Cross country surges ahead

Last Wednesday (Sept. 5), Panther varsity cross country pushed through a hot, humid day to first place wins for the boys and girls teams who faced Luray and Fresta Valley.

“Our course is the hardest course in the district because it’s so hilly,” said race winner Shane L’Amoreaux (20:24). “I started out running quickly and just tried to keep going with the pace. After the first mile, I was ahead of everyone and tried to keep my speed the best I could. I pushed really hard on some of the uphills. By the end, I was slowing. But it didn’t matter much by then because everyone was far behind me. I was tired near the finish, but it was very cool to win it. This was my first cross country race!”

L’Amoreaux shared his celebratory attitude with his teammates. “In no way was our victory just me. It was a team effort. Everyone did really well that day. We obliterated the other teams.”

The Lady Panther runners had much to trumpet, as well. Freshman Julia Wood earned her first place applause with a time of 22:20. Her teammate, sophomore Kayla McGhee, finished fourth with 26:14.

Well into the race, McGhee had a realization. “When I looked at my watch and saw how much time I had left, I was like, ‘I got this!’ My dad was there, and that really inspired me. It meant a lot to me for him to come out. He’s been through a lot from breaking his hip, and for him to be standing there was big.”

“For the first time in a long time, boys and girls both beat all their opponents,” said coach James Sharpe. “It was good feeling. They were excited.”

Dramatic volleyball win

In a thrilling five-game match against Eastern View High School last Wednesday (Sept. 5), Lady Panthers stirred their hometown crowd with a dramatic 3-2 win.

“We didn’t start off so strong, but we picked up our energy,” said junior hitter Kaitlyn Jenkins. “The crowd really helped with our enthusiasm. Their cheering got us pumped up.”

Jenkins touted her teammates’ performances as key to the win. “Amber Dodson did great on the back row to get all the digs up. Maddie Kopjanski was doing well, too. Our front row had a bunch of blocks. Me, Kathleen Forrest and Maddie had a couple each. It’s always fun seeing the ball go down on the other team’s face. There’s always that slight notion of feeling like a beast.”

Football continues improving

Panther Stadium witnessed a football revival of sorts last Friday (Sept. 7) against St. John’s. Even with the 44-26 loss, Rappahannock struck momentum that will carry into this week’s play.

“This was the offensive line’s best game so far,” said senior Matt Lombardi. “Our line created holes for us, pushed St. John’s downfield, and allowed me to get 100 yards in rushing.

“Our guys were on their game, that’s what they were,” Lombardi said. “Logan Vest scored two touchdowns right up the middle. He was beast! Grayson Love had 41 yards rushing. Britt Hipple was blowing up their center the entire game. Jacob Devine had the best game I’ve ever seen him play. Just outstanding. If we cut out a few mistakes we make, we will win every time.”

Coach Rowdy Stump echoed Lombardi’s take on the team. “We see progress on a weekly basis. We just need to stay healthy and continue this growth. We are gaining confidence. The fan support has been wonderful, and it matters more than words can explain.”