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Foxes 2009-2010 swimming preview: Battlefield District champs flex for more hardware


They are the most dominant team in district history. After sweeping the District championship in boys’ and girls’ events, King George High School is back to defend the bragging rights to the Battlefield District.
Although the Foxes have lost their two top female swimmers (Kathleen Lyon and Shalice Perry) and three top male swimmers (Curt Albert, Joe Gibb and Dave Boucher) to graduation, they pose a huge threat to repeat last year’s dominance with the following swimmers: Amanda Ackerman, Alexandria Bentz, Christina Bentz; KaLene Cawthon, Shelby Doyle, Carly Farrell, Heather Jones, Beth Loudin, Leann Miller, Emily Pelto, Rachael Webb, Bradford Ballenger, Tyler Collins, Tyler Grigg, Matthew Hunt, Dylan Manard, Joel Morrissett, Bennett Morrow, Cole Pates-Clift, Bryan Yanchulis and Will Zimmerman.

The formula for success that continues to work for the Foxes is simple. Having year-round swimmers (Potomac Raiders) combined with two seasonal summer swim teams (Eels and Sharks) gives the team depth. Also, having a strong core group of veteran coaches who have committed themselves to the concept of winning doesn’t hurt either. The Foxes are lead by head coach Debi Bernardes, assistants Jennifer Rasnake, Elizabeth Guthrie and Sam Fattah, and volunteer Ken Novell.
The Foxes have a history of success in the district, winning numerous championships and All-District awards. Last season, the Foxes ran away with All-District honors with Curt Albert, Andrew Snider, Dave Boucher, Joe Gibb, Paul Hutnyan, Christiana Bentz, Leann Miller, Rachael Webb, Kathleen Lyon, Alexandria Bentz and Claire Shippee winning 25 awards. Lyon won the top honor for girls with the “Swimmer of the Year” award. In addition, Lyon finished strong in every event she in which she competed during the 2009 State Swimming and Diving Championships in Charlottesville.
As for the rest of the seven teams that make of the Battlefield District, the upcoming season will present a new set of challenges for the Foxes. With the minor exception to Culpeper and Eastern View — who have limited practice time due to sharing the same pool on different days, Chancellor, Courtland and Spotsylvania have returned with large teams.
Foxes head coach Bernardes is well aware of the competition that lurks within the shadows of the district.
“It’s going to be the meat and potatoes of the team that shows up to compete,” Bernardes said. “In other words, it’s not going to be last year’s team — there are a couple of really good swimmers returning, but nobody like last year’s team.”
On Friday, the Foxes will host the first meet of the season with a triad meet against district foes Spotsylvania and Culpeper. The meet begins at 6:30 p.m.

 

Leonard M. Banks
Sports Editor

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