(March 7, 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 February 2015 Athletes of the Month for boys and girls basketball, 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 [email protected]
By Owen Gotimer
In the biggest meet of his February, Dominion High School junior Adeeb Atariwa emphatically earned his 285-pound, VHSL 4A state title pinning Sherando junior Ben Avery 16 seconds into the second period of the championship bout.
Atariwa wrestled Avery three times in the month including in the Conference 21, VHSL 4A North region and VHSL 4A state finals.
On Feb. 7, Atariwa beat Avery in a 2-1 decision in the Conference 21 meet at Woodgrove High School in Purcellville claiming the conference title.
A week later, on Feb. 14, Avery got his revenge in the VHSL 4A North region final when he beat Atariwa 2-0 in the sudden victory overtime period at Amherst County High School.
But, Atariwa got the final say in the juniors’ 2014-2015 rivalry campaign when he climbed atop the state championship podium earning the Dominion Titans their first ever individual wrestling state championship.
By Emma Myers
Stone Bridge High School junior standout Nick Barnes leads his team on the court through his defensive hard work.
“Nick is a terrific kid and impacts the team by rebounding and defensively affecting the game,” Stone Bridge head coach Corey Stitzel said.
Through 22 games in the 2014-2015 season, Barnes — an all-Conference 14 first team selection — scored 330 points for the Bulldogs averaging 15 points per game. He led the team in rebounds averaging 8.5 per game.
“He can really score around the basket and is a great straight line driver for somebody his size,” Stitzel said. “He has a great work ethic, and we wouldn’t be where we are as a team if it wasn’t for Nick’s efforts on both ends of the floor.”
Barnes’ efforts helped the Bulldogs to a 23-game winning streak and their first conference title in school history.
On March 4, for the first time in 89 days, the final buzzer sounded with Stone Bridge trailing as the Bulldogs fell to Potomac High School in a VHSL 5A North region semifinal. Barnes scored 14 points in the losing effort, the same number he scored in the Bulldogs’ incredible, come-from-behind, overtime win over Thomas A. Edison High School in the region quarterfinal on Feb. 28.
Only a junior, Barnes will look to his senior year to hopefully win a state title and finish what his team started this season.
By Emma Myers
Loudoun Valley High School girls basketball senior Rachel Bowyer not only positively impacts her team off the court, but on the court as well as the team’s designated “hype girl.”
“Rachel leads by example on the court with her all-out effort on offense and defense,” Loudoun Valley head coach Kenyamo McFarlane said. “She talks consistently on defense and is always in great defensive position to help out teammates.”
Bowyer — who leads the Lady Vikings in rebounds, steals and assists — set high goals for herself before the season had even started.
“One of her preseason goals was to lead the team in rebounds,” McFarlane said. “She made a concentrated effort the last two offseasons to get stronger, more explosive and become a better shooter which has paid off tremendously.”
Bowyer demonstrates leadership on the Vikings’ team by going in to every game with high expectations for not only herself, but for her team, as well. As a leader, she pushes herself and her team to do whatever it takes to pull out the win.
“During a recent game, her offense was off, but she contributed by ‘stuffing the stats.’ She lead the team that night in rebounds, steals, assists and blocked shots [including]a crucial block to help seal the win,” McFarlane said.
After a tremendous regular season, Bowyer led her team all the way to the semifinals in the VHSL 3A East region tournament before falling to Petersburg High School on March 4.
By Emma Myers
Potomac Falls High School senior swimmer William Lin leads his team through his dedication and passion for the sport.
“He is constantly refining his strokes and practicing how he can move through the water faster and more efficiently,” Potomac Falls head coach Deirdre Deker said.
In February, Lin qualified for the VHSL 5A state championship where he won the 500-yard freestyle and finished second in the 200-yard freestyle, 200-yard freestyle relay and 400-yard freestyle relay while leading the Panther boys to a third place finish in the state.
As a student-athlete, Lin has lead his team through not only his hard work in the pool, but in the classroom as well.
“He has kept a rigorous swimming schedule for many years while maintaining top grades at school,” Deker said.
By Joe Skinner
Freedom High School freshman Sydney Wrighte has excelled this season as one of the top gymnasts in the state, winning many regular season competitions and leading the powerhouse Lady Eagles gymnastics team to another state championship appearance in the 2014-2015 season.
Wrighte led the Eagles to six top-three finishes including three winning performances in their regular season meets.
“Sydney has been extremely solid at every meet she’s competed in. She helps the team score with her consistently high scores, but she also helps her teammates to strive to perform better and fight for everything,” head coach and mother Laura Wrighte said.
The Eagles took home first place finishes in the Conference 14 meet and the VHSL 5A North region meet, before finishing second in the VHSL 5A state championship meet.
Individually, Wrighte posted winning marks in the vault, bars, beam and all-around at the Conference 14 meet. In the VHSL 5A North region meet, Wrighte won vault, bars and beam again and also earned first place in the all-around competition.
“She’s been a huge help at practice this season by making corrections for all her teammates that the
coaches sometimes miss,” coach Wrighte said.