Girls Basketball vs. Lee High (A)

Girls Basketball vs. Lee High (A)

Swim team freshmen get a Rude Awakening


An AHS swim team tradition took place in The early hours of January 15. This event, nicknamed ‘Rude Awakening,’ is when swim team upperclassmen split up into groups and drive to the houses of new swim team members to wake them up. After they surprise their teammates with a noisy wake-up call, they dress their group up in crazy outfits and take them out to a team breakfast.

Most of the freshman had no idea what Rude Awakening even was before it happened to them. Because the team trys to keep in a secret. But word got out and freshman Sarah Bergen says, “We kinda had the feeling it was coming, but we didn’t know exactly when it was going to be.”

When asked if they were embarrased about their outfits, Bergen replys, “It’s only kind of embarrasing in classes where there aren’t any other freshman swimmers, because you have to explain your outfit to everyone.” She laughed and said, “The juniors had me stand up and tell people how much I love them.”

Freshman Betsey Kruse says, “They came into my room, blasting [TiK ToK by KE$HA] and poured cold water all over my face to wake me up.” Kruse’s seniors dressed her up in an outfit consisting of a mistletoe headband, purple tights, pigtails, a homemade t-shirt, a face tattoo and mismatched socks. Kruse knew Rude Awakening was coming but says, “I have to explain my outfit to people who don’t know about Rude Awakening, so it’s kind of embarassing. But it’s actually really fun.”

One swimmer wore footy pajamas and nightvision goggles, while others had all-out decorated shirts and mismatched shoes. Enjoying her outfit, freshman Ashley Whittle says, “They just kinda came in my room and screamed really loud to wake up. Then they told me I only had like five minutes to get ready.” No make up, and just enough time to brush your teeth, the freshman got dressed up in costume and headed off to school.

Tonight the Atoms Swim Team takes on Lee High School, in an effort to win the meet with the most team spirit they’ve had all season.

Getting rid of baggage: Redskins cut Suisham

After missing the 23-yard field goal to secure a win over the undefeated New Orleans Saints, Shaun Suisham was officially released from the Washington Redskin’s roster. Suisham had been in the NFL for five years, and he thought he had “solidifed the kicking position.” For the Redskins, this had finalized the decision to fire the mentally-weak kicker.

Prior to the the dissapointing loss against the Saints, Suisham missed two that costed the Redskins the win. In week 11, he missed a 39-yard and 50-yard field goal, causing the ‘Skins to lose 7-6 against the Dallas Cowboys. For Dan Snider and the Redskins, this was enough to end Suisham’s career as a Redskin.

According to Suisham who spoke with The Washington Post, “I’m 18 of 21, the most accurate kicker of the history of the franchise.” However, Suisham could not make field goals when the Redskin’s need it most. Beating the Saints would have significantly changed the path of the Redskins’ future as a dominant team in the NFL. Losing the game that, by the end of the third quarter, should have been a secure win cemented the dissapointment of Redskin’s fans.

As for Suisham, making field goals is what he was paid $1.01 million to do. Missing critical, game-determining three-pointers was enough for Suisham to be release. On the other hand, if the Redskins could have pulled of the defeat of the Saints, Suisham would have gotten another chance.

Fortunately for the Redskins, the kicker that cannot make a 23-yard field is no longer someone who will restrict the ‘Skins from progressing. Now Jim Zorn will put the Redskins’ kicking future in the hands of former UFL kicker Graham Gano, who recently signed a three-year contract with Washington.

For Suisham, “I’m just real sad to be leaving right now.”

Students pursue sports outside of AHS

While Annandale has a lot of sports to offer, it does not have the immense variety of neighboring schools Lake Braddock and W.T. Woodson. In addition to the usual sports field hockey, football and volleyball, both schools also offer additional sports like ice hockey, crew and rifle.

“In order to have these sports at our school parents need to get together and form a booster club to support the financial part of it,” said Angelo Hilios. Adding an additional sport onto our sports program would raise economic issues, and would only work if students were willing to finance it.

Senior Jeremy Gillcash is one of many student athletes who plays a sport outside of school that is not offered within.

“If our school had a club hockey team that would be legit,” said Gillcash who travels at least 45 minutes to be part of the Prince William Panthers. “I guess it’s just not as popular around here.”

Students at W.T. Woodson are offered three sports that are not offered at any other school in the patriot district. Although ice hockey is not necessarily tied with the school due to the prices and danger involved with them, schools in the area have a club team that is officiated with the school.

“I wish our school had it. It would be something fun to do since ice hockey is the only sport I play,” said junior Matt Chiapanne. “It would give a chance for students who all like the same thing to interact and meet each other.” In addition to ice hockey, crew is another sport that the neighboring schools have.

“I wish that our school had crew, it would be really fun and definitely different than any other sports at our school,” said senior Caroline England.

Crew is currently not financed by the county because of the amount of money it requires. One shell, crew boat, is around $3,000 and would cost about $30,000 to start a program at Annandale. With the economic issues, you also need to find a good amount of people who are interested in the sport.

“About two years ago, two people wanted to start crew, but never followed through,” said Hilios. “It’s a lot of work, and usually the same students who are interested in crew also participate in other school sports, so financing it would be difficult.”

And so, while additional sports remain desirable at AHS, they are ultimately unattainable. Unless interest risks and funding increases, AHS will continue with its current regiment of sports.

Redskins’ ownership causes problems

There is plenty of blame to go around when discussing the disaster that is the Washington Redskins. The players—a mediocre group to begin with have played poorly since week one of the season. The coaching staff, hired very late in the game during the tumultuous off season after Joe Gibbs retired, has completely failed to inspire any sense of pride in the team or in its fan base. Beyond that, they simply appear to be incapable of putting together a successful gameplan on a weekly basis.

As huge as those issues are, they are completely compounded by the incompetence of the Redskins ownership and front office. Redskins’ owner Daniel Snyder and General Manager Vinny Cerrato have done their best to put together an over-priced aging dinosaur of a National Football League team that is long on big names and short on depth and, for the most part, talent.

Ever since the day Snyder took over the team he has always been inclined to over-pay for big name players like Deion Sanders, Jeff George, Brandon Lloyd and the like.

This year’s Deion is Albert Haynesworth, arguably the game’s best defensive tackle with Tennessee the last two seasons who now only plays about half of the time the defense is on the field. Snyder regularly throws money at players who have already had their best years in other cities.

It is no secret that Snyder is not only the worst owner in the NFL, but also probably the worst in the world of professional sports. He has proved to be incapable of hiring a coach, as the Redskins have gone through five in just ten years.

Since buying the Redskins in 1999, the team has gone 78-88. He has turned Redskins games at FedEx Field into torture—charging ridiculous prices for parking and stadium food. Who wants to pay $11 for a hot dog and fries, not to mention $40 for parking, to watch this nightmare team?

This year, the Redskins have proven to be a complete disaster on the field. Ranked near the bottom of the league in almost every offensive statistic category, the team really hit rock bottom when they lost to the Detroit Lions on Sept. 27, a team which had previously lost 19 straight games. At press time, the Redskins are a dismal 2-5 and it does not seem like relief is anywhere near.

There is no doubt that a change must be made, but what can be done when the players and coaching staff are only part of the problem? The owner and front office are incompetent and until there is a change fans of the burgundy and gold will likely still experience heartache every Sunday.

Girls Basketball 2009 – 2010

Adams announces football resignation


After thirty years in the AHS football program, the last 19 as head coach, Dick Adams has resigned from the position.

“It may be hard for people to understand because they think I’m this guy with all kinds of energy, but I’m just out of gas,” Adams said. “For 30 years my focus has been Annandale high school. My family has always been second but now I’m going to devote more time to them.”

Adams was only the fourth football head coach in AHS history and was very successful in his tenure. He had a winning percentage of .614 and an overall record of 132-83. In 1993 and 1994, Adams led the Atoms to two state championships and during his time, he captured three regional championships and seven district titles. He also established a school record 26-game win streak while leading the football program.

“Coach Adams has put in a lot of time and commitment to Annandale High School and helped structure this school,” said assisstant football coach Keith Sholders. “He takes a lot of pride in the way the school is run and it will be a big job for someone new to come in and keep up the expectations.”

Adams’ replacement is sure to have his work cut out for him, as players and coaches alike recognized the importance of Adams in thier playing as well as their personal lives.

“The best part of playing for Coach Adams was knowing he will push you all the time and bring the best out of you,” said senior Evan Griffin. “As a person, he was always there and was able to put me on the right path.”

“He was able to motivate us about winning games and practicing hard and taught us how to handle adversity and keep us involved,” said senior Alhaji Bah.

Although there is no clear coach in line to take the job, there are certain things that many people involved in the football program hope he will continue.

“I hope that the next coach at Annandale High School is someone that is willing to put in the time and effort to continue the tradition of Annandale High School, from the school’s simple colors of red and white to the expectations of the players as students to the work ethic of the kids; this is what makes Annandale unique,” said Adams.

“[Coach Adams] can’t be replaced but we’ll still carry on the tradition and still have a high standard of winning and working hard all the time,” said junior Yari Mizouri. “I believe the new coach must be able to work hard for us as we will be working hard for him.”

Despite his resignation, Adams will continue to serve as the school’s assisstant director of student activities and will continue to be involved in AHS athletics.

“I’m still going to keep the fields looking good and be a resource for whoever takes over,” said Adams. “I will do nothing but help the next coach.”

Boys track continues winning streak

In their most recent competition at the Friends of Indoor Track Invitational, the boys team was able to pull out another win while the girls lost with a close score and a strong performance, making the boys 4-0 and the girls 3-1 overall.

“The relays did well and the mid distance and field event teams also did well and I think it gave us a good start to the season,” said senior long and triple jump participant Desmond Lee.

Looking towards the rest of the season athletes and coaches are positive in their hopes for improvement and desire to win another district championship.

“The team needs to keep working hard and turning in good performances in the upcoming meets at Fork Union and at Virginia Tech, with the ultimate goal being to win the district team championship,” said coach Sean Miller.

The girls are mainly looking to improve all their times as well as working on the fundamentals of each specific event. “The last meet I didn’t do as well as I would have liked to, so hopefully I’ll significantly drop my time, but the girls team is strong in mid distance and sprints but we still need to work on the distance group,” said senior mile runner and 4×8 team member Meriem Oweis.

In the last meet, key female performances included Elizabeth Flint who placed in both the triple and long jump events. “We are working on strength and fitness and we are a young team on the girls side with a lot of potential and hope to fiinish in the top four at districts,” said coach Dave O’Hara.

Although the boys are 4-0 overall there are still improvements to be made. “The boys’ team need to find more scoring in the sprints and jumps, the girls’ team has good individuals but lacks overall depth,” said Miller.

Key male performances in the last meet included Daniel Blasser in the 500m and Michael Ejigu in the 3200m run. Jack Griffin, Alhaji Bah and JP Jenkins all placing in the 55m hurdles.

The upcoming varsity meet at Virginia Tech is motivation for some of the team members to work hard in practice and continue to improve in order to have a strong performance in the competition on Jan. 29-30.

“I am excited for the Tech meet because it will be really fun but we have to keep improving if we want to be the best we can be in the meet,” said senior Maggie Bermingham.

The Atoms next meet will be Jan. 30 at Episcopal High School against South County, Lake Braddock and Lee.

Dive team remains undefeated

When looking at the score of one of the most recent swim and dive meets, it is easy to overlook one half of the team’s perofrmance. The final result says West Springfield won the meet 182-132, but that does not tell the whole story. The AHS dive team was able to notch their fifth win of the season and remain unbeaten on the year by beating the Spartans 19-10 in the dive portion of the meet.

“It’s not surprising that our dive team is undefeated,” said sophomore Patrick McCann. “The amount of talent that we have on the team this year is uncomparable to other teams.”

Led by senior captains Sean McKinney and Chris Fuller, McCann, and juniors Jordan Aman and Andrew Pack, the team looks to complete their second straight undefeated season with a win over West Potomac HS on Friday, Jan. 22 at Lee District RecCenter.

“We’ve got a really good chance at winning our last meet because West Potomac isn’t that good and we’re quite talented,” said Aman.

The team’s most impressive win this season had to be Dec. 18 against Woodson. The Cavaliers, a new addition to the Patriot District this year, was also undefeated and had not lost a boys dive meet in eight years. The Atoms were happy to hand them that loss, 18-11.

“Everyone came out, did their best and that’s why we came out victorious,” said McKinney. “We made the other coach practically cry, so that was good.”

“Eight years is a long time so it was good to prove that we were better than them,” said McCann.

McKinney, who has placed second in the state for the past three years, has already qualified for the regional meet by scoring 200 points in a single meet. The Atoms could potentially have two other regional qualifiers in McCann and Aman, pending the result of Friday’s meet against Lee, which was completed too late for this issue.

“I think we’ll definitely have three studs from the dive team in the regional meet by the end of the year,” said McCann.

Although the AHS swim and dive team probably will not make regionals as a full team, the divers will be sure to represent the Atoms well and complete their second straight undefeated season.

UPDATE: The Atoms dive team remained undefeated by defeating Lee on Jan. 15. In the meet, sophomore Patrick McCann and junior Jordan Aman qualified for the Regional Tournament.

AHS Football ’09

Atoms swim falls to Spartans

With only one meet left before the AHS swim and dive team’s district meets, participants prepare for the final stretch more than ever. A group of freshmen swimmers intensely shout “We are going to unleash the fury!”

This has become a well known phrase to AHS swimmers to get them hyped up before meets. The team’s previous meets against W.T. Woodson and West Springfield High School broke the boy’s team’s winning streak this season, losing to West Springfield by a small margin.

 “One of the things we need to improve on before Districts is really focusing on our goals,” said junior Katie Panther. “We need to forget about the meets we’ve lost and concentrate on the upcoming ones.”

The girls also lost both meets with about a hundred points difference. Panther’s goal is for the girl’s to come back and place at least fourth in districts, and hopefully improve their standing.

 For most sports teams, hearing that you have a home game is welcoming and exciting news. However, this is not the case for AHS swimmers and divers.

Many members of the team feel that home team advantage has a negative impact on their performance.

The dislike of competing in the same pool they practice in is the same reason field players look forward to home games. This mentality by team members could have negatively factored into the West Springfield loss at their home pool.

However, it is time for the Atoms to put all losses behind them and move forward. Districts are approaching quickly, and swimmers and divers are in full preparation. 

Head coach Neal Jarvis is looking for improvement during Districts. “A lot of people are looking to beat their personal records; the boy’s have a very good shot at winning and the girls have the chance to be very competitive,” said Jarvis.

The team is also feeling pretty optimistic for the future meets. “I believe districts will go very well, because we are the top team aside from Woodson and West Springfield,” said senior Kayvon Naghdi.

 A key fact in coming back strong in districts and is realizing mistakes in past meets and learning from them in order to improve.

“I think we need to be more competitive and really fight to get to the wall first,” said freshman swimmer Betsy Kruse. The Atoms will be competing against tough opponents, who will only increase in skill should AHS progress past districts.  It will be a fight to the finish for AHS Swim and Dive Team, for both boys and girls.

“We have been working very hard during our intense workouts and have been practicing our dives repetitively,” said sophomore Paige Blennerhassett.

Wrestling takes second place

“Well, we seem to like to come in second a lot.”

Head wrestling coach Keith Sholders said this while reflecting on his team’s most recent meet at Northern High School Jan. 8-9. The Atoms finished second out of twenty teams and had four wrestlers place second in their individual weight classes.

“The team wrestled really well over the weekend,” said junior Jon Le, who was the runner-up in the 119 lb. weight class. “We’ve been working hard because districts is around the corner and this weekend was another step to take us closer to our goal of being Patriot District champs.”

It was not all second though, as sophomore Dane Harlowe and senior Ricky Adams each placed first in their weight classes. Other second place finishers included sophomore Andy Weber and seniors Jack Velazquez and Stacey Anderson.

The next meet for the Atoms is tomorrow night, Jan. 20, at home against Lake Braddock on the annual “Pack the Pit” night. The wrestling starts at 7 pm and the fans are asked to wear white to create a “white-out” in the stands.

“[Pack the Pit] is the main event that the kids look forward to in the year,” said Sholders.

“Pack the Pit is when we get to show the school how strong our team is,” said junior Yari Mizouri. “We work hard at every practice and we will make sure we’re ready to compete.”

The team has this meet and four after it to prepare for the Patriot District tournament. The Atoms record currently stands at 9-3.

“We need to have the kids wrestle past their potential and to keep working hard in order to fulfill our goal of Patriot District champions,” said Sholders.