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While the rest of the Seminole District was slugging it out on Monday, three Jefferson Forest teams were catching a break while staying above the fray. The Forest baseball and both soccer teams stayed home, a nice benefit of their regular season championships.
Since the departure of Appomattox, the Seminole District has seven teams. Therefore, the District champ in each sport gets a bye for the first round of the tournament.
Of greater importance, no matter how it does in the tournament, the regular season champ also wins a first round berth in Regional play, guaranteeing an opener at home in that tourney.
The Cav soccer team had (another) undefeated run through the Seminole, en route to its title. The Lady Cavs replicated that feat, wrapping up with a 6-1 make-up win over Heritage. It was the 16th consecutive title for the Cavs (last week, it was erroneously reported that the Cavs had won their 12th straight) and the second straight for the ladies.
The boys? team seems poised for a deep run in the reconfigured Regional. With top seeding in hand, the Cavs can look around at a Region that no longer includes Blacksburg and Cave Spring. However, they don?t count on a cakewalk, either. Forest Head Coach Jedd Zaring did some advance scouting during spring break. He feels that Turner Ashby, from the Massanutten, could be a challenging foe. ?They have some talented players in the key positions and are surrounded by athletes who play with conviction,? said Zaring.
He also noted that the regional host site, William Byrd, has a field that represents ?the great equalizer.? At only 55 yards wide and with a high crown, the coach feels that this presents teams the opportunity to play a more physical and disruptive game.
Perhaps the Byrd concession stand is the reason for the Terriers playing Regional host for three of the last four years. It couldn?t be the field...
Lady Cavs complete undefeated District run
The Lady Cavs? undefeated Seminole run was the first for the team since 2001. Additionally, the team gave up a total of 3 goals in 12 District games.
Lady Cav Head Coach pointed to a couple of factors in his team?s success. ?They?ve been at it a long time, starting with rec ball,? said Golon. ?They?ve stayed together, and it?s paying dividends all these years later.?
Golon also pointed to the brains of his players. ?We have some of the most intelligent kids,? he said. ?They?re in AP classes, going to Governor?s School...I?m just guiding this thing. This (success) is them.?
Their win over Heritage the scoring was spread around as Cameron DeWitt, Jaime White, Taylor Duff, Jennifer Steele, and Brittany Gallagher all got into the act. DeWitt scored twice, while Gallagher also added four assists.
The diamondmen repeated as regular season champs, ringing up nine runs in the first three innings to top a distracted Amherst team 10-4. However, the Cavs took their third straight title in stride, obviously hungry for more. The team?s next objective is the Seminole tourney crown. Should Forest win the title, it would match the sweep it had last season.
In the win over Amherst, all nine seniors started for the Cavs, and each of them played a role in the victory. Seven of the eight position players picked up hits, including Ragan Rudisill?s 3-run homer. Catcher Josh Huffman and first baseman Dylon Higley picked up a pair of hits. Matt Wallman, dealing with the recent loss of his grandfather, stayed focused, picking up a couple of big hits. ?I couldn?t have been more proud of our seniors,? said Cav Head Coach Ryan Gilleland.
The break on Monday gave Coach Gilleland a chance to spend some additional quality time with the newest arrival to his household. Wife Kylie gave birth to a bouncing baby boy on Saturday, May 10. Rumors that Coach Gilleland was already buying cleats for Beckett Scott Gilleland proved to be unfounded.
Nonetheless, there was joy in Forest. ?Last week was the best week of my life,? said Gilleland.
Nobody was cheering harder for the Cavs than were the Liberty Minutemen. Liberty? The same team that usually has zero love for Forest changed that attitude (for a day). Because of the Cav win, the Minutemen pulled ahead of Amherst for the fourth slot in the Seminole. As a result, Liberty got to host the Lancers, this past Monday, rather than vice-versa.