Freshman on Varsity Sports


Freshman Alexa Carlisle hits the ball over the net.

Brynn Feighery, Staff Writer

Being a freshman can be pretty tough at a new school, with new classmates, new teachers and a new environment as a whole. Ten freshmen this year were added to the varsity rosters of some fall sports including football, volleyball, cheer and cross country.


A new tight-end and defensive lineman was added to the varsity football team this year. Number 26, Dylan Menard is only the fourth person in the school’s history to make the varsity football team as a freshman. Though he was nervous for tryouts, his nerves were overcome by adrenaline and motivation.

“I had a lot of naysayers telling me that I wouldn’t be able to get to where I am now, so that served as my motivation to do the best that I could to prove them wrong,” Menard said.

Menard was anxious at first until a few upperclassmen took him under their wing. Aside from his initial nerves, Menard said that the hardest thing about being on varsity was having to do everything last, from getting his jersey last to being the last to do drills.

In addition to football, Menard enjoys playing lacrosse and basketball. He hopes to play both of these sports for the school in the coming year. Menard wants to play college football and maybe even college basketball. He is interested in attending a college such as the University of Florida, the University of Michigan or the University of Oregon.

For any future freshman who hopes to play varsity football, Menard recommends attending all of the preseason conditioning, being prepared for anything and everything, and most importantly, “giving it your all.”


Freshman Lexi Carlisle was able to push through the typical beginning of high school obstacles and be selected as one of 13 members on the girls’ varsity volleyball team.

However, Carlisle did not walk into tryouts unprepared. In order to improve fundamental skills and advance her level of play, Carlisle played two years of club volleyball at Braddock Road Youth Club (BRYC). She also took private lessons with a member of George Mason’s women’s volleyball team. Additionally, Carlisle attended the Charger volleyball team camp as well as their sessions with True AP conditioning over the summer. Despite all of her preparation, Carlisle was still tense for tryout week.

“I was so nervous I was practically shaking the whole week of tryouts,” Carlisle said.

Carlisle was thrilled when she was told that she made varsity. She is looking forward to playing with all of her new teammates because they have all become such great friends and have chemistry on the court.

She now devotes all of her extra time to volleyball, despite having tried many other sports before. She doesn’t know what schools she may want to go to yet, but Carlisle hopes to get a volleyball scholarship so she can continue her passion for volleyball in college.

Cross Country

Freshmen Julia Huag, Tristan Robertson and Kayla Wigle are all in the fast lane for a bright future on the varsity cross country team. Each worked hard to prepare themselves for tryouts. Huag attended the school’s summer conditioning sessions . Robertson played soccer for six years as a midfielder and belonged to a track team in Oklahoma before he moved to Virginia the summer after his seventh grade year. Wigle also ran local 5Ks and played soccer.

“The best advice I can give to the freshmen that are going to tryout next year is to do the workouts over the summer,” Huag said, “You will feel so much more confident and prepared when tryouts come.”

Wigle and Huag agreed that the hardest thing about being freshmen on varsity is lack of experience. The girls both acknowledged that it is difficult to catch up with everybody and maintain their pace, especially when unfamiliar with the courses that the upperclassmen have already run before.

“For me the most difficult thing about being on varsity is trying to push myself past that mental and physical wall to keep up with [the upperclassmen],” Robertson said.

The freshmen are all looking forward to the experiences that come with being on varsity, including racing, going to meets, meeting new people and striving to become better runners.

“I am nervous yet most excited for every race that I’m given the opportunity to run,” Wigle said.


The “Freshman Five” have just barely established themselves on the varsity cheer team, but freshmen Haley Alderman, Haylee Feeback, Sophie Merrell, Erika Rathburn and Taylor Zampiello have just as much Charger spirit as many students who have been attending this school for years.

In addition to cheer, the girls also play other sports and plan on trying out for those school teams. Alderman plans to try out for the swim team as well as track and field in the spring. Feeback wants to try out for the gymnastics team and spring track and field. Merrell plays competitive soccer and plans on trying out for the girls’ soccer team. Rathburn intends on trying out for the gymnastics team. Zampiello stopped playing competitive soccer a few years ago to make more time for cheer.

The girls agree that the upperclassmen are very nice to them and the “big sister” program is really helpful. This allows the younger girls to ask their “big sister” for help on their cheers, routines and anything else they need to know about high school cheer.

“I love having a big sister so I never feel overwhelmed about anything,” Alderman said.

The girls are excited about the upcoming season. They are looking forward to cheering at the football games, but at the same time they are nervous. They had to put in a lot of hard work to learn 56 cheers and be able to perform them all correctly with the upperclassmen. On the other hand, the girls are feeling tense for cheer competitions and being able to master all of the different skills that will allow their team to succeed.

“I am also really excited to compete because there is honestly nothing better than competing with your second family,” Zampiello said.