School & sports news for Dec. 20

Lady Panthers ride the tide

Lady Panthers’ varsity basketball season is well underway. The girls came away from their early efforts with one victory and a series of losses, but turned the tide this week with a dramatic win.

At home on Tuesday, Rappahannock County High School hosted Fresta Valley Christian Academy and came away with a 54-13 triumph. “We went out with the mindset that this team was one we could really compete with,” said senior Lauren Light. “That attitude helped us play really hard at the beginning.

“When we saw what defense they were in, we knew we had to beat them with passing,” Light said. “I was dishing passes to Maddie [Kopjanski] and Klaire [Gubler]. Between the three of us , we earned 39 points in the first half.”

In the second half, the three starters came out of the game. “The rest of the team came out to play, “ Light said, “and they did really well. It was nice because when we play really tough teams, putting everyone in doesn’t create a learning experience. It’s too much pressure. So, this was a good game scenario. Everyone could play and learn from it. For example, Brittany Adams came up from JV and made some points.”

The Panthers’ first home game on Nov. 28 was also a win. In a scrimmage against Wakefield Country Day School, girls saw a winning score of 29-24. The consecutive contest on Dec 5 against crosstown, AA Culpeper County High School witnessed the Panthers falling 39-33. Even though the ladies held the Devilettes scoreless in the fourth period, Rappahannock could not secure a victory. That night, Lauren Light shot for 16 points, draining a dramatic three-pointer at the buzzer. “The team was upbeat about the outcome and effort early in the season,” coach Rich Hogan said.

Dec 11 brought a Panthers-Devilettes rematch at home. At halftime, the scoreboard read 18-16. The second half saw Culpeper exchange student Celia Escalada, whose preseason comparisons likened her to NBA star Ricky Rubio (both are from Spain), net 17 points. Her teammate Alessha White chipped in 10 for CCHS. For the Panthers, Kopjanski led with 14, and Light contributed nine. Both showdowns with CCHS were “hard-fought, physical and fast paced,” said Hogan. “We were pleased with the team effort.”

Following the strong season start, the Lady Panthers fell at home to Manassas Park (35-22) on Dec 12 and succumbed to the Strasburg Rams (60-37) on Dec 14.

With a challenging Bull Run District schedule ahead, the ladies have many veteran players on which to lean. The Panther varsity squad is led by three captains: seniors Light and Peyton Bailey, and junior Kopjanski. Ashley Allen is the only other senior on the squad. Others returning to the team are junior Lily Endre and her sister, sophomore Emma Endre. Classmates joining Emma as returning sophomore players are Jane Purnell, Klaire Gubler and Alisha Stanley.

This year’s roster has nine athletes making up the varsity team and 15 girls on junior varsity. “The junior varsity squad is something that RCHS has been without for four or five seasons,” said Hogan.

The Panthers’ next challenge was last night, Dec. 19, at home against Clarke County. Results in next week’s paper.

– Melissa Delcour

Senior is scholarship semifinalist

Wakefield Country Day School senior Marc Cugnon has been named a semifinalist in the Coca-Cola Scholars Program.

“Because so few of the total number of applicants (nearly 111,000) for the Coca-Cola Scholars Program are advanced as Semifinalists, we consider this an outstanding achievement,” said Mark Davis, president of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, in his message to Cugnon. “As one of 2,000 Semifinalists, we hope that you see your selection as an affirmation of your ability to distinguish yourself academically and personally.”

Senior Marc Cugnon.
Senior Marc Cugnon.

Cugnon, of Flint Hill, now has six weeks to complete his semifinalist application. Wakefield’s college counselor, Marsha Dowell, said, “Marc is an exceptional young man. He has strived for academic excellence throughout high school and he will most definitely leave a lasting mark on the academic community.”

If Cugnon successfully makes it to the next round, he’ll attend the Coca-Cola Scholars Weekend in Atlanta in April and will interview for one of 50 National Scholar awards of $20,000. The remaining 200 Scholars will receive Regional Scholar awards valued at $10,000.

State ranking for Wakefield girls

Sophomore varsity girls’ co-captain Mave Dale.
Sophomore varsity girls’ co-captain Mave Dale.

Wakefield Country Day School’s varsity girls basketball team is ranked number eight in division III schools in a poll released Dec. 11 by the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association.

This is the second time in three years that the girls’ team has achieved a state ranking, as the 2010-11 team stayed in the state top 10 for a number of weeks. The team starters are senior Makenzie Magaro; juniors Emily Hennessy, Kim Pankow and Sydney Penza; and sophomore Maeve Dale. The Owls are coached by Ann Pankow, with assistance from James Dale.

Senior varsity girls’ co-captain Makenzie Magaro.
Senior varsity girls’ co-captain Makenzie Magaro.

“Dr. Dale and I are proud of the girls being ranked so high at the beginning of our season. We are very fortunate to have all our starters back from last year. The depth of our bench has also improved from last year with the addition of many good basketball players. We look forward to watching the girls strive to achieve an even higher ranking by February.” Dale echoed those thoughts and added that “we are too experienced to be satisfied now.”

Junior varsitygirls’ co-captain Kim Pankow.
Junior varsitygirls’ co-captain Kim Pankow.

“Naturally, we are proud of our girls,” said Athletic Director Mike Costello. “This ranking is a reflection of the hard work and dedication of the girls to develop a more well-rounded team.”

WCDS is one of three Delaney Athletic Conference (DAC) schools currently ranked in the state top 10. The others are Fredericksburg Academy and Wakefield School.

Wakefield sports update

Varsity Girls Basketball: The Wakefield Country Day School Lady Owls won on the road at Saint Michael the Archangel High School for a Delaney Athletic Conference (DAC) game on Dec. 10. Maeve Dale had another double-double with a game-high 28 points and 12 rebounds. Kim Pankow scored 16 and led the team with eight steals and seven assists. Makenzie Magaro scored eight points and and notched five steals, Julia Weir had double figure rebounds with 10 boards, and added six points. Vista Vyas pulled down seven rebounds, as did Mary Leskovec. The girls cruised to a 66-32 DAC win.

The Lady Owls hosted Randolph-Macon Academy in a DAC game on Dec. 11, winning 50-23 and holding the Yellow Jackets scoreless for almost eight minutes in the third quarter. Dale led all scorers with 20 points in three quarters of play. Emily Hennessy led the team with 11 rebounds, while Pankow and Magaro had six steals apiece. The girls’ record is 5-0 overall and 3-0 in the DAC on the season.

Varsity Boys Basketball: The Owls hosted Front Royal Christian School on Dec. 6, winning 51-30. Daniel Chadduck had a game-high 23 points to go along with five steals and rebounds. Alex Foster scored nine points, had five rebounds and four assists. Tim Johns had six points and five steals. Sean Brown hit two 3-pointers, while Sam Lilburn scored six points and had five blocked shots.

The Owls then traveled to play Saint Michael the Archangel High School for a DAC game on Dec. 10, notching a 71-33 victory. Lilburn had a breakout game off the bench, scoring a career-high 24 points. Chadduck and Foster scored 17 and 13, respectively, while Sean Brown contributed seven first half points. Johns, Jerry Li, Michael Stone and Fred Wang all scored in the game.

The Owls hosted Tandem Friends School in a DAC game on Dec. 11, pulling out a 47-37 win. Lilburn had another big game with a double-double, scoring 11 points and adding 10 rebounds. Foster was in double figures with 12 points and had six rebounds. Their record is 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the DAC.

Varsity Swimming: The Owls traveled to Fredericksburg Academy for a meet on Dec. 7. Rachel DuMez took first place in the 100 Breaststroke and 200 IM, Lucas DuMez took second in the 100 Freestyle and Conor O’Heir in 100 Backstroke.