Category Archives: Washington Post

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

Keaton Simmons drives Stonewall Jackson boys’ basketball to 9-1 start

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Losing can affect teams in various ways, depending on its regularity. One loss can galvanize a team and make it stronger. A couple losses here and there can keep a team humble and teach it to get better. Persistent losing, though, can deflate a locker room, sapping the air out of players’ lungs and extinguishing hope.

Stonewall Jackson senior Keaton Simmons knows that dejection all too well. Now considered one the most lethal point guards in Virginia, Simmons endured a 7-14 campaign during his first season on the varsity squad as a sophomore, then guided his team to an 11-11 mark that ended with a demoralizing loss to Fairfax in the opening round of the 6A North region tournament last season.

One year later, Simmons and company feel an entirely different energy in the Stonewall locker room. The Raiders are 9-1, fresh off an unbeaten showing at the L.C. Bird Holiday Hoops tournament in Richmond. A win over Battlefield Tuesday would equal their best start in program history.

“Everybody’s more energetic now,” Simmons said. “We’re winning, and we’re trying to keep that energy going and not lose focus.” Continue reading Keaton Simmons drives Stonewall Jackson boys’ basketball to 9-1 start

South County’s defense steps up in Va. 6A North region win over Robinson

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Unbeaten South County rode into Saturday’s 6A North region semifinals on the wings of a high-powered offense that had yet to be slowed in 2015. Through 12 games, the Stallions’ relentless triple-option attack churned out gaudy averages of 43.7 points and 492 yards per outing. No one could keep up.

But when senior cornerback Kofi Bell snared an interception and galloped toward the end zone early in the fourth quarter in Lorton, it became clear that second-ranked South County was riding its unheralded defense to next week’s region championship. Bell and company picked up the slack for an offense that managed just two scores, lifting the Stallions to a 20-15 semifinal victory over No. 20 Robinson.

“We go out and make plays on the field every week, and that’s how it’s always been,” Bell said. “And now it’s finally being recognized.” Continue reading South County’s defense steps up in Va. 6A North region win over Robinson

Westfield field hockey provides extended support network for teammate’s family members with Stage 4 cancer

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As the Conference 5 championship got underway Oct. 26, Westfield junior defender Carolyn Ziegler sat in her family’s basement watching “Dancing with the Stars.” Ziegler, a role player on Northern Virginia’s most dominant field hockey team this fall, wanted desperately to be bouncing alongside her teammates on the sideline, to be cheering in the sanctuary that soothed her spirit during the most painful year of her life.

Yet she knew that home was exactly the place she needed to be that night. Her older brother, Michael, was locked in an 18-month battle with Stage 4 brain cancer, and he had recently suffered a seizure that stole his ability to speak. Perched on the basement couch next to Michael was their mother, Barbara, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer in February. Barbara’s husband, Mark, sat nearby. The family needed to stick together.

The doorbell rang at about 9:30. Mark trudged upstairs to answer the door, and Carolyn bolted off the couch at the sound of familiar voices. In walked Westfield Coach Starr Karl with five beaming field hockey players in tow. The triumphant entourage, gleeful in the wake of a 3-0 victory over Herndon, made its way downstairs, where Karl presented Carolyn, Michael and Barbara with a shiny piece of hardware.

“That’s your plaque,” she said. “That’s your district championship.”

Continue reading Westfield field hockey provides extended support network for teammate’s family members with Stage 4 cancer

Jim Harbaugh prescribes ‘natural steriods’ — including sleep, milk and steak

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Jim Harbaugh is a man’s man, the kind of man who will happily roll up his pleated khakis and fix the pesky leak in your bathroom sink, then head outside to chop down a 60-foot oak tree with a blunt hatchet, all while screaming up at the birds to show more urgency and fly more efficient routes.

He’s also the kind of man who would scoff at a recent report by Oxford scientists that eating one steak per week increases the risk of bowel cancer. Behold the hearty declaration he dished out on his “Inside Michigan Football” radio show Monday night, when a caller asked the celebrated Michigan coach how to turn his unborn child “into a 6-5 U-M quarterback:”

“I take a vitamin every day,” he said, per ESPN. “It’s called a steak.” Continue reading Jim Harbaugh prescribes ‘natural steriods’ — including sleep, milk and steak