School and Sports Briefs for March 31

Rappahannock senior Tiffany Wayland looks for an open teammate as she heads up the field at Saturday’s Spring Bash. Photo by Barbara Wheatley.

Lady Panthers lose in soccer at Spring Bash

The Lady Panthers varsity soccer team fell in back-to-back losses last weekend (March 25-26) at the first Panther Spring Bash.
“The girls played two tough matches,” coach Rich Hogan said.

In the Friday night fray against Mt. Carmel, Rappahannock “had about 35 shots on goal,” he added.. “Wide right. Wide left. Hit the bar, the uprights, sailed over. We just could not reach the back of the net.”

The Panthers lost the game, 1-0.

On Saturday, a fatigued team faced Eastern Mennonite. “Without a few starters from Friday night, we lost, 2-0,” Hogan said. “The final score does not really indicate how close it was throughout the whole match. Paula Accioly, in goal position, once again had some dramatic saves. The girls played very hard in a tournament-style shorter match.”

“We were all playing really well even though we lost people to injury on Friday night,” said senior Sarah Wheatley.

“We definitely played well, but there was another factor. We weren’t able to play at the height of our talent because we were so worn out,” said senior Katie Hartman. “Plus, we didn’t know what to expect from the other teams — who was best and who was worst.”
“In a couple of weeks, we’ll be a stronger team,” Wheatley said. “Everyone will be at practice, and we’ll have a chance to solidify more. Coach Hogan is definitely pushing everybody to be their best.”

“We have a lot to work on, but as far as the team, I think we have a really good bond with each other, said Hartman. “We get along really well, and we know who and when to direct and what to help them with. I’m excited for the rest of the season, especially for district play.”

The losses did not dim Hogan’s optimism. “Now, we have a bit of time off to heal up and get our players back into practice from Behind the Wheel and band trips and play practice and illnesses and work obligations and such,” he said. “We’ll work hard to face Skyline and Strasburg.”

The Lady Panthers get their next chance to celebrate victory when they host Skyline at 7 Thursday, April 7.
— Melissa Delcour

Panther baseball struggles

Panther varsity baseball continues the search for its first victory, but Coach John Lesinski and his team remain determined.
“We have played well in stretches and have been competitive in head-to-head match-ups with larger schools such as Culpeper and Warren counties,” Lesinski said. On March 17, Rappahannock fell 12-6 to Culpeper’s Blue Devils. “We did force them to use four pitchers before disposing us in seven innings,” Lesinski said.

At home on March 22, Rappahannock County High School (RCHS) hosted Shenandoah Valley Christian School. “We came out quick to stake a 3-0 lead,” Lesinski said, “but we squandered a bases-loaded opportunity to add more in the first inning before falling behind and losing 9-4.”

The Panthers most disappointing loss came on the road last Thursday (March 24) against Eastern Mennonite High School, 14-4. “We committed eight errors,” Lesinski said.

Last Saturday (March 26), Lesinski saw his team rally in a spirited contest against Warren County High School (WCHS) at the Panther Spring Bash. Brandon Walker pitched five and a third strong innings as the Panthers and Wildcats battled for the lead. Rappahannock took a 3-2 advantage in the fourth inning before yielding three runs in the fifth inning to fall back 5-3. “WCHS broke it open in the sixth with eight runs,” Lesinski said, “and they cruised to a 16-5 win in seven innings.”

“Throwing and fielding errors have hurt us throughout the early season,” Lesinski said. “The emphasis going forward needs to be on tightening up the infield and outfield play to limit the opposition to three or four outs per inning.”

Pitching is another area of focus for the Panthers. In addition to Walker, pitchers have included Matt Fletcher, John Mills, Dylan Hitt and Garfield Burke. Evan Hitt, Cody Casey, and David Williams have also taken the mound.

“We are searching for the right combination of arms leading into district play,” Lesinski said.

In addition, Panther hitting continues to develop with Walker, Burke, Fletcher, and Dylan Hitt providing the majority of the fire power. Williams, Mills, and Evan Hitt have also had success at the plate. “Big innings by the opponents in the last two games have taken their toll,” Lesinski said. “Efforts will be made to focus, bear down, and limit damage when the other team is looking to break the game open.”

The Panthers took the field again on Wednesday afternoon for a re-match against Culpeper’s Blue Devils. Results will appear in next week’s Rappahannock News. The team is back on home field, Friday, April 1, for a game against Colonial Beach starting at 7.
M.D.

Adding trout to a stream are Wakefield students Lucas DuMez (l) and Gage Landis.

Earth-related pursuits move Wakefield students

After competing with teams from Culpeper and Orange counties, Wakefield Country Day School’s (WCDS) 2011 Local Envirothon team did well enough in the Culpeper Soil and Water Conservation District’s annual competition to move on to the April 13 regional contest in Fauquier County.

Eastern View High School, with 550.818 points, and WCDS, with 463.808, edged out teams from Culpeper County High School and Orange County High School in the March 16 competition.

The Wakefield team, coached by Ann Pankow. includes Katie Brown, Gregory Czekaj, Jonathan Les Kovec, Jessica Lester, MaKenzie Magaro, Christine Pankow and Brittany Spence.

Envirothon features five “in-the-field” test stations — soils, wildlife, aquatics, forestry and a current environmental issue — where teams answer questions in both written and hands-on formats. During an oral presentation teams propose a management solution related to the current environmental issue to a panel of judges consisting of industry and natural resource professionals. This year’s issue was “Fresh and Saltwater Estuaries.”

For updates on the teams’ progress, visit culpeperswcd.org.

Meanwhile, Wakefield sixth-graders recently completed two environment-related science projects Led by teachers Jeff Perry and Margaret DiDomenico, the students released brook trout into Fiery Run in Flint Hill. The trout were raised from eggs delivered in September and were part of the Trout in the Classroom program.

Afterward, the Wakefield students planted 500 short leaf pine seedlings on a nearby farm as part of a habitat improvement and erosion control project. Members of the class are Campbell Baker, Jonathan Carrier, Lucas DuMez, Gage Landis, Nicholas Leskovec, Haze Packwood, Tanner Perry, Brianna Rodriguez, Tara Salak, Tommy Sullivan, Tatumn Vaught and Harrison Wells.

The sixth-graders studied trout habitat, stream chemistry, watershed management and other related topics during the time that the trout were being raised. Additionally, the trout project was integrated into all other sixth-grade subjects.