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2018 Female Athlete of the Year: Stonewall Jackson’s Funkhouser has senior season to remember

Stonewall's LuLu Funkhouser protects the ball from Riverheads' Faith Bryan in a game earlier this season in Quicksburg. Funkhouser capped off an extraordinary year by scoring 41 goals and breaking two girls soccer school records. Rich Cooley/Daily file

QUICKSBURG – LuLu Funkhouser almost had a stellar ending to her four-year career at Stonewall Jackson.

The three-sport athlete and her teammates put together a season to remember from fall to winter to spring.

“It was an awesome season,” Funkhouser said. “I almost went to states in all three sports. I don’t think I could have asked for anything else.”

Funkhouser, The Northern Virginia Daily’s 2018 Female Athlete of the Year, placed eighth in the Class 1 state cross country meet and helped lead the team to a fifth-place finish. In the winter, Funkhouser was a starter on the girls basketball team that advanced to the Class 1 state semifinals. In the spring, she set school records in leading the girls soccer team to a 16-win season.

Funkhouser started her year with a strong cross country season. She finished second in the Region 1B championships for the second year in a row with a time of 21:21. The Generals also won the Region 1B team title.

Stonewall's LuLu Funkhouser scrambles with Surry County's Jasmyn Pierce over a loose ball during their Class 1 state semifinal game in March. Funkhouser's defense helped propel the Generals to the state tournament. Rich Cooley/Daily file

Just a week later, she placed eighth in the Class 1 state championships in a time of 21:00. It was the second-straight year that she had made all-state, which is reserved for the top 15 runners.

“I think cross country finishing was one of the most emotional times ever,” Funkhouser said. “I remember looking off at the state race and I was like (talking to Stonewall Jackson cross country coach Mary) Clanahan, I’m going to miss this. I used to hate this sport and now I’ve found a love for it. It’s just incredible. I hope to keep running.”

Funkhouser said that she loved being on the team her senior season and she thinks they will continue to have success as a program.

“I hope they keep growing,” she said. “We had a great team this year. We had a great team last year. I just hope they just keep going to states as a team – that’s what I want for them.”

Funkhouser then went from one state team to another. She was a starter on the Generals’ girls basketball team, which went 14-14 and won the Region 1B title before losing in the Class 1 state semifinals.

Stonewall's LuLu Funkhouser drives through the lane as she is fouled by Lancaster's Harmony Taylor during the Class 1 state quarterfinals in March. Playing in the state tournament was one of the highlights in a stellar senior season for Funkhouser. Rich Cooley/Daily file

“It was awesome having the support from the school that we did,” Funkhouser said. “(Stonewall Jackson girls basketball coach Jeff) Burner had always told us these stories about how his past teams had gone to states. And stories are completely different than experiencing the real thing. And I hope that they can keep going. I hope they can keep going to states.”

Funkhouser averaged 3.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.9 steals per contest. For her first three years, Funkhouser was the team’s point guard. However this past season with the arrival of freshman point guard Kylene Franklin, Funkhouser was able to move to a more natural position and focus on her specialty – defense.

“Defense is more like soccer and it’s just something that I was better at than playing offense,” Funkhouser said. “I love the frustration you see in the other player’s eyes once they know that they can’t get past you. It relates more to soccer. And soccer I’m stronger at – I practice it more.”

As great as her first two seasons were, Funkhouser, topped both of them, individually, with a record-breaking girls soccer season.

She broke the single-season goals record at Stonewall Jackson with 41 goals and broke the career goals record, finishing with 97.

Funkhouser said she didn’t have a clue how many goals she had until Stonewall Jackson girls soccer coach Ginny Dellinger told her later in the season.

“She told me how many I had at that point in the season it was like 30 something,” Funkhouser said. “I was like, ‘wow that’s more than I had wanted this season.’ And then to end with as many as I did, I’m very grateful.”

Funkhouser also had nine assists for the Generals, who went 16-4-1 this season with a very young squad.

Ginny Dellinger said Funkhouser’s timing is one of the things that separates her from other forwards.

“She just has fantastic timing in getting past defenders and knowing when to take that shot,” Dellinger said. “She takes a ton of shots and she’s not afraid of failure. She will continually shoot until she makes it and never give up, which is what you need in a forward.”

Funkhouser said she will be attending Virginia Tech next season and hopes to play club or indoor soccer.

Funkhouser said that being a three-sport athlete has been tough, but it’s taught her a lot about life and made her work harder.

“I think they made my high school career so much better,” she said of sports. “I do not like to learn as much as other people, but sports kept me here every single day because I knew I had something to look forward to after school. I don’t know what I would do after school – go home and do my homework but then what? I can’t imagine it.”

Funkhouser said that she has thought about the possibility of being a coach someday and that she has had coaches that have been great role models for her the last four years.

“I definitely think the role models I had as coaches has influenced me greatly, and I want to do that for another kid,” Funkhouser said. “I want to show them that this is a great way to improve your community, a great way to help others. (Stonewall Jackson) has literally meant the world to me. I know that I can come home whenever and my previous coaches will open their arms up wide and be like what we can we do to help you?

“It’s a great community of people that I don’t think I’ll ever forget”

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