(May 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 April 2015 Athletes of the Month for soccer, lacrosse, baseball, softball, tennis and track & field.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Loudoun Valley High School junior Justin Ager has established himself as not only a top pitcher in his own program, but in all of Loudoun County. The Vikings have jumped out to a scorching hot 14-1 start to the season with nine shutouts as a team.
Through April, Ager, similarly, went 3-1 with 27 innings pitched, 35 strikeouts and a 0.25 earned run average. The Yale-commit also tossed a gem on April 11: a no hitter against Broad Run including nine strikeouts and three walks.
“He puts in a lot of hard work. I never have to tell him what to do. He knows his pitching routine. He knows what he has to do to prepare for each practice and game. His bullpen work is excellent,” Loudoun Valley head coach Wayne Todd said.
Ager has also padded his stats in the early season, only giving up eleven hits, 17 walks and one earned run in his starts.
On May 6, Ager threw is second no-hitter of the season, striking out 12 in the Vikings tenth shutout of the season, this one over Brentsville.
“He gets better through the work he puts in through the summer,” Todd said. “He goes to pitching coaches and plays on a travel team during the summer. He also goes to all the camps. And of course all the work he puts in during the season for us. It turned him into the athlete he is.”
By Owen Gotimer
Nominated by Melissa Oakes
Making the transition from outfield to infield is tough for any softball player, but for Broad Run High School sophomore Alex Bencic, the transition was that much tougher. Following the passing of Spartan teammate Madison Small, Bencic was slated as the starting second baseman and, while an emotional change, has tried to make the most out of her opportunity.
In her second game as one of the Lady Spartans starting middle infielders, in a game against Loudoun Valley High School on April 16, Bencic hit her first ever home run: this one, a grand slam.
The Spartans continue to impress this spring sitting at 9-2 overall including a 4-2 record and No. 2 rank in Conference 14.
Bencic and her Broad Run teammates continue to miss Small and play with the motto #WEPlayFor24.
By Owen Gotimer
Nominated by Thomas Wehner
John Champe High School junior Eric Betsill is off to one of the best tennis seasons in Loudoun County history. At 12-2, Betsill’s first loss of the season did not come until April 23 when he played Loudoun County High School senior and University of Connecticut commit Jack McLister, who helped the Raiders to a runner up finish at the 2014 VHSL 4A state tennis championships.
“He’s a great motivator for the other guys even after a loss,” John Champe head coach Thomas Wehner said. “He’s always out there cheering everybody on.”
As the Knights’ No. 1, Betsill pairs up with teammate Colton Davies in doubles matches and has helped John Champe score 12 additional wins. When he isn’t on the court by himself or with Davies, he can be found just outside the courts cheering on his teammates.
“Eric impacts the team as the captain cheering his team on,” Wehner said. “When he’s down, he shows his teammate that he is not going to give him. He helps his team out every day by coming out with a positive attitude.”
By Spencer DuPuis
Nominated by Holly King
Heritage High School sophomore Cori Carlston has had a phenomenal start to the season leading the Pride in scoring with eleven goals and two assists as her team is off to a 9-3 start including a 4-1 mark in Conference 21.
“Cori treats practices like games,” Heritage head coach Holly King said. “She constantly competes and has a winning mentality. If Cori loses the ball or makes a mistake, she works as hard as she can to win it back. Her positive attitude and competitive drive influences others around her to want to compete just as hard.”
Last season, as a freshman, Carlston was named to the all-Conference 21 second team as a forward.
“She does not back down. Cori will tackle anyone on the field, but also has the precision to finish,” King said. “She is very disciplined, determined and coachable. Cori is a student of the game and has progressed throughout the season.”
By Owen Gotimer
Nominated by Madeline Becker, Nicolette Blackwell and Jane Curran
If anyone got the fan vote for the LoCoSports Athlete of the Month, it would be Dominion High School junior Bailey Hartzel. The Lady Titans girls lacrosse captain, Hartzel has her team off to a 7-3 start including a 3-1 record in the Dulles Group.
“Bailey has a quiet confidence that she brings to the team. She leads by example and has earned the respect of her teammates by her dedication, hard work and reliability on the field,” Dominion head coach Diane Traynor said. “The team knows that Bailey will always be there, giving 100-percent and will make something happen during any competition.”
On April 23, Hartzel added to her team high 38 goals by scoring 11 goals – and tying a Dominion High School record for goals in a games – in a 21-10 win over the Loudoun County Raiders. Hartzel also leads the team in groundballs (40) and draw controls (35) while adding seven assists. Traynor noted Hartzel’s dominance comes from her extreme athleticism.
“Bailey is a three-sport varsity athlete – volleyball, basketball, lacrosse – since her freshman year at Dominion,” Traynor said. “Her love of sports, natural athleticism and diversity of sports played make her a major threat no matter what she is playing. She fits in well with any team and adapts to whatever situation she is given. Her height, speed, drive and game sense are her assets.”
By Owen Gotimer
Rock Ridge High School sophomore Mikajah Hayes has already made a name for herself at her new school and in the Loudoun County Track world.
On April 17, Hayes helped the Lady Phoenix to a second place finish at the Wolverine Classic in Purcellville, finishing just two-and-a-half points shy of her former teammates at Briar Woods.
“She just sets the standard. She sets the example with her hard work,” Rock Ridge head coach Brian Schmidt said. “Her work ethic speaks for itself. Whatever it takes, she does. She’s going to get it done. Her teammates follow her.”
At the meet, Hayes ran a national elite time in the 400-meter winning the event (57.78). Hayes also placed second in the 200-meter (25.88) and finished fourth in the 100-meter (12.67).
“She loves the competition aspect of it,” Schmidt said. “I put her into faster heat times because she wants to race the fastest people at the track. It just shows that she wants it. That sets her apart.”