Outstanding athletic performers

The Village News would like to honor Michaela Conway, a senior on Thomas Dale’s golf team, as this week’s female athlete of the week.

Conway has been solid on Dave Duncan’s golf team as Thomas Dale recently took home another Central District Championship, and will have played in Regionals (but due to press time, we cannot publish results).

After suffering just one loss to rival Matoaca in the regular season, the Knights rebounded to defeat them in the district tournament to take the crown.

“Our scores in the beginning of the season weren’t as consistent,” said Conway. “Over the course of the season we have corrected that, and we’re five or six strokes from each other every time.”

Conway, a three-year participant in states and the only female member on Thomas Dale’s team, has registered two career wins, and one of those wins came this season. She was also named to first team All-District and to the All-Academic team, making her the only female on those two teams as well. Conway is one of five females that participate in the district.

“Michaela acts as a team leader, she is very mature and skilled,” said head coach Dave Duncan. “She’s been acting like a senior for a couple years now.”

The senior is looking into a few colleges outside the confines of Virginia but has received interest in-state from Radford and out of state from Milligan College (Tenn.) and Northwood University (Fla.).

The Village News also honors Matoaca quarterback Michael Birdsong as its male athlete of the week.

Birdsong, a senior, thus far has had an extremely productive year with his team despite dropping a couple of close decisions this year. Recently, he committed to play at James Madison University, where the quarterback figures to have a good chance to contribute.

“I love the coaching staff at James Madison,” said Birdsong. “They were the first to recruit me, and I felt it was the best decision.”

Hampered by injuries last season, Birdsong has rebounded in 2011, completing almost 60 percent of his passes and throwing for 871 yards to go with nine touchdowns and just four interceptions. The 6’2’’, 225-pound quarterback, according to head coach Pat Manuel, has a “pro-style” approach and in the long-term could project into something special.

“Michael is a great kid and leads by example,” says Manuel. “He has earned the respect of all his teammates.”

Birdsong and his Warriors have battled to a 1-3 record this season, with their most recent game being a loss to Thomas Dale 27-26 at Dale. Birdsong hopes to propel his team to improve on last season’s 3-7 record, and with his health, the senior looks poised to do so.

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