Athletic Hall of Fame 2022-2023

Athletic Hall of Fame 2022-2023

The Annual Athletic Hall of Fame inductees of the 2022-2023 school year have been carefully selected honoring this year’s athletes, coaches, administrators and supporters who excelled in the athletic department here at our school. Those inducted must be nominated by any member of the community that thinks would be worthy of the award.

Athletes who compete in sports as a high school athlete are eligible to be inducted into the hall of fame 10 years after they graduate. Coaches, administrators and other supporters are eligible for this membership 5 years after they leave County.

All individuals nominated for this must have a great deal of respect and dedication to Loudoun County sports and display their “recognition, distinction and excellence” towards the sports department. Board members of LCHS then come to a decision of who will receive the honor of being inducted.

This year’s inductees include contributor and coach John Brown (1986-1997), coach Sherrilyn Hanna (2004-2017) and her daughter, a volleyball player and coach, Juliane Hanna(2006-2010), basketball and soccer player Brittany Batts (2007-2011), track and field thrower Sara Ballenger(1979-1983), and track and field long distance runner Tommy Curtin, (2007-2011).

Along with a County game pass to visit anyone of our high school games, inductees also will get a picture hung on the Athletic Hall of Fame wall with their name, year and title. The wall have inducted members dating back to 2014. Along with a County game pass to visit anyone of our high school games, inductees also will get a picture hung on the Athletic Hall of Fame wall with their name, year and title. The wall have inducted members dating back to 2014. Picture by Cat Pizzarello.

John Brown

Brown taught at JL Simpson Middle School for thirty-two years while also coaching basketball and golf at County helping them win several district and region championships and going on to state championships as well. Brown’s daughter, Jenica Brown, took over the girls varsity volleyball team. “The program before was getting killed. I mean getting destroyed and I said we got to do something.”

“I had 157 girls for volleyball. 4 days a week,” Brown said. Still remaining today, Brown created an after school girls volleyball program at Simpson to help prepare young girls for varsity high school volleyball.

Brown has two kids, Jenica and Jared Brown who were also involved in the sports programs at county and whom he believes deserve this honorable award over himself. “I don’t deserve it… I mean I love County… I love it and I don’t get back as much as I should,” Brown said.

Now retired, Brown says that he runs an “uber service” for his four grandkids. “My wife was lonely so I retired. My last year of teaching was just fantastic though,” said Brown.

“Always encourage. I’m the ultimate encourager. Don’t set limitations on kids,” Brown said. His advice to teachers, coaches and administrators was simple… “encourage, encourage, encourage.”

 

Julianne & Sherrilyn Hanna

A vital part of the girls varsity volleyball program the first time the team went to state championships, Julianne Hanna and her mother, Sherrilyn Hanna both were a part of County volleyball for many years, playing and coaching.

“I graduated in 2010, then went off to college and then came back to coach, got rung into it by my mom here,” Julianne said. Julianne coached JV volleyball for three years, while her mother, Sherrilyn, coached at Simpson and took over the program before coming to County to coach JV and varsity for a few years.

“Somewhat always remembered, although the pictures are fading,” Julianne said in response to being inducted. Julianne expressed that as a competitive player that always strived for success, that she feels very honored to be a part of County still.

Julianne and her mother’s time at County came with many successes. “We won four state titles and then I took to retirement,” Sherrilyn said. Both admit that the state championships were undoubtedly the best parts of their careers at County.

“Particularly the first two years we went to states, we had bus loads of kids coming to cheer us on,” Juliane said. “We were the team on top,” Sherrilyn said, “The student section was amazing.”This was the first time that County’s volleyball team had really been noticed. “Lots of pride in the team and their school,” said Sherrilyn.

Following her “glory years” at County, Julianne went on to play volleyball at the University of New Mexico, then transferring a year later back to her hometown Missouri and attending Central Missouri University. “Ended up getting injured and the doctor said I was done,” Julianne said and describing that it took her a while to understand, “Sports does not define me.”

An analogy Julianne said for all high school students was what she called the “Snow Globe Effect.” “You’re in a little bit of a protective bubble [in high school] because you don’t have all of life’s responsibilities, but you are being put in a situation where you are having to make some important decisions, that to you, are life or death,” said Julianne

“The only time I was able to breathe during the season was the last few points of each state finals,” said Julianne. Always a fighter, Julianne helped her team through the multiple state championships. “When you’re County volleyball, everyone is on your back.”

 

Brittany Batts

A part of County’s basketball and soccer teams for her four years at County, Batts took part in many of the girls basketball team’s state championships and state semi-final games. “Played basketball for four years at Gannon University. I started coaching right out of college and now I coach back at Gannon,” Batts said.

“It’s really nice to come back home for a bit and see some familiar faces,” Batts said in response to being inducted. Batts described County having a “very supportive atmosphere” and hopes that it is still like that to this day.

One of her core values while playing at County and now while coaching is building strong relationships with your teammates. “Relationships drive results, and I think that is why we were so successful because we got along so well,” Batts said.

Relationships were of utmost importance to her and why she believed the team had as much success as it did. “To understand each other on the court, if you develop relationships off the court you will see a lot more success on the court too,” Batts said.

 

Sara Ballenger

On the track & field throwing teams all throughout high school and into college, Ballenger has had many accomplishments within her throwing career. Following throwing in high school, Ballenger went to Ricks College, now Brigham Young University-Idaho, then 2 years later going to Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, both on full athletic scholarships.

“Never paid an ounce for school… They gave me a stipend to spend on shoes and clothes, anything I would need for the sport,” Ballenger said. When attending a Division 1 school, Ballenger explains that you are now an employee representing the school.

“It was a team sport, even if it was individual,” Ballenger said. The county girls track team back then would regularly go out for pizza and ice cream after practices. “It was really a good collaborative team, we worked really well together,” Ballenger said.

As for school life at County, Ballenge enjoyed her time as a LCHS student. “School is school,” Ballenger said, “I had fun in school and I was also a big part of the marching band.”

“I won state champion in high school as a junior when I wasn’t even supposed to be anything,” Ballenger said. Winning again as a senior in high school, Ballenger continues to set records in her college career at BYU winning national junior college shot and discus. “There have been a lot of good memories along the way,” Ballenger said.

 

Tommy Curtin

Cross country, track and once professional runner, Tommy Curtin, who still holds the 3200m race record at County, is the final inductee. After running for county, Curtin goes on to collegiate running at Virginia Tech University.

“I was super successful running wise. I won a lot of ACC titles and was also one of the best in the nation near the end of my college career.” Curtin said. Curtin finished runner up in the NCAA 5k and graduated from Virginia Tech with a bachelor’s in sociology, “Which I will likely never use,” Curtin said.

Succeeding in college, Curtin continues his running career as a professional athlete sponsored by a company “to run me in circles.” “They paid me a salary and paid for all my gear and travel. Really cool gig honestly,” Curtin said. Curtin has had success professionally, most notable for his second place finish at the US Road 5k Championships in 2017.

Curtin was the only inductee that seemed to have mixed feelings on his induction. “I actually no longer run and running isn’t something I think on much any more because there’s some sadness there,” Curtin said. “There are a lot of things I was never able to accomplish in the sport that I wanted to before I stopped running.”

Near the start of the pandemic Curtin got COVID-19, coughing so hard that he herniated a disc in his spine that prevents him from running to the extremities he did before. “Now I work a boring (unless you’re a tech/computer nerd) desk job doing Tech Support for an email cybersecurity company and I recently moved back to this general area,” Curtin said after making the decision to give running a break. “Loudoun County High School did get me a pretty wife that’s been with me through this whole journey though,” Curtin said.

County cross country and the many sports at county have many traditions and rituals that take place before big competitions.  “Our pre race team chant right before a race was 1,2,3, SMOKIN’ BOOTS,” Curtin said.

“My favorite race memory: In college I won my first ACC title in a pretty tight race,” Curtin said. Only winning by 0.15 seconds, Curtin’s coach jumped onto the track to celebrate. “Then he shouted some…colorful words in the general direction of the rival team’s coach,” Curtin said, “I think I won out of sheer desire to win and not really talent or ability necessarily.”

Some advice for the high school students of LCHS, “High school sort of sucks,” Curtin says. “People have stuff going on that you won’t ever realize and younger people’s cruelty (whether intended or not) is honestly horrible sometimes.”