Winter athletes excel in postseason

Plastered on the welcome sign outside AHS is the school’s motto: a tradition of excellence. The athletic side of this excellence shone through over the weekend, with the wrestling team, indoor track team and swim and dive team all competing in their respective postseason competitions.

On Feb. 4, the varsity wrestling team competed in their district tournament at AHS. The meet began after school and continued through the evening, finally ending at 1 a.m. The Atoms placed second as a team behind South County, but there were several wrestlers who earned individual accolades.

Senior Jon Le won the district championship for the 112 lb weight class, junior Dane Harlowe took 1st in the 125 lb weight class and junior Ali Ali Musa won the district championship in the 215 lb weight class.

“I wrestled well but could have done better,” Le said. “I’m aiming for a regional and state title [so I need to be at my best].”

The home mat also provided the Atoms with several other top individual performances. Junior Rawand Shamdin, senior Brayan Pozo and junior John McCollom all placed second in their respective weight classes, while sophomore Jack Johnson and senior Hayden Assopiah placed third.

“For a few guys, the stands definitely helped push them go beyond their limit,” Le said.

The athletic success continued for the Atoms on Feb. 5 at the indoor track meet. Entering the meet, the boys team had high expectations for the meet. They did not disappoint, as they took home the Patriot District Championship for the second time in three years.

“It felt awesome winning districts,” senior Nathan Seeto said. “It really prepared us for what we’re up against come regionals in two weeks.”

Seeto, along with junior Ahmed Bile, sophomore Austin Chavez and senior Roland Andoh took home the district championship in the 4×400 meter relay. Bile also placed 1st in the mile run and the 1000m run. Senior Josh Jean-Jacques placed first in the high jump and the 55m dash and senior JP Jenkins won the district in the 300m dash and the 55m hurdles. Senior Joel Hoisington was the final district champion for the Atoms, earning the title in the shotput.

The weekend ended with the swim and dive team competing in regionals. Though the team did not qualify, many individuals were there representing AHS. Senior Kyle Tyrell had the most success, qualifying for states in three events. He placed second and set a school record in the 100-meter backstroke with a time of 50.91 seconds. He also placed 8th in the 100m butterfly and was the anchor of the 4x200m freestyle relay team that narrowly qualified for states. Senior Ryan Keck and juniors Willie Labarca and Adam Wattenbarger filled out the state-qualifying relay team.

“The first night of regionals our relay came really close to the state cut time and we didn’t even all go our best times,” Keck said. “We came into the region finals focused and when we finished the race and saw the time board it was such a great feeling.”

Junior Patrick McCann was the final state-qualifier for the Atoms, as he placed 5th in the dive competition.

The Atoms hope to continue their success as all the teams progress deeper into the postseason. Regional wrestling finals will take place on Feb. 12 at Fairfax HS, regional track will take place Feb. 19 at George Mason and state swim and dive will take place Feb. 19-20 in Virginia Beach.