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Top 20 sports stories of 2013 – Part II

Monday, Jan. 6 | By Jeff Malmgren
Jerrelle Benimon's standout season with the Towson men's basketball team was the Fauquier Times' No. 1 sports story of 2013. --Fauquier Times Staff Photo/Randy Litzinger
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1 Jerrelle Benimon at Towson

After being stifled by Georgetown’s rigid offense for two years and sitting out another year due to NCAA transfer rules, 2009 Fauquier High graduate Jerrelle Benimon emerged at Towson University as one of the best college basketball players in the country. As a third-year athlete, Benimon became the first men’s basketball player in Towson history to be named Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year. He was also one of 25 finalists for the Lou Henson Award, given to the mid-major player of the year. Benimon led the CAA with 11.2 rebounds per game, which also ranked third in NCAA Division I, and he scored 17.1 points per game to finish fourth in the conference. Plus, Benimon’s 20 double-doubles tied for first in NCAA Division I.

2 Fauquier track's Grant Holmes

Grant Holmes became only the third Fauquier High individual to win a state outdoor track championship since Sarah Bowman took three titles in 2005. Holmes cleared 14 feet, 9 inches in the pole vault to win the Class AA championship. Holmes, who also accepted a scholarship offer from Virginia Commonwealth University, and Ryan Enos (fifth, pole vault) helped Fauquier place 16th as a team. Liberty's Erin Morant placed second in the state triple jump to help the Liberty girls log their best finish since 2006. Morant cleared 38-1.25 to help the Eagles place 25th. Kettle Run’s Melvina Brown added three state medals: fifth in the long jump, seventh in the 100-meter hurdles and eighth in the triple jump.

3 Fauquier boys cross country

Not only did Fauquier qualify for a state cross country meet for the first time in history, the Falcons brought home a trophy after placing third in the boys race of the Class 4A meet. All five Fauquier runners placed among the top 30 with Andy Page leading the way in 22nd. Scott Gilb took 24th, Henry Delavergne placed 25th and Brock Curry finished 26th despite moving into the starting lineup at the last minute due to an injury. The Falcons placed third at the 4A North Region with Dustin Constantino finishing fourth individually. He later placed 28th at state. The Falcons also won the Conference 22 championship.

4 Fauquier wrestling

For the fourth consecutive season, Fauquier won a region wrestling title. The Falcons edged runners-up Loudoun County and Skyline, 147.5-144.5. It was a surprise feat after Fauquier failed to win its district for the first time in six seasons. Brentsville ended the Falcons' streak by winning the Evergreen District tournament, 162.5-161. At the Region II tournament, Matt Raines (132 pounds), Michael Villalobos (145) and Max Strum (182) won individual titles and advanced to the Class AA state tournament along with Daniel Ariola and Michael Villalobos. At state, Strum finished second, Tingen third and Raines sat out with a head injury. The Falcons placed eighth, logging their seventh consecutive top-10 state finish.

5 Fauquier girls track

Despite winning only one event, the Fauquier girls track team used its impressive depth to win the Region II outdoor championship. The Falcons beat runner-up Western Albemarle, 75.33-55.83, and went on to earn six medals at the Class AA state meet, where they placed 17th as a team. At the region meet, Fauquier's 400-meter relay team of Addison Manor, Tiana Yates, Diamond Robinson and Briana Hill won in 49.77 seconds. Hill also placed second in the 100 (12.37) and 200 (25.71), while Grant Holmes led the Fauquier boys by winning the pole vault (14 feet, 0 inches), Ryan Enos placed second in the pole vault and the 3,200 relay team of Andy Page, Raul Chavez, Connor Dorman and Curtis Grady finished second (8:21.91). For the Kettle Run girls, Aberle Rodgers finished second in the 400 (1:01.84). Later, at state, Hill had a hand in scoring 15 of the Falcons' 17 points with medals in the long jump, 200, 100 and 400 relay.

6 Fauquier competition cheer

The Fauquier competition cheer team qualified for a state meet for the first time in history. The Falcons advanced to the Class 4A state meet by placing second at the 4A North Region meet with a score of 216.5 under the direction of first-year co-head coaches Ashlynn Foster and Ali Tantillo. Fauquier made the finals of the 16-team region (top four teams qualify) by scoring a 229 in the first round. Sherando eventually won the title with a 231.5, but Fauquier also moved on to state, where it placed seventh with a score of 217 and no deductions. Earlier, the Falcons won the Conference 22 championship with a score of 206.5, earning them a region bid for first time since 2004, when Foster and Tantillo were Fauquier freshmen.

7 Kettle Run boys indoor track

After winning its first district track championship in program history, Kettle Run placed second in the boys standings at the Region II indoor track meet. Louisa edged the Cougars, 84-74, after Kettle Run previously won the Evergreen District meet, 94-63, over Fauquier. Individually, Carlos Vegerano won the region high jump for Kettle Run and was the long jump runner-up. Matt Eggers won the shot put, while placing second were Josh Tapscott in the 55-meter dash, Connery Ryon in the 500 and R.J. Johnson in the 55 hurdles. Fauquier won the boys and girls 1,600 relays, and it had Raul Chavez win the 500 and Grant Holmes win the pole vault. Later, at the Class AA state meet, Holmes took second in the pole vault, Liberty's Erin Morant placed second in the triple jump and Kettle Run's Melvina Brown finished third in the triple jump. At the region meet, the Fauquier girls placed third.

8 Highland boys lacrosse

The Highland boys lacrosse team won a state championship for the second time in history. The second-seeded Hawks upset No. 1 Covenant, 21-13, in the VISAA Division II state final. Highland last won a state title in 2009, but has played in the state final during 10 of the past 11 seasons. In 2013, the Hawks won 11 of their final 12 games, including a 20-10 victory over Hampton Roads in the state semifinals and a 24-6 win over North Cross in the quarterfinals. Highland also won the Delaney Athletic Conference tournament championship for the 11th time over the past 13 seasons and finished with a 14-5 record. Plus, seniors Jack Micciche and Jared King made the US Lacrosse all-America team.

9 Highland swimming's Reni Moshos

Freshman Reni Moshos of Highland set a state swimming record by winning the 100-yard backstroke in 56.56 seconds at the VISAA championship meet. That broke the previous record of 57.13. She also took third in the 200 individual medley and finished the state meet with all 36 of the Hawks’ team points. Last season, as an eighth grader, Moshos won the 100 freestyle and placed second in the 200 IM. As a freshman, she chose to swim the state 100 back rather than try to repeat in the 100 free. Earlier in 2013, Moshos won the 50 free, 100 breaststroke at the Delaney Athletic Conference championship meet, setting a conference record in the latter with a time of 1:08.35.

10 Wakefield girls basketball

For the first time in history, the Wakefield girls basketball team advanced to a state championship game. The Owls beat Tidewater Academy, 62-38, in the semifinals of the VISAA Division III state tournament, using their signature pressure defense to score points off turnovers. However, second-seeded Wakefield ran into No. 1 Amelia Academy in the state final. Amelia's size advantage led to a 67-36 win, which ended Wakefield's 18-game winning streak. The Owls finished with a 25-7 record, having advanced to at least the state semifinals for the third consecutive season. Owls coach Paul Sipes was named VISAA D-III Coach of the Year, while Arielle Jenkins made the all-state second team and Emily Granruth made the first team before graduating as Wakefield's all-time leading scorer and continuing her career at Niagara University.

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