Panther track stars head for States
While most spring sports have wrapped up their seasons, Rappahannock County’s varsity track athletes are continuing to compete, breaking records and qualifying for the VHSL Group 1A state championship in the process.
Standout senior runner Julia Wood, headed to William and Mary this fall to run for the Tribe, will be seeking to add to her collection of nine state titles when she travels Radford University this Friday (June 3) for the state competition. Julia took the 1A East Regional championship in the 800-meter race and will be seeking to end her high school athletic career with a 10th state championship.
Junior Gavin Jenkins, another standout runner, broke a 40-year-old school record last week at the regional championship, finishing the 800-meter race in a time of 2:01.13. In addition to his 800-meter title, Gavin brought home a first-place medal in the 3200-meter race — and will be competing in both events at Radford. In the 3200, Gavin will be running with freshman teammate Sam Barnes, who finished fourth in the regional championship.
Other state placers include junior Julia Estes, who finished second in the 100-meter hurdles and third in the 300-meter hurdles at regionals, adding a state championship appearance in both events to her schedule. Her performance is all the more impressive when considering that, in addition to running track this spring, she was also a standout soccer player, earning second-team All Bull Run District accolades for her performance on the pitch.
Junior Jessica Thorne will join Estes in the 100-meter hurdle race at the state track meet on the merits of her fifth-place finish at the regional meet. Jessica will also be taking her talents to the high jump bar, looking to add state recognition to the regional title that she earned with a leap of 4 feet 10 inches. And Rapp will have representation in the throwing events in Radford as well, with junior A.J. Palmer competing in the shot put on the strength of his fifth-place showing at regionals.
Kudos also to track athletes Camryn Clark, Danielle Fryant, Savannah Hensley, Evan Marcus, Bryce Jones, Jacob Sheffield, Hannah Bennett and Hailey Whorton, all of whom qualified for and competed well at the Region 1A East Championship.
The Group 1A state track meet is this Friday and Saturday (June 3-4) on the grounds of Radford University (which is near Blacksburg, about a three-hour drive). Best of luck to the athletes and their coaches, Scott and Heather Stephens and Kenny Burt, as they seek to return Saturday with some new records and championships for athletic director Brandon Burley to display on the RCHS championship banners.
— Jimmy Swindler
Boston student takes wing
Elise Wheelock, who turns 18 this summer and graduated summa cum laude recently from Lord Fairfax Community College’s Fauquier campus with both a high school diploma and college associate’s degree, was also named the Fauquier campus’ outstanding graduate of 2016.
Wheelock, the daughter of Tobey and Jennifer Wheelock of Boston, was also recognized as the campus’ most outstanding history graduate. (There’s a photo of her on graduation day on the front page.)
Wheelock also has a pilot’s license and plans on further developing her flying skills at the University of North Dakota. The university’s aviation program — considered by some to be the best in the country — is what caught her attention. Wheelock has already plotted a career course as a rescue pilot.
“Professionally, I would love to be a rescue pilot,” Wheelock told Cassandra Brown of FauquierNow.com recently. “Everyone keeps telling me I need to learn how to fly helicopters to be a rescue pilot.”
After participating in the 2014 “Women Can Fly” event at Warrenton-Fauquier Airport, she said, “I absolutely fell in love. There was no going back. Before, I wanted to be an actress.”
She also told the website that her parents have been extremely supportive through homeschooling, aviation and her dual enrollment in college at a young age.
“My parents wanted to give their children the best education they possibly could,” she says.
Volunteer recognition at Rappahannock schools
Rappahannock County Public Schools recently honored school volunteers with a certificate presentation and luncheon at the elementary school.
For the event, organized by volunteer coordinator Vickie Miller, guests were served a sumptuous lunch buffet and then seated at tables decorated by RCES staff member Kim Vest, who magically transformed the gym into an elegant reception hall. Student volunteers from the elementary and high schools provided table service, and guests were entertained by several musical selections from the RCES chorus and band members.
A dessert table with to-go bags was set up so that all could leave with a sweet memento. RCPS Superintendent Donna Matthews personally thanked the volunteers for their efforts on behalf of the community’s students, expressing the hope that this first-time event would become an annual fixture on volunteers’ calendars.
Recognizing individuals and organizations that have generously donated their time to the schools throughout this past year, high school and elementary school principals Mike Tupper and Cathy Jones read aloud the names of those who had served in their respective schools, while Vickie Miller presented certificates to those who were in attendance.
• Headwaters READ program volunteers Dianne Handy, program coordinator, Ralph Bates, Kathy Grove, Rick Lessard, Kevin McCloskey, Judy Podlesney, Ann Stenner, Aleta Gadino, Ann Green, Anne Nenninger, Bill Nenninger, Cindy Williams, Spots Williams, Kevin Brandriff, Dee Akre
• Headwaters Next Step and After School Program: Kathy Grove, Headwaters board chair, Kevin Brandriff, Headwaters executive director, Kat Habib, program coordinator
• RCES classroom volunteers Chris Ubben, Donna Matthews, Amy Hitt, Judy Christopher, Karen Thornhill, Linda Petty, Greg Williams, Rachel Bynum, Rosanna Reed, Tracy Abdullah, Joelann Gilmore, Jennifer Presgraves, Margaret Ann Wayland, Beth Gainer, Sally Meadows
• Backpack Program: Noel Laing, Susan Laing, Tim Lindstrom, Sandra Cartwright-Brown, Ray Good, Andy Platt
• Tuesday Folder/Holiday Shop: Sherry Burfield, Samantha Williams, Crystal Jenkins, Marcia Fincham, Tanya Cianchetta, Missy McCool, Lindsey Wangsgard, Lauren Barron, Jimmy Swindler, Claire Snelson, Sara Kleppinger, Heather Keyser, Sarah Rose, Pam Anderson, Michelle Jenkins, Donna Comer, Crystal Smith, Stacey Whitt
• Other RCHS volunteers Ken Edwards, Tanya Cox, Chuck Way, David Riedell, Loretta Massie, Jerry Anne Kines, Dave Whorton, Larry Grove
• Band/Drama: Autumn Hernandez, Donna Norris, Mylene Whorton, Angela Dennis, Tasha White, Vickie Miller, Janet Robey, Greg Saunders, Kelly Bennett, Cheryl Crews, Jen Petersheim, Band Boosters, Katherine Treanor
• Career Day volunteers Jason Gochenour, Ashley Day, Bubby Settle, Holly Jenkins, Cheryl Crews, Jan Makela, Jane Wilson
• Other organizations: Kelly Bennett, representing RCSSA; Mike Sheffield, Band Boosters; Crystal Smith, RCPS PTO; Kim McKiernan, MADD; Yogi Bear, Lion’s Club; Jenny Kapsa and Richard Spillenkothen, Virginia Extension Office; Kelly Settle, Union Bank & Trust; Rick Lessard, Lessard Collaborative Architectural Services; Connie Smith, RCSO; Helen Williams, Retired Teacher’s Association Youth Advocacy Team.