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Thanks for joining us! We write about sports, food, life and anything else interesting here in Ashburn and Loudoun County, all while cramming as many features into the site as possible.

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Jaylon White Becomes ODU's 1st Football Commit For 2022

Old Dominion has its first commitment of the 2022 recruiting cycle, and it’s from a hometown kid with a great story.

Here is @KHS_Chiefs @KempsvilleFB Jaylon White. Two weeks ago, Jaylon’s house burnt down, today he had 3 TFL in the first half, and two fumble recoveries in the second half

    — ⭐Reese Becker ⭐ (@ReeseBecker) October 26, 2019

Jaylon White will be staying home and taking his talents to the corner of Hampton and 49th, as he will play for Ricky Rahne and the Monarchs after graduating next May from Kempsville. White has been a star for Kempsville playing a big role in the Chiefs' 2019 win over Bayside, a win that snapped a 63-game losing streak.

But for White, that was more than a game. A week prior, on his 16th birthday, White and his family lost everything in a house fire. As a result, his family was scattered, with White living with a coach, while the rest of his family lived in Northern Virginia. 

“It (the fire)  was on my birthday and I was staying with my coach (Musgrove),” White remarked. “I never stop believing because growing up I was taught to never give up and doubt anything, but to keep moving forward.

"The past could either hurt you or better you, so I continued to move forward. My coach told me I could take the game off and I looked at him like he was crazy, because football is more than just football, it’s a way to a better life so I can help my family in the future.” 

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Cedric Mullins Was On Fire In Cleveland Series...

As the Baltimore Orioles try to recover from one of the worst months in franchise history, one player is doing his best to give the fans hope and optimism that winning baseball will return in the not-so-distant future.

Cedric Mullins cooled off after a scoring April, but that sweet swing was on full display this weekend against the Indians. Mullins finished the series 9-12 against the Indians, including reaching base safely in 11 consecutive plate appearances. Mullins launched three home runs in the series and elevated his OPS to .923, among the league’s best.

Mullins’ excellence extended outside the batter’s box, as the rangy center fielder made yet another diving grab on Saturday.

“What he’s doing right now, I don’t have words for it,” manager Brandon Hyde said on Sunday. “He’s doing a little bit of absolutely everything right now.”

Mullins is indeed doing it all. He leads the Orioles in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. He also leads the team in doubles, walks and stolen bases. Mullins has 73 hits this season, the most in Major League Baseball.

Again, Mullins’ skills go beyond the plate. His five outs above average puts him in the 97th percentile in the majors and Baseball Reference puts him in the top five in total zone runs and range factor among center fielders.

What we are witnessing — hopefully — is the blossoming of a young superstar. Mullins has the infectious smile, the effort and will power, as well as the talent. He’s everything you’d want in a center fielder of the future.

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There Are Some Events In History I'm Never Going To Forget

EDITOR'S NOTE: Every year, I run a version of this story as a tribute to the men who died fighting on D-Day, including one scared young man who kept his head down, survived the worst days of his life, then came home to one day become my father in law. Rest in peace, Hank. 

To some, today is a footnote in history. A day on the beaches of Normandy 77 years ago when an event codenamed Operation Overlord was launched, beginning what many say was the beginning of the end of World War II.


It will always be more than history to me, because in that first wave was a 21-year-old Private First Class from Henry County, VA by the name of Allen Homer Sink. He would survive that initial wave, participate in battle until it ended in August, then come home to marry and raise a family of four, including two daughters after the war ended.

He would also become my father-in-law until his death in 2006.

His nickname for some reason was “Hank” and when I asked him how he got it, he said some guy in the Army said he “looked like a Hank.” From the time I first met him, he was a salt-of-the-earth man who was never afraid of anything. He was a carpenter by trade, and he’d stand up on the tallest roofs, grab bumblebees with his bare hands when they tried to persuade him to move elsewhere, and never be bothered by anything.

His hands were tough and leathery, but he was a softie. He spoiled his children, complained when my mother-in-law would gripe about something involving one of his alleged misdeeds, and always thought he was fooling everybody when he snuck around the back of the house and lit a cigarette, a habit everyone opposed but he could never part himself from.

He could talk your ear off for hours at a time, and I always suggested he become a greeter at Wal-Mart when he retired because then he could talk all day to strangers and none of them would – like his wife and daughters often did – tell him to be quiet for a few moments. Yet for all his love of talking, there was one subject he just wouldn’t discuss.

June 6, 1944. Omaha Beach.

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Dave Fulton


Our Boomer generation had very special men as fathers, fathers-in-law, uncles, neighbors and family friends. We are forever indebt... Read More
Sunday, 06 June 2021 09:38

Who Starts on Sunday, Sans Strasburg, For Nationals?

For the first time since Stephen Strasburg was placed back on the IL, the Nationals must turn to their No. 5 starting pitcher.

There’s just one problem: They don’t currently have a fifth starter on their active roster.

They’ll be forced to trot someone out to start Sunday’s game in Philadelphia, but who it will be remains a mystery. There was a thought that it could be Erick Fedde, who’s currently on the IL, but is in the midst of a rehab assignment. He was slated to start on Thursday and Friday for Wilmington (High-A), but both games were postponed due to rain. Rather than forgoing the rehab appearance, the Nationals chose to let him pitch today in the minor leagues, opting to allow someone else to get the Sunday big league start.

This won’t be an easy decision. There aren’t any great options, and it’s difficult to even narrow the field down to two or three pitchers. There are men on the big league roster who have starting experience and could each pitch multiple innings, there are arms – albeit uninspiring ones – in AAA who could be recalled in a pinch, or the Nats could call up someone lower in the minor league system that’s been pitching better this season.

Here’s who Dave Martinez and the Nationals will be choosing between ahead of Sunday’s 1:05 p.m. game in Philadelphia:

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With Losing Streak Over, O's Need To Capitalize On Next 5

The sound you heard that started off the month of June was a collective sigh of relief from Orioles fans.

Baltimore had finally won a game, ending the club’s 15-game losing streak with a 7-4 win over the Twins.

Baltimore’s brutal schedule to end the month of May turned out to be worse than many expected. The franchise played 15 games in 15 days before turning the calendar, all of which were losses. It was clearly going to be a tough stretch with no built-in off-days and the Orioles weren’t up to the task.

Thankfully, the club started off June with two straight wins, including the Orioles’ first series win at Camden Yards this season. Much like May, the Orioles have an abundance of off-days in the early part of the month, only to have a long stretch of games on the horizon.

That’s what worries me.

After an off-day Thursday, the Orioles host the Indians for a weekend series. The club gets another day off after that series, only to be followed by a two-game stint at home vs. the Mets. What follows that? Another day off.

So in the span of eight days, the Orioles will not play baseball on three of those days. Talk about getting needed rest.

The rest will pay dividends in both parts of the clubhouse. Matt Harvey was forced to pitch on short rest on Wednesday and was pulled after three innings of one-run ball. The Orioles’ bullpen has thrown 218 innings so far this season, the fourth highest in the major leagues.

In the lineup, Brandon Hyde is still using Trey Mancini as the designated hitter after Mancini took a fastball off the hand on May 27. Ryan Mountcastle has played a lot at first base lately, but even he took a fastball off the hand on May 25.

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With End Comes Potential New Beginning For Wizards

The Wizards fell rather helplessly to the Philadelphia 76ers Wednesday night, 129-112, thus commencing what could be their most make-or-break offseason in quite some time. There are a handful of extremely important decisions they must make – not only in order to progress entering next season, but also to address the long-term state of the franchise.

The status quo clearly only gets the Wizards so far. At best, it’s led to them fighting to squeeze their way into the playoffs. At worst, over the last two or three years, they’ve often looked like one of the least competitive teams in the Eastern Conference – even in spite of their top-end talent.

The Wizards had an end-of-season press conference – more like a post mortem– this morning, and they said a lot of the right things. However, there was no clarity in terms of which lane they want to ride in. They supposedly don’t want to stand pat, but their actions will speak louder than their words.

The decisions that lie on the horizon are quite clear, but the ways in which they are addressed will likely lead the team in two very different directions.

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5 Recruits Pay A Visit As ODU Looks For Another Top Class

Five key recruits visited ODU Monday, as the Monarchs look to improve on the two best classes in school history over the last two years, despite not playing a game since December of 2019. 

The NCAA recruiting dead period ended June 1st after 15 months of recruits not being allowed in-person visits with coaches, and the new staff at Old Dominion welcomed it with open arms as a quintuple of recruits visited Ricky Rahne and company to kick off the month. 

Oscar Smith star quarterback Ethan Vasko visited ODU, and the Monarchs appear to be in a good position to land the newly-minted state champion. Vasko is a Cam Newton-type player sitting at 6-foot 3, more athleticism than Johnny Manziel, and a cannon for an arm. Vasko has only lost two games in two seasons at Smith, and did not throw an interception all season in the spring. 

King’s Fork three-star defensive end Kyree Moyston made the Monarchs the first of what I believe will be multiple visits. Moyston is a big, powerful defensive end, and at 6-foot 5, could be a huge key for the Monarchs if he should choose to come to Old Dominion. 

"It (the visit) was great," Moyston said. "We talked about the school, and my position and just finally got to talk in person and just had good conversations." 

A key member of the 2022 wide receiver crop, South Country's Brock Spalding was also on campus for the first of his visits. Spalding, who at 5-foot 10 is a slot receiver, has good speed, strong hands, and a passion for the game. Spalding’s squad won the VHSL's Group AAA Class 6 state title in 2019, beating Oscar Smith, before losing in the same game this past season. 

In just eight games in 2021, Spalding exploded for 45 receptions and eleven touchdowns, while also snagging two interceptions on defense. 

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Guest — Edmund Okerchiri

Short and Sweet Recruiting New...

Very brief but yet inciteful tidbits on these potential recruits. Job well done....thanks!
Thursday, 03 June 2021 23:03

It's Been 12 Years, And I'll Still Never Forget...

Every Memorial Day, for the last 12 years, I dig up an old copy of a story I wrote on Memorial Day in 2009. It involves a young man I had never met, and who would forever be a total stranger to me.

He was a hero. A husband. A Dad. And an example of the true meaning of Memorial Day that I will never, ever, forget.

Here’s the story:

On this Memorial Day, I find myself thinking of a Marine I never met. And never will.

His name was James. R. McIlvaine. He grew up in Olney, Md., and his mother lives in Purcellville. He was killed in Iraq on April 30 while saving the life of another. He was 26 years old, and the father of two children.

Unfortunately, most of us see news like this every day in the newspaper. We pause, read the details, feel for the family, then turn the page and move on. We don’t dwell on it for too long, because it is inevitable that another face, another name, and another set of circumstances regarding a battlefield casualty will be in the paper in a few more days.

This one was different, because not long afterward my phone rang. McIlvaine had a rather large immediate family, including three sets of grandparents, and the local VFW wanted to make the trip from Purcellville to Arlington Cemetery as comfortable as possible under the circumstances. Four SUVs had been secured (two donated for the day by Ray Glembot at Star Pontiac GMC in Leesburg) and a police escort would be provided.

What they needed was one more driver. Could I spare the day, I was asked, to drive one of the vehicles?

The answer, obviously, was “of course.”

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Castroneves - Against All Odds - Finally Gets 4th Win At Indy

Foyt, Unser, and Mears.

For 30 years, these three have been part of one of the most sacred groups in auto racing: they're the only drivers to win the Indianapolis 500 four times, and at every 500 since 2010, fans have anticipated a new member entering that group.

Their wait is now over, as today Helio Castroneves became part of that group by winning the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500. He previously had won in 2001, 2002, and 2009. 

I’ve literally grown up watching Castroneves’ pursuit of four Indy 500 wins, seeing the first when I was only 8 years old, and now 20 years later, seeing him claim his fourth. 

In 2001, the racing world was still in shock from the death of Dale Earnhardt when Helio captured that first Indy 500, as fans around the globe were introduced to his victory celebration where Castroneves earned the moniker “Spiderman” for his penchant for climbing fences after race wins. I was eight years old at the time, and my dream was to work at The Virginian-Pilot. 

In 2002, America was still reeling from the attacks of 9/11. I remember the pre-race being so much different, more patriotic, and more of a celebration that we had made it through the previous year. Helio won his second Indy 500 that year, and while few thought when he won his first that he'd have a chance at winning 4, after his second win more people believed that he had an outside shot. After all, Helio was only 25 when his won in 2002.

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Guest — Dan Byers

Best Journalism Piece - Indy 5...

Best of all written media pieces on the 2021 Indy 500 and the win for Helio Castroneves. Great story.
Monday, 31 May 2021 10:15

Martinez Showing More Flexibility In Roster; Is It Working?

Aside from moving a few players up and down his lineup, manager Dave Martinez had kept his roster and everyday players rather consistent throughout this season.

But that’s changed recently.

In fairness, his hand has been partially forced due to Victor Robles’ injury. But he’s also shown more flexibility with his catchers over the last handful of games, so let's take a look at where the roster stands after today's sweep by Milwaukee. 

The Defense

Aside from an occasional day off for rest, Robles has been Martinez’s everyday centerfielder for the last three seasons, and he’s never wavered from that belief. Aside from aging veterans like Howie Kendrick and Ryan Zimmerman, that’s been Davey’s mentality with all of his starters throughout his tenure in Washington.

With Robles on the IL due to a sprained ankle, however, Davey has been forced to adjust. He only has one other player on his roster with any legitimate capability of playing centerfield, no outfielders (aside from Robles) who hit right-handed, and no true outfield depth in the minor leagues.

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They Never Wanted To Talk About It, But We Should

Everyone has their Memorial Day routines, and they usually involve the grilling of a hamburger or a hot dog, the watching of a sporting event or two, or a late afternoon executive nap. Mine is no different.

But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve found the Sunday morning of the weekend brings back memories. I usually get up before everyone, the house is quiet other than a large dog laying on my lap occasionally snoring, and I find myself remembering the people in my life that Memorial Day is all about.

I’ve never served a day in the military. Never been asked to, never had to, never wanted to. At the age of 18, I had become what my Dad use to sneeringly describe as one of those “know-it-all college kids.” When he was my age, such people went to college. He and his high school classmates went off to war.

The military was all around me, as our house was on Dominion Avenue in Norfolk, only a few miles from Gate 4 of the Amphibious Base. We spent a lot of time on that base, and knew well to stop and stand when you heard the National Anthem; learned when you saw some poor young man doing pushups under the intense stare of another that one was an officer and one was a poor enlisted man; and you  appreciated Naval history.

Yes, you remembered all sorts of sports trivia as a youngster. But in my world, you also knew all about Pearl Harbor, Midway, Iwo Jima and other battles of the Pacific. I learned about them because I knew my Dad had a birds eye view of it all aboard a destroyer or two he served on during that time. I had to learn the details, however, from books at the library at the base.

That’s because my Dad would never talk about it.

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Guest — Johnny Hurst

My uncle

My Uncle was a World War II vet who landed on Normandy the second day. He went on to fight in the Ardennes Forest in the Battle of... Read More
Sunday, 30 May 2021 10:34

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