Warriors honored for versatile excellence
Published 6:29 pm Saturday, June 8, 2013
For exemplary participation in at least three different sports for Nansemond River High School, seniors Nathaniel Chandler and Shelbi Holloman recently received the Warrior Award.
The award has been given since the school’s inception in 1990, but the standards for recipients are so strict that its annual presentation is not guaranteed.
Seniors must meet the requirements, which include lettering in two or more sports during their varsity high school career. They must also be a first team all-district selection, an individual champion, or a three or more year letterman in any sport.
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“It’s real difficult to excel in more than one sport,” Nansemond River activities director Nancy Richey said, particularly now that nearly year-around training is possible for a single sport, leading to a new trend among athletes.
“They’re tending to specialize in sports,” Richey said.
But this year’s Warrior Award winners showed talented versatility and even surpassed the basic requirements.
Holloman earned 11 varsity letters in four different sports, including four in field hockey, four in indoor track and field, two in softball and one in outdoor track. She was named to the first team all-district in field hockey as a junior and senior and in softball as a sophomore.
“I was happy because I know there were a lot of good women athletes that could have gotten it,” Holloman said. “It was definitely a shocker to me. I didn’t expect it, but it’s nice to see all your accomplishments have paid off, and not only do your coaches see it, but other coaches see it, and to get their votes was really an honor.”
To determine winners of the award, Richey solicits nominations from coaches and then compiles a list of the nominees that meet the criteria. She sends this list to all the coaches at Nansemond River, who vote based on the criteria and who they think should win.
“I wouldn’t have wanted to receive it with anyone but Nate, because I know he’s worked his butt off in everything he’s done too,” Holloman said.
Chandler concentrated his efforts on three sports and also produced 11 varsity letters: four in cross country, four in indoor track and three in soccer. The Warrior Award was about family for Chandler.
“My sister got this award, so I was kind of basing myself off her, as she did three years of three different sports, and excelled in all of them,” he said. “So, I was trying to copy her, and do my own thing, by doing different sports. But I was happy when I got this award. I wasn’t expecting it.”
The schedule of a student-athlete is full and challenging, and being a multi-sport student-athlete means that challenge persists for most of the school year.
“The hardest thing was kind of keeping up with my school work,” Chandler said. “We have projects and had to study for tests. Sometimes you have to do it early so you can get it done, so you won’t be behind. You have to stay ahead.”
“We’re both honor grads,” Holloman said. “Everyone else gets home at 3, and we get home around 6:30 sometimes, and when we had track meets, it was late. In any sport, if you have a game, it’s late. So, definitely, keeping your grades up was probably the hardest (thing).”
In helping them achieve this level of success as student-athletes, both seniors thanked their family and teachers, who showed consistent support throughout high school. Chandler again highlighted his sister, TaNay Chandler, and Holloman mentioned Lady Warriors field hockey coach Ali Mowry, who also received the Warrior Award when she was a student.
Chandler and Holloman will join them on the Warrior Wall in the Nansemond River gymnasium.