LoCoSports Athletes of the Month: October 2015

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AthleteOTM

(November 10, 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 October 2015 Athletes of the Month for cross country, football, golf and volleyball.

The selections were made from nominations 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.

Photo by Michael Pittinger

By Owen Gotimer
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Nominated by Brandon Burdick

In their inaugural 2012 season, the John Champe High School football team finished 0-10. Just three seasons later – thanks in part to senior quarterback Zach Burdick – the Knights finished their 2015 regular season 10-0 and earned the No. 2 seed in the VHSL 4A West region tournament.

Burdick leads the high-powered John Champe offense – which outscored opponents 35-8 during the regular season – with his tremendous work ethic.

“Hard work and years of preparation have made Zach a great athlete,” John Champe head coach Jason Dawson said. “He’s driven to be the very best.”

In the month of October alone, Burdick was 54-for-82 for 840 yards and three touchdowns through the air while adding 370 yards on 52 carries and ten touchdowns on the ground. Burdick’s on and off field leadership helped the Knights to a 5-0 mark in October outscoring opponents 35-10.

“Zach’s competitive nature and positive attitude influence those around him in a positive way,” Dawson said.

With 27 touchdowns and 2,374 all-purpose yards this fall, Burdick will lead his team into a VHSL 4A West region quarterfinal on November 21 after John Champe secured a first-round bye in the region tournament.

Photo by Mary Beth Pittinger

By Spencer DuPuis
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Nominated by Neal Fleming, Doug Gilbert, Matt Holton, Nancy Merriman & Tanner Vincent

Heritage High School sophomore Weini Kelati burst on to the cross country scene last fall when she finished first at the Oatlands Invitational with an 18:12 after she had to stop and tie her shoe.

This season, on October 27, Kelati led the Lady Pride to a Conference 21B Championship in Leesburg before she and the Lady Pride won the VHSL 4A West Region Championship in Martinsville on November 5.

“The same things that impact the team make [Kelati] such a great runner,” Heritage head coach Doug Gilbert said. “She has top-notch work ethic is generally the last one leaving practice and puts thought into every part of her workout.”

Kelati will lead Heritage into the VHSL 4A state championship meet on November 13 at Great Meadow in The Plains.

Photo by Emma Dailey

By Owen Gotimer
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On October 29, senior Lauren Twitty made Briar Woods High School history when she became the first Falcon to ever reach the career 1,000 kill milestone.

“Lauren is a talented athlete because her skill set includes every part of the game. She is a strong server, she is a strong passer, she is a strong hitter and she is a strong blocker,” Briar Woods head coach Marsha Hermes said. “When facing a talented volleyball athlete, coaches tend to try to execute the player’s weakness: Lauren doesn’t have a weakness. She pushes herself to be the best all-around player she can be for herself and her teammates.”

Twitty and her Falcon teammates currently sit at 21-4 after knocking off Falls Church in the opening round of the VHSL 5A North region tournament and will travel to Massaponax High School on November 10 to play for a shot at a return to a region semifinal.

After committing to Division I New Mexico, Twitty has continued to improve her game while helping the Falcons’ attempt to hold onto the VHSL 5A state championship crown they claimed last fall.

“Lauren positively impacts the team by holding everyone, including herself, to a higher standard,” Hermes said. “Her goal is to get better daily as well as her team to get better daily. She comes to practice ready to work hard and improve. She expects anyone in the program to do the same.”

Photo by Troy Mezzatesta

Photo by Troy Mezzatesta

By Joe Skinner
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Loudoun Valley High School senior Brandon Weaver has a determination and passion for success that is unrivaled by any other. His contagious determination spread throughout the entire Viking golf team as Weaver led them to a VHSL 4A state championship, along with an individual state championship for Weaver as he fired an even par 144 during the two day tournament.

His work ethic and commitment to being a better golfer is a shining example of what it takes to be at the top of the sport,” Loudoun Valley head coach Troy Mezzatesta said.

Weaver’s work ethic and desire for the game is what fuels his teammates to be successful and what allowed him to commit to Division I Longwood where he will continue his golf career next fall.

“Desire and having a case of the wants is a huge thing. A lot of people have the desire but putting in the countless hours and devoting the time and sacrifice is the biggest thing that separates Brandon from his competitors,” Mezzatesta said. “As a result of all of his preparation, he is mentally sound over every shot and it shows more than anything at crunch time.”

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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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