(March 7, 2016) – 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 2016 Athletes of the Month for basketball, gymnastics, swimming and wrestling.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Spencer DuPuis
Nominated by The Chaos Crew
On February 20, Heritage High School junior Michael Burris took home two VHSL 4A state championships in the 100-yard breaststroke and the 200-yard IM. Enroute to the titles in both of these events, Burris shattered both 4A state record times.
“Michael works hard and is fearless in the water,” Heritage head coach Hayley Robertson said. “He sets his mind to what he wants to do and achieves it. Michael is a true athlete.”
When Burris is not shattering records in the water, he is helping the team get better in a variety of ways including suggesting different techniques to teammates and helping the team set forth goals in which he is determined to help them achieve.
“Michael uses his strength and talent to encourage his teammates to do better and be better,” Robertson said. “He works together with the other swimmers; in dropping time and tweaking their technique to help them become better swimmers. Michael keeps a positive attitude and celebrates all successful achievements. Michael also helps the team set goals and then achieve them together.”
By Owen Gotimer
Nominated by Laura Wrighte
For the third time in her high school gymnastics career, Freedom High School junior Cara Fragala individually qualified for the VHSL state championship in the floor exercise. An expert on the floor, Fragala finished fifth in the event (9.55) at the VHSL 5A North region championship on February 10 and third in the event (9.6) at the Conference 21A championship on February 5.
But where Fragala made the most impactful improvement in her gymnastics this winter was on the beam where she placed second (9.5) at the Conference 21A championship helping her finish fourth in the all-around (35.925).
“She worked tirelessly this season to stay on the beam and had the routine of her lifetime at conference earning a 9.5,” Freedom head coach Laura Wrighte said. “She also stayed on the beam at the state meet to help lead us to the state title!”
Throughout the month of February, Fragala helped the Lady Eagles obliterate their competition as Freedom won the team crowns at the Conference 21A, VHSL 5A North region and VHSL 5A state championships.
“She has been a major contributing part of our team success since her freshman year,” Wrighte said. “She is a great leader and always encourages and coaches others to do their best.”
By Kyle Gotimer
Nominated by William Trapp and Gregg Hutton
The Knights boys basketball team has a motto: ‘Team First, Team Last,” John Champe High School head coach Bill Maher said. When it comes to following that motto, junior Dom Fragala works hard to be the best he can be for his team.
“Dom’s impact on the team is his willingness and dedication to live up to this motto,” Maher said. “His work ethic and love of the game is contagious; his fellow teammates know that to Dom the team is stronger than any one player.”
Fragala has been a huge key to John Champe success this season. Thus far this season, he has scored 447 points and is averaging three assists per game while dragging in 96 rebounds. With his help, the Knights finished 7-1 in Conference 22 and currently sit a 23-4 overall.
“Dom leads by example. He is the definition of a dedicated basketball player,” Maher said. “Dom is an athlete that is always trying to improve and excel at the game of basketball. Dom’s work ethic is excellent, and it is this devotion to hard work that makes him such a talented athlete.”
Fragala looks to bring home a state title this week as the Knights take on Lake Taylor in a VHSL 4A state semifinal on March 7 at 3:45 p.m.
By Spencer DuPuis
Nominated by Robby Serafin and Edward Calley
On February 20, Loudoun County High School senior Jack Scalio placed fifth in the 170-pound weight class at the VHSL 4A state tournament. Ending your high school wrestling career with a fifth place finish in your weight class at your first state tournament is pretty good, but adding in the fact that Scalio only took up wrestling during his sophomore year is an even bigger feat. This is a big tribute to his hard work and dedication on and off the mat and a big decision for him to forgo his senior season of football in the fall to train and keep improving.
“Jack isn’t the quickest, strongest, or most agile wrestler I ever had. What he lacks in those aspects of an ‘talented athlete’ is the heart and desire to get better and win,” Loudoun County head coach Joel Caruso said. “Ever since he started wrestling, he hasn’t stop talking about wrestling and being on the mat. Since last year, Jack had attended multiple camps, clinics, and probably wrestled at least four times a week at different wrestling clubs. He was always going somewhere to wrestle. In fact, Jack was going so much, the grind was too much on the body and had to cut a few days out. Doctors’ orders, of course, and he finally listened. In three short years, Jack has excelled in the sport of wrestling and is now a state placer.”
As a team captain, Scalio ended his senior season with an amazing 42-6 record on the mat, which is evidence to the dedication, effort, heart and desire to both get better and win.
“Jack sets his standards very high and expects to win,” Caruso said. “That attitude and aggressiveness on the mat filters down to everyone else. He is also a testament of how hard work, dedication and determination pays off.”