Leesburg, Va. (November 30, 2014) – The Heritage Pride Athletic Program is getting ready to start its winter season fielding five varsity teams.
The boys basketball team looks to get further in the Conference 21 tournament, the girls basketball team looks to get back to the Conference 21 Tournament, the gymnastics team looks to make a run at the conference title, the boys and girls swim teams looks to do well again this year, and the wrestling team looks to compete a lot more a lot more not only as individuals but as a team this season.
The Pride Boys Basketball team hopes to compete at a very high level again this season. They are coached by head coach Robert Smart and assisted by Chris Jackson and Justin O’Dell. They return six players, seniors: Guard Anthony Gray, Forward Ben Olafson, Guard Morris Robinson, Guard Alec Simmons, and Guard Nick Winslow; they also return sophomore forward Zach Garrett. They bring up six players from freshman and JV teams last season, junior Guard Zach Nylund and sophomores: Guard Chris Chapman, Forward Darick Edmond, Forward Garrett Ganley, Guard Josh Gray, and Guard Patrick Tyree. They also add to new players to the program, juniors, Forward Anthony Cox and Center Justin Smith.
“I really believe it is going to be a very exciting season,” Said Coach Smart. “The guys have been preparing for this moment for a long time. A week after the last game we found ourselves in the gym preparing to do something special. Right now we are underdog just wanting to play. We have 15 really good basketball players, not one or two good players. We have ONE basketball team so the PRIDE will do well.”
The Pride Girls Basketball team also hopes to compete at a very high level this season. They are coached by Head Coach Nicole Barnes, in her second season as the head coach, and assisted by Sarah Wetmore. They return six players, seniors: Melissa Meyers, Jonique Mitchell, Jayla Rivers, Ashley Silvernale, and Christina Smart; and sophomore Olivia Overton. They also add five players; junior Samantha Sills, and freshmen: Morgan Gray, Sydney Moore, Julia Ng, and Mariel Terry.
“We are very excited to have a driven, young, and athletic team,” said Coach Barnes. “I look forward to watch this team develop both individually and as a whole. Jonique Mitchell had been a defensive threat for us in previous years. We hope she will continue to shut down offenses this year. Christina Smart, after battling a pulled hamstring her junior year, comes back in full strength. She is a natural leader on the court. Ashley Silvernale returns after getting a second team all-conference vote for her shooting. She hopes to push herself and her team further in her final year.”
The Pride Gymnastics team looks to do well this season. They are coached by Head Coach Jenny Aubel. Heritage team has 6 team members this season. Returning gymnasts are Courtney Walker, senior, Heidi Barrientos, junior, and Kailyn Mattingly, sophomore. New gymnasts are junior Kayla Griggs, and freshmen Kaley Reich and Sydney Reich.
“I am expecting Courtney Walker to lead the team in scoring,” said Coach Aubel. “But all should contribute to make a run for the conference title on Feb. 4 that Heritage will be hosting.”
The Pride Boys and Girls Swim teams look to carry over their dominance from last season into this season. They are coached by Ken Schiffer. They return six girls who had State times last year, they are: Abby and Carrie Lee, Madison McKay, Emelia Missing, Kayla Snider, Miranda Yeganeh. They return four boys, who made States last season and all have a great chance to make it there again, Michael Burris, Phillip Crouch III, Brennan Wright, and Dillon Finkenbinder.
“The Boys’ team has some good swimmers, but not the depth (numbers) to compete with the better teams,” said Coach Schiffer. “The Girls’ team has some new swimmers and returning swimmers who appear to have the prerequisite skills and techniques to enable them to contend with the better teams in the Conference. For the girls, Freshmen Melody Champ, Yaiza Kinney, and Jovia Ho have a good chance to make a State time. For the boys, Thomas Walsh is a freshman with the potential to make a State time, especially as part of a relay team.”
The Pride Wrestling team has yet to have their wrestle-offs, which will take place this week. I will be posting a separate preview article for them after the wrestle-offs as they prepare for the Tusky Duals on December 6.