Winter weather continued to rearrange Rapp’s sports schedules, but even last-minute game changes couldn’t prevent our Panthers from bringing home some wins in the past week.
Scholastic Bowl takes the headlines again this week as the newly crowned Rapp River Conference Champs for 2015. Traveling to Colonial Beach last Saturday for the conference tourney, Coach Dave Naser’s team enjoyed a bye in the first round (by virtue of their No. 1 seed) before defeating Lancaster High School, 275-115, and then the “other” Rappahannock twice, 190-155 the first time, and then 225-95 in the championship round, taking the championship trophy for the second year in a row.
Team captain James McLeod was named First Team All Conference and teammate Henry Mason was awarded Second Team honors. Resplendent in their uniforms of blue blazers and school color navy and blue ties, the team looked like the champions they were.
Coaches Naser and Weeks will be working hard with the team for the rest of the month as they prepare for the Region 1A East Championship Tourney, to be held Saturday, Feb. 7, again at Colonial Beach. Rapp is the defending regional champ and hopes are high for a repeat title there as well, with the state tournament in Williamsburg on Feb. 28 as the ultimate goal.
Panther wrestlers had the week off, by both design and default, as varsity had a rare weekend of no tourneys and both varsity and Junior Panther teams lost midweek matches last Wednesday due to weather. Coaches have made good use of the time however, practicing hard in the wrestling room to be prepared for the upcoming regular season finales and then the playoff tourneys. Both teams had matches scheduled this past Wednesday on the road, J.P. at Locust Grove and varsity at Strasburg (results in next week’s article).
And both squads will make their final home regular season appearance next Wednesday, Jan. 28, with J.P. action slated to begin at 5 p.m. and varsity at 7. That will be senior night for our varsity wrestlers, so be sure to mark your calendars and take the opportunity to watch some great wrestling (Rapp currently has five varsity wrestlers who are undefeated in district play) and honor our seniors. And while you have the calendar out, be sure to mark Saturday, Feb. 7 — the day Rapp will host the first-ever Rapp River Conference Wrestling Championship.
In basketball action, our J.P. teams continue with their torrid paces, with both teams remaining undefeated in the new year. Although the game last Tuesday with Madison was canceled due to weather, the girls team still picked up four wins last week and early this week, including strong wins over Signal Knob (dealing them their second defeat at the hands of the Panthers, the only team Signal Knob has not beaten!), RMA, United Christian Academy and then Shenandoah Valley Christian. In keeping with their developing reputation as giant-killers, our J.P. girls handed SVCA their first loss of the season on Monday, taking the victory with their hallmark balanced offensive attack and pressure defense.
The J.P. boys team also picked up wins, three in the past week over RMA, Riverfront and United Christian. RMA was a true test of the boys undefeated status – with the team going down early by 12 to a powerful (and undefeated) RMA squad but battling back and taking the win in the end by 6 points, setting the stage for a likely rematch in the VMSC Championship game on Feb. 6. As with the girls team, a balanced offensive attack and pressure defense have been the key to the boys’ success. Both teams returned to the road yesterday, traveling to William Monroe, and then have a home game today (Thursday, Jan. 22) versus county rival Wakefield Country Day School (girls game at 4:30 p.m., boys at 5:45 p.m.) and then are home again tomorrow (Friday, Jan. 23) versus St. John’s (girls at 6, boys at 7:30). Basketball fans will want to get to the high school gym to see these teams as they look to continue what is shaping up to be two memorable seasons.
Our varsity squads are still in search of that first win for 2015 but have been playing hard and playing well, taking tough losses in competitive games to Bull Run District opponents. Our girls JV and varsity traveled to Strasburg and William Monroe last week, coming away without victories but, as Coach Burley says, continuing to show signs of “almost there.”
Our varsity boys traveled to William Monroe last Thursday as well, putting up a strong showing in the first half but not able to keep it going in the second. Last Saturday, our boys hosted Strasburg in a rare Saturday game (makeup of one canceled earlier by weather) and gave the 11-2 Rams all they could handle. Our boys had the lead at the end of the first and were within reach at the half. The third quarter was their weak point, only putting up five points, but they continued to fight and pull back, losing in the end only by 13. As Coach Atkins says, “They are getting there, closer every week.”
Winter sports, believe it or not, will be wrapping up soon; be sure to catch the action before the season end. Athletic schedules and the latest news about Rapp Sports can be found on the Rapp Athletic website at rappahannockathletics.org. Go Rapp!