 13 seniors from the 2014-15 squad that marched all the way to the Virginia 5A state semifinals, leaving this year’s group with a 2-5 record entering 2016. Each of those losses came by at least 25 points last month.

On Monday Freedom experienced another major change of fortune. James West IV, a standout point guard who transferred from Freedom to Christ School (N.C.) last summer, transferred back to Freedom this week. He enrolled in the school Monday and played his first game back with the Eagles Tuesday night against Forest Park.

“I’m looking to come in and hopefully put up big points for Freedom, and hopefully we can get more wins,” West IV, the son of Freedom Coach James West, said before the contest. “I’m just excited to be back.” Continue reading Standout point guard James West IV transfers back to Freedom-Woodbridge