School & sports news for Jan. 10

Clean sweep for Panthers

Panthers became dominators Monday night (Jan. 7) when the Rappahannock County High School Quiz Bowl team traveled to William Monroe for a Bull Run District competition. In three matches, the team swept their opponents.

Five scholars cut their Christmas break short to catch the bus with head coach Dave Naser and assistant coach Brad Weeks. Senior Case Kramer served as captain with teammates Zach Huff, Trevor Achilles and James MacLeod starting, with Henry Mason as backup.

Central Woodstock opposed Rappahannock first. “The match started out fairly even,” said Naser, “but we had a 90-50 lead after round one, and we were never behind. In round two, the team round, the score was 80 for Rapp and 20 for Central. So, with a 100 point lead, Henry replaced Trevor for round three. Despite two incorrect interruptions, we outscored Central by 35 in that round, for a lopsided score of 250-115.”

In the second match, the Panthers took on the Madison Mountaineers. Madison got off to a quick start on the first two questions, but then Huff answered five of the next six questions correctly to end the round with a 90-60 lead. The team round was almost even. “In round three, we thoroughly outscored them by a solid 95-20 advantage to end the match at 245 to Madison’s 130,” Naser said.

The third match brought the Strasburg Rams into the competition. “Despite their large team and very attractive purple warm up jackets, they were unable to get anything going,” said Naser. Since we had a large lead after the team round, Henry once again got a chance and the final score was 285 to 85.”

Team stats for the evening showed the impressive results: Huff ran up 200 points, Kramer and MacLeod tallied 60 each, and Achilles scored 50.

Huff’s favorite portion of the night was the second match. “At the end, we had a lead that was vaguely secure. But it felt like we tuned in, paid attention and blazed through the match. It gave us the confidence to lambaste our competition in the third match.”

In an amazing feat of selflessness, senior Trevor Achilles joined his team for this event despite the death of his father the same morning.

“It’s almost a surreal feeling,” Achilles said, “knowing that my dad had just died. But I was willing to push myself to take part in the competition. It was a very emotional night. My team is like a family. You get to know everyone, and you hang out all the time. If it wasn’t for them, I don’t know what I’d do. We have a lot of fun during the matches, helping each other out, talking about everything. The bus ride is even fun.”

In his reflection, Achilles celebrated the team chemistry. “There was no stopping us that night. It was like something extraordinary was going on. We knew we were going to win. The confidence we had was almost indescribable.”

“We did keep the lead the whole time,” Naser said. “It just shows how strong we actually can be.”

“Trevor did fantastically,” said Huff. “I’m really proud of him as a friend and teammate. He handled himself so well.”

The Bull Run District Tournament is Jan. 19 at RCHS, with the first match at 10 a.m. The public is invited.

– Melissa Delcour

Hitt sets wrestling record

In another noteworthy competition, Rappahannock wrestlers traveled to Buffalo Gap for the annual duals last Saturday (Jan. 5), where junior Dylan Hitt set a new school record for all-time victories.

At Madison High School Dec. 22, Hitt tallied his 100th win as a wrestler. His mom, Amy Hitt, surprised her son with a flurry of 100 balloons in the competition area. Apparently, the celebration was a harbinger of more accolades. At the Buffalo Gap Duals, Hitt broke the RCHS record of 103 wins (held by Jeremy Diley) and went on to reset the record at 107.

Ten schools competed in the duals, and throughout the day, every one of the nine Panther wrestlers saw personal improvement, including Alec Gomer (106), David Grove (120), Laylin Brown (126), Zach Armor (145), Dylan Hitt (152), Trey Swindler (170), David Smoot (182), Patrick Foley (195) and Morris Taylor (220).

“We finished eighth overall,” said coach Alex Coffroth, “and they are all improving significantly from the beginning of the season. For example, Laylin wrestled to decision for the first time, and Morris Taylor gets the most improved as he increased his mat-time significantly.”

“I got a major decision in my first match against Wilson Memorial,” Hitt said, “and tied the school record for 103. My next match for my 104 win was against Robert E. Lee, and I pinned him. Then I wrestled another from Roanoke Catholic and tech-falled him for the 105th win. For the Stuart’s Draft kid, I bumped up to 160 and got a major decision with him.”

Stonewall Jackson, Hitt’s last match of the day, was the toughest, by far. “I bumped up to 160 to wrestle that kid,” Hitt said, “and only beat him by a point. It should’ve gone into overtime, but he let me up for some reason. It wasn’t the first time we’d met; I wrestled him at Madison on Dec. 22 and only beat him by two there.”

Coffroth sees more victories ahead. “Dylan has already beaten two of the top six in the state. Right now, he is ranked second in Virginia for 152 pounds.”

Hitt is currently undefeated for this season and celebrated his 107th victory with a simple mission statement: “I want to get 50 wins on the season to break that RCHS record. Then, I want to win districts, regions and states.”

– M.D.

New Honor Society inductees

Ryan Latham, son of Amissville residents Stephen and Dawn Latham, was one of several students inducted into the National Honor and National Junior Honor Societies at a ceremony in November. Ryan is a seventh-grader at Randolph-Macon Academy.

To be inducted, a student must maintain a cumulative GPA above 3.7, perform community service and display evidence of achievement in knowledge, leadership, character and service.

Wakefield sports update

Varsity Girls Basketball: The Wakefield Country Day School Lady Owls hosted the Front Royal Flames for a non-conference game on Jan. 3. Late returns from break left the girl’s roster thin, spotting the Flames an early lead. However, the girls’ defense held the Flames scoreless in the second quarter. The Flames took a 31-30 lead with 3:30 left in the game, but Kim Pankow hit a three-pointer and pulled out a 37-33 victory.

Maeve Dale had a big double-double, scoring a game-high 23 points and grabbing 21 rebounds. Pankow scored 10 points and led the team with eight assists. Makenzie Magaro added four points. Sydney Penza grabbed seven rebounds, while Emily Hennessey contributed five. The girls improved to 7-0 on the season.

The girls were ranked ninth in the Dec. 18 Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Division III girls’ basketball poll. Congratulations to the girls, Coach Pankow and Coach Dale for remaining in the rankings.

Varsity Boys Basketball: The Owls hosted the Front Royal Flames for a non-conference game on Jan. 3, playing with a depleted roster. Daniel Chadduck and Alex Foster gave the boys a 10-6 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Flames held a 24-22 lead at the half, and held a 10 point lead at the start of the fourth. The Owls fought back and cut the lead to four points twice, but the Flames finished strong, winning 54-44.

Foster led the team with 16 points and six rebounds, while Chadduck finished with 11 points, three steals and three assists. Tim Johns contributed six points, three steals and three assists. Sean Brown hit two three-pointers and added three steals. Fred Wang added a season-high five points. The loss dropped the boys’ record to 4-3.