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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | April 7, 2014 at 9:30 am | 1,231 views | No Comments

Man planting flowers on a sidewalk in Rosslyn

Arlington Neighborhood Village Initiative Launches — The nonprofit Arlington Neighborhood Villages initiative, which seeks to provide services to seniors who wish to remain in their homes, officially launches today after more than a year of planning. [InsideNoVa]

Dogs Rescued from Fire Doing Well — The two dogs rescued from a house fire across from Yorktown High School were taken off oxygen Thursday and were expected to return home this weekend. The dogs suffered smoke inhalation from the fire. [Twitter]

Rosslyn Pros and Cons — Sophie Pyle, an on-again, off-again Rosslyn resident, has compiled a list of what she sees at the pros and cons of living in Rosslyn. Pros: the views and easy transportation. Cons: airplane noise and a lack of nightlife. [InTheCapital]

DJO Senior Named All-Met Player of the Year — Bishop O’Connell High School senior Melo Trimble has been named the boys’ basketball All-Met Player of the Year. He will play at Maryland next year. Wakefield High School’s Dominique Tham was named to the third-team All Met. No other Arlington athletes were named to winter All-Met teams. [Washington Post]

Wakefield Basketball Wins Regional Title

by Ethan Rothstein | March 3, 2014 at 11:00 am | 714 views | No Comments

Dominique Tham shoots over a Mt Vernon defenderThe Wakefield High School basketball team knocked off previously undefeated Potomac High School Saturday night and clinched the Region 5A North championship, 70-66.

The Warriors (24-4) kept their 14-game winning streak alive with the victory, and will move on to the state semifinal game on Saturday at noon at Robinson Secondary School (5035 Sideburn Road, Fairfax). They’ll play the loser between Maury and Henrico High Schools, and if they win, they’ll play Friday, March 14, at 2:00 p.m. at VCU for the state championship.

The Warriors were led by Capitol Conference Player of the Year Dominique Tham, who scored 18 points, and Jalen Walton chipped in 17 to lead a balanced attack against the Panthers (27-1). Marqua Walton also scored 18 and hit a key free throw at the end of the game to seal the victory.

The win was the first regional championship for the Warriors since 2005 — they were regional runner-ups last year and lost in the state semifinal game. The Warriors defended their home court, just like they did in the conference championship game last week against Mt. Vernon. Walton told Dave Facinoli of the Sun Gazette that the Warriors didn’t feel any pressure.

“They came in undefeated and we felt they had all the pressure,” said Wakefield senior guard Jalen Carver, who scored 17 points and made three three-pointers. “So we wanted to play our game, slow them down in transition and keep playing hard.”

Wakefield coach Tony Bentley said the pre-game plan was to keep his players loose.

“The key to this game for us wasn’t on the court,” he said. “We wanted to get our players so relaxed like they were playing a game on the playground.”

File photo courtesy Rob Laybourn 

Yorktown, W-L Taste Success at Conference Swim Championships

by Ethan Rothstein | February 3, 2014 at 1:45 pm | 805 views | No Comments

(Updated at 1:55 p.m.) Saturday night at the Conference 6 swim championships at Yorktown High School, two Arlington high school swimmers proved what their coaches and teammates already knew: they can swim with anyone in the state.

Yorktown’s Suzanne Dolan captured titles in the girls’ 50- and 100-yard freestyle races and swam the anchor for two relay teams that qualified for the state championships. Washington-Lee’s Jay Delancey won the boys’ 200-yard freestyle, came in 3rd in the 100-yard butterfly and anchored the Generals’ first-place 400-yard relay team that surprised almost everyone in the pool with its win.

Dolan led the Yorktown girls to a third-place finish in the first-ever Conference 6 championships with 323 team points, behind Langley High School (402.5) and McLean High School (377). Washington-Lee’s girls finished in fifth place with 225 points.

The meet was the first time the Arlington schools faced regional powers like Langley and James Madison High Schools in a conference — previously called the Liberty District — championship meet.

Delancey led the Generals’ boys to third place (293 points), behind Madison (428) and narrowly behind Langley (308). Yorktown’s boys finished in fourth place with 247 points.

“Moving into the new conference was eye-opening for the kids,” said Yorktown head swimming coach Claire DiCesare, “but we did really well.”

Generals head coach Kristina Dorville, an animated presence at poolside, was amiably jawing with the head coach of the Madison swim team before the 400-yard relay. When the Generals had a lead by the time Delancey — who’s deciding whether to swim for West Point or the U.S. Naval Academy — dove in the pool for the final leg, Dorville turned to Madison’s coach with a grin and said, “Oh, we’re not gonna win this?”

“Before the race, I said ‘just watch,’” Dorville said after the meet. “I have unending confidence in [Delancey]. I’d have to drag him out of the pool before he’d let us lose that race.”

Each school will send relay teams to state. The Yorktown girls 200-yard freestyle relay finished second in the closest race of the night. The winners, Langley, finished with a time of 1:41.06; Yorktown and McLean finished in 1:41.07. Dolan anchored that team and the 200-yard medley relay that finished third, both qualifying for states.

Dolan has been recovering all year from a wrist injury, and said she wasn’t swimming as fast as she believes she’s capable of.

However, she said, “I was still expecting to win the 50 free, but the 100 is a little harder.” She said the home atmosphere and the cheers of her teammates after the relays made it a special meet. “It’s really exhilarating. It feels really good helping my team do well.”

Next week, both schools will compete in the 6A North Region championships before they send sizable contingents to Richmond Feb. 21 and 22 for the state championships.

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | December 16, 2013 at 8:35 am | 1,714 views | No Comments

Santa Claus visits the Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013 (photo courtesy Chase McAlpine)

Board Takes Action on Affordable Housing — The Arlington County Board on Saturday voted on a series of measures to preserve some of the county’s supply of affordable housing. The Board approved a set of financial tools – including a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) area — that will help preserve the affordability of 6,200 market rate affordable homes along Columbia Pike, an estimated $6.7 million Tenant Assistance Fund for tenants of affordable housing that is being renovated or redeveloped, and a $8.3 million loan to keep the 101-unit Arna Valley View Apartments near I-395 affordable. [Washington Post]

Tree Removal Concerns County Board — County Board members said they were “deeply concerned” and “shocked” at reports that Arlington Public Schools allowed the removal of protected trees on the site of the Ashlawn Elementary School expansion project. [Sun Gazette]

Preservation Arlington Touts Colonial Village — The group Preservation Arlington says “it is a prime time to move to Colonial Village,” touting the community — the first Federal Housing Administration-insured large-scale rental housing project in the U.S. — as “an urban oasis: historic and protected in the heart of the Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor.” [Preservation Arlington]

DJO Coach Named to Hall of Fame — Bishop O’Connell High School softball coach Tommy Orndorff has been named to the 2014 National Softball Hall of Fame. [Arlington Catholic Herald]

Arlington Athletes Make All-Mets — Yorktown football running back M.J. Stewart, Washington-Lee cross country runner Sarah Angell, and Bishop O’Connell soccer midfielder Lauren Harkes have been named to the 2013 first-team fall All-Met. [Washington Post]

Photo courtesy Chase McAlpine

Local Ultimate Frisbee Teams To Host Youth Clinic at W-L

by Ethan Rothstein | October 11, 2013 at 4:30 pm | 513 views | No Comments

Ultimate Frisbee clinic (photo courtesy of Scandal)The area’s two premier Ultimate Frisbee teams will host a youth clinic at Washington-Lee High School this Sunday.

Truck Stop, the most competitive men’s club team in the area, and Scandal — a women’s team that has reached the finals in several national competitions the last few years — will host the clinic to educate area youths about the sport.

The clinic runs from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. and costs $5. Participants can register online or pay when they get to the high school. The three-hour clinic will consist of warm-ups, drills, and scrimmages. It’s open to kids from ages 8-20 and all skill levels.

Scandal and Truck Stop, which feature some Arlington residents on their rosters, are using the clinics to “give back to the local Frisbee community and fundraise” for the USA Ultimate National Championships, which are next weekend. Both teams have qualified for the 16-team tournament in Dallas, Texas.

Ultimate Frisbee, a sport that has grown rapidly in the past 10 years, combines major elements of soccer, football and basketball and has become a fixture on college campuses across the country.

Photo courtesy of Molly Roy

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | September 10, 2013 at 8:45 am | 1,114 views | No Comments

Sunrise over Columbia Pike (photo courtesy Jonathan Nateghi-Asli)

Arlington No. 1 in Va. for Tourism — For the fourth year in a row, tourists spent more money in Arlington than any other place in Virginia. Tourism generated about $2.8 billion in visitors spending in 2012, a 3.9 percent increase over 2011. The increase in spending happened despite the partial defunding of the county’s Convention and Visitors Services in 2012. County officials and local hotel managers are lobbying the state legislature to restore Arlington’s former 0.25 percent hotel tax surcharge in order to better promote tourism and visitor spending. [Arlington County]

New Additions to N. Va. Senior Olympics — About 730 people are participating in the 31st annual Northern Virginia Senior Olympics at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center (3501 2nd Street S.). The 13-day event features two new sports: rowing and handball. [Sun Gazette]

Online Library Card Sign-Up — Just in time for September’s national Library Card Sign-up Month, Arlington Public Library now allows Arlington residents to sign up for a library card completely online. It allows instant access to the library’s eBooks, magazines, streaming movies and premium research websites. [Arlington Public Library]

Photo courtesy Jonathan Nateghi-Asli

Bracket Room to Open Sept. 5

by ARLnow.com | August 29, 2013 at 9:30 am | 4,643 views | No Comments

Bracket Room, a new upscale sports bar in Clarendon, is planning to open its doors on Thursday, Sept. 5.

The restaurant received its liquor license this week and will be wrapping up interior construction over the next week. Co-owner and reality television star Chris Bukowski says the Bracket Room will distinguish itself from other sports bars in the area by offering a higher-end, “female-friendly” experience, complete with a wide variety of cocktails and shooters and higher-quality food.

“What’s going to separate us any every other sports bar is our food,” Bukowski told ARLnow.com. “We have put in the most effort into our food. It’s not going to be your typical bar food… that’s what’s going to bring people back.”

Bracket Room chef Roland Kator, a personal friend of Bukowski who formerly worked at restaurants in Las Vegas and Chicago, including celebrity chef Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill, has helped design a menu that includes both bar favorites and slightly more adventurous fare. Pizza, burgers and tacos are available, as is ceviche, Maine lobster and a “superfoods salad.”

Lined with flat screen TVs and wood paneling, the bar’s modern interior suggests a lounge more akin to Las Vegas than Arlington, which is what Bukowski was aiming for. Adding to the high-end vibe: a private, 20-person VIP area with a customized iPad to control the TVs and the volume.

Bukowski first came up with the idea for the Bracket Room 5 years ago. His TV fame, through roles on ABC reality shows “The Bachelorette” and “Bachelor Pad,” gave him a “marketable name” that helped to make the restaurant a reality, he said. Already, fans have been coming into the under-construction restaurant seeking photos.

While many celebrity chefs are content to put their name on a restaurant with which they have little on-going personal involvement, Bukowski, as a celebrity owner, says he will be more hands-on. He has put his TV work on hold until at least the spring, so he can focus on running the restaurant.

“We have to have everything perfect, from our construction to our staff,” he said. ”I will be here every day — interacting with people, making sure everybody’s having a good time.”

Bukowski noted that he “lives literally right above the bar” — in the Lyon Place apartment building. He moved in about 7 months ago.

“I love Clarendon… it’s a perfect location,” he said, when asked about why he chose Arlington and not his native Chicago as the place to open the bar. “The demographic is right up my alley… a lot of young professionals, people that are right out of college that are hungry to make a career for themselves, but still like to go out and enjoy the nightlife.”

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Olympic Weightlifters to Host Training Camp

by Ethan Rothstein | August 16, 2013 at 11:05 am | 717 views | No Comments

Cara Heads Slaughter (photo via CH Fitness and Performance)Former Olympic weightlifter Cara Heads Slaugher will host an “Olympic Weightlifting Training Camp” in Arlington over Labor Day weekend.

Heads Slaughter will partner with her former Olympic teammate, Kendrick Farris, to host the two-day event at her personal training studio, CH Fitness and Performance. The business is based out of the Crossfit South Arlington space at 607 S. Ball Street, just north of Crystal City.

The event sold out in two weeks back in June, according to spokeswoman Rebecca Grapsy, and will include 20 weightlifters each in two, four-hour sessions spread out over Saturday, Aug. 31 and Sunday, Sept. 1. From a press release:

The sport of Olympic weightlifting has experienced a tremendous resurgence in popularity. Competitions consist of 3 attempts at each of the two lifts of the ‘snatch’ and the ‘clean and jerk’ — top athletes will put hundreds of pounds overhead in displays of athleticism and strength. Athletes of all ages are using the lifts to enhance their fitness program, or to improve their performance in other sports.

Heads Slaughter, who competed in the 2000 Olympic games in Sydney, relocated CH Fitness and Performance from Southern California to Northern Virginia last year.

Countdown to High School Football Kickoff

by Ethan Rothstein | August 6, 2013 at 10:45 am | 811 views | No Comments

Yorktown High School football player (file photo)The summer is almost over, and with the changing of the seasons will come the unofficial start of the fall: football season.

Fall practices for Arlington’s high school football teams began Monday, officially ending the summer for fall sports athletes. In about three weeks (August 29), defending National District champs Yorktown will open play. One month from today — Sept. 6 — will be the opening night of the season for Washington-Lee and Wakefield.

Those who want to get the chance to see one of the best football teams in the country should head to Bishop O’Connell on Oct. 26 to watch the team play Maryland’s Good Counsel. The date many in Arlington will want to circle on their calendars will be Nov. 8, the last game of the regular season, when Washington-Lee takes on Yorktown.

Below are the football schedules for each of the Arlington high schools.

Wakefield
All games at 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 6: Home vs. Marshall
Sept. 12: Home vs. George Mason
Sept. 20: Away vs. Thomas Jefferson
Sept. 27: Home vs. Edison
Oct. 4: Home vs. Hayfield Secondary
Oct. 11: Away vs. Falls Church
Oct. 18: Away vs. Yorktown
Oct. 25: Away vs. J.E.B. Stuart
Nov. 1: Home vs. Washington-Lee
Nov. 8: Away vs. Mt. Vernon

Washington-Lee
All games at 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 6: Away vs. McLean
Sept. 12: Home vs. South Lakes
Sept. 20: Home vs. J.E.B. Stuart
Sept. 27: Away vs. Hayfield Secondary
Oct. 4: Home vs. Falls Church
Oct. 11: Away vs. Mt. Vernon
Oct. 18: Home vs. Edison
Oct. 25: Home vs. Centreville
Nov. 1: Away vs. Wakefield
Nov. 8: Away vs. Yorktown

Yorktown
All games at 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 29: Home vs. Coolidge
Sept. 6: Away vs. Langley
Sept. 20: Away vs. Edison
Sept. 27: Home vs. Falls Church
Oct. 4: Away vs. J.E.B. Stuart
Oct. 11: Home vs. Hayfield Secondary
Oct. 18: Home vs. Wakefield
Oct. 25: Home vs. Chantilly
Nov. 1: Away vs. Mt. Vernon
Nov. 8: Home vs. Washington-Lee

Bishop O’Connell
All games at 2:00 p.m.
Aug. 24: Away vs. McDonogh
Aug. 31: Home vs. Paul VI
Sept. 7: Away vs. Bishop Ireton
Sept. 13: Away vs. St. Christopher’s
Sept. 21: Home vs. Archbishop Carroll
Sept. 28: Away vs. St. John’s
Oct. 5: Away vs. DeMatha (2:30 p.m.)
Oct. 12: Home vs. Gonzaga
Oct. 26: Home vs. Good Counsel
Nov. 2: Home vs. Bishop McNamara

Triathlete Community Contributes To Growth of Athletic Store

by ARLnow.com | August 2, 2013 at 11:15 am | 1,284 views | No Comments

This article was written by Maddy Berner 

Tri360 in East Falls Church (photo via Facebook)It might seem like a store catered to such a niche customer base would have difficulty thriving, but the local triathlete community is helping Tri360 do just that.

On Sept. 1, Tri360 at 2121 N. Westmoreland St. in East Falls Church will celebrate one year of serving the area’s triathletes. While the shops’ consumer base might seem narrow, Blaine Atkisson — who co-owns the store with his wife, Kate — says the D.C. area triathlon community is large and active, with events every other weekend and thousands of participants. This community has contributed to the store’s increasing sales, which have made the couple excited about its progress, despite some initial struggles to expand the brand.

Kate, an active triathlete herself, came up with the idea for Tri360 in 2011. A year ago, there wasn’t a place in the area for athletes to stock up on all three types of gear needed to run a triathlon: running, biking and swimming. Catering to that need was the driving force behind ultimately opening the shop, Blaine said.

“A year ago, we were consumers of these products,” he said, “so we kind of built our store around addressing the needs of the consumer.”

Today, in line with a local triathlon scene that seems to be growing, Blaine said the store gets a steady flow of customers, with traffic peaking on the weekends and during evening hours as commuters leave work. Since January 2013, sales have continually increased, he said. July was a record month for the store.

Tri360Blaine said the community is bolstered by strong membership in some of the area’s clubs, many of which can be found easily through the internet. The D.C. Triathlon Club recently won the Mid-Atlantic Club Championship, but Arlington boasts its own selections of communities. Dominion Cycling & TriathlonTeam ZTeam FeXY and the Arlington Triathlon Club are all nearby and cater to various athletic strengths.

At the end of 2012, Virginia was ranked sixth for most triathlon members in the country at 5,879, according to USA Triathlon. D.C. boasts about 782, and Maryland hosts 3,116. The Iron Man Lake Placid, which took place in upstate New York last weekend, featured a huge contingent of D.C.- and Arlington-area participants, Blaine said.

Tri360 offers racks of bike shorts, swim suits and helmets, as well as shelves stocked with nutrition-packed snacks. The store also has a fitting station and a repair station below walls of various types of bikes. They can sell anywhere from $500-$12,000, Blaine said.

As the store’s one-year anniversary approaches, the Atkissons say they’ll continue to grow the business and inject its brand into the Arlington community. Blaine said he hopes to organize events and sponsor a Tri360 team that could compete in the area’s dozens of competitions.

League Shakeup To Impact Arlington Schools

by Ethan Rothstein | July 23, 2013 at 2:45 pm | 1,656 views | No Comments

Yorktown High School football player (file photo)

This article was co-written by Audrey Batcheller

As fall sports season approaches for Arlington’s high schools, varsity athletes must adjust to the new Virginia High School League realignment and reclassification for post-season competition.

The athletic departments of Arlington schools have been aware that this shakeup was coming, but now that the plan is finalized and the 2013-14 school year is quickly approaching, many are wondering what exactly this means for their teams.

Virginia high schools had previously been organized by districts that were grouped by proximity. These districts were then classified based on enrollment size. The highly populated schools were in Group AAA, schools with average populations were in Group AA, and the smallest schools were in Group A. All three Arlington high schools were members of the AAA National District of the Northern Region.

While the National District is staying intact for regular season play, the playoff system is getting a major overhaul. The three statewide groups are being split into six, the smallest schools in Group 1A and the biggest in Group 6A.

Each group will crown its own state champion in each sport, except lacrosse, which will now crown two state championships as opposed to the one, unified championship given out since it became a VHSL-sanctioned sport in 2006.

Washington-Lee and Yorktown will continue to play the state’s biggest schools in Group 6A and will be joining National District rival Hayfield as part of Conference 6. Wakefield, with several hundred fewer students, will be in Conference 13 with the other local Group 5A schools.

“The reclassification offers those schools with a smaller student enrollment a fair shot at playing similar sized schools,” Noel Deskins, the Director of Student Activities at Wakefield High School, said in an email.

Bishop O’Connell High School is not affected by the reclassification because it is not a member of the VHSL. O’Connell competes against the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference.

Previously, the regular season was followed by a three-round, single elimination district playoff, where teams would compete against schools within their district for the title of district champions. The top four teams from each district then advanced to a Regional tournament, where the top two teams would advance to an eight team state championship.

Now, with the introduction of the conferences a new playoff system has developed. The playoffs start off similarly to the previous procedure, but schools will now be competing to be conference champions. After the conference playoffs have concluded, only the top two teams will advance to the regional tournament and the state tournament now will consist of only four teams.

Football is the only exception; the conference playoffs are bypassed and the top 16 teams will go straight into regional playoffs. Wakefield, which ended last season winless, will no longer play in the Northern Region with Yorktown and Washington-Lee — renamed the 6A North Region — instead, they will be in the 5A North Region.

Football is the sport perhaps least affected by the reclassification. Because teams can only play just one game a week, they were already divided into six divisions for state tournaments. Last year, Yorktown went undefeated until it fell to Stone Bridge in Ashburn in the Northern Region championship.

All three high schools will match up against each other and the rest of the National District during the regular season in an effort to maintain rivalry games.

Bracket Room Reveals Menu, List of 64 Shooters

by ARLnow.com | July 16, 2013 at 1:35 pm | 4,985 views | No Comments

Bracket Room logoBracket Room, a “female-friendly” sports bar set to open in Clarendon next month, has revealed its food and drink menu.

The restaurant will offer upscale takes on traditional bar food like burgers, wings, ribs and fries, as well as higher-end items like Maine lobster and healthier options like ceviche, a “superfoods salad” and chilled asparagus. A brunch menu is also offered.

List of shooters at The Bracket RoomThe drink menu includes at least 15 beers on tap, from a $4.50 Miller Lite to a $6 Kona Big Wave. Sixteen bottled and canned beers are available, with prices starting at $3 for a PBR can. Numerous varieties of wine and cocktails are also available, but perhaps the most talked-about offering will be the 64 shooters, which are arranged on an NCAA-style tournament bracket. The “winning” shooter is $3 until March, while the 63 others are $6 apiece.

Bracket Room is located in the former Burapa Thai space at 1210 N. Garfield Street. Among the three partners in the business are Chris Bukowski, of  “Bachelorette” and “Bachelor Pad” reality show fame.

The sports bar hopes to open its doors at some point next month (August). A press release announcing the menu, after the jump.

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Near-Record Crowd for Caps Fan Fest in Ballston

by Ethan Rothstein | July 15, 2013 at 10:55 am | 797 views | No Comments

The Washington Capitals’ Development Camp Fan Fest took place last Saturday and those in attendance said Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Ballston was the fullest they’d ever seen it.

“The event has multiplied by probably 50 from eight years ago,” said Oksana Zolotar, an employee of the Capitals who attended Fan Fest as a spectator. “You can barely find room to stand anymore.”

A Capitals official said more than 3,500 people came through the doors Saturday morning, and while that number is thought to be a record, no official records have previously been kept for Fan Fest attendance.

Saturday’s fan fest was held in Ballston for the seventh straight year and featured 21 Capitals prospects, including their 2013 first-round draft pick, Andre Burakovsky, competing for the attention of Capitals’ coaches and the chance to make next year’s squad. According to the Washington Post, only one player participating has a legitimate chance to make the Capitals’ 2012-2013 roster: 2012 first-rounder Tom Wilson.

For fans in attendance, most of whom were wearing red, it was a chance to see the future of their beloved Caps, and an opportunity to see some hockey on a sweltering July morning.

“I’ve always liked the prospect side of this event,” Zolotar said.

One Caps fan, a mom from Falls Church, comes to Kettler multiple times a year with her daughter, who enjoyed her time on the other rink during the children’s free skate.

“It’s nice to have something like this so close to us,” the mother said. “It’s really accessible.”

Coming all the way from Manassas, a mother and her college-age son used Fan Fest as a learning experience. He said he’s been trying to get his mother into hockey, and this was as good a chance as any to do it.

“He’s been trying to introduce me to hockey, so we thought we’d step by today to check this out,” she said. “Hockey is easy to get into because it’s never slow.”

From a hockey perspective, those in and around the organization considered Development Camp a success.

Capitals Outsider wrote: ”On the whole, comments from both [General Manager George] McPhee and [head coach Adam] Oates were consistently positive regarding the prospects. Oates even went so far as to say that this year’s crop of attendees looked better than last year’s, though the change in camp format may have been a contributing factor. This year saw fewer scrimmages, and all of them held in the latter half of the week.”

-Audrey Batcheller contributed to this report.

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