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Sports · May 27, 2016

Faces of Fauquier: Fast, focused and on a good track

Photo/Cassandra Brown
“Ninety percent of track is mental,” says Tyler Benson, who earned a partial scholarship to run and study at George Mason University.
Everything about track intrigues me. I’m an extremely competitive person, and track is the most competitive sport I’ve ever played.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
The teenager’s balance of athletics, academics and volunteerism have earned him statewide recognition.

Tyler Benson, who graduated Saturday from Fauquier High School, also received the Virginia High School League Group 4A Male Athlete of the Year award last week.

Based on athletics, academics and community involvement, the VHSL award goes to select students in each of the league’s six different divisions. The 4A Division has 52 schools from the mountains to Tidewater.

“He works hard, is very mannerly and has a good disposition on the track and in the classroom,” said Mark Bjorkman, FHS guidance director and assistant track coach. “He is just a great young man and for us, he has been such a (track team) leader in food, diet and hydration.”

Tyler called the award, which includes a $1,500 scholarship from the Allstate Foundation and a silver bowl, “probably one of the coolest things I’ve ever won.”

He has finished first 20 times in conference, regional and state track meets.

At the state indoor meet last winter, he set the 4A record with a time of 1:05:02 in the 500-meter run.

“That made me feel really cool,” Tyler said.

The sprinter also competes in the long and triple jumps.

“To run track and to do as well as I have, you have to be strong both mentally and physically,” Tyler said. “I think the biggest reward that has come out of it is through my training, being mentally tough. That is one of the hardest things to do in track. Ninety percent of track is mental.

“To me it’s a very nerve-racking sport. There are a lot of eyes on you and pressure.

He started running indoor track as a freshman at FHS to stay in shape for travel soccer. That year he made it to the state meet and decided to focus on track.

“It is tough. It is not as laidback as soccer was,” he said. “But the rewards — the mental toughness you get, the comradery. The team is so tight. I love my team to death. The family bonding and everything about the team was incredible.”

A dedicated student and athlete, Tyler would get out of class at 2:30 p.m., then put in 2-1/2 hours at track practice every weekday. One to two days a week, he coaches youth soccer, “probably one of my favorite things ever.”

Then, he heads to work at Cold Stone Creamery on Alexandria Pike in Warrenton.

“Track definitely consumes your life. If you are not eating, breathing and sleeping track, you’re not going to do well; so that’s a challenge,” Tyler said. “Not being able to eat anything I want all year is part of it, but worth it in the end.”

Tyler will attend George Mason University in the fall on a partial track scholarship. He hopes to earn a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity.

• Age
18

• Home
Warrenton

• Work
Youth soccer volunteer coach for U10 soccer and part-time referee with Warrenton Youth Sports Club for three years; Cold Stone Creamery in Warrenton for over a year.

• Why do you run track?

Everything about track intrigues me. I’m an extremely competitive person, and track is the most competitive sport I’ve ever played. I love the team. The work ethic . . . if you put in a lot of work, you’re going to see results. It’s an individual sport, but it’s also a team sport at the end of the day.

• Family
Grandparents, Sharon and Ed Benson; brother, Bryce; sister Kristal; mother in Colorado, Eryn.

• Education
Fauquier High School, 2016; Marshall Middle, 2012; P.B. Smith Elementary, 2008; C.M. Bradley Elementary, 2007.

• Civic involvement
National Honor Society member; vice president, Family Career Community Leaders of America.

• How long have you lived in Fauquier?
Since 2007.

• Why do you live here?
We moved here to be closer to family.

• How do you describe this county?
It’s a weird mix between rural and city/town life. Fauquier County, if you go into certain parts has extremely ornate houses, and other parts are modest. It’s really diverse because it’s massive. You have a little bit of everything. I’ve really grown to love it. I love the people. This is a really nice in-between (country and city life). And it’s close enough to D.C.

• What would you change about Fauquier?
I don’t want too much more development in Warrenton, but a couple more fun things to do. They took out the bowling alley. Put a movie theatre in and a couple more stores. I don’t want it to be overdeveloped . . . but more to do.

• What do you do for fun?

I love running 5-Ks, playing basketball and soccer, Ultimate Frisbee, running Tough Mudder mud runs, hanging out with friends and going to the movies. Going on dates with my girlfriend, playing video games.

• What’s your favorite place in Fauquier?
Chestnut Forks Swim Club. I used to go there and hang out with my friends all the time.

• What will Fauquier be like in 10 years?
I think it will be more industrialized like Manassas. I don’t want to see it happen, but I feel like it will happen.

• Favorite TV show?
“Chuck.”

• Favorite movie?
“I am Legend” and “Creed.”

• Favorite book?
The Harry Potter series.

• Favorite vacation spot?
The beach at Ocean City, Md.

• Favorite food?
If I did not have to worry about track . . . chicken potpies and Duck Donuts.

• What is the best advice you have ever received? From whom?
Don’t be in awe of competition, the people who I race against in track. If I’m in awe of them . . . I need to focus on I belong here as well.

• Who’s your hero and why?
Chuck Williams. He has been there since the first day of track. He is a mentor. He used to work at On the Run Sports and he announces our track meets. He has been there every step of the way, always supporting me, always following what I’m doing. I’m forever grateful to him. He is incredible.

• What would you do if you won $1 million in the lottery?
Give my family some money and spend a ton on me and my girlfriend. Buy a car and a watch for my collection and probably save some, but probably not. Keep my job, definitely.

Suggest a profile candidate
Do you know someone who lives in Fauquier County you would like to see in Faces of Fauquier? E-mail Cassandra Brown at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or Editor Lou Emerson at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Previous Faces of Fauquier:

• Elise Wheelock soars — in and out of class.

• Veteran cop mentors middle school students.

• Paul Bernard works behind the scenes as a civil engineer for the Town of Warrenton.

• Bob Rankin makes sure things sound right.

• Mary Root works for Remington’s prosperity.

• Law becomes the family business for William Ashwell.

• Eddie Wines logs four decades on patrol with the sheriff’s office.

• Kelly Kraft greets Wawa customers with a smile and a song.

• NAACP leader James Kelly wants to contribute.

• Lora Gookin trades career as civil engineer for that of bakery owner.

• Remington Baptist Pastor David Blevins devotes himself to helping others.

• Civics a passion for Fauquier election poll worker Ben McCartney.

• Philip Mulford makes a career of the search for middle ground.


• “Midland to the bone,” says native Matthew Smith.

• Sherrie Carter’s creativity becomes her business.

• Starting her career, Liberty graduate Judy Heflin wants to be a great teacher.

• Social Services Director Jan Selbo has devoted her career to helping others.

• Jim Cirillo’s call to Casanova extended.


• Don’t tell Angela Deal, Ms. Wheelchair Fauquier, that she can’t do something.

• FHS graduate and business owner Cathy Dodson finds all she needs right here.

• Mike Harvey’s sweet work takes lots of sweat.

• Warrenton native Joan Williams still serving her community.

• Classic cars consume engineer Matt Innocenzi’s free time.

• Wood transformed in the hands of Edward Fox.

• Earl Arrington serves printing customers and his community.

• Michael Hughes wears music, threater and equestrian hats.

• Store in Goldvein part of Susan Leopold’s family legacy.

• County native Maggi MacQuilliam devoted to the great outdoors.

• Health care for the needy Rob Marino’s mission.

• Daphne Latimore focuses on human capital.

• Horses extend Louise Summers’ work as teacher.

• As volunteer coach, Jeff Budd develops young wrestlers.


• Fraces Allshouse’s jobs focus on preservation.

• Jessica Smolinski’s book introduces children to Old Town Warrenton.

• Margaret Rice’s job all about fitness and fun in Warrenton.


• Robert Sturgeon has built his 70-employee businesses in Bealeton from scratch.

• 4-H leader Zach Woodward relishes the lessons of farming.

• Hospital auxiliary volunteer Alison Lee also earned fame in drag racing circles.

• Highland School veteran staff member Lise Hicklin always wanted to teach.


• As 9-1-1 dispatcher, Kateland Rich works to maintain calm during crisis.

• Chaplain Liz Danielsen finds a giving community.


• 9-1-1 response in Rodney Woodward’s bloodline.

• Fast talk a tool of the trade for auctioneer Kathy Shumate.

• Sam Poles takes care of varmits.

• Diane King mentors student performers at Fresta Valley Christian School.


• Lewis F. Lee Jr. followed his father into taxidermy business.

• Edward Payne returns to Orlean and to photography with passion.

• Janet Metzger’s Old Town Warrenton shop a hub of creativity.

• Pablo Teodoro bakes to build community.

• Community trails have become passion for retired VDOT engineer Bob Moore.


• Teresa Reynolds makes transition from butcher to museum director.

• After working in New York and Italy, Christine Fox moved home to open fashion boutique 25 years ago.

• Steve Lewis develops hunting reality show on Dish Network.

• Julia Trumbo grew up in the family grocery business.

• Tax preparer Renée Turner enjoys owning a business in Old Town Warrenton.

• ICU staff Carol Jones values patients’ trust.


• Wilson Sanabria grew up working in his family’s Warrenton restaurant and learning to box.

• One-man band Peter Fakoury quit 9-to-5 to learn from children.

• Liberty graduate Brittany Aubrey works in the smile business.

• Walmart cashier Lulu Baer loves to play violin and several community roles.

• In Sandra Alm, SPCA dogs have a loyal companion.

• St. James’ Episcopal new Rector Ben Maas appreciates community’s embrace

• Bicycles dominate work and play for Brian Larson.

• Teaching music therapy combines Abigail Newman’s passions.

• Brenda Rich leads volunteers who organize and run the Fauquier County Fair.

• 1st Sgt. Greg Harris stresses empathy in his job as a supervisor at the county detention center.


• Chuck Tippett challenges the “rich guy” stereotype about pilots.


• County government employee Surja Tamang previously worked as a Mt. Everest sherpa.

• Woody Isaac found his calling as a chef at age 16.

• Horses take Tommy Lee Jones all over the county.


• Retired nurse Angela Neal continues to volunteer in hospital ER.

• Gilmer Lee really knows high school sports in Fauquier.

• Stage remains central to Tim Bambara’s life journey.

• Bus driver Melissa Strain’s weekend job all about “fun.”


• Bartender Taylor Edgar has a pretty good standup routine.

• A nomad childhood led Paul Schmeling to start a moving company.


• Adam Lynch’s family owns café with local food focus and a special name.

• Patricia McMahon Rice turns passion for art into her livelihood.

• Cindy D’Ambro works as “director of first impressions” at LFCC.

• Ginger Hilleary leads local literacy organization.

• Farmers with groundhog problems call Rod Kirkpatrick.


• Horses “retire” to work with Jeanne Blackwell.

• Remington cattle farmer Doug Linton loves his home and work.

• Sports central to Robert Glascock’s life’s work.

• For Richard Mast, company ownership started with his summer work as a teenager.

• Bernice Simpson knows northern Fauquier back roads and the people who live along them.

• Eddie Payne has logged 38 years as a volunteer firefighter in Marshall.


• Stephanie Layton turns her lifelong passion for dance into her livelihood.


• Shawn LaRue matches children and adoptive families.


• Biker and psychology major Clif Stroud makes music in a big way.

• Becky Crouch greets lots of visitors.

• She helped blaze trail to equality for black teachers.


• Family and food come first for Marshall pizzeria employee.

• Rural “closeness” of Fauquier appeals to Kansas native

• A “spoke” in the wheel of preservation.

• His job dovetails with passion for hunting

• Veteran educator sees the potential in every child.

• His passions: Fixing cars and helping people


• Habitat ReStore volunteer appreciates Fauquier’s diversity.


• Dad’s example led to new career at Fauquier Hospital.

• He lives and works in a beautiful place.

• The Goldvein firehouse ranks as his favorite place.


• Pretty things everywhere she looks.

• Through scouting, he encourages girls to explore.

• One day, he might run the company.


• FISH volunteer likes to help others.

• She sees the community’s generosity.

• Cop patrols while most people sleep.


• Pastor a constant in Calverton.


• She keeps the courthouse spotless.


• He loves working working outdoors at the park.


• She sees “everyone” at Carousel

• Library assistant works in a “fun place"

• Hat lady sets up shop in Old Town Warrenton
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