School and Sports News for Dec. 23

Senior Cody Casey takes a look at the clock to see if he has enough time to record the pin. Photo by Christine Krapf.

Rappahannock wrestlers take two victories

Lessons learned at the Max Horz Invitational in Berkeley Springs, W. Va. paid dividends Dec. 15 on Rappahannock’s home mats as the Panthers scored two match wins and one loss.

Rappahannock wrestlers started the evening with a decisive lead in the first match. Their opponent, Middleburg, had to forfeit six times, giving Rappahannock a 36-0 lead. Dylan Hitt earned pin points at 135. Teammates Amrit Tamang (152), Tanyon Lee (171), and Britt Hipple (HWT) all scored pins to close out the team win, 64-18.

In the second match, “we edged Forest Park behind pins from Zack Armor (119), Cody Casey (125), Amrit Tamang, Smith Cliffton (160), and Britt Hipple,” coach Jamie Harris said. “Hitt and Lee took forfeit wins to help seal our win 42-40.”

Rappahannock’s only loss came in Match 3 against Warren County, 21-54. Even in the defeat, Cody Casey picked up a pin, while Dylan Hitt earned a tough 8-3 decision over a scrappy Wildcat wrestler at 130. Antonio DeLa Cruz (135) and CJ Sidrow (112) also picked up pins.

Sophomore Matt Lombardi tries to gain some back points. Photo by Christine Krapf.

“We finished the night 2-1,” coach Harris said. “I thought we wrestled very tough after the hard-hitting weekend in Berkeley Springs. The kids came out aggressive and wrestled determined. The win over Forest Park was big because they are a AAA program. The match with Warren County was actually very good despite the score. Last year we lost 78-6 to them, and this time to pick up three pins and a decision has showed that we are getting better.

“Last year we had nine dual wins. Hopefully, before December is over, we will break the school record for wins in a season with our next two tournaments.”

Next up for Rappahannock is the Mountaineer Duals at Madison County this Thursday (Dec. 23). The last hurrah of 2010 will be the Panther Christmas Brawl, Dec. 28-29. The two-day duel begins at 10 a.m. both days. –Melissa Delcour

Cheerleaders provide winter spark at games

The winter chill brings with it a new cheerleading squad at Rappahannock County High School. Coach Linda McKinney leads a young and enthusiastic group of girls.

“Keana Burroughs is the most experienced, and she’s a junior,” coach McKinney explained. “Keana is the gold team captain. Sarah Coffman is our blue team captain, a freshman. Sarah’s a tough little girl. We also have Lauren Eline, a sophomore. Everyone else is a first-time cheerleader or a freshman. The eighth graders are an especially enthusiastic group. It’s basically the equivalent of having a JV group performing at the varsity-level.”

Coach McKinney takes a balanced focus in her leadership approach. The squad is split into two teams, blue and gold, that alternate appearances at home games. This plan is designed to give the girls time to keep up with their academic responsibilities.

Beyond the “academics first” philosophy, coach McKinney also has a unique approach to the creative side of cheerleading. “My assistant coach, Deena Wayland, and I train the girls in stunts, then we leave the design of each regular game routine up to the captains and their girls. In addition, Lisa Leidenheimer, a very talented eight grader, assists the captains in choreographing the dance routines.

“Our goal is to let the girls take ownership of the squad and for us to simply be there to guide them. We want to continue strengthening their skills and developing their team mentality.”

If the Rappahannock public cannot get out to a home basketball game, the squad is offering another opportunity to witness its skills. The Panther varsity cheerleaders will be a part of the Martin Luther King, Jr. birthday celebration in the town of Washington at 4 p.m. on Jan. 16. The girls will debut their new dance routine and present their first public performance. — M.D.

Three Scholastic Bowl losses sink Panthers

Rappahannock County head coach David Naser was disappointed with his Scholastic Bowl team last week.

“I felt embarrassed with our performance in front of the other coaches in the (Bull Run) district,” he said. “(We are) doing homework, texting each other, not listening to the questions.”

On Dec. 13, Rappahannock County dropped to 5-8 in the district, losing to Clarke County, 260-175, George Mason, 295-130, and Madison County, 205-190. It was the first time since he’s been coaching, Naser said, that the team lost all three matches in a night.

Those defeats leave the Panthers in fourth place in the district. They return to action Jan. 10 to face Strasburg and Manassas Park at Madison County.

Rappahannock County will host the district tournament Jan. 22.

Staying with George Mason was not an option Dec. 13, although Naser pointed out that Rappahannock County kept the defending state champion Mustangs under 300 points for the first time this season.

George Mason has been a buzz saw against its district opponents and has a 13-0 record this season.

But the Panthers had chances against Clarke County and Madison but squandered them.

“We’re waiting too long to hit the buzzer,” Naser said, “and the other teams get the answers.”

Against Clarke County, the Panthers found themselves down, 90-35, after the first round of 15 toss up questions.

Senior captain Malcolm Perry had 70 points in the loss to Clarke County.

In the match against Madison County, the Mountaineers built an 85-45 lead after the opening round. But the Panthers rallied, garnering 100 points in the 10-question directed round to pull ahead, 145-125.

But Madison outscored the Panthers, 80-45, in the final round of the match, including three of the last four questions.
Freshman Danny Collins accounted for 40 of the 45 Rappahannock County points.

“I tried to play different players, but nothing worked,” Naser said. “In eight years, we’ve never lost to Madison.” — Christine Krapf

Mountain Laurel school gets hoop house help

The Mountain Laurel Montessori School has received a $2,500 grant from the Home Depot Foundation and $500 from the Meade Palmer Fund at the Northern Piedmont Community Foundation.

The grants will be used for the school’s hoop house and community kitchen projects at its Flint Hill campus.

“The Hoop House for the Hungry will meet a twofold need: the need for access to fresh, nutritional food for those who can’t otherwise afford it, and the need for young people to learn about nutrition and growing and preparing fresh foods,” said Mountain Laurel Montessori’s school board president, Stephen Pettler. “We will provide the Rappahannock Food Pantry with fresh produce during the winter and, in the spring, start plants for Plant a Row for the Hungry.”

The Meade Palmer Fund, administered by the Northern Piedmont Community Foundation, was endowed by the family of Isabelle S. Palmer in memory of her husband M. Meade Palmer, a landscape architect and community volunteer. The Northern Piedmont Community Foundation builds philanthropic capital to enhance and preserve the quality of life in Culpeper, Fauquier, Madison, and Rappahannock Counties and strengthen the region’s nonprofit organizations.

The Home Depot Foundation’s Building Healthy Communities Grant Program supports the work that local nonprofit organizations, public schools and other community organizations are doing to improve the physical health of their neighborhoods. The Foundation’s goal is for all families to have the opportunity to live in healthy, efficient homes they can afford over the long-term; to have access to safe, vibrant parks and green spaces; and to receive the economic, social and environmental benefits of living in a sustainable community.

“We are delighted to support local volunteer projects aimed at creating healthier, more stable communities where families can thrive,” said Kelly Caffarelli, president of The Home Depot Foundation. “Mountain Laurel Montessori deserves enormous credit for the work it is doing, and we are glad to be part of their efforts.”

Mountain Laurel Montessori School, now in its 22nd year, provides Montessori education for children from infancy through adolescence. Its farm school for students in 7th to 9th grades is located in Flint Hill. For more information, visit and check out the farm school’s blog.

Academic milestones

Jason A. Smith of Viewtown has been accepted to The Graduate School at Virginia Tech. Smith is majoring in Aerospace Engineering and pursuing a Master of Science in the College of Engineering.

Cadet C. Grace Alexander, daughter of Lyle and Mindy Alexander of Woodville, was named to the President’s List at Randolph-Macon Academy for the first academic grading period of the 2010-11 school year. Students are named to the President’s List for achieving a grade point average of 4.0 or better. Grace is a freshman at the Academy.

Among students named to the R-MA Dean’s List for the first academic quarter of the 2010-11 school year were Travis Pullen, the son of Pam Myers of Sperryville, and Sean Knick II, son of Sean and Debbie Knick of Washington. Dean’s List students must achieve a grade point average between 3.3 and 4.0.

Culpeper Soccer’s indoor clinics

Culpeper Soccer Association (CSA) technical director Mark Parsons invites all players from the local area to take part in the second course of the winter. There are six sessions available for all abilities and ages 4 through 18. All sessions are led by Parsons, formerly a professional coach in England. Eemail for more information.

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