Athlete of the Week: Clay Metcalf
© Culpeper Times
With snow on the ground and the recent chilling winds, spring seems far away. However, spring sports practices have begun at both Culpeper high schools and the first Culpeper Times Spring 2013 “Athlete of the Week” is well-known for his athletic prowess.
Junior Clay Metcalf was one of the top Blue Devil cross country runners this past fall. Now he has taken his talents to the soccer pitch.
“I like the physicality and the fast pace of soccer,” Metcalf said. “Cross country running helps my endurance for soccer.”
In fact Metcalf likes the sport so much in his spare time he said he often plays pickup games.
“In cross country all you do is run,” Metcalf said. “For me, soccer is a bigger challenge. I can better use my strength, height and speed. There's an actual purpose to it besides just running.”
Metcalf has played on the defensive side of the ball since he was about 4 years old. This year he is at the center back position.
“No one on the team works harder than Clay,” said first-year CCHS boys coach Shaun Summerscales.. “He leads by example and he has a consistent, strong work ethic.”
Summerscales notes that Metcalf is also an outstanding student.
“It's a challenge, sometimes, to keep school and sports balanced, Metcalf admitted, noting that he “loves math and science.”
“It would be nice if I could play sports in college,” he said. “Right now I'm looking at the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech and N.C. State, but if a Division III school offered me a grant (for soccer) I would discuss going there with them.”
Metcalf said he thinks the Blue Devil boys will have a strong soccer team this season.
“We just reloaded after last year,” he said.
NOTE: Eastern View High School boys soccer coach Leo Legora nominated senior Nathan Raffala.
“He's our right outside midfielder,” Legora said. “He's been in this program four years, playing varsity since he was a freshman. He shows real leadership. He’s a natural.”
Legora said a knee injury last year kept Raffala off the field most of the season.
“He is always enthusiastic and wants to improve,” Legora said. “Even if he does a skill perfectly he wants to be 'more perfect'.”
Legora said Raffala also excels in the classroom.
“He's academically excellent and in a lot of honors classes,” Legora said. “And he rarely misses a practice.”
Raffala said he has played soccer ever since he can remember.
“It provides a good outlet to vent frustration,” Raffala said. “And it's a beautiful game. That's why it is played all around the world.”
Raffala said he gives his all when he is playing soccer.
“I will go as long as I possibly can,” he said. “My biggest challenge out there is keeping my composure, especially when we are losing.”
Raffala excels in math and social studies and has already received early admission from Christopher Newport University. In addition to soccer he swims and runs cross country.
“I'll probably stick to intramural sports in college,” he said.
That may give him more time to pursue his favorite hobby – snowboarding.