Athlete of the Week: Alex Curnow

(Editor’s note: Throughout the local high school sports season, Culpeper Times will again recognize an “Athlete of the Week” from one of the sports on a rotating basis. This week we feature football. At the end of the year the Times will select a male and female athlete at both Culpeper County and Eastern View high schools and recognize them as “Athlete of the Year” at their respective schools.)

In both his sophomore and junior years Alex Curnow was nominated by his tennis coaches for Culpeper times “Athlete of the Week.” He excels on the court and is one of the top players in the Battlefield District.

But Curnow, now a senior at Eastern View High School, is also a talented football player. His leadership on the field and in the classroom, where he carries a 3.9 grade point average, make him the Times choice for football “Athlete of the Week.”

“He’s a coach on the field for us,” said EVHS head football coach Greg Hatfield. “Our defensive coordinator is Ron Watkins and we call Curnow R2.
“He’s not only a good leader, but he’s a smart football player. He knows where everybody is lined up. He’s aggressive and has a great ability to put himself in the right position to make a play.”

Curnow plays some at wide receiver, but it’s as a linebacker on defense where he has made his mark this year. His leadership has been extremely important to a young Cyclone team that starts eight sophomores on offense and six on defense, Hatfield said.

When asked to compare football with tennis, Curnow had a ready answer.

“Football challenges you in a different way than tennis,” he said. “It’s more physical, of course, and there is more of the team concept. Although tennis is a team sport, it is really more individual. In football the team has to work together.”

Wrestling is similar to tennis in that while it is a team sport, it is individual against individual.

“When I tell people I wrestle and play tennis they kind of see that as making sense,” Curnow said. Then I tell them I play football and they are surprised as they are polar opposites.”

Curnow said his biggest challenge in football is his size (he’s listed at 6-foot-1, 170 pounds).

“I think I do alright with what I have,” he said. “I make it work with what I’ve got (in terms of size).”

Curnow said his three sports complement each other.

“I think staying involved in sports makes you better all around,” he said. “One sport doesn’t conflict with the other.”

Curnow’s college plans for next year include enrolling at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond and majoring in chemical engineering.
“It’s a good field and you’ve got to look out for your future,” he said.

Although he said he doesn’t have much time off as a senior – “there’s a lot to get done in a small amount of time – Curnow does find time to rest and hang out some with his buddies.

Although Curnow said he is not a big pro football fan, he likes Washington Redskins rookie quarterback sensation Robert Griffin III.

“He is a good role model for everyone,” Curnow said. “He has a lot of pressure as a rookie and he’s handled it well.”

NOTE: Culpeper County High School head football coach Mike Williams nominated senior Nik Stewart.

“He’s the fifth leading tackler on our team and the leading receiver,” Williams said. “He’s a good athlete on both sides of the ball. He has a lot of athleticism and he’s a smart kid,too.”

Although Stewart plays both wide receiver and safety for the Blue Devils, it’s offense that he enjoys most.

“I love making the catches and scoring touchdowns,” he said.

Stewart’s junior and senior years haven’t gone the way for his team that he hoped they would – the Blue Devils went 0-10 last year and they are 0-9 this season – but he said he feels good , personally, about this year.

“I’ve improved from my junior year and I’m a whole lot more serious,” he said. “I try to be a motivator for the team in doing the little things that count right.”

Stewart is also a standout on the basketball court and runs the 200 as well as triple jumping and long jumping for the Blue Devil track team.

“I hope to play basketball in college,” he said. “But even if I don’t play sports in college, I want to go.”

Stewart said Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson is a tole model for him among NFL players.

“He doesn’t run his mouth,” Stewart said. “He just does what he has to do and he looks good doing it.”