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Reston Sprint Triathlon will return next year (via CORE Foundation)

Restonians can officially enjoy a series of multi-sport events for adult and youth athletes, including a Reston staple: the Reston Triathlon.

CORE Foundation, a nonprofit organization that aims to address charitable needs, has launched “Racing in Reston,” a series of events that grows out of the popular Reston Sprint Triathlon, which started out as a singular community event in 2007.

The move revives the triathlon that had been organized each fall by the Reston Triathlon Association since 1984. Last year, the group announced that the event would be discontinued due to financial and logistical issues.

“CORE Foundation wants to see this event which was unique to so many families in our community, continue,” the foundation said in an announcement earlier this month, noting that it worked closely with the previous board to bring the triathlon back.

The event has been renamed the Reston Olympic Triathlon “to avoid confusion with our Sprint event,” event organizers said.

The “Racing in Reston” series includes the Reston Sprint Triathlon, which is slated to happen next year on June 4, and the second annual Reston superhero youth triathlon, which is coming in the fall of next year. The series will conclude with the 37th annual Reston Olympic Triathlon on Sept. 10, 2023.

Registration is currently open for the 17th annual Reston Sprint Triathlon. The cost of tickets is $110 for individuals and $200 for relays if purchased before Jan. 4.

The Olympic triathlon will open with a 1,500-meter open water swim in Lake Audubon and will be followed by a 25-mile bike and 10K run in Reston.

Going forward, the event will be held annually on the first Sunday following Labor Day.

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Capital One Center sign with map of development plan (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Capital One has officially gotten permission to build a temporary baseball diamond and two permanent parks near its headquarters in Tysons.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission approved two separate plans for recreational amenities on Oct. 26, setting the stage for work on the baseball field to potentially finish in time for the upcoming spring season.

Options for sports and recreation at Capital One Center are currently limited, aside from the Perch Putt mini golf course that opened this spring. The campus previously had an interim baseball field that was later replaced by Capital One Hall and other buildings.

“Having these amenities provides more things to do, reasons to visit, reasons to stay longer, and that dynamic is fantastic from a recruiting and retention standpoint for Capital One,” said McGuireWoods Managing Partner Greg Riegle, who represented the banking company at the public hearing. “It supports the growing retail program, and it’s equally beneficial to the surrounding community around the [McLean Metro] station.”

The first application calls for an urban park on the existing Capital One Center campus near the Metro tracks. Built on an underground parking garage, the park will have a water feature, landscaping, a boardwalk, a playground and an area for food trucks.

A temporary retail building and athletic facilities, including volleyball and pickleball courts, are also planned. They will eventually be replaced by a 33-story residential building and a 20-story office building.

Capital One will build an urban park on its headquarters campus in Tysons (via Fairfax County)

The second approved application details plans for Capital One East, previously known as Scotts Run North until Capital One bought it from developer Cityline Partners in 2019.

Currently occupied by a parking lot used for Capital One Hall, the 6.9-acre property at 1820 Dolley Madison Blvd will host a 33,410-square-foot, publicly accessible park and up to 1.5 million square feet of development when fully built out.

Capital One East Park will include a water feature, landscaping, a play area, a fitness zone, a plaza and seating area, and food truck parking, according to a county staff report.

Before those future buildings come into place, Capital One will provide a baseball field primarily intended to serve travel and college-level summer leagues. While the private facility may be available to other patrons, the schedule is already mostly filled, according to Riegle.

“Demand for the ballfield has been substantial. In fact, we are effectively fully committed with leagues and tournaments and so forth,” he told the planning commission, saying the facility will free up the county’s other fields for schools and community groups. Read More

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Like any cliff worth ascending, bringing the first indoor rock climbing gym to Tysons required perseverance, patience and a little faith in the process.

Once expected to launch in December, Vertical Rock Climbing and Fitness Center had a soft opening this weekend. After 10 months of supply chain and permitting delays, it welcomed founding members only on Saturday and Sunday (Oct. 8-9) before expanding to all patrons yesterday (Monday).

“It’s definitely exciting that we’ve been able to do this,” Ethan Ford, Vertical Rock’s operations director, told FFXnow. “It’s come a long way from the furniture store that used to be here, and we’re hoping it does bring something great to this area.”

A smaller, bouldering-focused expansion of the company’s flagship center in Manassas, Vertical Rock Tysons occupies two floors in the back of a shopping strip at 8461 Leesburg Pike anchored by Best Buy and The Container Store.

Consolidated on the top floor, the gym contains 9,000 square feet of bouldering walls with 14-inch-high safety padding on the floor as well as weights and exercise equipment. A Kilter Board with holds that light up based on a route that users can choose with an app is available for training.

The bottom floor is devoted to Basecamp Coffee Roasters, a 2,000-square-foot cafe open to both gym members and the general public. Unique to the Tysons location, the coffee shop reflects the area’s more urban environment and is intended to foster a sense of community, Vertical Rock co-owner and CEO Ian Colton previously told FFXnow’s sister site Tysons Reporter.

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to make one in Manassas,” Ford said. “Right now, this is the first one, so we are kind of hoping to bring that same community feeling we have at Manassas over here.”

After following truncated hours for its soft opening, Vertical Rock will operate from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays. A grand opening date will likely be set this week, Ford said.

The gym offers individual, family, student and military/police memberships, along with camps and youth teams.

Started in 2012, Vertical Rock is part of a wave of indoor rock climbing gyms that has already taken hold of nearby Arlington County and Alexandria City. However, this is first such facility in Fairfax County, which has been exploring ways to boost sports tourism in recent years.

“There’s gyms popping up everywhere, so being able to bring the first gym to this area is something really special,” Ford said. “I think that it’s going to make a great fit for this area.”

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The Fairfax County Park Authority has converted one of the Lewinsville Park tennis courts into pickleball courts (via FCPA)

Fairfax County’s inventory of pickleball facilities has expanded with the arrival of 10 courts dedicated to the increasingly popular sport.

Newly renovated courts at Lewinsville Park in McLean and George Washington Park in Mount Vernon will officially open on Saturday, Oct. 15, the Fairfax County Park Authority announced yesterday (Thursday).

The festivities will start at 9 a.m. with a ribbon-cutting at GW Park (8426 Old Mt. Vernon Road) led by Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck. Park officials and local pickleball advocates will also make remarks, and there will be time for photos and “light refreshments,” according to the news release.

The park authority began demolition work on the GW courts this spring, one of five court renovation or maintenance projects planned for this year.

The park’s four tennis courts have been converted into six courts dedicated to pickleball and two courts that can be used by both sports. The $202,306 renovation also added new surfacing, fencing and nets.

Lewinsville Park (1659 Chain Bridge Road) will get its ribbon-cutting at 4 p.m. Expected speakers include FCPA Executive Director Jai Cole, Board Member Tim Hackman and Fairfax County Advocates for Pickleball, the release says.

Costing $650,000, the Lewinsville project resurfaced and added new fencing for all six of the park’s courts, but only one was turned into dedicated pickleball courts, a downsizing from the park authority’s original plans to repurpose two or three of the facilities.

Tennis players had argued that the county doesn’t have enough courts for their sport to cede or share that many with their pickleball-playing counterparts, a conflict that has emerged as a top challenge to the county’s efforts to add more pickleball facilities.

“The improvements align with recommendations in the recently completed Pickleball Study and are an effort to introduce a greater variety of court sports to accommodate the diverse users across the county,” the FCPA said of the Lewinsville and GW renovations. “Interest in pickleball locally and countywide is growing quickly, and the introduction of pickleball at these locations will address the need for additional facilities for this emerging sport.”

This summer, the park authority celebrated the launch of the Wakefield Park Pickleball and Tennis Complex in Annandale, a $410,000 renovation project that installed two pickleball courts and accessibility improvements.

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The gate is open to the Glyndon Park tennis and pickleball courts in Vienna (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Pickleball has evidently become a hot nighttime activity in the Town of Vienna.

Vienna police have issued six noise violations this year for players hitting the courts at Glyndon Park (300 Glyndon Street) after hours, according to the department.

The most recent issues were reported on Aug. 20 and 24, per the Vienna Police Department’s crime highlights for the week of Aug. 19-25:

Noise Violation 22-008587
Glyndon Park
300 Glyndon Street, NE
August 20 9:39 p.m.
A resident reported that people were playing pickleball on the tennis courts. The officer advised the people playing pickleball of the Park regulation.

Noise Violation 22-008719
Glyndon Park
300 Glyndon Street, NE
August 24 8:07 p.m.
A resident reported that people were playing pickleball on the tennis courts. The officer advised the people playing pickleball of the Park regulation that only tennis may be played on the courts after 8:00 p.m.

However, police also responded to noise complaints on Aug. 3 as well as Aug. 7 and 8, according to previous reports.

Four of the six violations involved different people, while two occasions involved the same participants, VPD spokesperson Juan Vazquez told FFXnow.

Glyndon Park’s two tennis courts were renovated so they could also be used as four pickleball courts in fall 2020. However, the park’s rules cut off pickleball play at 8 p.m., whereas tennis can continue until 10 p.m.

Noise has become a source of aggravation for some Vienna residents, whether from construction or outdoor dining, prompting the town council to agree in July to review the noise ordinance for the first time in a decade.

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(Updated at 4:40 p.m.) Ramón Santiago’s journey to the Little League World Series (LLWS) was a complicated one, filled with struggle as well as joy.

Thanks to the efforts of some supportive parents, the McLean Little League coach’s continued dedication to his team while undergoing treatment for cancer earned him an honorable mention for the 2022 Little League Baseball Coach of the Year Award.

Though they didn’t attend in person, Santiago and the other honorable mentions for the award got shoutouts during a plaque ceremony at the Little League World Series Complex in South Williamsport, Florida, on Saturday (Aug. 20).

“We do it for the kids, but to know that people hold you in that high regard, it really touched my heart, and knowing that they had to put an effort in order to do this, I was over the moon,” Santiago told FFXnow by phone. “I was touched. I even got a little teary-eyed, to be quite honest, which I didn’t expect.”

“He knows these kids very well”

It didn’t take long for Santiago to get involved in McLean Little League (MLL) after moving to the area in 2020.

A Springfield resident as a kid and an alumus of Robert E. Lee High School (now renamed John R. Lewis High School), he was introduced to the league by his neighbor from across the street, Dana Yoo, who has served on the MLL board of directors for the past four to five years.

Santiago initially volunteered as an assistant coach for his son’s T-ball team “just to stay involved with my son,” a decision he has never regretted. But his friendliness, positivity and emphasis on ensuring the kids have fun in addition to learning baseball and life skills quickly endeared him to the other players and their parents.

“He knows these kids very well, each of them, and he encourages them…He makes the children feel good, confident about themselves, and he’s not that kind of strict person,” said Awa Zhu, one of several parents whose kids have stuck with Santiago as he and his son have moved from T-ball up to their current Double-A team, the Storm.

The diagnosis

With Santiago and his wife, Sharon, becoming reliable presences at MLL games, including ones not involving their son, it came as a shock when he shared in an summer 2021 email to families that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that spring.

He had never missed a game or practice, despite beginning chemotherapy and other treatments — a trend that continued in the fall of 2021 and spring 2022 seasons. Read More

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The Vienna American 11 All Stars after winning the 2022 Little League southeast regional championship in Wilson, North Carolina (courtesy Vienna Little League)

For the first time in a half-century, the Town of Vienna is home to a Little League Baseball regional championship team.

The Vienna American 11U All Stars beat the Greenville Tar Heels in a 2-1 nail-biter on Wednesday (Aug. 3) to claim the 2022 southeast regional title at the Tournament of State Champions in Wilson, North Carolina.

The championship capped off two consecutive perfect summers for the 13-player team, which consists of the top 11-year-old players in the league. With an unbroken win streak of approximately 30 games and two state titles under its belt, the team has been living up to its nickname: “the Big Red Machine.”

“I’m just in awe of these kids,” team manager Chris Leggett told FFXnow by phone. “I’m in awe of their commitment level, and I’m in awe of how hard they have worked…I’ve seen really good teams, and I’ve never seen a team that kind of came together as quickly as this one did and has been as committed right from day one.”

According to Vienna Little League (VLL), the regional championship is the town’s first since 1972. It could potentially have come a year earlier if not for the COVID-19 pandemic, which wiped out the entire 2020 Little League season and cut the 2021 All Star season short at the state tournament level.

Little League returned to normal this year, at least in terms of scheduling, with a regular season unfolding from April through May and the All Stars assembling in June for the district, state, and regional tournaments.

A VLL coach for 20 years now, Leggett has seen success before, including an All Stars team that won state titles as 10, 11, and 12-year-olds from 2014 to 2016. He’s also aware that past victories are no guarantee of future ones, an understanding that the players share. Read More

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Morning Notes

A family hits the mini golf course at Jefferson District Park in Idylwood (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Metro Promises Relief for Train Riders Next Month — Starting Monday (Aug. 1), the addition of more rail cars will speed up service on the Orange, Blue and Silver lines to every 15 minutes on weekdays instead of the current wait times, which can reach up to 20 minutes. Metro says it anticipates expanding those service adjustments to weekends in September. [WMATA]

Man to Plead Guilty to Herndon Murder — A Virginia man told a Fairfax County judge he wants to plead guilty to the 1987 killing of 37-year-old Eige Sober-Adler in Herndon after being indicted in the case in January. Charles Helem is already serving life in prison for strangling and killing his ex-girlfriend, Patricia Bentley, in Chantilly in 2002. [WTOP]

Reston Residents Frustrated by Car Burglaries — “Some angry Reston residents are complaining that the police are doing too little to stop a persistent car burglar repeatedly targeting their community…Neighbors say the same burglar has returned to the West Market neighborhood near Reston Town Center at least four times over the course of the year” [WUSA9]

New Sidewalks in Lincolnia Near Finish — “Work is wrapping up on #Lincolnia Road Sidewalk and Spot Improvement Project! This #FairfaxCounty Transportation project consists of 1,000 LF of sidewalk to connect pedestrian facilities along North Chambliss Street and Lincolnia Road from the Lincolnia Senior Center to Linmar Court” [Supervisor Penny Gross/Twitter]

Pittsburgh Bank Coming to Reston — “First National Bank is expanding in Northern Virginia. F.N.B. Corp. (NYSE: FNB) said Wednesday it has filed applications with the Order of the Comptroller of the Currency to open new branches in Reston and Arlington. The bank currently operates seven First National Bank offices in Northern Virginia and the District and said it expects to grow that total to 11 by 2024.” [Washington Business Journal]

Maintenance Set for Planned Tysons Trail — “Fairfax County supervisors on July 19 authorized the county’s transportation director, Thomas Biesiadny, to execute a perpetual agreement with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) for joint operation and maintenance of a new shared-use path in Tysons.” [Sun Gazette]

Idylwood Office Buildings Sold — “Dave Schaeffer, CEO of Cogent Communications, has acquired 7799 Leesburg Pike, a pair of 11-story office towers totaling 377,717 square feet in Tysons, Va. The sale price was $49 million, according to someone close to the deal…At the time of the sale, the buildings were 36 percent leased to seven tenants, including Tyson MRI and Imaging Center and the University of the Potomac Virginia Campus.” [Commercial Observer]

Reston Offers “Superhero” Triathlon for Kids — Coming this Sunday (July 31), the CORE Foundation will host its first-ever Reston Superhero Youth Triathlon at Ridge Heights Pool. Over 100 people have registered for the competition, which will feature running, swimming, and bicycling and have categories for para and adaptive athletes. [CORE Foundation]

Vienna Parks and Rec Registration Coming — “Get ready, get set for fall fun with Vienna Parks and Recreation! Explore the program guide and sign up for classes, camps and more adventures for the whole family! Registration for Town residents opens at 8 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 1. Registration for all others opens Monday, Aug. 8.” [Town of Vienna]

It’s Friday — Rain in the evening and overnight. High of 82 and low of 74. Sunrise at 6:09 am and sunset at 8:25 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

Insomnia Cookies has a line for its grand opening at University Mall in Fairfax (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Judge Orders Records Release in Reston Homicide Case — Fairfax County Circuit Judge Brett A. Kassabian denied a motion to seal records related to a double homicide that occurred in Reston in 2017. In a case that may not see trial until mid-2023, Nicholas Giampa has been indicted on murder charges in the shooting and killing of his girlfriend’s mother and stepfather. [The Washington Post]

Driver Charged in Route 1 Hit-and-Run — “Detectives from our Crash Reconstruction Unit have charged the driver of the 2007 Toyota Camry from the July 6 fatal pedestrian crash. The driver, Diego Juarez Gomez, 19, of Maryland was traveling south on Richmond Highway, struck McPhail in the roadway and did not stop at the scene.” [FCPD]

Former West Potomac HS Soccer Coach Cleared of Hazing Allegation — A Fairfax County Child Protective Services investigation recently cleared Ahmad Sasso of wrongdoing during his 8-year tenure as head coach of West Potomac High School’s soccer team. A parent accused him in April of “hazing a player to the point of injury,” prompting his resignation. [ABC7]

Tree Falls Through Oakton House — “A house in Fairfax County is damaged after a massive tree fell on it Saturday night. Officials say that the house impacted is on the 11600 block of Ayreshire Rd. in Oakton, Virginia and that damages are extensive. No one was at the home when the tree hit the colonial-style house because officials say that the owners were out of town for vacation.” [WUSA9]

Man Threatens Sports Bar in Centreville — A 31-year-old man faces multiple charges after allegedly threatening to burn down The Revolution (14114 Lee Highway) on July 16. The man was trespassed and then arrested when he returned later, displaying a handgun. No injuries were reported in connection to the incident. [FCPD]

Sidewalk Replacement Today in Vienna — “A sidewalk replacement project is scheduled to take place this upcoming Monday, July 25 (weather permitting) along Courthouse Road between 423 Courthouse Road and 429 Courthouse Road. Traffic patterns may be affected along this route. Please use caution.” [Town of Vienna/Twitter]

CIA Marks 75th Anniversary Tomorrow — “The Central Intelligence Agency in Langley is turning 75-years-young on Tuesday, July 26…Not everyone was happy McLean was chosen as the location for the headquarters. Northern Virginians pushed back at the powers that be to the point that they considered building it where the Kennedy Center is now.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]

Retired Nationals Star Buys McLean Mansion — “Following his retirement from the Washington Nationals, Ryan Zimmerman is making real estate moves. Property records show that the former slugger paid $11 million for a brand-new build in McLean, VA. The purchase comes after the All-Star listed his longtime home in Great Falls, VA, in April for $8.5 million.” [Realtor]

It’s Monday — Rain in the afternoon and evening. High of 87 and low of 76. Sunrise at 6:05 am and sunset at 8:28 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

A popsicle melts at Capital One Center’s The Perch in Tysons (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Dog Dies in Newington Townhouse Fire — Unattended cooking started a fire at a townhouse in the 6700 block of Red Bird Woods Court last Friday (July 15) that displaced one resident and caused approximately $93,750 in damages. County firefighters found a dog while searching the property that was given medical care but didn’t survive. [FCFRD]

Fairfax Nonprofit Helps Rescued Beagles — The Fairfax-based animal rescue group Homeward Trails is one of several shelters across the country helping the Humane Society find homes for beagles rescued from a Cumberland breeding facility. The nonprofit will place 1,500 of the dogs and has already received almost 1,000 adoption applications. [Washingtonian]

New Mental Health Crisis Hotline Available — “A new 9-8-8 crisis and support hotline is now active across the United States, including here in Fairfax County…Dialing either 9-8-8 or the existing [National Suicide Prevention Lifeline] number, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), will connect you to behavioral health care and support 24 hours a day.” [Fairfax County Government]

GW Parkway Rehab Could Bring Traffic Cameras — “WTOP has learned that an upcoming major rehabilitation of the George Washington Parkway’s northern section will lay the groundwork — literally — for live traffic cameras along a 7-mile stretch of the roadway running from the Capital Beltway to Spout Run. Ground was broken for the project on Monday.” [WTOP]

McLean Baseball Player Drafted by New York Mets — “Add one more significant achievement, and likely the best of all, in a season full of big accomplishments and recognitions for Nick Morabito. The McLean resident and 2022 graduate of Gonzaga College High School recently was chosen in the second round (75th pick overall) of the Major League Baseball draft by the New York Mets.” [Sun Gazette]

Great Falls Bank to Expand — “Three-year-old Trustar Bank in Great Falls has raised $18 million in fresh capital and intends to use the proceeds to help fund its expansion across the D.C. region. The private placement…could be a prelude to an eventual initial public offering for the $560 million-asset Trustar.” [Washington Business Journal]

Annandale Park Field Named After Advocate — “In action at their regular meeting on July 13, 2022, the Fairfax County Park Authority Board voted to name rectangular field 6 at Pine Ridge Park in honor of Wanda Rixon at the request of the Fairfax Women’s Soccer Association (FWSA)…FWSA and Rixon played an instrumental role in the effort to retain Pine Ridge Park as permanent park land.” [FCPA]

DMV Stops by Tysons Library Tomorrow — “Looking to renew your license, get the real ID and more? The DMV is visiting the Tysons-Pimmit Library. Registration is required and an appointment can be made here. Please note the DMV takes a lunch break from 12:30pm-1:30pm.” [FCPL]

It’s Thursday — Humid and partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 89 and low of 78. Sunrise at 6:02 am and sunset at 8:31 pm. [Weather.gov]

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