CHRISTIANSBURG – The speed and endurance of Mimi Kemp has carried her to multiple state championships in track and field this year, and on Saturday, she’ll look to use those attributes to earn yet another Class 2 title – this time, with her Maggie Walker girls soccer team.
The sophomore had a hand in 4 of her Dragons’ 5 goals on Friday, helping them shut-out James River-Buchanan 5-0 in a soggy state semifinals match. She finished the game with 2 goals and 2 assists.
Kemp gave her team the early jump on a goal off the feed from teammate Annabel Tripodi, who less than 10 minutes later sparked the next score for the Dragons. Tripodi captured possession and raced the ball down the right sideline, Kemp grabbed the pass from Tripodi before she sliced the ball in front of the goal with the keeper going for the save and Katie Smith turned Kemp’s kick into an assist, angling in the ball from the left to make it 2-0.
Kemp delivered her second straight assist to Region 2A player of the year Kira Flores for a 3-0 halftime advantage, and both Kemp and Smith each scored their second goal of the day – with Smith netting a top-corner kick - early in the second half before the precipitation turned from a drizzle into a steady downpour.
In addition to Kemp’s speed on the outside, as well as her touch and her decision making, Maggie Walker coach Jim Thomas pointed to her selflessness. She’s the team’s leader in assists this year, and it’s that selflessness, he said, that’s helped to make the people around her better.
Maggie Walker will look to accomplish two major feats on Saturday: win the first-ever state championship in the history of the Dragons’ girls soccer program, and end George Mason’s historic run of consecutive state titles at 11.
It’ll be Thomas’ first time coaching Maggie Walker Governor’s School in a state final. He took the helm of the team in 2016 – after the Dragons played in back-to-back championship games and lost to George Mason in 2014 and 2015 - and he’s now getting to see his eight seniors – most of whom have been with him since their freshman and sophomore seasons – finally achieve some of their goals.
“The leadership that I’ve seen from each of the seniors who are on this team has really brought this team to where it needs to be,” he said. “It’s the effort that I see from the kids at Maggie Walker - they’re all smart, but they’re also dedicated, and I just love to see that we’ll finally actually get an opportunity to be in that final game.”