Winchester, VA – Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® President, Tommy Price, is pleased to announce an upcoming ceremony to recognize local high school and college athletes chosen to represent their schools during the 93rd Annual Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival. Each year, the Festival acknowledges local athletes during its Saturday morning Partlow Insurance Sports Breakfast, however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was canceled in 2020.
“Unfortunately, the Festival was not able to recognize our athletes this year, but we feel it is important to carry on this tradition and give these fine student-athletes the credit they deserve,” said President Tommy Price.
A ceremony will take place at 11:00 am on Thursday, July 30, 2020 at Partlow Insurance’s Old Town Winchester office located at 151 North Loudoun Street, Winchester, VA. Due to COVID-19 and the need to maintain social distancing, the ceremony is open to invited guests including student-athletes, school athletic directors, Festival officials and sponsors, and the media. Everyone in attendance is asked to wear a mask.
The 2020 line-up of outstanding local athletes include:
Jordan Jackson (Millbrook High School)
Jordan is a standout football and basketball player at Millbrook High School. In football he is a 3-year starter and has been named to the All-District Teams all 3 years. This year he was named First Team All-District and First Team All-Region as a Wide Receiver. On the basketball court Jordan is a 4-year starter and has received All-District honors all 4 years. He was also named to the All-Region team his junior year. Jordan has a 3.4 GPA and will attend Frostburg State University on a football scholarship this Fall.
Colby Childs (Clarke County High School)
Colby has earned 11 varsity letters at Clarke County (3 football/4 basketball/4 baseball). He has been a 3-year starter at quarterback in football. He broke Clarke County’s career passing records in single game yards, single season yards and career passing yards and lead the team to a share of the 2019 Bull Run title. He was selected 1st Team and 2nd Team All-Bull Run District honors his sophomore and junior year at the Offensive All-Purpose position. He was selected 1st Team All-Bull District and 1st Team All Region 2B quarterback his senior season. Colby earned Winchester Star honors in each of his 3 seasons in football. In baseball, Colby has been a 4-year starter at shortstop and pitcher. He was selected 1st Team All-Bull Run and 1st Team All-Region 2B honors at shortstop in each of his sophomore and junior seasons while also gaining Winchester Star honors in each of those seasons. In basketball, Colby has been a 3-year starter and earned Winchester Star honors his junior year. Colby was named as an honorable mention Winchester Star Athlete of the Year in 2018-19. Colby has a 3.82 GPA and has signed a letter of intent with Hood College to play baseball.
Malachi Imoh (Handley High School)
Malachi Imoh is a graduate of John Handley High School. His parents are James and Marie Imoh, and has two siblings Elizabeth Imoh and Tirone Young. Malachi participated in Handley’s football program all 4 years, the track and field program during his junior and senior years and the soccer program while a Freshman. Along with playing sports in high school, he achieved high academic standards. During his sophomore and junior years at Handley, he attended Mountain Vista Governor’s School focusing on biology. He is a member of the National Honor Society and scored 1410 on the SAT. He will be attending the College of William and Mary next year to play football on an athletic scholarship.
DJ Staton (Warren County High School)
D.J. Staton is a graduate of Warren County High School. His accolades in track, both indoor and outdoor, is three-time All-State and five-time All-Region. He is also a current Northwestern District Champion. In cross country he has been two-time All-State and three-time All-Region. He has been awarded the Northern Virginia Daily all Track and Cross-Country teams. D.J. will attend the University of South Carolina – Upstate on a Cross Country and Track Scholarship. He has a GPA of 2.77.
Aaliyah Chunn (Skyline High School)
Aaliyah is a 3-sport athlete from Skyline High School in Warren County. Aaliyah competed in volleyball, indoor and outdoor track and field. In volleyball, she earned 2019 1st Team All-District, 1st Team All-Region, 1st Team All-State, Northwestern District Class 3 Player of the Year, Region 3B Player of the Year, Player of the Year for the Northern Virginia Daily. Indoor Track and Field 2019 All-Region and All State in the High Jump 2020 All-District and All Region in the High Jump. Outdoor Track, she earned 2017 All-District and All Region in the High Jump, 2018 All-District, All-Region, and All-State High Jump, 2019 All-District, All-Region, and All-State High Jump. She is Skyline’s record holder in the High Jump at 5’2. Aaliyah will be attending Shenandoah University this fall. She will study Kinesiology and join the SU volleyball and track and field teams.
Payne Bauer (Sherando High School)
Payne is a graduate of Sherando High School. He participated in DECA, NHS, and competed in football and baseball. As a football player, he is a two-time VHSL 1st all state performer, a USA today 2nd All-State performer, two-time region defensive player of the year, two-time district defensive player of the year, two-time all-area Winchester Star Defensive Player of the Year and lastly, The Northern Virginia Daily Defensive Player of the Year. As a baseball player, he is a two-time all-district outfielder, two-time all-region outfield, and a 1st team all-state outfielder. After high school, Bauer will be going to James Madison University and major in finance while playing football.
McKayla Firebaugh (James Wood High School)
Firebaugh is a graduate of James Wood High School. In basketball, she was a four-time 1st team all-district, three time Offensive MVP, two-time Northwestern District Player of the Year, 2nd Team All-Region, 1st Team All-Region, Region Co-Player of the Year , 1st Team VHSCA All-State, Winchester Star Player of the Year, and 1st Team VHSL All-State. She currently holds James Wood the records for 2031 career points, 189 career three-pointers, most threes in a single season (63), most points scored in a single game (44), most points scored in a single season (612), and top points average in a single season 24.5 points per game. Firebaugh received the 2018 U.S. House of Representatives Certificate of Congressional and Recognition for Outstanding offensive Player of the Year in girls’ basketball. She has also been a 2-year member of the National Honor Society as well as DECA and Varsity Club. Firebaugh will continue her education at Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ where she is committed to play Division I basketball with plans of majoring in forensic science.
Casey Stewart (Shenandoah University)
As a junior, Casey set a program season record with 15 touchdowns in football. He was named first team All-ODAC. Played in 10 games, recorded 2 tackles, 54 receptions for 859 yards, and named first team All-State by VaSID. As a senior, Casey led the ODAC in receiving yards with 1191, had 13 touchdowns, set a new program mark for career receiving touchdowns. He was named second team All-ODAC. Casey was a finalist for the Armed Services Merit Award for the second straight year, was a finalist for the Lanier Award, given to the top NCAA DII/DIII or NAIA player in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Casey earned second team All-ECAC honors and named second team All-State by VaSID.
by Thomas Shea
What do I say when out of town relatives ask me to name the highlight of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival®? That is not an easy answer. So many fun events come to mind like The Midway, the Sports Breakfast and themed luncheons, the Carnival (where I have eaten many snow cones over 20+ years), Wine Fest (I can finally imbibe), and parades that rival the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. But, for me, one of the highlights is definitely the thirty-nine-year-old 10K Race on Saturday morning of the big weekend.
“Forever Apple Blossom” is the theme of this year’s Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival®. The logo for the 93rd Bloom is a beautiful gold infinity symbol intertwined through pink and green apple blossom flowers. The course for the Apple Blossom 10k mimics this year’s infinity symbol. Analogous with the infinity symbol looping around the apple blossom flowers in the logo, the path of the 10k runners envelops the heart of the festival by circumventing John Handley High School and historic Winchester. The road course provides plenty of eye candy as runners take in the beautiful landmark high school and gorgeous historic homes, each with its own character and charm. Of course, one hopes to be running so fast that these iconic buildings become a blur, which may be a reality for the front runners, but the rest of us enjoy the views.
The Shenandoah Apple Blossom 10K is a tradition for runners in and around Winchester. The event consistently draws over a thousand runners each year (1,135 finishers in 2019) and offers over $8,000 in prize award money! While this race is exhilarating for the runners, it is perhaps as exciting for the community that lines the roads to watch. Fans intently search for loved ones, shout out words of encouragement, wave signs, and best of all, the street laden cheering section lauds all participants with arm-raised clapping and cheering.
I first ran the Apple Blossom 10K when I was 15. At the time, I was a high school cross country and track athlete, so the 10K was like a long workout. My favorite part of the race was that I knew so many of the faces, especially the kids in my age group because it was like having a hometown meet. Our coaches ran with us, as well as many teachers and people I knew from the bank and shops in town. Truth be told, it is a challenging course. Some say that since the course is relatively flat, it is easier, but to that, I respond by saying a flat course does not have a downhill recovery time. There are grade changes, albeit slight, that allow for variation and leg muscle reprieve.
The key to a successful race is to prepare. A combination of mid-distance running and sprint work is a great recipe. New runners should begin race preparation months ahead, slowly increasing his/her distance until running a distance beyond 6 miles is quite comfortable. To be able to have that desired final homestretch kick, sprint workouts are essential. Sprint work can be done on a high school track, but one can also use the speed settings on a treadmill, or even sprint the distance between telephone poles along the street. Mental fortitude is also of key importance; the 10k is no distance to laugh at. Having the mental strength to keep going in that last mile or so can make or break your race performance. Runner’s Retreat in Winchester offers an eight-week 10K prep training session leading up to the May race. So, no excuses, runners, get out there and train! Be a part of this enduring race and join in this year’s “Forever Apple Blossom” celebration.
Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® President, Barry Carper, is pleased to announce that former Washington Redskin-great, entrepreneur, and ESPN and the NFL Network analyst Joe Theismann will serve as Sports Marshal for the 2020 Festival and sponsored by Omps Funeral Home.
Joe graduated in 1971 from the University of Notre Dame, where he received All-American honors in both Football and Academics. That same year, he was runner up to Jim Plunket for the Heisman Trophy balloting. Joe chose to begin his career with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League after being drafted by the Miami Dolphins and Major League Baseball’s Minnesota Twins.
A 12-year NFL veteran, Joe played in 163 consecutive games from 1974-1985 for the Washington Redskins and holds Redskin records for passing yardage (25,206), completions (2,044) and attempts (3,602). He was a two-time Pro Bowl selection and Pro Bowl MVP leading the Washington Redskins to a 27-17 victory over the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl XVII.
Joe was selected as the NFL’s Man of the Year in 1982 for his community service and dedication to the health and welfare of children. In 1983, he won the league’s Most Valuable Player Award, leading the Redskins to a second consecutive Super Bowl appearance. Joe Theismann’s career ended abruptly in 1985 after sustaining a badly broken leg during a Monday Night Football game against the New York Giants on national television. In 2003, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame and in 2013 received the Walter Camp Football Foundation “Distinguished American” Award.
With every chapter of his life, Mr. Theismann evolved from athlete to the ultimate businessman. An Emmy award winning analyst, businessman and athlete, Joe utilizes his gifts, talent and high energy to share his strategies for handling unforeseen change.
Joe will release his book “How to Be A Champion Everyday” in July of 2020. In his new book, Joe shares his timeless wisdom with everyone, wisdom about how to succeed in life. Sprinkled with personal anecdotes, insightful observations about the world around us, and drawing on the examples of successful personalities throughout history, this book provides the guidance and spark for each one of us to improve our lives and achieve our dreams.
Insider’s Note: Best chances for the public to see Joe Theismann: Partlow Insurance Sports Breakfast on Saturday, May 2 at 8:00 am and during the Glo Fiber Grand Feature Parade at 1 :30 pm on Saturday, May 2nd. A limited supply of Sports Breakfast tickets will be available at the Official Festival Store at 10:00 am on April 3rd.
The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival®, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting the beauty of springtime and the apple blossoms in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley through events and initiatives that enhance community spirit and showcases our local agricultural heritage.