March 31 FUMA Athletics Newsletter

The Blue Devil Report from Fork Union Military Academy's Athletic Department is your source for weekly updates on the Fork Union Blue Devils. Here's the latest from @FUMAathletics.


  • Athlete of the Week
  • Weekly Recap
  • Featured Stories: Prep Baseball, Junior Prep Lacrosse
  • Rain Moves Friday Baseball to Saturday at Woodberry Forest
  • Jeff White: Cook Ready to Make Up for Lost Time
  • Jesse Borek: Former Jaguar Ernest Wilford Earns Recognition as Police Officer
  • Khalafalla Helps Indiana to History NCAA Finish
  • Fork Union to Host FCA's Sole2Soul 5k May 13
  • New Feature Added to New Athletics Website
  • Next week's schedule

FUMA's Athlete of the Week

Andrew Hill -- Prep Baseball

Prep baseball's Andrew Hill has been named this week's Athlete of the Week. Hill pitched the best performance of his career last Saturday against Norfolk Christian High School. Despite a 1-0 loss, the senior only gave up two hits with only one run scored off an error in six innings.

"Andrew has played Prep baseball since the ninth grade. We have been looking for his talent to produce a highlight of throwing the baseball each year and Saturday he gave a highlight reel of all three pitches - the fastball, curveball and splitter - were virtually unhitable," said head baseball coach Rodney Carter.

Weekly Recap

  • Sat., Mar. 25 -- Junior Prep Lacrosse vs. Orange High School -- WIN, 11-3
  • Sat., Mar. 25 -- Prep Baseball vs. Norfolk Christian High School -- LOSS, 0-1
  • Thurs., Mar. 30 -- Prep Baseball at Fuqua School -- WIN, 9-4
  • Thurs., Mar. 30 -- Junior Prep Baseball vs. Fuqua School -- WIN, 7-2
  • Thurs., Mar. 30 -- Prep Lacrosse at Collegiate School -- LOSS, 2-17
  • Thurs., Mar. 30 -- Outdoor Track & Field vs. Fork Union Invitational --

Junior Prep Lacrosse Downs Orange County High School Saturday, 11-3

Saturday, March 25, 2017 -- Game Recap

FORK UNION, VA -- The Fork Union Junior Prep lacrosse team downed Orange County High School, 11-3, this past Saturday at the Stadium Field.

"The win over Orange means a lot at this point in the season. Our team is making progress and learning to play the game of lacrosse. We showed ourselves that we can play as a team, have fun, and win. Several of our players really stepped up, including defenseman and long-stick midfielder David Muench and both of our first-year goalies, Alec Springsteen and Thailan Pay. Overall we moved the ball much better than in our first outing. I look forward to our next game to see continued growth of our players individually and as a team," said head coach Jon Greenspon.

Three Blue Devils led the squad with two goals, including sophomore John Meheen who recorded a team-high four shots. David Muench and John Hughes led the team with four loose balls controlled.

Fork Union will be back in action Tuesday, April 4 against Blue Ridge School at 5:30 p.m.

Prep Baseball Defeats Fuqua, 9-4, Thursday Evening

Thursday, March 30, 2017 -- Game Recap

FARMVILLE, VA – Two Blue Devils recorded a multi-hit performance that lifted the Fork Union Prep baseball team over Fuqua School, 9-4, Thursday evening.

"I was really impressed with Joshua Cosby. He's a sophomore who usually has a DH and the first time in the lineup, recorded a double and a single back to back. John Henry came in and threw three innings and carried us through the meat of the ballgame to allow us to hold on to the win," said head coach Rodney Carter.

Sophomore Joshua Cosby and junior Brent Lowry recorded two hits apiece, as Fork Union tallied 10 hits.

On the mound, Andrew Hill recorded the win as the senior tossed a silent inning with two strikeouts. John Henry threw three innings, as four relievers helped finish off the victory.

The Blue Devils return to action tomorrow, April 1 when they travel to Woodberry Forest for a doubleheader starting at 2 p.m.

Rain Moves Friday Baseball to Saturday at Woodberry Forest

FORK UNION, VA -- Due to inclement weather, Friday's home Prep baseball game against Woodberry Forest has been cancelled. The two teams will play a doubleheader Saturday, April 1 at Woodberry Forest. First pitch is set for 2 p.m.

Malcolm Cook '13 Ready To Make Up For Lost Time

By: Jeff White, University of Virginia

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA -- At his lowest point -- and there were many dark days last fall -- University of Virginia linebacker Malcolm Cook (Class of 2013) considered giving up football and moving on with his life. In emotional conversations with his mother, Joyce Lewis, Cook would voice his frustrations.

"I used to tell her, `I don't think it's meant for me to play the game any more. Every time I get healthy again something happens,' " said Cook, who missed the 2016 season after being diagnosed with a heart disease last summer.

"Freshman year my right knee, sophomore year my left knee, junior year my shoulder, and last year the heart. I was like, `I just think this is a sign, Mom, for me to give it up.'"

Lewis urged her son to persevere, and Cook followed her advice. For that, he's grateful. On Dec. 14, 2016, after successfully completing a grueling stress test, Cook was cleared to play again for the Cavaliers.

"It was a blessing," recalled Cook, who'll be a fifth-year senior in the fall. "I hurried up and called my mom and told her I was good to go, I can run, I can play. She was the happiest person in the world, because she just wanted to see me get out there again."

Not long after he received the good news from his medical team, Cook saw head coach Bronco Mendenhall at the McCue Center.

Mendenhall said he remembers seeing Cook "coming down the hall with a giant smile, and I already knew what that meant. There are smiles where you're glad to see someone, and then there are smiles that reflect elation. His smile was beyond that."

Spring practice begins Tuesday morning for the Wahoos, and Cook may well get choked up when he comes out of the McCue Center locker room. He hasn't forgotten the January morning when he rejoined the team for the winter conditioning program.

Cook with Kelli Pugh, UVA's associate athletic trainer for football.

"I kind of shed some tears," Cook said, "because at one time there was a possibility I wasn't ever going to touch the field again."

A native of Richmond, Cook attended Armstrong High School for three years before transferring to Fork Union Military Academy, from which he graduated in 2013.

Expectations were high for Cook when he arrived in Charlottesville, but he's played in only six games since enrolling at UVA. (Because of his injury history, Cook would be an excellent candidate to receive a sixth year of eligibility should he want to return to Virginia in 2018.)

He hurt his right knee in 2013 and redshirted that season. In 2014, an injury to his left knee limited Cook to three games. In 2015, he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in the Cavaliers' third game, a win over William & Mary at Scott Stadium.

Still, with a new coaching staff in place -- Mendenhall came to UVA from BYU in December 2015 -- last season held the promise of a fresh start for Cook. He impressed in spring practice and in training camp last year and was slated to start at outside linebacker in the season opener against Richmond.

On Aug. 26, however, the 6-1, 225-pound Cook reported to the training room in distress. In a post-practice workout that morning, he'd fallen twice, Cook recalled. He initially thought he was cramping up, but the severe pain in his chest persisted, and he went to see Kelli Pugh, UVA's associate athletic trainer for football.

"It felt like somebody was driving a knife through your chest," Cook said. "I'd never felt that in my life. It was unbearable."

Cook has had problems with acid reflux, but this was different. "He was miserable, just writhing in pain," Pugh recalled, "and I've seen Malcolm through a lot of injuries. He's had two knee surgeries, he's had a shoulder surgery. Malcolm has a really high pain threshold, and he was the most uncomfortable I have ever seen him."

From the McCue Center, Cook went directly to the emergency room at the UVA hospital. There, he was given blood tests and an electrocardiogram (EKG) and an echocardiogram. They revealed a problem that was eventually diagnosed as myocarditis, a disease marked by inflammation of and damage to the heart muscle.

"Similar to what you see in a heart attack," Pugh said.

According to the Myocarditis Foundation, the disease usually attacks otherwise healthy people, and as many as 20 percent of all cases of sudden death in young adults may be due to myocarditis. Causes of the disease include viral infections, autoimmune diseases and environmental toxins.

How Cook contracted the disease is not clear, but the diagnosis devastated him.

"That was definitely the worst, when they told me it was something with the heart," Cook said.

"We were all pretty scared," Pugh said.

Cook remained in the hospital for four days while doctors, including Dr. Robert Battle, the football team's cardiologist, monitored his heart and "some of his different lab markers," Pugh said.

Once cleared last fall, Cook returned to a routine of lifting light weights and jogging.

Battle prescribed six months of rest, with no exercise, and that dashed Cook's hopes of playing in 2016. The doctors were unsure, in fact, if Cook would ever play again.

"It really depended on how well his body was able to heal itself," Pugh said. "So at that point we were thankful that we had found it and that it was a small area of damage and that he'd gotten care as quickly as he had, to try to limit things as much as we could. But when he was released from the hospital, there was definitely the potential that he was not going to play football any longer."

When student-athletes enroll at UVA, Pugh said, they're put through cardiac screening, which includes an EKG and an echocardiogram.

"So we had data previously on Malcolm that showed that his heart was healthy and this was a new development for him," she said.

To keep Cook involved with the team, the Cavaliers' coaching staff created a new position for him last fall. Cook stayed by Mendenhall's side during practices and games and helped signal in plays to the defense.

"He might be the only guy in the country that can signal from the sideline and then go out and play," Mendenhall said last week with a smile.

As difficult as it was for Cook to have to watch from the sideline last fall, "I think he understood the seriousness of [the disease]," Pugh said, "and I think Coach Mendenhall did such a great job of keeping him engaged that even when he was on the field and not exercising, he was still so involved that it was OK, once he accepted that he wasn't going to play that season."

Through the hours they spent together, Mendenhall and Cook formed an uncommon bond. It strengthened as Cook, an anthropology major, became more interested in reading, one of Mendenhall's passions.

"That relationship and that time was really special, and I won't ever forget it," said Mendenhall, who's also Virginia's defensive coordinator, "and it doesn't mean the upcoming season and our relationship can't even be more impactful and more gratifying. But it's been one of the highlights of my coaching career, just being with him on a daily basis and seeing his growth and development."

By the end of September, Cook's prognosis had become more encouraging. "He was healing and things were looking better," Pugh said, and his prospects for playing again improved.

When UVA opens spring practice on March 28, it will be the first time Cook is at full-speed at practice since last August.

Later in the fall, Cook was allowed to start lifting light weights and jogging. "It was nice that we were able to get him moving a little earlier than we expected," Pugh said.

Throughout the fall, Battle monitored Cook's progress. "And then in December, Malcolm had another round of really extensive cardiac tests that showed the condition has resolved, his heart has healed itself, and his heart responded normally under stress," Pugh said.

Going forward, Cook will have "annual follow-ups with the cardiologist, which is the same thing we would do for an athlete with high blood pressure," Pugh said. "But other than that we don't take any special considerations for him, because he's been cleared and that's done and we don't have to worry about that any more."

Once the doctors cleared him, Cook faced another challenge: getting in shape after months of relative inactivity. He'd lost much of his strength, and climbing a flight of stairs left him gasping for air, "like I'd just run a marathon," Cook said.

"I used to tell my mom, I feel like an old '69 Nova trying to get going again in 2016. It's just hard. And it was hard trying to rev it back up. Every day I was sore."

He's back to full strength now, though, and eager to apply the knowledge gained during his season as Mendenhall's assistant.

"I can't wait to get back out there. I can't wait to help the guys," Cook said. "I feel like I've got a lot to offer, because I've been around Coach Mendenhall and I know the system.

He smiled. "I'm Coach Mendenhall 2.0 on the field."

Mendenhall would not wish upon anyone what Cook had to endure. One day Cook was preparing for a college football game, and the next he was worrying about being able to live a normal, healthy life.

"That's a wild swing of events," Mendenhall said. "But it opened the door for this opportunity that he just grasped, of a relationship and mentoring and knowledge that helped him, I think, come out the other side in a place that I don't think he could have been without this experience."

Indiana Places Seventh at NCAA Championships

Ali Khalafalla (Class of 2014) Earns All-America Honors

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana University men' swimming and diving team brought a historic 2017 NCAA Championships to a close on Saturday night at the IU Natatorium in Indianapolis, Ind., with the help of 2014 Fork Union alum Ali Khalafalla.

The Hoosiers placed seventh overall with a total of 229.5 points. The finish is the best for Indiana at a NCAA Championships since also placing seventh 38 years ago in 1979. The 229.5 points are the most for IU since scoring 274 in 1975. The top-10 finish for the Hoosiers at the NCAA Championships is the fifth in the last six years.

Texas won the program's third-straight NCAA Championship with a total of 542 points, while California took second with 349. Florida was third with 294.5, NC State fourth with 272.5 and Stanford in fifth with 242. USC was sixth, just 75 points ahead of IU with 237.

For the second-straight season, Indiana finished as the top Big Ten team at the NCAA Championships – the best stretch for IU since accomplishing the feat for 15-straight seasons from 1964-78.

Over the course of the meet, the Hoosiers had 13 individuals earn a total of 32 All-America honors – the most in program history in 42 years since the team tallied 36 in 1975.

In the 400 freestyle relay, the Hoosier team of Mohamed Samy, Blake Pieroni, Khalafalla and Sam Lorentz placed eighth in the Championship Final with a time of 2:49.53. The mark is the third-best time in history for the Hoosiers.

On the leadoff 100 free leg, Samy posted a personal-best time of 42.97, which ranks him as the fourth-best performer all-time at IU.

Pieroni earned his second All-America certificate of the night – his fifth of the NCAA's – in the Championship Final of the 100 freestyle, placing eighth overall with a time of 41.85. The junior's time is the second-fastest in Indiana history.

With his eighth-place finish, Pieroni recorded the best finish in the 100 free for a Hoosier since Jim Montgomery took third in 1977.

Vini Lanza earned his fifth All-America honor of the meet in the Consolation Final of the 200 butterfly, placing fourth to finish 12th overall with a time of 1:41.84. Lanza posted the fifth-best time in the event in school history to earn his honorable-mention accolade.

In the Consolation Final of the platform dive, Cody Coldren earned Honorable Mention All-America honors – the first of his career – by placing seventh with a total of 311.35. The 15th place overall finish is the best for Coldren in his career.

The Indiana divers had a great week at the NCAA Championships, totaling an impressive 62 points for the Hoosiers. Michael Hixon and James Connor were named All-Americans in both the 1-meter and 3-meter dives.

In the 1,650 freestyle, Marwan Elkamash placed 18th overall with a time of 14:48.74. Elkamash's mark is the second-best in IU history, just .40 seconds behind his own school record.

2017 Indiana All-America Honors

  • Cody Coldren (1) – Platform dive (HM)
  • James Connor (2) – 1-meter dive, 3-meter dive
  • Marwan Elkamash (2) – 500 freestyle, 800 freestyle relay (HM)
  • Ian Finnerty (2) – 200 medley relay (HM), 400 medley relay
  • Bob Glover (2) – 200 medley relay (HM), 400 medley relay
  • Michael Hixon (2) – 1-meter dive, 3-meter dive
  • Ali Khalafalla (4) – 50 freestyle (HM), 200 freestyle relay, 400 freestyle relay, 200 medley relay (HM)
  • Vini Lanza (5) – 100 butterfly, 200 butterfly (HM), 200 IM (HM), 200 medley relay (HM), 400 medley relay
  • Sam Lorentz (2) – 200 freestyle relay, 400 freestyle relay
  • Blake Pieroni (5) – 100 freestyle, 200 freestyle, 200 freestyle relay, 800 freestyle relay (HM), 400 medley relay
  • Josh Romany (1) – 200 freestyle relay
  • Mohamed Samy (3) – 200 freestyle (HM), 400 freestyle relay, 800 freestyle relay (HM)
  • Anze Tavcar (1) – 800 freestyle relay (HM)

Former Jaguar Ernest Wilford Earns Recognition as Police Officer

By: Jesse Borek

Former Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Ernest Wilford (Class of 1999) has found a new way to serve the city of Jacksonville, even with his most recent playing days having come in 2010.

Around a year ago, Wilford found a new job that didn’t involve running routes. He joined the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office as a full-time officer and has recently been recognized with monthly awards for the work that he has performed.

On the field, Wilford was a fourth-round draft pick of the Jaguars in the 2004 NFL Draft out of Virginia Tech. He grew up in Richmond, Virginia, attending Fork Union Military Academy. By the time he left school, he was the program’s all-time leader in receptions and was named First-team All-Big East in 2003.

Wilford spent the first four years of his NFL career with Jacksonville, missing just a single game. His best season came in 2005 when he made 41 catches for 681 yards and 7 touchdowns.

He signed with the Miami Dolphins prior to the 2008 season. He would play just a single year with the Dolphins before finding his way back to Jacksonville and converting to tight end for the last two years of his career.

His career totals sit at 156 receptions for 2,145 yards and 15 touchdowns over seven seasons.

What does the future hold for the 38-year-old Wilford as a member of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office?

“This agency is so large that I’m able to experience different things,” Wilford told “What kind of experiences do I want in the future? I don’t know at the moment.”

Fork Union to Host FCA's Sole2Soul 5k

Saturday, May 13, 2017


FORK UNION, VA -- Fork Union Military Academy is set to host the Sole2Soul 5k, sponsored by the Charlottesville Area Fellowship of Christian Athletes, on Saturday, May 13. The race will start begin at 8 a.m. following an 45-minute check-in at 7 a.m.

FCA Vision: To see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes

Sole2Soul 5K benefits Charlottesville Area FCA through campuses, coaches, community and athletes of all ages. FCA in Charlottesville Area is active in 18 out of 37 middle/high schools reaching 18,000 students. 25% of the proceeds will send an athlete to summer FCA Camp for an opportunity to have a life-transforming experience. Camps are a time of "inspiration and perspiration" for athletes and coaches who want to reach their potential through comprehensive athletic, spiritual and leadership training.

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes is touching thousands of lives one heart at a time.

  • Location: Fork Union Military Academy
  • Dates: Saturday, May 13 2017, 7:00 a.m - 12:00 p.m.
  • Address: 4744 James Madison Hwy, Fork Union, VA 23055
  • Time Schedule: After registering a confirmation e-mail will be sent to you with race day details and directions
  • Check-in: 7:00 a.m. - 7:45 a.m.
  • Start Time: 8:00 a.m.
  • Raffle: 10:00 a.m.

Join the movement! Proceeds help athletes attend FCA Summer Camp and help keep the ministry alive and active in the community and schools.

Popular Feature Becomes Available on New Athletics Website

Directions to venues are now available!

FORK UNION, VA -- Due to popular demand, the Athletic Department and SIDEARM Sports have created a way to add the address to every game venue on the Official Home of Fork Union Athletics!

If you click the MAP link on each schedule page, it will take you to the Google Maps address.

Up Next in FUMA Athletics

  • Sat., Apr. 1 -- Outdoor Track & Field at Vince Bradford Relays -- 10:00 AM
  • Sat., Apr. 1 -- Prep Baseball at Woodberry Forest (DH) -- 2:00 PM
  • Tues., Apr. 4 -- Prep Lacrosse vs. Blue Ridge -- 4:00 PM*
  • Tues., Apr. 4 -- Prep Baseball at Trinity Episcopal -- 4:00 PM
  • Tues., Apr. 4 -- Junior Prep Baseball vs. St. Christopher's -- 4:30 PM
  • Tues., Apr. 4 -- Junior Prep Lacrosse vs. Blue Ridge -- 5:30 PM*
  • Thurs., Apr. 6 -- Prep Lacrosse vs. Bishop O'Connell -- 4:00 PM*
  • Thurs., Apr. 6 -- Junior Prep Baseball at Saint Anne's Belfield -- 4:00 PM
  • Thurs., Apr. 6 -- Prep Baseball vs. Trinity Episcopal -- 4:00 PM
  • Thurs., Apr. 6 -- Junior Prep Lacrosse vs. Bishop O'Connell -- 5:30 PM*

Bold and Italics denote home contests.

* Denotes games being streamed on the Cube.

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