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Virginia Sports Hall of Fame honors top student-athletes

va sports hall of fameThe Virginia Sports Hall of Fame & Museum held its 11th annual Student-Athlete Achievement Awards Banquet on Sunday. The event honored some of the state’s great student-athletes nominated by their coaches and administrators at the high school level. Students who are well-rounded in the categories of athletic achievement, academic achievement and civic involvement are chosen as winners by the selection committee consisting of Hall of Fame Inductees and board members.

Of the 16 finalists, four students were awarded Student-Athlete of the Year awards: Autumn Brenner, a senior at McLean High School in McLean, Mia Casciani, a senior at Tallwood High School in Virginia Beach, Thomas Amabile, a senior at Grassfield High School in Chesapeake, and Canaan Mills, a senior at Dinwiddie High School in Dinwiddie.

Students from across Virginia in grades 9th through 12th were eligible. NFL Pro Bowler and Virginia Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2004 inductee William Fuller was the motivational speaker and helped present the finalists with their awards. The winners will be honored with an exhibit in the museum’s rotating exhibit “Virginians in the Spotlight” during the months of January and February 2016. This event was made possible through funding of generous sponsors: Cox Communications, Wheelabrator Technologies Inc., Riesbeck Contracting, Roger Brown’s Restaurant and the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame & Museum’s Education Foundation.


About the Winners

Autumn Brenner

Senior at McLean High School in McLean, VA

GPA: 4.4

Favorite Subject: Math, Chemistry and Computer Science

Sport(s) Played: Volleyball

Career Aspirations: To get a master’s degree in either chemistry or business finance


  • Setter and Captain for a nationally ranked club volleyball team
  • Committed to play NCAA Division I volleyball on full scholarship for the College of William and Mary
  • Named a 2014 American Volleyball Coaches Association “Phenom Athlete,” which recognizes elite high school players across the country.
  • Setter at the USA Volleyball Junior National Championship for 5 years
  • 1st Team All-Conference and All-Region
  • Currently Duel-enrolled at George Mason University in Multivariable Calculus and Matrix Algebra
  • AP Scholar Award and National Honor Society member
  • Head coach for a 7th grade girls’ team in the McLean Youth Volleyball League
  • Organized a high school volleyball “Dig Pink” rally that raised over $2800 for Stage 4 breast cancer research
  • Helped run the Special Olympics DC Volleyball tournament
  • Earned the Girl Scout Silver Award by raising awareness of the needs of rescue shelter animals.
  • Certified USA Volleyball Scorekeeper and Referee


Mia Casciani

Senior at Tallwood High School in Virginia Beach, VA

GPA: 4.09

Favorite Subjects: Calculus, Biology, Chemistry and Psychology

Sports Played: Volleyball, Diving, Swimming and Tennis

Career Aspirations: Nutritionist or Physical Therapist


  • Diving Conference Champion
  • 3rd place in regionals, 15th in the State and Captain of the Dive Team
  • Captain and number one seed for her varsity tennis team
  • 3rd singles rank in the conference
  • Graduating one year early with the Global Studies and World Languages Academy
  • National Honor Society and Global Studies Honor Society
  • Virginian-Pilot Scholastic Achievement Team Award
  • Built oyster castles to help environment
  • Volunteer at church as a lector and acolyte
  • Can speak Modern Standard Arabic, Russian, Italian, and Latin


Thomas Amabile (Ama-beel)

Senior at Grassfield High School in Chesapeake, VA

GPA: 4.36

Favorite Subjects: Biology, Calculus, Physical Education

Sports Played: Cross Country and Indoor/Outdoor Track

Career Aspirations: Orthopedic Surgeon


  • Nine-time All-Disrict/conference
  • Two-time All-Region
  • In 2014, he led his team to the Conference 2 Cross Country Team Championship and was first overall, with a record time of 16:18.
  • Placed 1st in three out of the five regular season meets
  • Two-time state qualifier in the 3200m
  • Part of the Governors STEM Academy at Grassfield High School
  • Has participated in an internship with Orthopedic Surgeon Joel Stewart.
  • National Honor Society, French Honor Society, and Social Studies Honor Society
  • Superintendents Scholar Athlete Award
  • Active member of his church volunteering for the “Do Something” community service group
  • Has volunteered at the Special Olympics for Soccer and Track & Field the past two years


Canaan Mills

Senior at Dinwiddie High School in Dinwiddie, VA

GPA: 4.55

Favorite Subject: History and Science

Sport Played: Football and Wrestling

Career Aspirations: Geologist


  • 1st Junior in school history to reach 100 wins in wrestling
  • 1st team All-District in wrestling
  • Conference 20 VHSL Academic All-Conference
  • Center on the school’s football team
  • 2nd Team All-Conference football
  • Never received a grade below an A
  • National Honor Society
  • Eagle Scout
  • Boy’s State Representative
  • Relay for Life Volunteer


The 16 Finalists

High School Girls Finalists

  • Kristen Bishop, 12th Grade, Union High School, Big Stone Gap
  • Autumn Brenner*, 12th Grade, McLean High School, McLean
  • Mia Casciani*, 12th Grade, Tallwood High School, Virginia Beach
  • Libby Davidson, 11th Grade, E.C. Glass High School, Lynchburg
  • Samantha Pittman, 12th Grade, Kempsville High School, Virginia Beach
  • Jessica Mazzeo, 12th Grade, Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School, Virginia Beach
  • Allie Plumlee, 11th Grade, StoneBridge School, Virginia Beach
  • Emily Spickard, 12th Grade, Lord Botetourt High School, Daleville


High School Boys Finalists

  • Thomas Amabile*, 12th Grade, Grassfield High School, Chesapeake
  • Kyle Battle, 12th Grade, Glen Allen High School, Glen Allen
  • James Hine, 12th Grade, Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School, Virginia Beach
  • Kyle Logan, 12th Grade, Hampton High School, Hampton
  • Noah Lyles, 12th Grade, T.C. Williams High School, Alexandria
  • Canaan Mills*, 12th Grade, Dinwiddie High School, Dinwiddie
  • Justin Smith, 12th Grade, Ocean Lakes High School, Virginia Beach


*Denotes Winner*


About the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame & Museum: Since 1972, the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame & Museum has been proud to honor Virginia’s contributions to the world of sports.  The Virginia Sports Hall of Fame & Museum is the Commonwealth’s official hall of fame, and one of only 16 throughout the nation.  Their mission is to honor athletic excellence and serve as a nonprofit educational resource centered on health, math, science and character development programs, while inspiring visitors through sports history and interactive entertainment.  For more information, go to

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