Year in Review: Champions

Published 10:30 pm Saturday, December 24, 2011

Lakeland’s Raekwon Johnson dives for the goal line during the opening quarter of the opening game of the Cavalier football season. Lakeland went on to its first playoff appearance in school history and the first playoff season for any Suffolk school in Group AAA. The Cavaliers finished 7-4 after going 0-10 in 2010. Johnson was Co-Offensive Player of the Year in the Southeastern District.

Champions from Hampton to Vegas in 2011

Suffolk’s Team Evolve girls basketball team won the AAU Fifth Grade Division 2 National Championship in dominating fashion in Hampton in July.

Team Evolve rolled to a 6-0 record in the tourney thanks to all-out defense. Evolve won its six games by an average margin of 22.2 points and beat the Cincinnati Heat 52-29 in the championship game.

“This team just wants to go out, I’ve never seen it in a team like this, girls or boys, a team that wants to put pressure on any team they play, every game, right from the start,” said head coach Frank Davis.

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Team Evolve was Camry Harris, Cammy Reid, Kaylah Brown, Madi Tucker, Mykaylyn Davis, Briana Autrey, TaiAsia McDuffie, Amesha Miller, Angel Thomas, Makayla Dickens, Jayla Hemingway, Neecole Brown and Lenah Clements.


The Suffolk Smashers, an 8-and-under coach-pitch softball squad from Suffolk Youth Athletic Association, won its way to the 2011 PONY Nationals in Round Rock, Texas in July.

The Smashers won tournaments in Smithfield and Deep Creek to earn the nationals berth.

Dailey Ellis, Emmi Goodman, Gabby Infranco, Hailey Rountree, Hanna Williamson, Jessica Chang, Jillian McAdoo, Julie Jones, Karley Wetmore, Reese Byrd, Sevanna Cahoon, Sydney Hawk and Toni Jones were the Smashers.


Nansemond-Suffolk alum Lauren Doughtie made the U.S. Women’s Open for the second time in four years and the first time of her pro golf career.

Doughtie qualified for the 2011 Open by being co-medalist in sectional qualifying at Carolina Trace Country Club in Sanford, N.C.

In the national championship at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo. in July, Doughtie missed the cut with rounds of 80 and 81.

In her collegiate career at North Carolina State. Doughtie was an All-ACC golfer and made the NCAA Tournament individually along with winning the 2008 Virginia State Amateur Championship. As a Saint, she was All-Tidewater Conference two seasons and the 2004 Virginia Junior Girls Golfer of the Year.

Nansemond-Suffolk alum Sean Dougherty made his first PGA Tour event a big one by playing in the 93rd PGA Championship in August.

Dougherty, a 1997 NSA alum and UNC-Wilmington graduate, finished tied for eighth in the PGA Professional National Championship to make the field for the major. Dougherty, the head professional at Milburn Country Club in Overland Park, Kan., broke Sam Snead’s 40-year-old record for low score after 36 holes in the PGA Professional National Championship.

After playing at UNC-Wilmington, Dougherty bounced around minor pro tours for a few years before going to work at Milburn. He was planning on qualifying for a nearby Nationwide Tour event during the week of the PGA Championship until he made the tournament.

Dougherty missed the cut at the Atlanta Athletic Club after back-to-back rounds of 74.


Lakeland went from an 0-10 season on the gridiron in 2010 to its first playoff season ever and a 7-4 record this fall.

The Cavaliers opened the season by scoring 40-plus points in three straight blowout victories.

The Cavs, 4-0 at the time, came within one more inch of a Raekwon Johnson run of a tying or go-ahead score with less than four minutes remaining in the game at eventual state champion Oscar Smith in late September.

In October, wins against Great Bridge and Indian River sealed the playoff berth.

In Lakeland’s first-ever regional playoff game, Norcom led the

Cavs 33-0 early in the second half. Lakeland scored four touchdowns in the next eight minutes to get within 39-28 before falling 46-28.

Johnson, Anaquan Peterson, Antonio Jefferson, Demonte Tillery, Derrick Edghill, Chris Rodgers and Jaylyn Reid were Cavaliers selected All-Southeastern District.


In the first season under head coach Lew Johnston, who coached at Western Branch for more than 30 years, Nansemond-Suffolk’s football season started with a four-game losing streak and turned around with a six-game winning streak.

NSA’s drive to a winning record included Tidewater Conference wins over Norfolk Academy, Greenbrier Christian and Hampton Roads by a combined score of 133-6.

All five seniors on the Saint roster, Bobby Lamm, Ryan Serianni, Thomas Westfall, A.J. Hicks and Clay Rabey, earned All-TCIS and All-State honors.

Lamm won the Virginia Wendy’s High School Heisman Award for his athletic, academic and community achievements.


Former Lakeland field hockey All-American Kelsey Smither began earning elite collegiate honors as a freshman at Old Dominion as the Lady Monarchs reached the national semifinals and spent much of the season ranked No. 1 in the country.

Smither was named National Rookie of the Year by and the CAA Rookie of the Year. As a midfielder/defender, Smither led the Lady Monarchs with 13 assists while scoring four goals.

The Suffolk Special Olympics powerlifting team of, from left, Daryl Taylor, coach Rob Kelly, Kavelle Martin and T.J. Woolfork, competed with Taylor, Martin and Woolfork winning gold medals, at the 2011 AAU World Powerlifting Championship Nov. 5-6 in Kissimmee, Fla. Martin set the AAU Women’s Special Olympics world record in the deadlift, lifting 92.5 kilograms or 204 pounds.

Smither is currently on the U.S. National Teams at the U19 and U21 levels.

ODU went 22-3 overall and undefeated through the CAA season and tournament.


Finishing a year that already included state and national gold medals, Suffolk Special Olympic powerlifters Kavelle Martin, Daryl Taylor and T.J. Woolfork won gold at the AAU World Powerlifting Championships in Kissimmee, Fla. in November.

Martin set a new AAU World Record in the deadlift, lifting 204 pounds.

“They will rise to the occasion at the meet. They always do. Each of them will lift 30 or 40 more pounds than they did in the last practice on the day of the meet. It’s great seeing them when they get psyched up,” said head coach Rob Kelly.

The team trains at the Zuni Presbyterian Homes, where Martin, Taylor and Woolfork live.

“Rob’s a good coach. He doesn’t let anything happen to us because he doesn’t let us get hurt. He’s always telling us he knows we can do it,” Taylor said.