Spring sports officially open for Salem, Glenvar on Monday

Spring sports will officially begin on Monday, the first day of Virginia High School League regular season events.

Both Salem and Glenvar teams will open the new season with scheduled contests.
Salem High will have five games going as the baseball and boys’ soccer teams host Harrisonburg while the girls’ soccer team is at Harrisonburg High. The tennis teams will both play Franklin County, with the girls at home and the boys in Rocky Mount.

The Salem baseball team is looking forward to another successful season. Salem shut out a strong William Byrd team in a scrimmage at Billy Sample Field last Saturday in a high school jamboree.
“We are returning six veteran players that were on the team that made the State Championship run in 2018,” said coach Wes McMillian. “This year’s team features strong pitching and one of the most talented supporting casts that Salem Baseball has possessed in years.”

Key players include pitchers Zian Honaker and Hunter Tensen and Virginia Tech bound centerfielder Parker Stallard.

The Salem boys’ soccer team has a new coach in David Atkins. The Spartans have a young team with just one returning starter, Andy Rodriguez, but Atkins is optimistic.
“We have a talented and competitive group of young men led by junior captains Luis Geyne and Will Clemens,” he said.

The girls’ soccer team also has a new coach as Meg Ryan takes over for long-time coach Josh Jones. Among the returnees are Penn State signee Katie Evans in goal, Sarah Mowbray on defense and Annie Bond at forward.

“Our first few weeks with the girls have been great, they are a very competitive, dedicated, hard-working group,” said Ryan. “They make each practice very enjoyable to work with them. Their attitudes create a positive training environment that should set us up for success this year.”

Returning tennis coaches are Scott Gibson with the boys and Scott Hall with the girls. The girls have five of last year’s top six returning for their home match Monday.

“With most of our top six back this year we’re excited about the future and hope that some of the growing pains we went through last year pay off for us,” said Hall.

Glenvar teams opening on Monday include the baseball team and both soccer teams. The baseball team will debut with a game at Galax. Glenvar has eight returning players but only two seniors for Jeremy Cromer’s second season as skipper. Junior Ryan Butler is a strong pitcher and hitter and Jeb Secrist, another junior, has shown power at the plate.

“I’m really looking forward to this year,” said Cromer. “The guys know what to expect from me and I know what to expect from them. We have the potential to do something really special this year if we work hard.”

Both Glenvar soccer teams are at Appomattox for a doubleheader on Monday. The girls will kick off at 5:30 pm under coach Jason Woods, and he’s looking for a good season.

“It starts with senior keeper Meghan Thompson,” said Woods. “Last year she had a goal against average of 1.11 and a save rate of 90 percent. With her we are in any game.

The defense is anchored by senior Jayla Fuhrman and on offense senior Alyssa Meadows, junior Kendall Birdlebough, junior Mallory LaPrade, and sophomore Jordin Crouch will provide the punch.

“These ladies have the ability to control the pace of play and allow us to win the possession battle,” said Woods.

Sam Hartman returns to coach the boys’ team. He has a couple standouts as well in senior keeper Luca Gustafson, who will play at Roanoke College next fall, and midfielder Nathan Booth, who is going to Bridgewater College.

On Tuesday of next week the Salem softball team will open as well as both lacrosse teams. The softball team will have a stout opener as they play at William Byrd, the 2019 Class 4 state championship team. Byrd has dropped to Class 3 for this school year and they return a talented team.

“We play a very tough schedule,” said Salem coach Johnny Counts. “We’re looking forward to our invitational next weekend. There will be three state champions from last year.”

Auburn(Class 1), Richlands(Class 2) and Byrd will all be included in the invitational on March 20 and 21 at the Moyer Complex. Glenvar is also in the field.

Both Salem lacrosse teams will host Hidden Valley next Tuesday, with the girls at 5:30 pm and the boys at 7:15 pm at Spartan Field. Both teams look to have good seasons.

The Salem girls will be led by eight returning seniors; Kayla Lainez, Ellyn Anama, Madi Caldwell, Emma Painter, Faith Nimmo, Libby Bowman, Maddie Fountain and Berkeley Wall.

We’re excited to have JV for the first time and we have good numbers,” said Salem coach Maggi Pace. “Claire Feeney is back as head coach for the JV and Jordan Hayes returns, after playing at CNU, as assistant varsity coach.”

The boys return some talent as well, including Roanoke College bound Wyatt Whitlow, Hampden-Sydney recruit Luke Reid and future Bridgewater College defenseman AJ Blankenship.

Next Wednesday the Salem softball team hosts Lord Botetourt while the Salem tennis teams play Northside, with the boys at home and the girls at Walrond Park. It will also be the first day for the Glenvar softball as the Highlanders host Staunton River. Also on Wednesday the GHS baseball team is at Staunton River while the tennis teams play William Byrd, with the boys at home and the girls in Vinton.

Glenvar should have a very good softball team with pitching, hitting and depth. These are many of the same girls coach Lonnie Raines has had the past two years and they keep maturing and improving. The Highlanders lost one senior from last year’s 18-4 team.

Among the returnees are sophomore pitcher Sophie McCulley, who was the Three Rivers District Player of the Year last season. She will be joined by fellow sophomore lefty Savana Luper and a junior, McKenna Shearer, on the pitching staff.

The infield returns all four starters, including senior second baseman McKenzie Pulliam and three juniors, third baseman Justice Wilfong and two first team all-region players, first baseman Lydia Taylor and shortstop Courtney Raines. Senior Jamie Burton will start as catcher. The outfield is filled with talented players, including sophomore center fielder Sarah Kate Tozier.

“As long as we stay focused and healthy we should have a very successful season,” said Raines.

Glenvar has two new tennis coaches as Roger Bowers is the new boys’ coach and Blaine Mills takes over the girls’ program. Some of the key players on the girls’ team this year will be Isabella Gustafson, Hailey Bryant, Jasmine Eaton, and Avery Flynn.

“These four have already shown signs of leadership and a love for tennis in the short time we’ve been together,” said Mills. “With it being my first year coaching, this team has been incredible to work with. They are full of positive energy and a want to get better.”

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