School and Sports News

Ladies lose opener, win the next

Rappahannock High School’s Lady Panthers met the East Hardy Cougars in the Rappahannock home opener on Thursday, March 18 and suffered a disappointing loss of 12-1.

The West Virginia visitors came with the reputation of being a challenging softball team. Last season they came within one game of winning their state tournament. This season took the field with eight of their nine starters from last year’s team.

The Rapp Ladies came out with fewer advantages, but they played hard enough to earn accolades. Coach Jamie Harris said, “We were without starting pitcher Megan Early who was out with an injury, so we started freshman Peyton Bailey on the mound. Peyton had some first-inning jitters, then settled down and threw pretty well over the next three innings. She took the loss, but picked her first career three-strikeout game!”

After Peyton, the coach brought Natalie Tupper in relief “She threw well,” Harris said, “but several miscues in the outfield allowed East Hardy to put the game away.”

On the offensive side, the only hit came from Brittani Dodson’s bat. She put Caitlin Miller on second, then Miller scored off Lindy Paul’s hit that was misplayed.

Coach Harris had plenty to celebrate about his team, “Our infield did a great job of getting the groundball outs, and in the outfield, Allie Dore and Amy Cooper made some great catches. We just need to find a way to get some hits and runs pieced together. I was really pleased with how well our four freshmen starters played.”

In the final assessment, Harris said: “I am pleased with our effort and determination. The dugout and the team fought until the end, and I am very proud of them. We are young, but this is a hardworking group that will get wins with their determined work ethic.”
— Melissa Delcour

Friday night’s softball win

With a scoreboard that left Coach Harris beaming, the Varsity Lady Panthers defeated Fredericksburg Christian School 13-6. In the aftermath of the Friday home game, Harris was beaming, “It was great to pick up the first win of the season!”

Juniors Brittani Dodson and Hannah Kopjanski started hot, taking the team up 3-0 while freshman pitcher Peyton Bailey “kept Fredericksburg off balance in the first two innings.”

After their fiery start, Harris said, “We relaxed a little too much in the third inning. FCA reeled off five runs as we made some uncharacteristic errors in the field.”

The Ladies revived in the top of the fourth inning when Natalie Tupper ascended the mound. She threw five strikeouts and limited the opponent to one hit. Coach Harris described the fourth inning burst: “Our bats woke up, and we put together one of our best innings with six runs. Dodson, Kopjanski and Lauren Settle led the way with two hits apiece.”

The Panther win sent the team into next week with some momentum. Harris said: “Getting this first win under our belts helps boost the confidence of our younger players. Plus it gets us more prepared for the showdown with Highland. This will be exciting and interesting as we will face three former RCHS players with whom a lot of these girls have played softball for a long time.” In addition to the determination a true rivalry can bring, Harris is hoping to get Megan Early back from the disabled list. “With her back, we become even better offensively and defensively. This will help in our quest for win No. 2.”

Last night’s game at Highland, held after press time, was to set the stage for the Panther Spring Bash tournament this Saturday. Harris said, “With tough teams like Skyline, Maryland School of the Deaf, and Bath County in attendance, it will be a big challenge for us to play our best ball and win our own tournament. It will be a great day of softball!”
— Melissa Delcour

RCHS Baseball also opens with a loss and a win

On Thursday, March 18, RCHS Men’s Varsity Baseball lost its home opener 13-0 to a very strong East Hardy High School.
In the five-inning game, Evan Espainloa started pitching for Rapp, followed by Taylor Yowell and Brandon Walker who pitched well. Unfortunately, Panthers remained hitless against strong Cougar pitching.

Taylor Yowell, left, and pitcher Chris Garcia confer on the mound during the Panther home opener last week at RCHS.

Coach Donald O’Meara said, “We had quite a few errors and too many walks. Defensively, the second and third innings killed us.” In a moment of hope, after East Hardy’s No. 8 batter hit a home run, “we were able to turn a nice 1-6-3 double play from Espinola to Taylor to Chris Garcia.”

Some impressive catches in the outfield, coupled with the double play, gave O’Meara encouragement about his team’s defensive potential. “Cody Charles was the highlight in the outfield. He made some great catches and laid down a fundamental sac bunt.”
The Panther’s second home game on Friday, March 19, brought the desired scoreboard results with a 13-2 win against Fredericksburg Christian Academy.

Coach O’Meara said, “Brandon Walker was the winning Panther pitcher throwing four innings. He only allowed three hits, struck out three and walked two. Chris Garcia pitched the last inning – struck out one and allowed no hits to three batters.”

Team leaders in the stats arena brought some admirable numbers. Walker not only pitched well for his team, O’Meara added, “he also led at the plate by going 3-3.” He was followed by Chris Garcia 3-4, John Mills 2-4. Espinola, Casey, and Grayson Love all added one hit. Rapp scored 13 runs on 10 hits and touted eight stolen bases with John Mills earning three of those.

According to O’Meara, “We got our bats going . . . and only gave up two walks to get the win.” The “W” is fuel for next week’s challenges. “It was a great team effort, and we’re looking forward to our next game.”

Tuesday night’s game against Shenandoah Valley Christian Academy was rescheduled to tonight due to wet field conditions. The team was to play at Highland last night.
— Melissa Delcour

Community Quiz Bowl

On Saturday, three RCHS quiz bowl teams and five challenging teams faced off in the second annual Community Quiz Bowl Challenge at RCHS. The double elimination tournament included a team from Mountain Vista Governor’s School; a local church team, Novum Churchmen; and three teams from the Griffin Tavern, Griffin A, Griffin B, and

Quiz Bowl coach Dave Naser, right, hands the first-place award certificate to Rappahannock A team caption Tyler Crews after the team came out on top at the Community Quiz Bowl Tournament.

In each match, teams had 30 minutes to answer up to 21 lengthy questions about all academic areas and to earn the right to score bonus points. Attendance was lower than last year, attributed to holding the event on the most gorgeous Saturday afternoon of the year, compared to on an inclement weeknight, but the event did raise or $200 for the team, which can be used for future tournaments.

The Rapp A team, consisting of seniors Tyler Crews (Captain), Steven Nelson, Taylor Light, and Joe Vickers, after losing in round 1 to Griffin A by 150 to 190, fought its way back to face the Novum Churchmen in round 4, and defeated them 210-160. Despite the difficulty of the questions, definitely harder than those on “Jeopardy!”, everyone enjoyed playing the matches. In the final match, Rapp A had to defeat the Rapp C team twice. Rapp C, consisting of underclassmen from the Quiz Bowl team, including Malcolm Perry, Brittany Stephens, Danny Collins, and Adam Carter, lost by a narrow margin (125-150) to Rapp A.

Thanks go out to the parents and the readers, including David Collins, Layne Vickers, David Naser and a special guest, last year’s state champion captain, A.J. Collins, now a freshman and quiz bowler at the University of Alabama, who was home for spring break.

Naser noted that a lot of rebuilding has occurred this year and hoped that the momentum gained by this year’s large team will carry over to next year as the younger players gain more experience. The team was still disappointed with the way the regular season ended, being eliminated from Regional play by Old Man Winter.

Many of the RCHS seniors try to participate regularly at the Griffin’s trivia night on Thursdays at 8, where teams collaborate to do their best on 30 questions. They were naturally excited when the Griffin chose to send three teams to the event. Howie Swaim, the captain of, commented on how much fun the teams had: “How very rewarding to compete against some of RCHS’s brightest young minds! Both the Griffin and are committed to participating in future Quiz Bowl fundraisers and hope that other local businesses will join in the effort to support academic excellence in our county’s youth.” The RCHS Quiz Bowl team thanks all for participating and thanks its sponsors, Central Coffee Roasters, and Debbie Donehey of the Griffin Tavern, who provided a $25 gift certificate to the winning team, Rappahannock A.

Watch for further news as the team returns to Channel 4’s “It’s Academic!” to compete in their Central Virginia Tournament!

CCLC gains accreditation

Washington’s Child Care and Learning Center earned accreditation last week from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), one of just 123 centers in Virginia accredited by the nation’s leading organization of early childhood professionals.

“We’re proud to have earned the mark of quality from NAEYC and to be recognized for our commitment to reaching the highest professional standards,” said Rose Ann Smythe, CCLC’s executive director. “NAEYC accreditation lets families in our community know that children in our program are getting the best care and early learning experiences possible. Our early childhood program continues to be the only NAEYC accredited program in a 10-county radius.”

To earn NAEYC accreditation, CCLC went through an extensive self-study process, measuring the program and its services against the 10 NAEYC early childhood program standards and more than 400 related accreditation criteria.

The program received NAEYC accreditation after a site visit by NAEYC assessors. NAEYC-accredited programs are also subject to unannounced visits during their accreditation, which lasts for five years.

“We are so proud to have this validation of the quality, and stability of our program and staff from this nationally recognized agency,” said Smythe. “Our staff and families are very fortunate to have such a hard- working Board of Directors, Friends of CCLC and loyal donors who raise funds and make private donations so families who cannot afford to pay full tuition can still bring their young child to CCLC.

“The hard work and effort of many volunteers and many generous donors has provided a preschool experience for dozens and dozens of children in Rappahannock who would never have been able to come here without support. It has been a privilege for me to be the director here for 21 years.”

Windmore Foundation scholarship

Windmore Foundation for the Arts is now accepting applications for the Dorothy Skelton Art Scholarship. Dorothy Skelton was a local artist and a firm believer in the importance of art education. When Dorothy passed away in 1999, her family donated her collection of art to the Windmore Foundation. Windmore established a scholarship in Dorothy’s memory using this collection. Each year a $1,000 scholarship will be awarded to a student who will be pursuing a degree in the arts. High school and home schooled seniors from Culpeper, Madison, Orange and Rappahannock counties are urged to apply. The applications are available in each high school guidance office and online at

Please contact Windmore if you have any questions, e-mail or call 540-547-4333. The deadline to submit an application is April 23, 2010.

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