Battlefield High School’s Male Athlete of the Year 2011-2012
© Culpeper TimesPicking the quarterback of the varsity football team as the male athlete of the year for his school seems cliche to an eye-rolling level.
After all, doesn't it seem like quarterbacks get the credit for just about everything while offensive linemen, the guys who are actually hit on every play, are really the unsung heroes?
At a Group AAA, Division 6 school like Battlefield, there are thousands of students and hundreds of athletes. There's bound to be someone else, even if that football team has won three consecutive Northwest Regional titles, the last two of which featured the same QB.
How about the leading scorer of the boys lacrosse team?
Now we're getting somewhere.
Those guys also made it all the way to the state semi-finals this year, won the district and regional title, exited the season with only two losses and the player with the most goals on the team also had the most goals in the entire Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.
That's a little bit more outside the box.
Meanwhile, if you've ever been to a Battlefield boys basketball game, you know just how loud and rambunctious that gymnasium is during a competitive game.
To be one of the top-two leading three-point shooters there takes a lot of poise under pressure, especially when the rivalries are as fierce as they are in the Cedar Run District.
Battlefield had a so-so season at 12-11 but, hey, it's a tough sport and not every BHS team is going to make it to states.
Okay, stack them together, side by side and make a decision:
The quarterback is Ryan Swingle.
The lacrosse player is Ryan Swingle.
The basketball player is Ryan Swingle.
The rising senior may just be the most pure version of an all-around athlete at Battlefield. What makes him particularly noteworthy as a player though is not just that he plays three sports.
He excels at each of them.
The quarterback mixes brawn and brains too.
Listed as a 6-foot-4, 215-pound right hander, the 17-year-old from Gainesville wrote on NCSASports.org during the school year that he had a 3.76 GPA "while taking advanced classes and I have received Academic Letters for both my freshman and sophomore years of high school."
For Swingle, playing the central role on two teams making it to states in harsh contact sports makes it pretty obvious that he's seen as both a contributing member and a leader.
"We have so many weapons," said Swingle during the lax season about what made Battlefield so potent.
Many of his 88 goals could be attributed to the team's leading assist maker Michael Hanlon, who dished 61 total ones during the season.
Swingle also proved unafraid to dish the ball out himself, netting 23 assists for the 2012 campaign.
That stat can be linked to his showing on the gridiron, where he picked up 1,819 yards for Battlefield during the fall of 2011, tossing 13 touchdowns in the process.
Like Hanlon to Swingle on the lacrosse field, the junior QB of course had some friends who helped make his life easier.
Trent Saflin caught 52 passes on the year while Sidney Henry, Nick Newman and Anthony Lopez combined for another 51.
Saflin, a junior, and the senior Henry both also hauled in four touchdowns a piece from Swingle.
On the basketball court, Tarik Diggs clearly dominated for the boys as he topped the team in points per game at 17.1 and number of three-pointers (45).
Yet Swingle made an impression there too, knocking down 16 triples during the winter as part of his 72 total points for the season.
That put him in second place for the Bobcats in number of three-pointers.
All of this isn't to say that Swingle put together perfect seasons or that he did not have his stumbles during the 2011-2012 school year.
He only made the all-district second-team, despite Battlefield's triumphs.
In the regional finals, he tossed three interceptions one after the next, including one that went back for a touchdown.
"It wasn't really communication. It was just throws on my part," said Swingle in an interview after that game. "But I just gained my confidence back by getting some short, little throws and we got it."
Swingle also tended to stay within single digits for point-scoring each night in basketball, so he did not necessarily light up the floor every night.
When playing lacrosse, he could not lead his team past the top two teams of the year, Chantilly and state champion Langley, dropping games to both of them.
What counts in the end though is an ability to learn from his mistakes while staying focused on the mission of winning.
His football coach Mark Cox described Swingle just before the start of last season as "level-headed" and someone who "stays calm" under pressure.
"He could turn out to be a really good college prospect if he continues to mature and make good (choices) in game situations and handle the offense on his own," said Cox.