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Top 20 sports stories of 2013 – Part I

Tuesday, Dec. 31 | By Jeff Malmgren
Caity Ashley and the Fauquier girls soccer team took the No. 17 spot on our list of Top 20 sports stories from 2013. --Fauquier Times Staff Photo/Randy Litzinger
11 Highland girls soccer

Despite entering as the No. 7 seed, Highland advanced to the championship match of the VISAA Division II girls soccer tournament. The Hawks lost to No. 1 Eastern Mennonite in the state final, 1-0, but pulled a pair of upsets to achieve their runnerup status. Highland defeated No. 2 North Cross, 2-0, in the quarterfinals and No. 3 Atlantic Shores Christian, 1-0, in the semifinals. Eastern Mennonite's goal in the title match was the only goal allowed by Highland in the state tournament, and Mennonite didn't score until the 75th minute of the match. The Hawks finished 11-5-2 and enjoyed their best season since winning the 2007 and 2006 state championships.

12 Liz Wood at Maine

As a freshman, Liz Wood started all 28 games for the University of Maine women's basketball team in 2012-13 and led the team with 32.4 minutes per game. The 2012 Liberty graduate was named America East conference Co-Rookie of the Year despite the Black Bears' 4-24 record. Wood led all America East rookies with 10.3 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. Wood's former Liberty teammates, Jazmon Gwathmey, also excelled in 2012, making the Colonial Athletic Association all-rookie team as a James Madison redshirt freshman.

13 Kettle Run swimming

The Kettle Run swim team produced its best region finish in program history by placing third in the boys standings at the Region II meet and eighth in girls' standings. Henry Patrick became Cougars' first region champion by winning the 50-meter freestyle, 100 free and 400 free relay with Zach Webb, Ryan Kelley and Connor Webb. Zach Webb also won the 100 butterfly. The Cougars competed in 16 events at the Class A/AA state meet and placed 13th at state, while the girls took 24th. The Cougars also won their second consecutive Evergreen District boys and girls championships.

14 Kettle Run volleyball

The Kettle Run volleyball team fell one win short of qualifying for the state tournament for the first time in program history. The Cougars won a school record 25 matches and beat William Monroe in the Class 3A East Region quarterfinals, 25-21, 25-9, 25-11. KRHS then lost a tantalizingly close match to Warhill in the semifinals, 27-25, 23-25, 25-23, 25-20. Thus, Kettle Run's season ended at 25-2, while Warhill went on to finish as 3A state runner-up. Earlier, the Cougars won the Conference 27 regular season and tournament championships, as well as the Evergreen District regular season title. They went 12-0 in conference play and did not lose a single game in those matches.

15 Liberty football

The Liberty football team won a playoff game for the sixth consecutive season. The Eagles defeated John Handley in a shootout, 49-47, during the first round of the Class 4A North Region tournament, exacting revenge for a 45-42 loss to Handley in the season-opener. As the No. 9 seed, beating No. 8 Handley was an upset. Liberty couldn't do the same to No. 1 Sherando, which defeated the Eagles, 34-12, in the region quarterfinals. Liberty finished 7-5, despite beginning the season 1-4, and won the Evergreen District title by going 5-0. The Eagles were also the county champion for the second consecutive season, beating Kettle Run 28-26 and Fauquier 28-10 in the Bird Bowl. Plus, they were the only team in the regular season to beat Eastern View, 42-14, with a newly-featured double wing offense.

16 Kettle Run football

For the third consecutive season, Kettle Run won a football playoff game. The Cougars beat Skyline, 35-7, in the first round of the Class 3A East Region tournament, but fell short of advancing to states for the third straight year. James Monroe defeated Kettle Run, 6-3, in the region quarterfinals and finished as a state runner-up for the third consecutive season. In 2012 and 2011, James Monroe beat the Cougars in the Class AA Division 3 state semifinals. Regardless, in only six seasons as a program, the Cougars have amassed a 7-3 record in the playoffs. Kettle Run finished with a 7-5 record, which included thrilling games against Fauquier and Eastern View.

17 Fauquier girls soccer

For the first time since 2005, Fauquier qualified for a region girls soccer tournament. Plus, the Falcons beat Millbrook, 4-3, in the quarterfinals to advance to the semifinals, during which they lost to defending state champion Woodgrove, 3-0. Fauquier finished 12-7 and was the Evergreen District regular season and tournament runner-up to Kettle Run. The Falcons, however, made a deeper postseason run with the Cougars losing in the region quarterfinals. Against Millbrook, Fauquier overcame a 3-1 deficit in the final 30 minutes with Caity Ashley scoring the winning goal with about four minutes remaining in the match.

18 Fauquier softball

It took extra innings and a defending state champion to knock Fauquier out of the Region II softball tournament. Woodgrove beat the Falcons, 2-1, in the 10th inning of a region semifinal game, ending Fauquier's season with a 16-5-1 record. The Falcons' season included a nine-game winning streak and the Evergreen District regular season championship. In the region quarterfinals, Fauquier defeated Fluvanna, 1-0, thanks to a two-hit shut out by star pitcher Tess Miller.

19 Kettle Run girls lacrosse

By going 10-0 in Evergreen District play, the Kettle Run girls lacrosse team earned a spot in the semifinals of the Northern Section tournament, during which it lost to Loudoun Valley, 19-8. En route to a 12-4 final record, the Cougars won the district regular season and tournament championships. Center midfielder Morgan Rodgers set a single-season scoring record for Kettle Run with 86 goals as a sophomore, giving her 169 goals in her young career.

20 Fauquier Activities Director

After 19 years as Fauquier High's activities director, Allen Creasy retired in June. He spent 41 years in the Fauquier County Public School system, including an 11-year stint as boys basketball coach during which he amassed a 172-94 record. “I've gotten to do things I've always wanted,” Creasy said. “Be around sports and be around kids.” Creasy was named the 2010 Athletic Administrator of the Year in the Virginia High School League Group AA classification. Mark Holmes took over Creasy's position at Fauquier in July after serving as Liberty High's activities director for five years. Holmes graduated from Fauquier in 1981.

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