LoCoSports Athletes of the Month: December 2014

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AthleteOTM

Photo by Hanna Duenkel

Photo by Hanna Duenkel

(January 8, 2015) – In an effort to better recognize student-athletes in Loudoun County who positively affect high school athletics in the area, the LoCoSports team has selected its December 2014 Athletes of the Month for boys and girls basketball, football, gymnastics, swim and wrestling.

The selections were made based on the following criteria: success, hustle, work ethic, attitude and heart.

If you wish to nominate a student-athlete for athlete or teammate of the month, please reach out through our contact form or email us at locosportsnews@gmail.com.

LeonardBy Owen Gotimer

For the past two seasons, Broad Run High School junior forward Mariah Leonard has been one of the top girls basketball players in Loudoun County. Thus far, in Leonard’s third season on the Lady Spartans’ varsity basketball team, not much has changed.

Throughout December, Leonard averaged 21.7 points per game, 12.1 rebounds per game, 1.8 assists per game, 4.4 steals per game and 1.2 blocks per game.

On Dec. 19, in a loss to Robinson High School, Leonard scored her 1,000th career point becoming the fastest Lady Spartan in program history to reach the milestone. As of Dec. 19, Leonard was the fifth highest scorer in Broad Run High School history.

“Mariah is such a talented athlete, first and foremost, because of her hard work. She works harder than just about any player I’ve ever seen, and is constantly working to improve,” Broad Run head coach Sean Gundry said. “She also sets an incredibly high bar for her own performance, and never settles for less than the best out of her herself.

“Secondly, she’s a phenomenal athlete and has a great basketball IQ. It seems like she’s always in the right place at the right time, and makes her teammates better with her knowledge of the game and our systems. She can play all five positions on offense, and more importantly, she can defend all five positions, as well.”

Leonard shined in the 2014 Maroon & Gold Classic Tournament after Christmas being named the LoCoSports All-Tournament Team MVP. Over the three game tournament, Leonard averaged 23 points, 10 rebounds, 3 steals and 1 assist while leading the Lady Spartans to the championship game.

Gundry noted, however, Leonard’s on-the-court success is only the start to this tremendous student-athlete.

“Mariah positively impacts the team in many ways both on and off the court,” Gundry said. “She is a great example to her teammates of putting your head down and going to work every single day on the court and in the classroom. She never takes a play off and besides her pure talent, her work ethic is why she is so respected by everyone around her.”

Still only a junior, the young Leonard has time to grow and improve, but all the while she continues to mentor the younger athletes in the Broad Run program.

“Mariah is also a great teammate and will do anything to help out another member of the Broad Run Basketball family whenever she can,” Gundry said. “She’s incredibly selfless. We had a kid last year on our JV team come and ask her a question, and she took the time out of practice to teach the kid how to do something. She’s willing to do anything she can to help anyone around her.”

 

Reimers

By Rikki Pepino

Football was a huge deal for Tuscarora High School during the month of December. Senior running back Noah Reimers led the Huskies to its best season in school history finishing 14-1 with their only loss coming in their first appearance in the VHSL 5A state championship against three-peat state champion L.C. Bird High School.

“Before this season we all worked incredibly hard and this season taught us all that hard work pays off,” Reimers said.

In December, the Huskies played in the VHSL 5A state championship and a state semifinal, a two-game span where Reimers ran for 436 yards on 59 carries and six touchdowns. The 5-foot-11, 200-pound back also caught four passes for 62 yards.

Reimers – who was named the 2014 Virginia Gatorade Player of the Yearput up big numbers this season leading the Washington metropolitan area with 3,040 yards on 364 attempts along with 47 rushing touchdowns.

Needless to say, Reimers has altered the VHSL record books.

His 3,040 rushing yards are the third* most in a single season in VHSL history. His 49 touchdowns – which includes two touchdown receptions – are the third* most in a single season in VHSL history. His 294 points are the fifth* most in a single season in VHSL history.

In his career, Reimers ran for 6,347 yards and scored 90 touchdowns: 85 rushing, 2 receiving, 3 passing.

His 6,347 career rushing yards are 19th* most in a career in VHSL history.

“As good a player as Noah is, he is a better person and teammate,” Tuscarora head coach Michael Burnett said.  “He consistently deflects attention from himself to the team no matter what awards and honors are bestowed upon him.”

On top of all the football accolades, Reimers is also a success in the classroom. The Huskies’ standout committed to Harvard in October setting up the next stage of his football career.

“His intellect is what pushes him over the top,” Burnett said. “Many players have tremendous natural ability, but Noah possesses the intellect to make the most of those talents in every situation.”

*All record-breaking statistics are unofficial until approved by the VHSL

 

Rivera

By Owen Gotimer
Nominated by Jack Scalio

In the month of December, Loudoun County High School senior wrestler Luke Rivera dominated the wrestling circuit in Loudoun County. The Raider captain, Rivera did not have his first loss of the season until after the 25th of December.

In the Collingswood Christmas Tournament 160-pound final against New Jersey wrestler Colin Lex, Raider head coach Joel Caruso noted Rivera fought hard and almost pulled out a win.

“Luke is a great positive role model for LCHS wrestling. He leads by example as far as drilling hard, in sprints, workouts — you name it, he wants to be first,” Caruso said. “What makes him a talented athlete has to be his hard work he puts in, always running and working out on his own and getting others to follow his work ethic.  He will be a force in states this year.”

Caruso is not the only member of the Loudoun County wrestling program to speak highly of Rivera who serves as an inspiration to his teammates.

“All the younger wrestlers and even some of the older ones look up to him,” Raider teammate Jack Scalio said. “He’s a great role model, friend, captain and just a great guy in general. He finds success on and off of the mats.”

 

Stevens

By Owen Gotimer

Park View High School freshman Carson Stevens took the Loudoun County swim scene by storm when he shattered two school swimming records in his first meet as a Patriot.

“Carson brings a level of energy and enthusiasm that is difficult for me to keep up with,” Park View head coach Enser Cole said. “He often swims twice a day and after both practices still seems to have the energy to do more. That energy often rubs off on others and I can see an increase of energy with the whole team.”

On Dec. 6, in a meet against Woodgrove High School at Claude Moore, Stevens broke Steven Hoisington’s (2007) 200-yard individual medley school record with a time of 2:11.76. Hoisington’s record was set in 2006 during his senior campaign.

Several events later, Stevens struck again breaking Garrett Hols’ (2007) 100-yard breaststroke school record with a time of 1:07.55.

“Carson positively impacts the team in several ways. First, he leads by example. Both in practice and at meets, he challenges his teammates and motivates them to try their hardest,” Cole said. “His record breaking swims encourage others to follow, and I have talked to others on the team that have a renewed interest in the sport and want to continue outside of high school. We are building this program right now and Carson is a big part of that, in the success that he has in the water, but, more importantly, in my opinion, what his success adds to the reputation of the team.

 

Tillman

By Kyle Gotimer

In the month of December, Potomac Falls High School junior center Dondrea Tillman stepped up for his team as he registered, on average, more than 12 points and 8 rebounds per game including a 16 point, 11 rebound double-double performance in round two of the #BattleofRoute7 game against Dominion High School on Dec. 16.

“He has really soft hands for a big man. He can shoot from 15-20 feet and is a tremendous passer,” Potomac Falls head coach Jeff Hawes said. “He owns the paint with his size and tenacity around the rim. He is averaging close to a double-double and is one of the best post players in Conference 14.”

Tillman has a great work ethic, and it shows in his performance on and off the court. His awareness on the court is complimented by his counterpart, senior forward Wanya Allen. Tillman and Allen having been playing together since they were little and use their experience together as an advantage in their high school season.

“[Tillman] works really hard everyday. He has tremendously improved since last year. He never ‘takes a day off’ in practice and his court awareness has improved two fold,” Hawes said.

Tillman and the Panthers begin conference play on Jan. 10 with a game against Freedom High School.

 

Walker

By Kyle Gotimer
Nominated by Jenny Aubel

In the month of December, Heritage High School senior gymnast Courtney Walker broke three school records on the bars, the vault and in the all-around.

On Dec. 10, Walker broke Cora Dodson’s (2010) uneven bars record of 8.05 set in the 2007-2008 season with a score of 8.1. Less than a week later, Walker rebroke her own record, scoring 8.15 on the bars on Dec. 16.

On Dec. 4, Walker broke Bria Nunley’s (2010) vault record of 8.925 set in the 2007-2008 season with a score of 9.0.

With a third place finish on Dec. 16, Walker broke the Pride’s all-around record with a score of 34.15.

“Her success is based on years of training in gymnastics at Apex gymnastics,” Heritage head coach Jenny Aubel said.

Not only is Walker a vital piece of the team during meets but she is an influential leader for her younger teammates during practices.

“[Courtney’s] positive impact is that she is willing to help others with choreography when we were developing routines for the new girls on the team,” Aubel said.

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Local student-athletes pour sweat, tears and long hours into their crafts while maintaining eligible academic standing, and it’s time for each and every one of them — no matter their school, their sport or their gender — to be showcased. LoCoSports — you’ll go crazy for our sports coverage!

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