New coaches, same expectations

With the departure of three legendary coaches at Thomas Dale High School last school year, change in the athletic program will be inevitable. What we don’t anticipate, however, is any change in the Knights’ success, which saw them capture every Central District title last fall.  The Knights are blessed with years of tradition and a pipeline of talent that never seems to run dry.

The cross country team finds Geof LeSueur at the helm.  LeSueur is certainly no stranger to the community, as he takes over for the ultra-successful Bob Gulley, who retired in June.  LeSueur welcomes a stable of nearly 30 boys to his team that includes both quantity and quality.  Scott Garton should lead the way, but will find great support from Harrison Fink, Jonathan Fox, Grayson Smith and Brandon Goodwin.  Newcomer Austin Correia has also been impressive in pre-season workouts.  Garton is enthused both about the team and the new coach.  

“We have 14 runners battling for varsity positions,” Garton said. “Coach LeSueur is very serious about this sport, but at the same time we are having a ton of fun.”

On the girls’ side, Doug Sable returns as coach and welcomes the largest team he has had in years.  His team consists of a nice mix of veterans and talented newcomers. Standouts Rachel Ellena and Sarah Oertel provide tremendous leadership.  Sisters Anna and Katy Crawford have been outstanding in pacing the team, which numbers more than 20.

The golf team, under first year coach David Duncan, is led by defending district champion Griffin Clark.  Griffin is a gifted sophomore who has the ability to go really low.  Look forward to the Knights challenging Matoaca and Prince George for yet another district crown.  Golf will be the first championship contested when the teams battle it out at Dogwood Trace on Sept. 27.

The volleyball programs at Dale are undergoing a changing of the guard, as junior varsity players move up to take the spots of so many talented graduating seniors.  Jacob LeSueur and Joseph Spriggs seem to be the best of the bunch for coach Mike Walker’s troops.

Coach Beth Jaeckle has known nothing but success as Dale’s field hockey coach.  The Knights have been a fixture in the state tournament, but they are facing a stronger and deeper team this year from Matoaca.  Hannah Robbins is a tremendous player and should gain recognition this season beyond the district level.

Excitement is high at Dale, as young, talented athletes are moving up to the varsity level and being greeted by some of the finest coaches in the area.

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