Welcomes, farewells at Warriors’ winter banquet

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 16, 2005

It was pretty remarkable that Vernell Woods compiled a 28-8 record in his first season of wrestling at Nansemond River. It was even more impressive that he began just the second freshman Warrior to qualify for regional competition, finishing third in the Southeastern District tournament with a 3-1 record.

But the most extraordinary of all? That he won the last two matches with a broken collarbone.

That, added onto the fact that Woods compiled the most pins, takedowns and individual points, won him the team’s Most Valuable Wrestler award at the school’s winter sports banquet on Monday night.

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&uot;We had a pretty decent year,&uot; said coach Shawn Carr, whose team took fourth in the Peninsula Catholic tournament, finished in the top 15 in the Lee-Davis tourney and brought home the Sportsmanship award in the Cape Henry event. Seniors Brent Christie, who made it to regional competition last season, and Matt Yandle got three-year letterman awards, and Vance Barskile was named the Most Improved.

While Woods lit up the school in his debut, cheerleading coach Alice Dozier was saying goodbye; she’ll be leaving the varsity position after this year.

&uot;I’ve been here for six years, and it’s been a pleasure,&uot; said an emotional Dozier. &uot;All My girls have made me proud, and my parents are the best.

&uot;She went through a lot of stress last year,&uot; Dozier said of Christina Maupin, the school’s first four-year letterman cheerleader, who returned to school in December, just three months after a near-fatal car accident. &uot;She persevered through determination and hard work, and inspired us all. She is the reason why our school came together.&uot;

Just as the audience had at the fall sports banquet a few months before, it gave Maupin (who’ll attend Christopher Newport University) a standing ovation. Beth Berryman, Kristin Dotson, Jennifer Stone, Ashley Unmussig, Leah Fontenot and Crystal Gibson got three-year awards, Jessica Maddox the Most Spirited honor, and Ashley Smith the Best All-Around.

When the indoor track team first came out for the year, some of the runners might have found the sport name misleading, said coach Audrey Copeland.

&uot;Just because it’s called ‘indoor track,’&uot; Copeland said, &uot;doesn’t mean you get to run indoors! Once people realized that, they started dropping like flies!&uot; After starting off with 12 participants, the ranks dropped to seven.

&uot;It’s not about going out to win the district,&uot; Copeland said. &uot;It’s about looking for kids to get the chance to compete and have fun, and we achieved that this year.&uot;

Third-year lettermen Raven Starks and Lauren Ordonio were named co-Best All-Around. In boys racing, Ben Staats got the Most Outstanding Runner and Malik McBride the Most Dependable, and Staats, Mike Christian, Brandon Early and Brian Paisani got three-year awards.

Going 3-18 for the season, said first-year girls coach Mike Maynard, &uot;wasn’t a great record, but we took a big step and played better as the year went on.&uot;

The team defeated Lakeland twice, something it hadn’t done since 1999. Stephanie Adams, a future student at Hampton University, was named the Most Valuable Player and only three-year letterman, and Cherae’ Rice got the Most Improved honor.

Before he came to Nansemond River before this season, new basketball coach Ed Young wasn’t sure what to expect. Yes, he’d just won the 2003-04 Beach District Coach of the Year award at Green Run, but he was taking over a team that had lost several players and a coach from the squad that had gotten the last three Southeastern District titles. But even before he met the players, Young had reason to feel confident.

&uot;I thought this would be an amazing program with wonderful people, and that hasn’t changed,&uot; Young said. &uot;All these guys were able to get me the (Southeastern District) Coach of the Year award. Without them, I’m worthless. With them, I’m pretty good.

&uot;He’s a tremendous young man,&uot; Young said of three-year winner Jamar Simmons. &uot;He could give away all of his character and still have too much.&uot;

District Player of the Year and All-Region selection Keith Josey and First All-District team Vaughn Wilson, who helped the team to its fourth straight district regular season and third straight district tournament title, were named co-Most Oustanding Players. Josey and scorekeeper Alicia Willie got four-year awards.

&uot;It’s just hard work,&uot; Josey told the crowd. &uot;Stay in school, get on the books, and get it done.&uot;