School and Sports News for March 15

Editor’s note: Due to space issues, this report did not appear in the March 15 print edition.

Quiz Bowl’s ‘baptism by fire’ at New Kent tourney

The Panther Quiz Bowl traveled to New Kent High School on Saturday, March 10, for the 2012 VCU Spring Tournament. Sixteen public and private Virginia schools competed for the victor’s trophy. Rappahannock finished ninth and added a new variety of experience to their vita.

“In the preliminary rounds, there were two brackets,” coach Dave Naser explained. “We played seven matches and won one. Our first match against Varina we lost by 15 after initially leading. The kids were rather discouraged. We played some very competitive teams, but everyone on the Rapp team scored some points.

“It was a baptism by fire,” Naser said. “The goal was to give kids experience against very competitive teams, as a preparation for It’s Academic and for next year. We got to add one newcomer, Shelby Burnett and give a burgeoning rookie, Davis Sheffield, some play time. Everyone got to play more than they normally would. They were exposed to so much. If they know a quarter of what was presented at this tournament, we’ll be good.”

“These were the best teams I’ve ever seen – by far,” said senior Clayton Hatcher. “George Mason, for example, finished first in the state this year but fifth in this tournament. We had some close matches, but we lost so many.”

“After preliminaries, there were four consolation matches,” Naser said. “We won all four of those. Once we were in our own element, the kids really poured it on. We won the Deep Run match 275-20. Trevor Achilles really turned up the competition.”

“In the consolation round, we did some rearranging and won four in a row,” Hatcher said. “There were a lot of good matches where we were tied, poured it on and pulled away to win. It was fun and a great learning experience.”

“Our students competed in eleven matches in one day and answered nearly 800 questions,” Naser said. “We have never been in a tournament like this one. The kids were really tired, but this really whetted their appetites for UVA’s Cavalier Classic in two weeks.

– Melissa Delcour

Students release trout they raised

SCHOOL’S OUT: In a local stream, Ben Scaring of Wakefield's sixth grade lets trout go after he and fellow students raised 22 brook trout from eggs in the classroom.
Jeff Perry
SCHOOL’S OUT: In a local stream, Ben Scaring of Wakefield's sixth grade lets trout go after he and fellow students raised 22 brook trout from eggs in the classroom.

On March 6, sixth-grade students from Wakefield Country Day School braved the 20-degree air and 50-degree water to put the finishing touch on a year-long project. The 18 students carefully released 22 brook trout that had been raised from eggs into a Rappahannock County stream.

This project is part of the Trout in the Classroom program, in which fertilized eggs were raised in a classroom cold-water aquarium until they are ready to be released as three-inch trout. Participating students were Bernie Cieplak, Ben Cotter, Catherine Deane, Gray Galeone, Connor Glennon, Douglas Griffin, Tyler Johnson, Andrew Kwolek, Drake Lynn, Emma McGunigal, Chris O’Heir, Connor Poe, Jackson Romine, Ben Scaring, Emerson Shepard, Alex Smith, Landon Thede, Josie Vernick and Owen Youngquist.

The program is a cooperative project of local schools and businesses, government agencies and nearby Trout Unlimited chapters, led at Wakefield by teachers Jeff Perry, Margaret DiDomenico and Brad Boelter. It also enabled the sixth-graders to incorporate stream testing, watershed management and a Shenandoah National Park macroinvertebrate study into their science class.

Solar-system preschoolers

PRESCHOOL solar system performers at Wakefield are Sydney Gerard (left) and Charlotte Summers.
Courtesy photo
PRESCHOOL solar system performers at Wakefield are Sydney Gerard (left) and Charlotte Summers.

At weekly assembly March 7, students in the pre-Kindergarten class at Wakefield presented a skit about the solar system. After mounting the steps to the stage, each student recited a verse about his or her planet while holding up a paper drawing of the planet.

This is a traditional performance that has been done for many years. Over half of the current students participated during their pre-Kindergarten year. Consequently, many joined in on the chorus to the “Planets of the Sun” in between each presentation and recited the lines for the planet they presented previously. In this spirit, teacher Kim Shafran had two reading buddies from grade six, Connor Poe and Owen Youngquist, fill in for missing students.

“The sight of these two boys, standing tall in their dress uniforms in a row of 4-year-olds, was quite something,” said Head of School Kathleen Grove.

– contributed reports

Wakefield open house Sunday

Wakefield Country Day School invites families to come for an open-house tour of the school and some refreshments from 1 to 3 Sunday (March 18), when faculty and students will also be on hand to talk about the school. WCDS is a private classical college-prep preschool-to-12th-grade day school with an unbroken tradition of 100-percent four-year college acceptance. In 2011, its 16 graduates received more than $1.6 million in merit scholarship offers. The school is at 1059 Zachary Taylor Highway, Flint Hill, and online at

– contributed reports

RCHS boys takes two hits in Culpeper

Rappahannock’s varsity boys soccer tallied two losses this week. On Tuesday (March 6), Panthers traveled to Cyclone territory at Eastern View and fell 2-0. Friday night, Panthers hosted Culpeper’s Blue Devils for a 5-1 defeat.

On Friday night, “the boys battled the entire game and scored the last goal of the match with only four seconds remaining on the clock,” said coach James Lofton. “I thought they showed tremendous character. The strength of our team was shown in our chemistry, industriousness, and heart. I have high expectations for the season.”

“So far, the season is actually going really well,” said senior Clayton Hatcher. “Even though we lost our first two games, you can tell we are building something good. Coach Lofton is using a strong system, and I feel like I’m really learning the game of soccer. We are going to be consistently improving as the season goes on.”

“My assistant, Noah Tucker, and I are both very excited to be working with the varsity boys,” Lofton said. “In the first weeks, we have seen great potential. Even more importantly, the boys have shown tremendous effort and willingness to grow and develop. Our goal is for this to be a learning experience—one in which they progress as soccer players, but we also want to redefine what it means to be a member of the community, a servant-leader, and a young man in today’s society. We view soccer (sports) as a medium for affecting lasting positive change—athletically, academically, and in terms of life skills. We don’t expect change to happen overnight. Instead, we’re looking at the experience over the long-haul. John Wooden said: ‘In looking forward, I never expected miracles to happen. Instead I expected the slow, steady progress that comes with industry and patience. Miracles were welcome, of course. I just felt more comfortable focusing on that over which I had some degree of control. Miracles were under Someone Else’s control.’”

This Friday (March 16), Panthers will be on the road to Skyline for a 7 p.m. kick off.

– M.D.

Girls soccer plays hard in losses to Cyclones, Blue Devils

Last week Lady Panthers soccer played one home and one away game. Tuesday’s match (March 6) brought Eastern View Cyclones to Rappahannock for a 1-0 Panther loss. Friday’s match (March 9) took the ladies to Culpeper for a confrontation with the Blue Devils that resulted in a 3-0 Panther defeat.

“We were on the negative end of the score,” said coach Rich Hogan, “but the girls played hard in both matches. That kind of effort matters because coaches use scrimmages to evaluate talent and positions. This year, we have a good turnout of girls for both JV and Varsity squads with 34 girls participating. They are still a young squad with only five seniors and the balance being underclassman.

“So far, we are putting together a strong defense and trying to find our identity on offense,” Hogan said. “We had many more shots on goal against Eastern View. Then, on a very chilly Friday night, Culpeper showed they were an experienced and disciplined team. We almost held them to only two goals with them scoring the third with under three min left in match.”

“We lost 3-0,” said senior Bryn Sonnett, “but I think we were pretty organized. We felt pretty confident about the game and held them off for quite a while. We were proud of that. They were really quick, making give and go passes down the side. We cut that off, and then it was easier to hold them back. We had to work together as a team, a lot.”

Lady Panthers prowl into Panther Stadium this Friday night (March 16) to take on Skyline. Game time is 7 p.m.

– M.D.

Panthers baseball: ‘We are going to hit it really hard this week’

The Panther baseball team stepped up to the plate for a preseason scrimmage last Friday (March 9). Rappahannock hosted the Culpeper Blue Devils for some strong competition that posted an 8-2 defeat.

“Although it was a loss,” coach Jason Kezele said, “it was a good opportunity to get the boys out in front of good, live pitching. We did not rack up a lot of hits; however, I saw a lot of good fundamentally sound swings and a few hard hit balls. Timing will come with more practice. All four of our pitchers (Brandon Walker, Garfield Burke, Dylan Hitt, Bradlee Frye) did well, striking out a couple and limiting the walks. Nerves appeared to play a part in the game, and that gave way to a number of errors which can be easily corrected. We will start working on that today.”

Junior pitcher Garfield Burke noted that same mixture of encouragement and disappointment. “We started off strong in the first couple of innings,” he said. “Our pitching was good. They caught on to our switches and our strategies. Then, everything kind of turned around for the bad. We let off a lot of runs and most of our hitting was off. We didn’t get our first run until fifth inning.”

“We are going to hit it really hard this week,” Burke said, “and we will work more on hitting. Our defense is pretty good, so we’ll probably be in the batting cages a lot.”

Panthers are gearing up to challenge Colonial Beach. The home game begins at 5 p.m. on Friday, March 16.  

– M.D.