ALICIA ESSEX

School: Loudoun Valley.

Sport: Gymnastics.

Year: Junior.

Highlights: Won floor and balance beam titles at last Saturday's Virginia AA Dulles District championships and finished second in the individual all-around. Vikings also won team title for second consecutive year. Her 9.475 on floor was a personal high. Finished second in all-around at last month's Park View Invitational, landing a high-difficulty Tsukahara vault (9.2) for the first time and scoring a personal-best 36.625 in the all-around.

Notable: Qualified for state championships on balance beam, floor and vault as freshman and sophomore. Enjoys performing on floor the best. "You can't fall off. If you have adrenaline, it helps you, whereas on beam if you have too much, you'll fall," she said. Member of the track team, finishing third at the Region II meet in 100 meters last season in a personal-best 12.3 seconds.

Personal: Carries a 3.4 grade-point average, taking honors and advanced placement courses. Aspires to be an architect or interior designer. Assisted with decorations for prom and homecoming. Junior class representative. Participated in Relay For Life walk-a-thon at Loudoun Valley, raising money for American Cancer Society. Took karate lessons for seven years.

-- Dave Yanovitz

JOHN GROSS

School: South Lakes.

Sport: Indoor Track.

Year: Senior.

Highlights: Finished third in 300 meters at last month's Metro Run and Walk Holiday Invitational, finishing in a personal-best 37.1 seconds. Ran 200-meter leg on sprint medley relay team which finished first at George Mason Invitational in December. Qualified for Virginia AAA championships in pole vault last spring, jumping a personal-best 13 feet.

Notable: Ran second leg of Seahawks' 4x400 relay at last year's Penn Relays, helping team finish third in qualifying heat (3:20). "It's huge. It's pretty nerve-wracking and pretty exciting to get to run with a lot of fast people," he said. Ran a personal-best 6.75 seconds in the 55 at George Mason Invitational.

Personal: Aspires to study physical therapy in college, where he also hopes to run track. Member of S.A.D.D. (Students Against Drunk Driving). Volunteered at Hunters Woods Elementary in Reston. Attended pole-vaulting camps this past summer at Centreville High and in Pennsylvania.

-- Dave Yanovitz