Winter Sports Wrap-Up – Msgt Anson Reports

A key emphasis within the Fishburne athletic program is respect—respect for oneself, respect for teammates, and respect for opponents, referees, and fans of all teams.  The Caissons certainly earned respect as each team made significant improvements over the second half of their respective seasons, even though key injuries and untimely illnesses presented formidable challenges for the coaching staffs.  An obvious highlight was the reopening of the pool and two home swim meets versus rival Massanutten Military Academy.

On January 13, Fishburne hosted its first home swim meet in over 27 years, and what a meet it was!!  Fishburne lost its first meet at Massanutten by two points and our guys were pumped to turn the tables on our rivals.  Nolan O’Connor and Gage Nash pulled out a one-two finish in the 220 freestyle once again.  O’Connor won this time around even though he lost count and stopped early, taking off his goggles before realizing he was only halfway done.

Jason Montgomery came in first in the 220 IM, Will Johnstone got a first place in the 110 fly (and would have gotten first place by over a length even if the Massanutten swimmer had finished), and they teamed up for one-two finish in the 110 Breast.  Tim Moriconi rocked the 500 free easily keeping up with the pace Coach Gray set for him and winning by a large margin.  Alex Burkard lost count and swam an extra lap for the corps, but earned us some points by coming in third.  The big upset was in the 146 Free relay (usually the 200 Free Relay).  Massanutten won this event last time around and was in the lead by two body lengths after the first two swimmers.  Andrew Simons closed the gap some, but it was Johnstone who swam an amazing 36 and pulled ahead of MMA.  Winning that relay was an unexpected boon and clinched the win for us.  The final score was FMS: 53, MMA: 37.

Coach Gray:  “This was an exciting year for the swim team because we finally had our own pool.  Our practice time nearly doubled which was good because the team more than doubled in size from last year.  With the very large team we had to negotiate pool time because we were too large to all practice at the same time.  The guys did a great with this and Coach Honaker did a great job leading the guys in their dry-land workouts.  Over the season the guys trained hard and improved a lot especially Gabe Sun, Collin Vandersommen and Will Mousley.  The team was lead by our captains Tim Moriconi, Alex Burkard, and Jason Montgomery as well as Will Johnstone.  The major highlights were the home meets against Massanutten.  It was great to win such tight competitions against our rivals.  Since we hadn’t hosted a meet in over 30 years, we now have a 30 year undefeated streak at home.  A record we hope to keep going next year.  We did not perform as well as we might have wished in conference, but this was a tough year with two of our competitors making the top five at states.  We did however have one unexpected win against VES at the very end of the season, making the other coaches comment on how much our guys improved over the season.  Our final record was 5-5 overall, 1-4 in conference, and we came in 5th at the conference championship.  Next year I am going to be looking to Miken Pinner, Nolan O’Connor and Andrew Simons to lead the team.”

The Caissons wrestling team finished fourth in the conference for the second straight year, just barely missing out on third place.  The team was decimated by injuries during the course of the season and both Coach Goering and Coach Moody did a tremendous job on making the best of a difficult situation.… conference medalists include Anders Lenardson, Ben Drew, Chris Lowder, Kyle Harvey, Jeb Forehand, Michael Cabeza-Usoltsev, and Russell Dirlik.  Highlights include wins over Massanutten Military Academy and Randolph-Macon Academy.

The 2010-2011 JV basketball team was held to a high standard by Coach Greene and Coach Pullen. In order to play, cadets had to stay off of the tours roster and academic restriction. While other cadets enjoyed their free time, the JV Caissons had study halls and late practices that ran into evening study hall. The team started the season 2-0 but finished the 9-8 and the first winning record in eight years. Five of the eight losses were by 10 points or less. Coach Greene:  “We made the conference tournament as a 4 seed and had to play number 1 seed VES in the semifinals. After losing to VES twice during the season, we had to come up with a completely new game plan and only had 3 practices to do it. We played our best game of the year but lost by one at the end. This team played hard, played smart, and played together all year and the all of their success was earned.”

The varsity basketball team led by Coach Chip Crabill and Coach Larry Crabill finished the season with a 13-9 record and advanced to the semifinals of the Virginia Independent Conference tournament, losing a hard-fought game to Virginia Episcopal School, 74-69.  The Caissons also ended the season ranked 13th in the state, just barely missing out on the state tournament.  Tyrese Mann led the team in scoring with 13 points and was selected to the all-conference team. David Candelario averaged 12 rebounds and 10 points per game and was a dominant force under the basket.  Tevin Washington had an excellent second half of the season and excelled in all facets of the game, especially in moving the ball up the court.  Washington also earned all-conference honors.  Xavier Bradley was also a major contributor with significant improvement as the season progressed.  Out of the seven seasons Chip and Larry Crabill have coached at Fishburne, this is the sixth winning season.

The post-graduate basketball program led by second-year Coach Ed Huckaby concluded the season by winning the Caissons Classic Basketball Tournament, and sporting a winning record.

Cadet Major Alex Burkard was the recipient of the Colonel James G. Hogg Award for being the top scholar-athlete.  Alex has earned numerous varsity letters in cross country, lacrosse, and swimming, and is current on the track team.  He has been a sterling ambassador for Fishburne over the past five years.

Credit for the successes of the winter sports programs goes to the coaching staffs and athletes, who made the best of often trying situation through hard work and tenacity, which is in the true spirit of Fishburne athletics.