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Athlete of the Week: Alesha White

(Editor's note: Throughout the local high school sports season, Culpeper Times will again recognize an “Athlete of the Week” from one of the sports on a rotating basis. This week we feature girls basketball. At the end of the year the Times will select a male and female athlete at both Culpeper County and Eastern View high schools and recognize them as “Athlete of the Year” at their respective schools.)

Culpeper County High School senior Alesha White just completed a volleyball season that saw her named second-team all-Battlefield District.

White now brings her considerable athletic talents to the Devilette basketball team, where coach Katie Shaw is expecting big things from her.

Because of her talent and her senior leadership on and off the court, White is the Culpeper Times “Athlete of the Week” for girls volleyball.

“Because of volleyball, she wasn't able to come to our fall open gyms,” said Shaw of White. “But she came out as soon as volleyball was over and she has been very vocal in her leadership.

“This is her third year on varsity and every year she has shown more and more dedication.”

Shaw said the 5-foot-8 White is one of the best pure athletes on the team, but she also hustles.

“As a forward she plays down low for us and that's a tough position,” Shaw said. “She usually doesn't have the ball right off the bat – the other players need to see that she is open. She's a very good rebounder, but she also has the ability to score. The combination of the two skills helped us win quite a few games last year.”

With only two girls gone from last year's team, Shaw said she expects the 2012-13 version of the Devilettes to be strong.

White said it takes a bit of time to move from volleyball to basketball.

“Instead of hitting a ball, you're handling one and instead of relying mostly on your arms, you have to use both your arms and your feet. There is definitely more running in basketball.”

White plans to be a three-sport athlete this year – after the basketball season she is looking to turn out for the track team and throw the shot put and discus.

Of her work near the basket White said simply, “I have to make it easier for the other players to see me so they know they can get me the ball. I like rebounding more than scoring, though. Since I play volleyball, I have a nice vertical (jump) so rebounding is easier for me.”

White is a study in the unexpected. Ask her what her favorite color is and she says blue.

“Everybody thinks girls should like pink and I think pink is the worst color on Earth,” she says. “I guess I've got some of that tomboy thing going on.”

What about music? Not what you might expect from a teenager in 2012.

“I like '90s R&B and underground hip hop,” she said. “I don't listen to much of the new stuff.”

Any pets?

“A miniature dachshund named Otis.

After graduation White would like to pursue a four-year degree in forensic chemistry at either Randolph-Macon or Bridgewater.

What one class does she wish she could have taken this year that she didn't?

“I wish I could have taken P.E. again,” she said. “I normally take P.E. every year. I feel empty without physical activity.”

NOTE: Eastern View High School coach Mike McCombs nominated TaNae Holmes, a junior point guard.

“She's in her third year on varsity,” McCombs said. She's a hard worker and a great kid. In the off season she had the highest percentage of time in the weight room. She had planned to do some work with a personal trainer, but I told her I would like her to work with the school trainer and just like that she gave up the personal training sessions and attended ours. She is very team oriented.”

A basketball point guard is like a quarterback or a pitcher – they direct the action and they have to know not only where they need to be, but where their teammates are going to be
Holmes has both the athleticism and the intelligence to quarterback the team – in fact she was recently inducted into the National honor Society.

“She will be successful at whatever she chooses to do,” McCombs said.

Holmes said she has been playing basketball since she was 4 years old.

“I like that you can push the tempo and I like the team concept,” she said. “I'm not a big fan of individual sports.”

Holmes said her biggest challenge on the court is “trying not to pay attention to the crowd.”

For relaxation she hangs out with her family.

“And I like to ride my bike in the park,” she said.

Although her favorite subject is English, Holmes said she wants to be a nurse.

“I'm starting to look at colleges now, like U.Va.,” she said. “I would really like to go to Longwood.”

She said the most exciting place basketball has taken her was during her freshman year.

“The AAU team I was on went to nationals in Florida and I got to go to Disney World,” she said. “That trip was a real good experience.”

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