(March 10, 2015) – In an effort to better recognize student-athletes in Loudoun County who exemplify the values classmates, coaches, spectators, officials, families and friends look for in teammates, the LoCoSports team has selected its February 2014 Teammates of the Month for boys and girls basketball, gymnastics, swim and wrestling.
The selections were made based on the following criteria: selflessness, hustle, work ethic, attitude, team-first mentality, spirit 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, Broad Run High School sophomore Michael Battista went to a tie breaker against Potomac Falls High School senior Garrett Griffith before winning his 160-pound, VHSL 5A state title.
“Michael wrestled a weight class up for much of the season and did so without ever complaining or questioning why. He knew the reason – if he didn’t we forfeit a class, and the others on the team may not fare as well as he would in a heavier class. He does what is asked and steps up when the team needs him,” Broad Run head coach JJ Totaro said.
Battista wrestled Griffith three times in the month including in the Conference 14, VHSL 5A North region and VHSL 5A state finals.
On Feb. 6, Griffith beat Battista in a 3-1 decision in the Conference 14 tournament at Tuscarora High School in Leesburg.
A week later, on Feb. 14, Griffith continued his dominance at 160 pounds knocking off Battista in a 7-2 decision in the VHSL 5A North region tournament at Orange County High School.
But in their fourth tournament meeting of the year – including Griffith’s win at the LCPS Championships – Battista finally got the best of the rivalry campaign in the bout that mattered most, topping Griffith with a 8-7 tie breaker decision in the state championships.
While Battista stood on top of the state podium by himself, he remains a team player, a trait his coach noted he learned from Spartan captains Timmy Brown, Tyler Corbo and Ewen Riordan.
“What makes Michael is good teammate is his work ethic and his quiet leadership. Michael works hard on and off the mat,” Totaro said. “His grades are excellent, he works out on his own to make sure he is in the top shape he can be, but most of all he pushes those around him to make them better without ever demeaning them or degrading them for not being ‘as good’ or ‘JV.’
“Michael is truly one of the most humble people we know and he will be the first to point out when people are not showing the proper gratitude to their family, friends or coaches.”
By Hanna Duenkel
John Champe High School junior Zach Burdick — a co-captain of the Knights’ varsity boys basketball team — earned this month’s teammate of the month award because he volunteers his extra time by mentoring other athletes and participating in honor societies.
“He is the definition of the term student-athlete, while maintaining a 3.7 GPA and membership in the National Honor Society,” John Champe head coach Bill Maher said. “Zach also finds the time to be a member of DECA and Habitat for Humanity. It is clear that Zach is a leader both on and off the court. Zach is always willing to sacrifice his time for the good of the team.”
The junior also finds time to practice as much as he can — spending extra time on the court — which has benefited him greatly. Through Feb. 26, Burdick scored 343 points averaging 16.3 points per game while shooting 31-percent from three-point range. He also around three rebounds, three steals and three assists per game.
“This [sportsmanship]is continually being demonstrated through his willingness to mentor younger players and his excellent work ethic,” Maher said. “Zach is always one of the first players on the court for practice and always the last to leave the court. Zach is a true representative of our team motto, ‘Team First, Team Last.’ It is clear that to Zach, team is always the first thing he is thinking about and the last thing he is thinking about.”
Burdick led his team to a VHSL 3A East region semifinal where the Knights fell to Hopewell High School ending their season.
By Spencer DuPuis
Phillip Crouch — a member of the Heritage High School team which won the 2013-2014 VHSL 4A state 200-yard medley relay title — continued to impress the Virginia State swim community and his coaches during his junior year with the Pride.
“In addition to his athletic ability, which was evident throughout the season and earned him the distinction of making the finals in two individual events and two relays at the state meet. Phillip is one of the most analytic and team oriented individuals I have ever coached,” Heritage assistant coach Ken Schiffer said. “He makes a point of knowing each team member’s strong physical and technical abilities, his or her psychological composition and team interactions. He then makes suggestions to us, his coaches, about how to match individual swimmers to individual events or relays. He also provides us with subtle hints about what might or might not motivate a particular individual.”
In the VHSL 4A state meet in Christiansburg on Feb. 20, Crouch finished sixth in the 200-yard medley relay finals, seventh in the 100-yard butterfly and fifth in the 100-yard breaststroke.
“After the Conference 21 meet, Phillip spent an hour discussing the event with coach Robertson and offered his insights and suggestions on how to modify our entries to achieve the best results at the region meet, which, by the way, we won,” Schiffer said. “He applies the same analysis to his own swimming goals, and he constantly searches for ways to improve his technique. Before the region meet, he spent two hours — in addition to his own workout — with one of the Tuscarora swimmers working on improving his butterfly stroke. This mental commitment and fortitude make him an invaluable asset and example for his teammates and coaches. I have learned a tremendous amount from him and consider him a unique resource.”
By Spencer DuPuis
Loudoun County High School senior Victoria Miner was the top individual gymnast at the Conference 21 championships winning the all-around and finishing first in bars and vault and placing a second and third in floor and beam respectively. In the VHSL 5A North region meet, she qualified for states, placing fourth in vault.
“When she was injured earlier in the season, she would help video the team’s performance at meets. Once back, she was then team leader by encouraging others to work hard and try [their]best,” Loudoun County head coach Jenny Aubel said. “She listens to her teammates, offers advice to them and encourages them to keep trying their best.”
At the VHSL open state championships, Miner was without her teammates as she competed in the vault finishing 38rd in the state.
By Spencer DuPuis
On March 4, Tayler Tibbits and the Loudoun County High School girls basketball team knocked off Chancellor, 51-31, in the VHSL 4A North region semifinal. The Lady Raiders played in the region final for the fifth straight year on March 7, and this week Tibbits will make her fourth trip to the state tournament.
Tibbits has also been instrumental in organizing the LCHS hosted Hoops for Heroes a fundraiser for the Wounded Warrior Project which happened this season on Jan. 17. Loudoun County graduate Maggie Phillips (2014) started Hoops for Heroes along with Tibbits.
“She’s a great teammate because she is 100-percent focused on the team’s success and often contributes in ways that don’t show up in statistics,” Loudoun County head coach Derek Fisher said. “She also enjoys helping her teammates improve by encouraging and advising them in practice. She even spent much of the season attending JV practices and games to help the coaching staff when they were short-handed.”
Tibbits may not often show up on the stats sheet, but her ability to shut down the other team’s top scorer is her best asset.
“Tayler’s team-first mentality is best exemplified by her commitment to defense,” Fisher said. “She understands that preventing points is just as important as scoring them, and her contributions on defense have been consistently outstanding. She often is assigned to defend the opponent’s top scorer, and her focus, effort and fundamentals make her difficult to score on.”