Unsung Senior Athletes, Winter 2018

Please join me, folks, in congratulating the latest class of Unsung Seniors, six Collegiate athletes who made notable, if understated, contributions to the success of their teams during the winter athletic season of 2017-2018.
Madison O’Neil has sunk 63 3-point shots during her four years on the varsity basketball team, a total which places her sixth on the all-time list for buckets from behind the arc, which, by the way, is 19 feet, nine inches from the basket. Against Episcopal, she connected on three from long range. In a road victory at Bishop Sullivan, she drained two 3-balls in the second half.

“Madison has been a great member of the team and has a true love for basketball,” said Coach Rives Fleming. “She has always been a dangerous shooter and offensive threat. She has come back from a knee injury her sophomore year and managed pain to keep playing. She’s funny and playful. Her gift is keeping the team loose. The kids really gravitate towards her.”
Zach Thomas has been a middle distance runner on the indoor track team since his freshman year. Fulfilling his training plan, he peaked at the right moment and performed his best in the final meet of his career. In the VISAA championship, he ran the leadoff leg of the 4x800 relay in 2:15, which set the stage for the young Cougars’ fastest time of the season (8:54.71) and a sixth place finish. Then, two-and-a-half hours later, he laced up his spikes once again and ran a personal best 2:59.99 in the 1000.
“Zach is a wonderful role model for the younger athletes on the team,” said Coach Matthew Richardson. “As a captain, he did a terrific job helping set the tone. Zach works hard while keeping everything in perspective and bringing a positive attitude and friendly demeanor to every practice and meet.”
Maisy Fling, well known as a standout goal keeper on the Cougars’ defending League of Independent Schools soccer team, made the most of her inaugural season of indoor track.  In her penultimate competition, the LIS championship, she placed third in the shot put (30-11.5). Then, a week later, she improved to 34-1.5, personal best by almost two feet, to win the VISAA championship and earn key points that enabled the Cougars to finish in the runner-up spot.
“Maisy is a competitor,” said Coach Beth Kondorossy. “She’s an athlete, she’s strong, she’s explosive, and she’s never satisfied until she wins. Besides her competitive edge, I admire how humble Maisy is in regards to her athletic accomplishments.”
Kieran Cottrell, the president of his class each of the past four years, has been a member of the varsity diving squad since the 8th grade. In his final competition, he finished 10th in the VISAA championship with a score of 269.25 for 11 attempts and was part of an effort that allowed the Cougars, the Prep League champs, to place second in the state. His personal best performance was the 287.45 points recorded in the Woodberry Forest Invitational.

“Kieran has been a devoted diver,” said Mike Peters, the Cougars’ first-year head swimming coach. “He has not only consistently worked to better his diving, but he has worked to advance the diving program.  He is supportive of younger teammates and has earned the upmost respect of teammates, coaches, and opponents.” 
Ashley Eastep has competed on the varsity swimming team for four years, primarily in the individual medley and backstroke. On Senior Night, she recorded a lifetime best in the 200 IM (2:45.41) when she touched out a competitor from Norfolk Academy by 0.03 seconds.
“Ashley fills in in any event we need her to,” Peters said. “Often, she swims the events that many of the other swimmers try to avoid. She consistently accepts the challenge of difficult events with a smile and determination. After her events are over, Ashley can be found cheering her teammates on. She truly has the spirit of the Collegiate team at heart.”
Entering the VISAA playoffs February 27, the Prep League runner-up boys basketball team is 21-5 and No. 8 in the Richmond Times-Dispatch Top 10, thanks in part to the efforts of 6-3 forward Colson Williams. A three-year varsity veteran who’s part of a seven-player starting rotation, he averaged four points and two rebounds per game and had a season-high 15 points against Trinity in the league championship game Saturday. Also an All-Prep soccer player, he often draws the assignment to guard the opponent’s toughest offensive player.
“Colson is a very unselfish and athletic young man,” said Del Harris, the Cougars’ second year coach. “He does all the little things to help his team. His contributions have been impactful. He’s a delight to coach.”