Coach has high hopes for 2011 track and field team
By Christine Krapf
Special to the Rappahannock News
After only a couple of days of practice, Rappahannock County High School head track and field coach Scott Stephens set his team’s goal.
“Third in the district (for the boys’ team),” he said. “Anything less, well, we’ll be disappointed.”
The Panthers pulled off a surprising third-place finish a year ago in the Group A Bull Run District meet. Eventually, they sent seven competitors to the state meet. The 4×400 team of Seth Wayland, Justin Fitzmorris, Reed Dove and Josh Frye finished fourth with a time of 3:35.25.
When he is not playing for the Panthers’ varsity soccer team, Wayland, who is a sophomore, will be a key component on this year’s relay team. He is its only returnee.
Still, Stephens likes with he sees. Wayland has good speed, so running the 400-meter dash is no problem. As the No. 1 runner on the Rappahannock County cross country team this fall, he has shown that he can compete in the long distances, too.
Distance could be a strength for the Panthers. Besides Wayland, Stephens has three more cross country runners in junior Josh Jones, sophomore Matt Beck and freshman Danny Collins. The field events will be anchored by junior Logan Stephens and sophomore Britt Hipple, as they compete in the shot put and discus.
On the girls’ side, senior Lily Nealon returns to compete in the shot and discuss. Joslyn Smith and Ashlee Armor will give the Panthers some experience in the sprints. Freshman Rita Cliffton, who was one of the top runners on the girls’ cross country team in the fall, will give Rappahannock County a strong competitor in the distances.
While the numbers may not be big this spring, Stephens can see plenty of hope for the future of his program.
“Our seventh and eighth graders have the potential to be very, very good, if they stick with it,” he added. “Winning the district would be fantastic, but it’s not going to happen unless we have the numbers.”
The Panthers will open their 2011 season March 29, hosting Page County, Luray and Central Woodstock in a 4:30 p.m. meet.
New coach, proven drills for Lady Panther soccer
Lady Panther soccer players jogged energetically onto the practice field and immediately revealed their readiness for the season.
Under the watchful eyes of head coach Rich Hogan and assistant coach Cindy White, the girls displayed their mettle in the first kicking drill of the day. In double lines, the Panthers practiced moving the ball to a distant partner. “It’s all in the footwork!” one player shouted.
Coach Hogan didn’t mention fancy footwork. Instead, he talked enthusiastically about his team. “Varsity has 18 players with a strong core of seniors. This is one of the first times in my eight years of coaching here that I have been involved in a team with such a strong, athletic, upper-class roster.
After being involved with boys’ soccer for eight years, Hogan has moved his experience onto the girls’ turf. “I coached many of these girls when they were much younger,” he said. “Plus, teaching here at RCHS also means that none of them are strangers to me.”
“Since the girls have had a series of coaches,” Hogan said, “I want to bring some consistency to the girls program. Also, there are numerous returning players who look strong and some young ones with a lot of promise. Beyond a heavy dose of fundamentals, we are conditioning, doing speed and agility drills and working on our ‘first touch’ of the soccer ball.”
The measure of their abilities will show over the next couple of weeks.
— Melissa Delcour
Kritter is Presidential Scholars recipient
Senior Danika Kritter recently brought high honor to her graduating class and to her school as a recipient of the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program award. This accolade, established in 1964, is designed to recognize the nation’s most academically distinguished graduates.
“I found out in early February,” Kritter explained. “I had never heard of the award, so I thought it might be a gimmick. Then, I went online and discovered that it’s pretty prestigious.”
Each year, up to 141 students nationwide are selected as award recipients. Such a small number is enough to set Kritter apart, but she can also celebrate the fact that she was the only Virginia student from a Single-A school to be nominated. “It was neat to look at the list and see all these private, prep schools represented, and then scroll down to see little Rappahannock.”
Kritter, who is among the top 20 SAT scorers in the state, will have an opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., this summer for the National Recognition Weekend.
But, the winners’ weekend isn’t her focus. “It’s really a great opportunity to be chosen from a rural school,” she said. “So many places don’t have the resources that schools like Thomas Jefferson have. I’m so happy to represent for a small, country school.”
Winter sports awards
At the Rappahannock County School Sports Association’s winter sports award banquet honors handed out to Rappahannock athletes included the following:
JP Girls Basketball: Most Improved, Julia Estes; Most Outstanding, Sarah Thornhill.
JP Boys Basketball: Most Improved, Christian Grimsley; Most Outstanding, Graydon Williams.
Scholastic Bowl: Best New Player, Katie Hale; Most Improved, Danny Collins.
Cheer: Most Improved, Renae Jenkins; Sportsmanship, Laikyn Farmer; Cheerleader of the Year: Sarah Coffman.
JV Boys Basketball: Most Improved, RT Leake; Most Dedicated, Ben Estes; Most Outstanding, Bradlee Frye.
Varsity Boys Basketball: Most Improved, Grayson Love; Most Dedicated, Bill Hogan; Most Outstanding, David Williams.
Varsity Girls Basketball: Most Improved, Paula Accioly; Most Dedicated, Brittani Dodson; Most Outstanding, Lauren Light.
Varsity Wrestling: Most Improved, Smith Cliffton; Most Dedicated, Matt Lombardi; Most Outstanding, Dylan Hitt.
Butler makes dean’s list
Steven Butler, a James Madison University senior from Boston, was named to the dean’s list for the 2010 fall semester. Butler is a journalism major. The JMU dean’s list recognizes outstanding academic achievement by full-time students who carry a semester course load of 12 graded credit hours or more and earn a GPA of 3.500 to 3.899. Butler was also named to the dean’s list for the 2009 fall semester.
Dove: honors at Lynchburg
Reed Davidson Dove, son of R. Scott Dove, DVM, and Cecilia L. Dove of Flint Hill, earned a spot on the dean’s list for the 2010 fall semester at Lynchburg College. A student must receive a quality point average (QPA) of 3.5 or greater for the term to make the list.
Dove is a freshman business administration major and is on the track team.
Huntly student: science award
Among several local students at Randolph-Macon Academy (R-MA) in Front Royal who won awards at the R-MA Middle School Science Fair last month was Evan S. Lester, the son of Scott F. and Cynthia W. Lester of Huntly and a seventh-grade student at the Academy. Lester received first-place award for his project, “Flour Power,” in the seventh-grade biology division.