Virginia native Ginny Thrasher, 19, shoots her way to first U.S. gold medal in Rio

[READ ARTICLE IN THE WASHINGTON POST]

Three years ago, then-West Springfield High junior Ginny Thrasher was the 45th-best junior air rifle shooter in the U.S. On Saturday morning, the 19-year-old NCAA national champion stepped into the first medal event of the Rio Games — the women’s 10-meter air rifle finals — and did this: Continue reading Virginia native Ginny Thrasher, 19, shoots her way to first U.S. gold medal in Rio

Camp Countdown: Westfield is hungry to defend its state title

[READ ARTICLE IN THE WASHINGTON POST]

2015 record: 14-1, beat Oscar Smith in the Va. 6A state championship

Returning starters: 6 offense / 5 defense

Style of play: Pro-style offense / 4-3 defense

Key returning players: QB Rehman Johnson, Sr. (380 passing yards, six touchdowns, zero interceptions); WR Sean Eckert, Sr. (23 catches, 439 yards, four touchdowns); OL Christian Karl, Sr.; LB Kevin Petrillo, Sr. (107 tackles, three sacks, six interceptions); DL Zach Jewell, Sr. (49 tackles, seven sacks, two forced fumbles)

Toughest matchups:

Sept. 9 at South County: A reloaded South County squad will be itching for revenge on its home turf after last year’s 40-8 embarrassment in the 6A North region final. The Stallions won this Week 2 meeting a year ago, dealing the Bulldogs their lone defeat.

Oct. 14 vs. Robinson: Rams quarterback Alex Miller and tailback Roman Lowry — both three-year starters — will lead Robinson’s experienced ground attack into a bruising Concorde matchup that rarely disappoints.

The Skinny:

It will be a long time before the shine wears off Westfield’s glittering 2015 football season. Finally, after four straight years of coming up short in the region final, the Bulldogs annihilated South County in the 6A North region championship, then overcame Oscar Smith in an unforgettable, triple-overtime thriller for their first state crown since 2007.

The Bulldogs are not eager to deem their past accomplishments ancient history. They are, however, ready to take a different approach to the 2016 campaign. Continue reading Camp Countdown: Westfield is hungry to defend its state title

Summer Workouts: Bethesda-Chevy Chase rower Quinlyn Spellmeyer grinds out rapid improvement on the water

[READ ARTICLE AND WATCH VIDEO IN THE WASHINGTON POST]

It’s 7:30 in the morning — on a Saturday, mind you — and Quinlyn Spellmeyer is already exhausted. She drops her oars and tries to regain the feeling in her hands. Her thighs scream as she climbs out of a wayworn, eight-person scull, 10,000 hard-earned meters of the Potomac River in her wake.

Spellmeyer is a rising senior at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High, but given her summer training regimen, you wouldn’t be crazy to mistake her for an Olympic rower enduring a masochistic lifestyle on the road to Rio. Sunday aside, the spunky, 17-year-old redhead rises at 4:30 a.m. for her daily oatmeal and yogurt, churns through morning and afternoon practices with two different teams, volunteers with a summer rowing camp and hits the pillow by 9 p.m.

Spellmeyer estimates she rows about 80 miles per week in practice. Three of those days include land sessions on the dreaded ergometer, on which she grinds out at least eight kilometers per session, sometimes motoring at a 5K-race pace.

There are times — when the miles tick slowly by, when the heat saps her lungs, when the water dissolves into an endless desert expanse — when Spellmeyer wonders why she keeps climbing back into the boat. Continue reading Summer Workouts: Bethesda-Chevy Chase rower Quinlyn Spellmeyer grinds out rapid improvement on the water

NFL refutes Trump claim that it sent him a letter bashing debate schedule

[READ ARTICLE IN THE WASHINGTON POST]

Donald Trump complained Friday that Hillary Clinton and her fellow Democrats were rigging this fall’s presidential debates by scheduling them alongside NFL games. That claim was easy to disprove — the debate schedule was determined almost a year ago by a private group made up of both Democrats and Republicans.

On Saturday, Trump doubled down on his grievance. In an interview with ABC’s “This Week,” the GOP presidential hopeful said the NFL voiced its dismay about the conflicting primetime slots in a letter to Trump.

“I’ll tell you what I don’t like,” Trump told George Stephanopoulos. “It’s against two NFL games. I got a letter from the NFL saying, “This is ridiculous.’”

Just one problem with that: The NFL says it never sent him a letter. CNN’s Brian Stelter approached the league about the matter and got this response: Continue reading NFL refutes Trump claim that it sent him a letter bashing debate schedule

Houston Texans’ top target Deandre Hopkins holding out of training camp

[READ ARTICLE IN THE WASHINGTON POST]

With J.J. Watt already sidelined due to back surgery, the Houston Texans entered training camp this week without their best defensive player. On Saturday, the Texans learned they would also be without their best offensive player.

Pro Bowl wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins did not report to the Texans’ camp at the Houston Methodist Training Center on Saturday. The team confirmed Hopkins is holding out as he seeks a new contract. Continue reading Houston Texans’ top target Deandre Hopkins holding out of training camp

Cheyna Williams makes most of her second chance in Spirit’s 3-1 win

[READ ARTICLE IN THE WASHINGTON POST]

Cheyna Williams had spent the past three months trying to flush the blown opportunity from her memory bank. At Sky Blue FC on April 24, in the Washington Spirit’s second game of the season, Williams entered in the second half and saw the ball fall invitingly to her feet inside the six-yard box. She whiffed.

Williams was not about to make the same mistake Sunday in her fourth start of the season. Again facing Sky Blue — this time at Maryland SoccerPlex — the Spirit’s second-youngest player experienced a flash of deja vu when teammate Caprice Dydasco fed her a cross from the end line six minutes from halftime. This time, Williams calmly placed her shot into the far corner from 10 yards to record her first career goal and put Washington ahead.

Midfielder Estefania Banini also scored, and defender Alyssa Kleiner added an emphatic insurance goal in the final minute of stoppage time to secure a 3-1 victory before 2,930 in Boyds.

[Argentina’s Estefania Banini finds a home with the Spirit]

“I think it’s kind of funny that I found myself in the same situation,” said Williams, a 22-year-old rookie. “I wanted to put it away this time.” Continue reading Cheyna Williams makes most of her second chance in Spirit’s 3-1 win

Journalist, blogger, content manager