Despite cold weather, the winter sports season is heating up. With a week’s worth of basketball games, several swimmers already making State cuts, two football players earning State recognition and one cross country runner achieving All-American status, there is a lot to celebrate in VES athletics.
The girls basketball team tipped off Monday against North Cross School. The game was a great opportunity for the team to work on offensive and defensive sets, and use the press. The team played well together and everyone was involved in the 54-17 win. Leading the way for the Bishops was Nia Cummings ‘20 with 15 points and countless rebounds, behind her was Holly Koudelka ‘21 with 10 points, Ariel Mial ‘19 with 8, Cameron Basnight ‘19 and Janae Bennett ‘19 with 6. The girls played again on Wednesday away against Kenston Forest. It was another solid win on the road with encouraging improvement on the execution against a zone defense. Almost all five starters scored in the double figures. The varsity squad capped off their weekend with the Phil Garmey Tournament. Despite playing on their home court, the Bishops struggled against a very tough Nansemond-Suffolk Academy team.
The JV girls also competed against the Kenston Forest “Kavaliers” on Wednesday. Although they ultimately did not walk away with the win, they had a phenomenal night on the court. They worked incredibly hard, which translated into gaining higher skills and the importance of teamwork. Their play highlighted the work they have done in piecing together fundamentals to compete against a high-caliber team like Kenston Forest.
Boys basketball started their week off with the varsity squad taking a tough loss on the road against Trinity Episcopal School. The Bishops fought to keep the game close, but could not quite overtake the Titans, ultimately losing 66-60. They closed out their week with the Robert Thomas Invitational Tournament hosted on our home court, in which they had two back-to-back wins. On Friday night, they pulled off a 1-point win, closing out the game against Nansemond-Suffolk 43-42. On Saturday, the varsity team took on Holy Cross and pulled off a resounding 65-39 win against the Lynchburg foe.
The Boys deacon squad competed in their first competition of the season; traveling to Blue Ridge on Friday. Despite their hustle and hard work, the young squad couldn’t quite match up against the physical Blue Ridge team, resulting in a loss.
Swimming had a big week in the pool with two meets. On Wednesday, the swimmers traveled to Roanoke to goup against North Cross in a duel meet. The fast-paced action required swimming back-to-back evens with almost no breaks. Swimmers on both the girls and boys side dropped anywhere from 2-15 seconds in their events. Also, congratulations to the boys 400 freestyle relay––Cody Carnes ‘21, Charlie Schindler ‘21, Joe Smiley ‘20 and John McNally ‘21––whose performances earned them State qualification. Friday saw the Bishops in their home pool at Randolph College (one of three home meets they will host this season) where they took on North Cross, New Covenant and Carlisle schools. As the swimmers continue to adjust to new events their times continue to drop. The team enjoyed several big wins. Joe won the 200 free for the males. Charlie won both the 200 IM in a tight but fun race and the 100 breast. Cody once again won the 100 fly, ripping down the pool in 54.64 seconds. He also walked away with a win in the 500 free––his performance qualifying him for States. Spencer Miles ‘20 wowed in his 100 free where he won, dropping his time to 50.33 and qualifying for States. In the 50 free, Spencer not only dropped time and qualified for States, but also set a new school record, which had been previously held for 10 years! And finally, the boys 200 free relay––John, Cody, Charlie and Spencer––qualified for States. The early State qualifications have set up the Bishops for a strong season. The boys now stand at 4-4 (3-0 in conference) and the girls stand at 5-4 (2-1 in conference).
Also, congratulations are in order to three fall sports athletes who have just concluded their seasons. Senior Aaron Staggers and Junior Joshua Staggers were both named First-Team All-State Defense for their strong play in the Virginia Independent School Football League’s (VISFL) inaugural season.
Finally, junior Daniel O’Brien competed with the top 40 high school male runners in the nation at the Foot Locker Cross Country National Championship where he placed 12th overall, earning All-American recognition. Daniel crossed the finish line with a time of 15:45.9—a sensational feat! Consider these other stats: Daniel was the only runner from Virginia to qualify for Nationals. He was the fifth underclassman to cross the line, representing only a handful of juniors who made the cut. Only the top 15 finishers earn All-American status.