Spring Standouts 2008

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It was another successful spring for Northern Region athletes, with several individuals and teams bringing home state championships. Though there were many memorable athletes on the fields, courts and tracks, 10 stood out above the rest. The Times has compiled a list of the standouts of the spring 2008 season.

Matt Snyder, senior first baseman, Westfield baseball

Notables: Set school records with 15 home runs, 40 RBIs and a 1.197 slugging percentage for a Westfield team (14-9) that reached the Northern Region quarterfinals. Was named first team All-District and the Northern Region Player of the Year. Will play with twin brother Mike at the University of Mississippi next spring.

What they’re saying:

Matthew had a great year for us offensively, and certainly we will miss his bat in the lineup. It’s been there for a while. He can hit fastballs and curveballs, so in that regard he really doesn’t have a weakness. If it’s up in the zone, it really doesn’t matter what pitch it is he can hit it hard. Westfield coach Chuck Welch

I would say he’s one of the most dangerous [hitters] we faced because he can hurt you real bad real quick. You’re going to have to make good pitches to get him out; you’re going to have to attack him. It’s impressive to see him swing a bat. Even when he misses, it’s kind of like, ‘Wow.'” Chantilly coach Kevin Ford

Brianne Pease, senior pitcher/infielder, Centreville softball

Notables: Compiled an 18-3 record with 112 strikeouts and 11 shutouts in the circle. Also hit .321 (25-for-78) with 21 RBIs. Named the Concorde District’s Pitcher of the Year, first team All-District and All-Region for the first time on a Wildcats team that finished 18-4 and lost in the quarterfinals of the Northern Region tournament. Will play at George Mason University next spring.

What they’re saying:

The way she could get ahead and keep ahead was very unique. She wouldn’t overpower you, but she found a way to make you go after things that you probably shouldn’t have gone after. She had a great way of moving the ball. Bottom line, she didn’t throw anything over the plate. She made batters work. Centreville coach Rich Ferrick

She competes on every pitch. She doesn’t give in. We knew she was going to live on the outside half, so we’d crowd the plate and move up in the box. Sometimes we were successful; most times we weren’t. Westfield coach Dean Ferington

Christian McLaughlin, senior midfielder, Herndon soccer

Notables: Recorded 14 goals and 16 assists to lead the Hornets (14-2) to the Concorde District title. Was named first team All-District, All-Region and All-State and was named Gatorade Player of the Year in Virginia. Will attend the University of Virginia.

What they’re saying:

“Christian’s vision and his first touch were phenomenal. With his first touch, he was able to control the ball and with his vision, he was able to get rid of it quickly. He’s got a great sense of the game. He sees what’s going to develop two or three plays ahead. He created a threat coming out of the midfield.” Herndon coach Sean Lanigan

“Christian’s always had good feet and great vision. He’s able to find an opening and put his teammates in the best position to score, and he makes his teammates better. He’s got great technical skill on the ball and it makes him a dangerous player.” Westfield coach Tom Torres

Katherine Yount, senior goalkeeper, Robinson soccer

Notables: Allowed just 13 goals (0.61 goals against average) and made 92 saves to lead the Rams (21-1) to the Concorde District, Northern Region and Virginia AAA state title. Was named district and region Player of the Year. Will attend the College of William & Mary.

What they’re saying:

“Katherine has size she’s 6-foot-2 agility, range, a great command of the box. She anchored the defense. The thing that made her most valuable was the fact that she was composed during games. If a goal was scored, she never let that bother her. She had experience, confidence, a great personality. The kids loved playing with her.” Robinson coach Jim Rike

“Katherine is tall, athletic and very tough to score on. She covers her goal box very well. Her hands are among the best of the keepers we have faced in the past couple years. Thank goodness we won’t have to face her next year!” Chantilly coach Melissa Bibbee

Jake Nolan, senior middie, Chantilly lacrosse

Notables: Recorded 24 goals and a team-high 41 assists to lead the Chargers (20-0) to their first-ever Concorde District, Northern Region and Virginia state titles. Was named first team All-District and All-Region and All-American. Will attend Providence College.

What they’re saying:

“Jake was one of the guys we couldn’t do without. He was one of our top two or three scorers last year, but he changed his game [this season] for the betterment of the team. He’s a point guard. He’s got great field vision, he’s very quick. It makes him difficult to defend. He was a great team player and led by example on the field. I couldn’t have asked more from him.” Chantilly coach Kevin Broderick

“Jake had good stick skills and his work ethic was the most outstanding [aspect of his game]. He often scored just from pure hustle. It wasn’t anything too fancy. We tried to slow him down, but he had a great group of seniors around him. I always tell my guys, a good athlete makes the players around him better.” Oakton coach Tony Gray

Ashley Kimener, senior middie, Oakton lacrosse

Notables: Scored 69 goals in 17 games as the Cougars (12-5) won their third straight state title. Was tabbed as a first team All-District and All-Region selection. Will attend James Madison University.

What they’re saying:

Besides having a lot of natural athleticism and lacrosse knowledge, I think her work ethic and humility set her apart. She’s not going to stand out and say, ‘I’m very talented.’ She’s just one of the girls. She can be just as goofy as everyone else … probably the goofiest. Oakton coach Jean Counts

Ashley has great field sense. She is awesome on the draw, and she has a wicked shot. All are qualities that have given her success throughout high school and will help her next year at James Madison. Chantilly coach Michele Gates

A.J. Price, senior sprinter, South Lakes track and field

Notables: Won the 200- and 400-meter dashes and long jump at both the Liberty District and Northern Region meet. Led Seahawks to first district title in 24 years and first-ever region title. Will attend Penn State University.

What they’re saying:

“A.J. was the glue that kept us together. He was quiet, but aggressive, and he just went out and did what he had to do. He jumped in where he needed to jump in. He’s dedicated, he’s a quick learner. Once you teach him the basics, he’ll watch other people and see how he can become better. He did more than I asked him to do and excelled. He’s really a special type of person.” South Lakes coach Alfred Buckley

“A.J. is just a competitor. He went out and performed extremely well. Any time someone else tried to outrun him or outjump him, he’d try to go out and beat all his competitors. I coached football against him, and I had seen what kind of athlete he was. He has a lot of drive and he’s committed to his craft.” Marshall coach Jose Portillo

Tasia Potasinski, senior distance runner, Westfield track and field

Notables: Won three indoor state titles (1,000-meter run, 1,600 and 4×800 relay) during her senior year, and followed with one outdoor title (1,600). In all, Potasinski holds eight records four of which are relays at Westfield. Will run at the University of Vir
ginia in the fall.

What they’re saying:

She has a good blend of talent and work ethic, which makes for a good athlete and somebody who can win championships. Most of her success has been in the middle distance, and I think that’ll continue in her collegiate career. She’s extremely competitive and she has the right kind of makeup to be able to win races. Westfield coach Scott Raczko

She’s always been a very good 800-meter runner, and she had a pretty impressive resume even as a freshman. So I’ve definitely seen her as a threat through the years. Great speed, strength and endurance. The best thing you can do with somebody of that caliber is rack up as many points behind her as you can. Oakton coach Phil Tiller

Drew Courtney, senior, Robinson tennis

Notables: Won third straight state singles title and fourth straight state doubles title, while leading Rams to third straight state team title. Was named an All-American and is ranked 10th nationally by the USTA. Will attend the University of Virginia.

What they’re saying:

“On the court, he has a unique drive. He is pretty relentless. Obviously, he has size, but it really comes down to drive and competitiveness. He has worked extremely hard on the court, but extremely hard off it developing his abilities, speed, quickness around the court. That’s probably the biggest change between last year and this year.” Robinson coach Paul Fisher

“Drew has all the shots ground strokes, volleys and a huge serve. He can turn on his power game to a higher level at any time. But I think his biggest attribute is his overall court sophistication. Not only does he have all the shots, but he uses them at just the right time.” Fairfax coach Dave Bauer

Michelle Nguyen, junior, South County tennis

Notables: Won the Northern Region singles title and her third straight Patriot District singles title. Was named district Player of the Year for the third time and is undefeated in district play in her career.

What they’re saying:

“Michelle is a left-hander and that gives her an advantage. A lot of players don’t see that. She plays two-handed both ways. She’s really unique. She has great dedication to the sport. She really loves it. Hopefully she can go the whole way [next year] and win the state title.” South County coach Thomas Demharter

“She was really that good. She was just way above any other player in the district. I actually thought she was going to win the state tournament, but if I understand correctly, she got dehydrated and had to withdraw. She is just an all-around solid player and has no weaknesses.” Lake Braddock coach Susan Wells

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