So much went down this fall

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 20, 2004

It was a surprise that the Nansemond River High fall sports banquet lasted just under an hour and a half on Thursday evening; the Warrior athletes and their coaches had more than enough to talk about.

There was a golf team that finally realized its full potential this season, charging from finishing sixth and seventh the past two years to a tie for the Southeastern District title. Two volleyball team served up one surprise victory after another. The field hockey team defeated almost everyone in its path. And the biggest ovation of the night came for someone who wasn’t even present.

&uot;I knew that if we were ever going to win anything, it was going to be this year,&uot; said golf coach Don Horne, whose squad tied with Great Bridge and Hickory for the district crown. Tiffany Mason and Ryan Foster got three-year letter awards, and Jonathan Faw and Greg Hunt were named the Most Valuable and Most Outstanding golfers. Both made it to state competition this season, and Hunt won the district and regional titles last year.


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After Heather Scott and Malik McBridge were named the top female and male cross country runners and Lauren and Marissa Dagenais got three-year awards, Nancy Richey introduced the school’s most successful girls volleyball squad since the school entered AAA competition in 1996. The team went 10-10 overall, 8-8 in district play. Brittney Szalanski, Sarah McDonald and April Hines got three-year awards.

In taking home the Most Improved honor, Sarah Brooks &uot;won the black-and-blue award,&uot; said Richey. &uot;When we started, she played maybe half the games; by the end of the season, she was playing every match.&uot; Hines, who led the squad in aces, kills and saves and was second in blocks and sets, got the Best All-Around.

In his first year of coaching volleyball, Wayne Godette also helped his Warrior squad to history; the team finished in third place in the Granby Invitational early in the season, the highest it had ever come in.

&uot;I really think they learned the true meaning of being an athlete,&uot; said Godette, whose team ended fifth in the district, one spot out of regionals. &uot;They trained hard, and they took my best blows mentally and physically. There were points when I worked them to death. But I got a lot of compliments from other coaches, other parents, other teams and umpires.&uot; Josh Anderson, whose play under pressure earned him the team nickname of &uot;Mr. Steady,&uot; got the Coach’s Award, while Brian Briesemeister, who led the team in kills and blocks, was given the MVP trophy.

Ashley Aston and Heather Horton were named co-MVPs of a field hockey team that finished second in the district and made it to regionals for the second straight year, and Aston, Erin Rice and Jessica Watahovich got three-year awards, while Horton and Natalie Sims received four-year honors.

Though Bryan Maus’ football squad won just three games this season, the Warriors could still claim a gridiron title; two of their wins were against local rivals Lakeland and King’s Fork, making River the supreme Suffolk team.

&uot;These kids continued to compete, even though there was a lot of adversity against us,&uot; said Maus, whose boys also defeated Wilson. &uot;We took a giant step in the right direction, and it’s up to (the underclassmen) to start a new tradition if we’re going to contend in 2005.&uot; Jhmar Lee, Joel Rivera and Phillip Henderson received three-year awards, and Jay Bright got both the only four-year award and the Coach’s award. Jason Brown was named the top offensive player, and Aaron Chamberlain the best defensive player.

On the sidelines for those football games, it was hard for the Warrior cheerers to always stay in the contest; invariably, their minds wandered to their captain, Christina Maupin, who was injured in a car accident in September. When the district cheerleading competition rolled around in late October, assistant coach Vicki Stewart wasn’t sure her girls were ready to perform.

&uot;We knew that in her heart, Christina would have wanted us to compete,&uot; said Stewart, substituting for head coach Aileen Dozier, who did not attend the banquet. &uot;She’d be upset if we didn’t. It was the best that I’d ever seen them perform. The girls truly persevered in a very difficult year.&uot; The Lady Warriors got sixth in the contest, their highest finish of the millennium.

Leah Fontenot, Lauren Parker, Kristin Dotson and Beth Perryman got three-year awards. Perryman got the Most Spirited award, and Crystal Gibson the Coach’s Award.

Then Stewart announced one more entry into Warrior history; the first cheerleader to ever get a four-year letter award. It was Maupin.

The applause started near the stage, and traveled backwards through the auditorium. Then someone on the right side stood. People near her followed suit. Before long, the entire crowd was on its feet, clapping and shouting Maupin’s name.

And it didn’t stop for nearly a minute.