by Zahid Khan

When most athletes step on the field or court, there is very little thought given to all the hard work put in to make athletics at Stuart possible. With 784 athletes participating on a team last year and hundreds more participating in clubs, Director of Student Activities (DSA) Brian Garvey and his staff made that all possible. Since Garvey’s tenure as head DSA, Raider athletics has been drastically improving day by day.

Prior to teaching, Garvey attended Old Dominion University, where he played rugby on the club team. Before joining Stuart, Garvey taught and coached at James Madison High School. He coached football and wrestling, both sports he played in high school himself. “My favorite part was being on a team and building relationships with teammates and coaches,” said Garvey.

Garvey later joined Raider Nation in 2005, starting off as Assistant Director of Student Activities. Garvey later moved up to head DSA four years later. While Garvey has been the DSA, Raider athletics has seen a massive increase in athletic participation. Most recently, the first ever Gymnastics team was created. “That gives us a full slate, there’s no other sports that are out there to be added” said Garvey. Falls sports this season saw a 7 percent increase in athletes since last year.

The Raider athletic department is also known for it’s @jebsports Twitter account, which has now recently reached over 1,000 followers. Providing twitter followers with game scores, practice notifications, and many more Stuart related updates. @jebsports was the first athletic related Twitter account in the county, which has now become a trend with nearly every high school having one of its own.

This upcoming summer Raider Athletics plans to take a huge step by implementing two new turf fields. Currently, Stuart is one of the five schools in FCPS that doesn’t have a synthetic turf field. The new turf fields would significantly improve and make fall and spring sports much easier and organized. Last year, Stuart teams lost over 100 hours of practice due to inclement weather. “It will ease up our scheduling for practices especially in the spring. In the spring we send four teams off campus,” said Garvey. The turf fields would cost much less to maintain and allow more teams to practice at Stuart. It would also allow Stuart teams to play in the rain rather than having to constantly rescheduling them. “The boosters are working very hard, our staffs working very hard to get it done. [Principal] Ms. Calhoun is being very generous with some money we’re getting from different entity’s like the cell phone tower that’s being put up that’s going to go the turf,” said Garvey. The Athletic Boosters plan to wrap up funding for the fields by Jan. 31.

Despite the results for Raider athletics not being the best in the region, it certainly has one of the best athletic departments. Garvey has emphasized giving every Raider an opportunity to join a club or a sport. “It’s not necessarily for the athletic achievement or to be a college superstar but they’re participating for the enjoyment,” said Garvey.

Photo by Zahid Khan