School and sports news for March 19

AD’s report

While March lived up the its “in like a lion” reputation, our Rapp sports spring teams continued to toil away in their indoor practice facilities, preparing for the day when they can finally take the field, the pitch and the lanes.

Although some scrimmages were scheduled for early last week, weather and field conditions forced cancellations and Rapp’s only spring preseason contests were soccer scrimmages last Friday, March 13, with our boys JV and varsity teams traveling to Essex to face Essex and Northumberland, and the girls hosting the Trojans and Indians here at home. Both girls’ teams came out on top; the boys defeated Essex while varsity played Northumberland to a tie and dropped a match to Essex, last year’s Region 1A East champions.

Regular season games began this past Tuesday against Madison (results too late for this article); tomorrow (Friday, March 20) is home opener night for JV (5:30 p.m.) and varsity (7 p.m.) boys soccer. Girls soccer teams travel to Strasburg tonight (Thursday, March 19); varsity baseball and softball teams travel to Strasburg tomorrow night.

Rapp’s winter sports teams had their awards celebration March 5 in the high school auditorium. Congratulations to all our athletes who were honored. (A list of the winners follows this report).

I’ll use this brief lull in sports events to introduce our spring 2015 coaches:

Baseball features the return of two familiar faces, Brad Barnes as our Junior Panther coach, and Mike Atkins as our varsity coach. Coach Barnes is looking forward to building on the success of last year, one of the most successful in J.P. baseball history. A true baseball guy himself, he is looking forward to being able to take the field and teach our young players the nuances of the game.

Coach Atkins, assisted by coach “Middy” Midkiff, is hoping to repeat the “breakout” performance he just orchestrated with varsity boys basketball and is optimistic that his team, with many returning players and some hungry freshmen, is ready to start to rack up some Bull Run District wins.

Softball has one returning coach and one who is new. Coach Jeff Atkins, assisted by Connie Smith, is hoping that their combination will produce the same results they just saw in J.P. girls basketball. The girls J.P. softball team made some progress last year and with many players returning with a year of growth and skill improvement behind them, coach Atkins is optimistic.

Coach Brandon Burley will lead the varsity softball squad and brings the same focus and intensity (and hopefully the same results!) that he brought to the court while leading our girls varsity basketball team this winter. Burley will have a young team but they are willing to listen and learn.

Girls soccer features the return of longtime coach Rich Hogan, again taking the helm for the varsity squad, and JV coach Jenn Rosen, who assisted Hogan last year at the varsity level. Both coaches will have young teams but are confident that the abilities of their returning players and the enthusiasm of their new ones will combine to create success on the pitch.

JP girls soccer will be led by returning coach Seth Wyatt (who also successfully coaches our JV girls volleyball team) and Wyatt has his sights set on the VMSC championship trophy this spring. Last year’s squad was young and many of those players are back and ready to take the ball to their conference opponent’s nets.

Boys soccer will be led by the Ramey coaches again — father Mark leading the J.V. squad and son Alex taking the lead at varsity. While both teams are young and coaches concede that this may be a bit of a rebuilding year, soccer fans remember the excitement of last year’s deep run into the playoffs; expectations are high that once conference playoffs start, anything can happen.

Last but certainly not least, our J.P. and varsity track teams are back this year and hoping to send even more of Rapp tracksters to the state championship in June. Returning head boys coach Scott Stephens, head girls coach Heather Puskar and returning jumping coach Justin Maffei are joined by new distance running coach Kenny Burt. All will be working together with our J.P. and varsity athletes, motivating them to run their fastest, jump their highest and throw their farthest in the quest for state glory.

Be sure to monitor the Rapp athletic website at rappahannockathletics.org for the latest sports news and schedules. Go Rapp!

— Jimmy Swindler

RCPS Winter 2014-15 Athletic Awards

Scholastic Bowl: MVP, James MacLeod; Coaches’ Award, Jon Streu

Varsity Winter Cheer: Coaches: Tatyana Yates, Paige Pilkington

Junior Panther Winter Cheer: MVP, Alexandra Phillips; Coaches, Peyton Luthie

Junior Panther Wrestling: MVP, Sam Barnes; Coaches, Grant PerDieu

Varsity Wrestling: Coaches(Iron Man), Michael Leake; Coaches, Gus Norris

Junior Panther Boys’ Basketball: Co-MVP, Ethan Sumner, Zion Hanberry

Varsity Boys’ Basketball: MVP, Bradlee Frye; Coaches, Gary Jenkins

Junior Panther Girls’ Basketball: MVP, Olivia Atkins; Coaches, Hannah East

Varsity Girls’ Basketball: Co-MVP, Kayla Robey, Julia Estes

JV Girls Basketball: Coaches, Sara East and Alicia Whorton

Dean’s List for Horrocks

Bridgett Dawn Horrocks of Sperryville has been named to the fall semester Dean’s List at Radford University. Horrocks, the daughter of Frances Lynn Weakley of Nethers Road, is a freshman interdisciplinary studies major.

To be named to Radford’s Dean’s List, a student must have taken 15 or more credit hours and have a grade point average of 3.4 or above with no grade below a C.