Five more Lord Botetourt High School greats will be inducted into the school Athletic Hall of Fame this week. There will be a ceremony in the high school auditorium at 10 a.m. Friday and the inductees will be introduced between the first and second quarter of Friday night’s home football game with William Fleming. This year’s inductees are Chester Adams, Lexie Janney, Zack Kelly, Lewis Merchant, Jr. and Stanley Taylor.
Adams has worked for Botetourt County Public Schools for 26 years as a teacher and administrator. While at the school level, Chester served in several capacities as a coach. He spent time as an assistant junior varsity basketball coach, an assistant football coach, head football coach, and head volleyball coach.
In 1987, Chester became the head football coach, completing the year with a 5-5 record with all five losses to district champs and two teams who were AAA Teams. He recorded a win over a Bassett High team that featured Maurice Deshazo, who went on to start at quarterback for the Virginia Tech Hokies. From 1988 to 1990 Chester remained on staff as an assistant.
It was in volleyball where Chester guided the varsity volleyball team to great heights. He served as the head varsity volleyball coach from 1986 to 1990, leading the team to three consecutive regional championships. He was voted Region 3 VHSL Coach of the Year three times, and in 1988 he was named The Roanoke Times Volleyball Coach of the Year.
Janney, a 2012 graduate, competed on the women’s track and field and women’s cross-country teams during her time at Lord Botetourt. During her high school tenure she was a 10-time Blue Ridge District Track and Field champion, Blue Ridge District Girls Outdoor Track Runner of the Year (2012), and competed at multiple VHSL 2A State Track and Field Championships. Her best place was a sixth place finish in the 100-meter dash with a school record that still holds today (12.44).
Janney also set the 600-yard school record for indoor track and field and was part of the record-setting indoor track and field 4×200-meter relay team. She was named Most Valuable Runner for both track and field and cross country and served as a multi-year, multi-team captain. After graduation, Janney competed at Roanoke College (’16) where she competed in both indoor and outdoor track and field and earned many more honors.
Kelly, a 2013 LB grad, was a stand-out athlete in both basketball and baseball. He was a member of the 2011 and 2012 Blue Ridge District regular season championship baseball teams. Also, he was a member of the 2013 Blue Ridge District tournament championship basketball team.
In baseball, Zack was selected as a first team member of the Blue Ridge District, as well as first team All-Region and honorable mention All-State in both the 2012 and 2013 seasons. After the 2013 season, Zack was named first team All-Timesland and was selected to play in the Virginia High School Coaches Association All-Star Game in 2013.
Wrapping up his senior year, Zack was a finalist for the Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame Player of the Year and was selected to play in the Virginia Commonwealth Games. When Zack graduated from high school he was the career record holder for doubles and had the single-season record for doubles, RBIs, and win/loss percentage as a pitcher at Lord Botetourt.
After graduation, Zack attended Concord University where he played baseball, then transferred to Newberry College in South Carolina. In 2017, he was named to the first team South Atlantic Conference and ECAC, then was signed by the Oakland Athletics and began his professional baseball career.
Zack signed a contract with the Los Angeles Angels in 2018 and by 2022 he was signed with the Boston Red Sox. It was with the Red Sox that Zack’s professional career took off. In 2021 and 2022, Zack was named to the SoxProspects.com Postseason All-Star Team. In August 2022, he was named the Red Sox Minor League Reliever of the Month. On August 29, 2022, he had achieved the ultimate dream with his Major League Baseball debut against the Minnesota Twins.
His 2022 season ended with Zack receiving the Lou Gorman Award. This is an annual award given to someone “who has demonstrated dedication and perseverance in overcoming obstacles while working his way to the Major League Team.” The 2023 season started and ended with Zack on the Boston Red Sox big league roster.
Merchant played basketball for two years and wrestled for one year at LB. He also ran track and threw the shot put and discus for three years, earning first team All-District each year. Lewis played football for four years, earning first team All-District each year.
Merchant attended Concord College in Athens, W.Va., where he played football until his collegiate career was cut short due to injuries.
Taylor, a 1980 LB graduate, played football and basketball. As a basketball player Stanley was a key member of the varsity team but it was on the football field where he excelled. As a running back for the varsity football team he earned the nickname “Tank.”
Stanley was a member of the varsity football team for all four years of high school. During his senior year he had a standout season, being voted the team’s Cavalier Award for the most valuable player and was voted first team All Blue Ridge District. During his senior football season, Stanley set the school rushing record at the time of 1,374 yards.
Friday’s ceremony honoring these LB greats is open to the public.