Year in review: Chantilly’s top ten moments

Hayden Dux, Sports Editor

  1. Voted the best basketball play of the year by All-Met Sports of The Washington Post, senior Mary Clougherty’s game-winning and-one three-point shot to defeat Herndon on Jan. 13 on the road is the unanimous choice for Chantilly’s top sports moment of the year. A Lehigh commit, Clougherty received a pass from a slashing senior Chiara Ballam, who drew in defenders as Clougherty moved over a double screen during an inbound play with 17 seconds left on the clock. As time wound down, Clougherty tied the score with a deep three-pointer while drawing a foul and, with five seconds remaining, sealed the deal with a free-throw to cement the team’s comeback victory.
  2. While Clougherty’s shot was one of the most exciting highlights of the year, senior Sam Tenaglia’s victory against a Woodson opponent on Jan. 15 at Chantilly’s own Joe Verciglio Invitational was the culmination of one of the most impressive high school careers of any athlete in the 2017 graduating class. With that victory, Tenaglia cemented his name in Chantilly wrestling history as the sole owner of the all-time wins record after compiling 169 wins over four years under coach Zack Winfrey. Tenaglia will continue his wrestling career at Johnson & Wales University.
  3. Led by senior captains Thomas Allain and Brandon McGorty, the cross country team drew on last year’s performance that left it four points shy of state competition as this year’s rallying cry. Collectively unsatisfied with what was left on the table last year, the team instead left it all on the  this year. Seeded sixth in the region and 11th in the state headed into the Nov. 12 VHSL State Championship at The Plains in Great Meadow, the cross country athletes reached the pinnacle of their high school careers while finishing third- eight spots higher than expected.
  4. After losing valuable members of last year’s senior class such as midfielder Katie McGrath, who currently plays at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, the girls’ soccer team looked to find new contributors this season. It found one in sophomore Serena Pham, a midfielder and forward who paced the team’s offense throughout the season. This offensive prowess culminated on March 30 against Robinson, when Pham netted all of the goals scored in the game en route to a hat trick. The team won 3-0, setting the stage for a dominant conference performance during the remainder of the season.
  5. In a season marked by 12 regular season wins, a district finals appearance and a regional playoff berth, perhaps the most impressive moment of the softball team’s season was its 12th inning win against Robinson on April 4. Trailing late in the game, the team rallied in the sixth and seventh innings to tie the score headed into extra innings and both teams scored a run each inning to stay tied. This deadlock continued until the bottom of the 12th, when junior Savannah Pettigrew laced a ball in the gap to bring in two runs with a walk-off hit. Besides signifying a win against one of the conference’s most dominant teams, the victory fired up the team and brought them together headed into the rest of district play.
  6. Throughout a season marred by close loss after close loss, the boys’ soccer team remained competitive and focused in every game. After getting blown out by Edison and falling in heartbreaking fashion, 2-1, to Herndon, the team rallied together to take down Tuscarora- considered one of the best teams in the Metropolitan area courtesy of All-Met Sports of The Washington Post. The highlight of the season and one of Chantilly’s most memorable sports moments of the year, the team defeated the Huskies 2-1 and rode the momentum to a 4-3 victory against Centreville in the following game.
  7. Despite being six shots back of second place after the first day of competition, the golf team rallied back to beat both Robinson and Centreville by one stroke, finishing second in the district and qualifying for region play. Senior Jack Fitzhugh and sophomore Steven Walsh led charge, and junior Dean Satouri also contributed heavily with a par on the 18th hole to secure a second place finish. Golf later went on to place seventh in the region.
  8. Despite the loss of Kelsey Irwin and Julianne Igbokwe due to graduation, the girls’ indoor track team coasted to a comfortable district title on Jan. 26 and 27 at PG Sports Complex. “We knew we had a good chance of winning, so that motivated us to race well,” senior and captain Ana Morris said. Armed with that confidence, the dominant girls’ indoor track team boasted a 4 by 800 relay that not only won first place, but also set a new meet record. Aside from Morris, the team was led by captains junior Haley Alderman, junior Laurel Buck, junior Kayla Wigle and senior Sofia Wainwright.
  9. After falling to Oakton on the road earlier in the season, the baseball team surmounted an early deficit to avenge its previous defeat on May 2 after an explosive inning of scoring. “Our Oakton comeback was a huge win for us given that they were the top seed in the conference,” senior and shortstop Chris Pitura said. “The rally was started off with a single and then the whole lineup batted around in the same inning to put up six runs. It was a true team win.” The team ended up winning 6-2.
  10. As a streak of many consecutive .500 winning percentage seasons came to an end, the football team’s season was instead defined by a couple of victories- the paramount of which came at Oakton on Oct. 14. Defeating the Cougars by a score of 27-23, the team looked toward seniors Corey Thomas, Hunter Streb and Devon Zampiello for guidance and leadership in the close contest. “It was a really big deal because Oakton is a big rival of ours,” junior and offensive lineman Jon Tammaro said. “It was a great feeling to represent our school and friends in that way, and our fans were a really big factor in winning that game.” The team finished with four wins and six losses on the year.