Q&A WI TH LUKE S TONE ’ 20 AND COACH LEN MILLS
The Tigers had no choice but to pull out all thestops. They entered the September afternoon ona four-match losing streak and looked destinedto lose yet again, this time to the Division IICovenant Eagles. Their already imperiledVISAA state tournament prospects would take apotentially fatal hit with a loss to Covenant. Sojust like they did in 2018, the Tigers rallied late tolevel the match. Last year, it was two goals in thefinal ten minutes. This year, it was Jack Sloan ’ 20firing home a penalty kick in the final minute toget to overtime, where the local foes would draw.
The draw sent the Tigers on a six-matchunbeaten streak that would propel them to thestate tournament, where they lost in the firstround to Trinity Episcopal. Despite sufferinganother playoff loss, Head Coach Len Mills stillviews the season as a success.
Q: How did this team performrelative to your expectations?
The coaching staff hada lot of confidence in thisgroup. Moving on from lastyear, we felt that we had a good corps of veteransreturning, as well as a lot of newcomers weknew would step up. I think the way that theycame together exceeded expectations, but atthe same time we had confidence that thisgroup of men would be able towork together and earn thesuccess that they ultimatelydid.
Q: Which players on the squadsurprised you the most this season?
As far as newcomers, I thought
Johnny Russell ’22 really stepped
into the midfield and made his
presence known, as did Jake
Benslimane ’22. He has a
strong, dangerous foot that
he deployed at several
points throughout the
season. Those two newcomers were
a pleasant surprise. But a lot of guys
really improved. Just look at the
difference in fifth formers Ben
Mills, Tommy Handelsman, and
Meade Seay from last year to
this year. These guys were key
contributors last year, but
they stepped their game up
even more this year.
Q: What was your favoritemoment?
This team had a couple ofreally big moments, but I’dhave to narrow it down toEpiscopal and St. Chris. Being down 1–0 on the roadin Alexandria, tocome back theway they did infront of sixtyof our studentswas an awesome feeling. I’m just fortunate thatthe boys got to play in that type of environment.
And then there was St. Chris, which was a statetournament finalist this year. We were down
1–0 and ultimately had a chance toequalize with a penalty kick inthe eighty-ninth minute. Andalthough Jack Sloan ’ 20 didn’tmake that kick, this teamnever quit all season long.They kept battling. Jackputting in an equalizer in the ninety-thirdminute from a Tommy Handelsman crossshowed the true character of this team and thetrue perseverance thatthey had.
COACHES Len Mills, Ty Adams,Rachel Strahan, Frank Tallman ’95
CAPTAINS Alex Forward ’ 20, JackSloan ’ 20, Zack Woods ’ 20
RECORD 8–8– 3, 5th in PrepLeague, 9th in state
All-Prep Hugh Monsted ’ 20,Jack Sloan, Zack Woods
All-State Jack Sloan,Zack Woods
as younger riders showed major improvementsover last year’s results or their times at the startof the season.
What makes this team special, however,
is not the record; it’s the culture. Whether
it was a hot, dry ride in the sun, or a brutal
stationary ride indoors, the team always
made sure everyone was bought in, happy,
After hours on the bike, the guy next to you is
always ready to keep you pumped and help you
push through those last intervals, and when you
collapse after a race, caked in mud, sweat, and
often blood, the team is there to help you up and
slap you on the back.
Speaking at the team banquet, coaches ColinGay ’93 and Tommy Kane noted the work ethicand the fight that the team had throughout theseason.
Mountain biking is an incredibly gruelingsport, but this year’s team took that challengehead on.
CooperFowler ’ 21
Jack Sloan ’ 20
Hugh Monsted ’ 20
Zack Woods ’ 20