Thirteen Virginia high schools from far and near descended on Rappahannock County High School’s new wrestling mats on Saturday (Dec. 4) for the Rappahannock Rampage tournament. The Panthers finished an impressive fifth place, ahead of fear-inducing opponents like Henrico, Northumberland and Cosby.
Head coach Jamie Harris highlighted several shining stars. “CJ [Sidrow], our defending champ, wrestled [at] 103 and dominated everyone . . . all day. And he only wrestled a total time of about two minutes.
“Zack Armor and Cody Casey both made finals but lost to some great wrestlers. Zack lost out to a Kettle Run contender who ended up earning Most Outstanding Wrestler. Cody lost to a Madison opponent.”
With a busy season ahead, coach Harris reflected. “We are so motivated now, but we always have room to improve. In the tournament, nobody laid down or quit. They wrestled until the ref called stop. They’ve set the bar high for themselves and are ready to prove they belong in the same breath as Manassas Park and Strasburg.”
This Saturday (Dec. 11), the Panthers travel to Berkley Springs, W.Va., for the 26th annual Max Horz Invitational. “The top six wrestlers will medal,” coach Harris said. “If we can medal in this, it shows how far up the ladder we’ve come. Then, when we get toe to toe with Strasburg and contend, that’ll show everyone how we’ve matured as a team.”
Rappahannock County’s next opportunity to see the team at home will be Wednesday, Dec. 15 when they host a quad meet with Forest Park (B team), Warren and Middleburg Academy. Everyone is invited to come out and see the brand new Panther mats. The competition begins at 6 p.m. Concessions will be available.
Lady Panthers start with a win and a loss
The Lady Panthers opened their basketball season at home Monday (Dec. 6) with a decisive win against Nelson County, only to fall at Shenandoah Christian Academy on Tuesday.
“It was a slow start,” coach Robbie Thornhill reported. “Halfway through the first quarter, our girls started to play. But when time ran out, it was 10-8 Nelson.”
Second quarter saw a Panther revival. “We went into halftime with the board reading 24-10 Rapp,” coach Thornhill said. “We didn’t allow them any points in the second quarter . . . and we never looked back.”
The final score was 57-23. Lady Panthers’ three captains generated the bulk of the points: Joslyn Smith led with 12, followed by 11 points for Brittani Dodson and Lauren Settle.
On Tuesday’s travel night, the girls lost, 37-32, to Shenandoah Christian Academy. In the close game, coach Thornhill and assistants Wayne Sumner and Larry Settle certainly had plenty to brag about with their team.
“I was proud of the girls for not quitting and for fighting back from being down 11 points at half time to tie the score at 32,” Thornhill said. “We just could not get that rebound. We still had two more chances, but the ball did not bounce our way tonight.”
With a balanced win-loss record this week, Thornhill was motivated to share his predictions for the team. “We have seven kids who want to play basketball. Even though the low numbers limit what we can do in practice, they want to play and improve. I think we are going to surprise some people this year.”
The Lady Panthers were scheduled to meet Nelson on the road Wednesday (Dec. 8, after press time) and travel to Colonial Beach on Friday, Dec. 10. — M.D.
RCSSA raffles Kubota
All the winners for the Rappahannock County School Sports Association Fall Raffle are Rappahannock County residents. Robert Grey won the Kubota RTV-500. Tim Falls, Terry Robey, the Bennett & Butler car dealership and Downing Hitt all won the $500 prizes. RCSSA thanks those who bought tickets and continue to support the students. There will be another raffle ticket sale starting in January for a Honda 4-wheeler, which will be drawn at our Mardi Gras Dance & Auction in March. Look for fliers in the local stores and in the Tuesday folder elementary school students bring home. — Amy Hitt