It didn’t take long for newly opened Patriot High School to forge a rivalry in the Cedar Run District. Fueled by transfers, split families, and months of chatter between year-round teammates, Friday night’s meet between Patriot and nearby Battlefield High School has all the ingredients for an electrifying and raucous environment between two undefeated teams aspiring to district and regional respect.
When Patriot opened this year in Nokesville, it filled its halls with students from Battlefield and Brentsville District High School, including Battlefield coach Jay Thorpe’s sophomore daughter, Sydney Thorpe, a former Brentsville student, now starring for the Patriot Pioneers in the mid-distance freestyle events.
Now, both teams are 4-0, and badly want to take their former teammates down.
“It’s been easy getting our team excited for this week,” said coach Thorpe, in his second year at Battlefield. “I coached many of these kids last year, here [at Battlefield], and I see many of them year-round at QDD. The chatter about this meet has been non-stop since the beginning of the school year.”
Both coaches expect the meet to be very close, especially on the boys’ side, but the neither girls’ team is significantly favored.
“The relays will be very tight,” said Patriot coach Lisa Bussian. “The 400 freestyle relay may decide the meet.”
Coach Thorpe agreed, adding, “It’s going to come down to those seventh place finishes. That one point could make the difference.”
Battlefield seniors Ford Whitticar and Jake Croasdell are two of the best in the state, and the young Pioneers’ swimmers will be hard-pressed to catch them any time they step up on the blocks. Sophomore star Thomas Scott will do his best, for Patriot, along with freshman Andrew Proper and junior Marcus Quint, who are enjoying very successful seasons so far.
“Sofia [Revilak] hasn’t had a race all year. She may not get one until [Northwest] Regionals,” added coach Thorpe, who was extremely confident in ensuring his girls the victory when we spoke via phone, but may have been blustering for his daughter’s benefit, whom he was picking up from school at the time.
Patriot will try to counter Battlefield’s experience with a young and talented group of mostly sophomores and freshman, which feature Thorpe, alongside freshmen Caroline Rector and Samantha Baird.
When Patriot opened, only rising freshmen, sophomores, and juniors from adjacent schools were eligible to transfer to the new school. Seniors at Battlefield and Brentsville were retained, leaving Patriot with no senior class.
The unique situation offers coach Bussian a unique opportunity for a first-year coach, who gets to build something from the ground up.
“It’s very exciting. We’re working to build the team and forge the community between the swimmers and parents,” Bussian said. “We are fortunate to be in a very talented area [for swimming]. Everyone is excited about this meet, as well as Patriot swimming and diving’s future in the Region.”
However, for some families, this meant a senior child may be at one school, while their younger sibling is at Patriot, including Patriot coach Bussian’s family, who has one son at Patriot swimming with her team, while her oldest child is at Brentsville.
The meeting between the two schools is the rare opportunity for many of these families to cheer on each other in one location, before the championship meets begin in February.
The meet kicks off at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 20, at the Freedom Aquatic Center on George Mason University’s Manassas campus.
Tags: Andrew Proper, Battlefield, Caroline Rector, Cedar Run District, Ford Whitticar, Holly Criscuolo, Jake Croasdell, Marcus Quint, Natalie Martin, Nina Tremols, Northwest Region, Patriot High School, Samantha Baird, Sofia Revilak, Sydney Thorpe, Thomas Scott, Virginia High School Swimming