March 29, 2024 FUMA Athletics Newsletter

The Blue Devil Report from Fork Union Military Academy's Athletic Department is your source for weekly updates on the Fork Union Blue Devils. Here's the latest from @FUMAathletics.

Want to view past issues of the Blue Devil Report? Find them all on our website.


  • Road to Paris: Quest for Third Olympics Leads Egypt’s Ali Khalafalla through Oklahoma
  • FUMA Athletics Recap
  • Feature Stories: Prep Baseball, Tennis
  • Up Next in FUMA Athletics
  • Fork Union Announces Summer Camps
  • Fork Union Welcomes Melanie Collier & Rich "Coach" Taddei to the FUMA Family

Road to Paris: Quest for Third Olympics Leads Egypt’s Ali Khalafalla through Oklahoma

The road to the Olympics takes swimmers from all over the world through the American college system. From far and wide, countries big and small, a litany of colleges can contribute to the 800 or so Olympic swimmers that’ll converge on Paris this summer. In the six months until that happens, we’re going to shine a light on the journeys of some of those swimmers in a new series of stories on The Road To Paris.

Ali Khalafalla was looking for a new place to train in 2021. The home he found might seem unusual.

The Egyptian international had bounced around after his second Olympics in Tokyo that year. He’d stayed at his alma mater, Indiana University, after graduating in 2018, then followed sprint coach Coley Stickels to Alabama. During the COVID-19 pandemic and the Olympic postponement, he was back in Bloomington briefly, then spent nine months in his home country.

Wanting to mount a charge at another Olympics, Khalafalla sought stability. So he reached out to the first coach he’d had in high school, Chris VanSlooten, then at Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia. VanSlooten had relocated to Oklahoma, where he helped Khalafalla make introductions to the Division II program at Oklahoma Christian in Edmund, overseen by long-time coach and American Olympic gold medalist Josh Davis.

Three years later, the 27-year-old is settled, progressing toward the next chapter of his swim career and making headway on life after sports.

“It’s been a good adjustment, going about life changes and life takes different forms that come up,” Khalafalla said recently. “Things have been changing, but it’s been good.”

The journey has been long for the sprinter, who left his native Cairo in 2011. He’s spent more than a decade in the U.S., in Virginia and then as a 10-time All-American for the Hoosiers.

He placed 23rd at the Rio Olympics in the 50 free in 2016, after his sophomore season in Bloomington, tying a national record in the process. Five years later, he was 24th in the 50 and 30th in the 100 in Tokyo.

Since, Khalafalla has made a common decision for late-career sprinters to narrow his focus on the 50 free. He worked first with Noah Yanchulis, now at Cal, and is currently tailoring a hyper-specific sprint program with assistants Trevor Loomis and Patrick Waggoner. Having the OC team to train with provides company, even if he trains a little differently in his late 20s than late teens do.

“Swimming alongside the team and having some sprinters swim with me has been good, but it’s been a lot more tailored toward the 50 free,” he said. “That’s been really, really helpful because I’ve never done that before. I’ve always done a lot of aerobic (work), a little more mid-sprint, long distance than usual, but now it’s all in for the 50 free.”

Khalafalla is on track for Paris. He had a strong meet at the TYR Pro Swim Series stop in Knoxville in January. He chatted a week before departing for the African Games in Ghana, where he won the 50 free and 50 butterfly. His winning time in the 50 free was 22.02 seconds, a meet record and an Olympic B cut. It’s also quicker than he swam at his first Olympics in 2016, when he went 22.25.

Khalafalla’s focus in Oklahoma extends beyond the pool. He’s gotten engaged, having proposed in the very Oklahoman setting of Tulsa’s Philbrook Museum of Art. He’s followed the familiar path to doing swim camps and clinics. And he’s gotten his real estate license, throwing himself into a career that prizes the local knowledge he’s been accumulating.

He approaches the new challenges with the same resilience and diligence he has long honed in the pool.

“I’ve accepted over the past year and a half that life is not all about swimming,” he said. “If I rely on swimming and make it my identity, the ups and downs are going to be very, very painful. Accepting that I have other passions, other things that I can put my effort into in addition to swimming, however long I’m going to continue swimming, has been really good.”

Khalafalla has persisted long enough to track successive generations of Egyptian swimmers. He came of age with Marwan Elkamash, now 30, and Farida Osman. Khalafalla followed Elkamash at Indiana, the state in which Osman was born before moving back to Egypt. But the younger generation of stars – Virginia Tech’s NCAA champion Youssef Ramadan and Louisville/Notre Dame sprinter Abdelrahman El-Araby – is reinforcing the notion that the older stars weren’t a one-off bit of fortune.

Each of that group’s journeys has unique contours that required untold moments of perseverance. Khalafalla tries to explain that when he returns home to field questions from people who want to get themselves or their kids to where he has gotten.

He hopes his example, in and out of the water, serves to illustrate the complexities of that quest.

“Every time I got back to Egypt and go back to national competitions, the first question I’m always asked is, how do I get my son or daughter to the U.S., or how do I go to train there?,” he said. “It’s the No. 1 question. Because they know based off of five to 10 people that have come to the U.S. in the past few years, they’ve made it and they’ve made it really well. They recognize that there’s something in the water in America that makes Egyptians propel up and do really well.”

Scores from the past:

Tuesday, March 19

  • Tennis at Blue Ridge School • L, 0-9
  • Prep Baseball at Hargrave Military Academy • W, 6-1

Wednesday, March 20

  • Tennis at Collegiate School • L, 0-9

Thursday, March 21

  • Tennis vs. Prince Edward High School • W, 9-0
  • Prep Baseball vs. Smith Mountain Lake Christian Academy • L, 3-11

Friday, March 22

  • Golf at Woodberry Forest School • Canceled
  • Junior Prep Baseball vs. Victory Christian Academy • W, 15-6
  • Prep Lacrosse at Norfolk Christian School • L, 5-12

Monday, March 25

  • Tennis at St. Christopher's School • L, 0-9

Tuesday, March 26

  • Prep Baseball at Fishburne Military School • W, 14-3
  • Tennis at Woodberry Forest School • L, 0-9

Prep Baseball Collects Two Impressive Wins against Rival Military Schools

Fork Union's No-Hitter at Hargrave Military Academy

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

CHATHAM, VA -- The Fork Union Military Academy Prep baseball team delivered a remarkable performance, throwing a collective no-hitter against Hargrave Military Academy en route to a 6-1 victory. The game showcased the team's exceptional pitching talent, with Maddox Caddell, Laine Luke, and Tyler Manglicmot leading the charge on the mound.

"It was a combined effort on the mound that set the tone throughout the entire game," said head coach Jacob Grabeel. "Caddell had a great start which made it easy for Luke and Manglicmot to come in and finish the game. Their combined performance led to a combined no hitter with a run scored one two errors. Good pitching wins baseball games!"

From the first pitch, it was evident that Fork Union was determined to make a statement. The pitchers displayed pinpoint accuracy, consistently baffling Hargrave's batters and keeping them off balance throughout the game.

Offensively, Fork Union wasted no time in asserting their dominance. The team's hitters capitalized on scoring opportunities, providing ample run support for their pitching staff. With solid defense backing them up, the Fork Union squad maintained control of the game from start to finish.

Despite a valiant effort from Hargrave, they struggled to find any rhythm against Fork Union's formidable pitching rotation. The no-hitter was a testament to the team's collective effort and skill, setting a high standard for the remainder of the season.

The Blue Devils Defeat Fishburne Military School, 15-3

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

WAYNESBORO, VA -- In a commanding display of skill and determination, the Fork Union Military Academy Prep baseball team triumphed over another military rival, Fishburne Military School, with a resounding 15-3 victory this past Tuesday. This marks the second consecutive year that Fork Union has emerged victorious against Fishburne, showcasing their dominance on the diamond.

Head Coach Jacob Grabeel commended his team's performance, noting their excellence both at the plate and in the field. "We did well at the plate and in all counts," said Grabeel. "We looked confident and didn't swing at very many bad pitches. I was happy to see us manage the game defensively and stay aggressive with the bats throughout the entire game."

The offensive prowess of Fork Union was on full display, with standout performances from several players. Laine Luke came within one hit of hitting for the cycle, showcasing his versatility and power at the plate. Matthew Jordan delivered clutch RBI at-bats, contributing significantly to the team's offensive onslaught. Additionally, every member of the lineup contributed with at least one hit, demonstrating the depth and balance of the team's batting order.

With this win, the Blue Devils improved their overall record to 2-2, building momentum as they progress through the season. The team now looks ahead to their next challenge, as they prepare to take on Smith Mountain Lake Christian Academy on Thursday, April 4th at 4:30 PM.

Tennis Defeats Prince Edward High School at Home

Thursday, March 21, 2024

FORK UNION, VA -- The Fork Union Military Academy tennis team secured their first victory of the season with a stellar performance against Prince Edward High School last Tuesday. Head Coach Alex Grant expressed his delight at the team's triumph, highlighting standout performances and commendable efforts from his players.

The match kicked off with an impressive display from Fork Union's top seed, Simon Price. Price engaged in a captivating back-and-forth battle, demonstrating his skill and determination on the court. Despite a competitive start, Price ultimately emerged victorious with a commanding 8-2 win, setting a strong tone for the rest of the team.

The intensity continued as Fork Union's second seed took to the court. In a hard-fought contest that went down to the wire, the match reached a tense tiebreaker at 8-8. Showing resilience and composure under pressure, Fork Union's second seed clinched the victory with a decisive 10-point tiebreaker, sealing the win with a final score of 10-5.

The momentum carried through to the remaining matches, with Fork Union's third, fourth, and fifth seeds delivering dominant performances. Godwin Vander Weide, Yannick McLean, and Nhan Hoang all secured victories with ease, displaying their skill and consistency on the court.

The team's depth and talent were further highlighted by Ellis Roberts, who closed out the match in impressive fashion with an 8-2 win, solidifying Fork Union's commanding victory over Prince Edward High School.

With this triumph, the Fork Union Military Academy tennis team continues their season on a high note, buoyed by their collective effort and determination. As they continue their campaign, they remain focused on building upon this success and further asserting their presence on the tennis court.

The Blue Devils return to action Thursday, April 4 when they travel to the Carmel School at 4 PM.

If you haven't already, please download the Fork Union Athletics Mobile App for all game day information right at your fingertips!

Up Next in FUMA Athletics:

Tuesday, April 2

  • Prep Lacrosse at Trinity Episcopal School • 4:30 PM

Thursday, April 4

  • Tennis at Carmel School • 4:00 PM
  • Golf vs. Regents School • 4:00 PM
  • Prep Baseball at Smith Mountain Lake Christian Academy • 4:30 PM

Friday, April 5

  • Prep Lacrosse vs. New Covenant School • 4:00 PM
  • Prep Baseball vs. Hargrave Military Academy • 4:30 PM

Saturday, April 6

  • Track & Field at Run 804 Track High School Invitational • 10:00 AM

Tuesday, April 9

  • Tennis at Trinity Episcopal School • 4:00 PM
  • Prep Lacrosse at Benedictine College Prep • 4:30 PM
  • Prep Baseball at Trinity Episcopal School • 4:30 PM

Wednesday, April 10

  • Tennis at Prince Edwards High School • 5:00 PM

Thursday, April 11

  • Gold vs. Randolph-Macon Academy • 4:00 PM

Friday, April 12

  • Track & Field at Louisa JV Meet • 4:00 PM
  • Prep Baseball vs. Trinity Episcopal School • 4:30 PM
  • Prep Lacrosse at Woodberry Forest School • 4:30 PM

Join Us for an Unforgettable Summer at Fork Union Military Academy!

Looking for an exciting and enriching summer experience for your child? Look no further than Fork Union Military Academy's renowned summer camps! Whether your child is interested in sports, bonding experiences, or improving their skills, we have something for everyone.

Football, Strength & Speed Camp:

  • When: June 14-17, 2024
  • For: Day and overnight boys from ages 7 to 17

Get ready to dominate the gridiron with our Football, Strength & Speed Camp. Led by experienced coaches, this camp focuses on enhancing players' football skills, strength, and agility, giving them a competitive edge for the upcoming season.

Father-Son Weekend:

  • When: June 21-23, 2024
  • For boys of all ages and their fathers (or other adult male family member).
  • Overnight Camp

Kick off the summer with our special Father-Son Weekend, where fathers and sons can bond through a variety of fun activities. From outdoor adventures to team challenges, this weekend promises memories that will last a lifetime.

Fork Union Basketball School - in its 39th Year:

  • When: July 15-19, 2024
  • Day and overnight options for boys and girls (girls must be day campers) from ages 5 to 18

Calling all basketball enthusiasts! Our Basketball School, now in its 39th year, offers top-notch coaching and skill development for boys and girls of all levels. Join us on the court to sharpen your skills and take your game to the next level. This camp offers overnight and day opportunities.

Visit our website here to learn more and secure your spot today. Don't miss out on the opportunity for your child to have a summer they'll never forget at Fork Union Military Academy!

Fork Union Military Academy Welcomes New Athletic Staff

New Athletic Trainer Joins the Team!

We are thrilled to welcome Melanie Collier as our newest Athletic Trainer! Melanie joins us from Charlottesville, Virginia, and brings a wealth of experience and passion for sports medicine.

Melanie holds a Bachelor's degree in Athletic Training from James Madison University and a Master of Science from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG), where she completed her clinical internship. Her extensive education has equipped her with a deep understanding of athletic training, injury prevention, and rehabilitation. Melanie's commitment to the well-being of our cadet-athletes perfectly aligns with Fork Union Military Academy's mission.

Please join us in giving Melanie a warm welcome to the FUMA family!

Familiar Face Returns to Athletics!

We're also excited to announce the return of a familiar face to the Athletic Department – Rich Taddei!

Rich, affectionately known as "Coach" Taddei, has held various roles here at Fork Union. His deep institutional knowledge and expertise in facilities management will be a tremendous asset to our athletic program. Rich is rejoining us as the Assistant Athletic Director for Facilities.

We are confident that both Melanie and Rich will make a significant positive impact on our athletic community.

Are you interested in playing college lacrosse?

Check out Fork Union's Postgraduate Lacrosse program! Elevate your game and academicsvwithout losing a minute of college eligibility!

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