In an long but rewarding day, Rappahannock County High School’s Scholastic Bowl team played three matches at Colonial Beach High School last weekend, emerging as the Region 1A East champs. The team will travel to the state tournament at the College of William and Mary on Feb. 22.
James MacLeod was elected to first team all-regional, while R.T. Leake was elected to second team. Nick Jett of Rappahannock High in Richmond County was MVP. The eight Panthers who attended received the first-place trophy and medals, and will be recognized at Tuesday’s (Feb. 11) school board meeting.
The event was a six-team double elimination tournament in which Rapp ended up with a first-round bye when Parry McCluer High School of Buena Vista did not show up, reputedly having too few players to field a team. Chincoteague was also a no show due to excessive snow on the Delmarva peninsula, so West Point also skipped the first round before facing off against the Panthers.
Starters for the day were junior captain MacLeod, fellow juniors Jon Streu and Henry Mason, and Leake, a senior. Rapp got off to a slow start in this match but rallied to a 235-165 win. West Point eventually lost to Rappahannock High School to take fourth overall.
After a long break, during which the Panthers worked out some of their nervous energy in a snowball fight, the team faced off against Mathews County. Mathews had won its previous two matches by large margins, scoring more than 300 points per match. In this match, the two teams remained very close in Round 1, with Rapp leading by just five points at the end of the round.
The Round 2 questions were the most difficult of the day, with eight of the 20 going unanswered by both teams. The score remained close in this round, but Mathews ended up 10 points ahead at the end, despite a challenge from coach David Naser. The challenge remained moot, however, as Rapp outscored Mathews 60-30 in the final round for a 175-150 victory.
The Panthers again had to wait as Mathews battled the other Rappahannock to determine who would face the Panthers in the championship match. Mathews beat “the other Rapp” 255-130, giving the loser third place. So the Panthers faced Mathews again, knowing that if Mathews won, they would still have to win a tiebreaker to win first — meaning the Panthers were definitely going to states.
The second Mathews match was close at the beginning again, ending the first round with a narrow 10-point lead for Rapp, after 45 points by MacLeod and 20 by Leake. The starters remained in for the whole match this time and Rapp scored 100 to Mathews’ 60 in Round 2 and outscored Mathews 70-50 in round 3 for a final score of 235-165.
Leake scored another 20 in round 3 and MacLeod 45, with Jon Streu correctly answering his second Bible question of the day to finish the match. Combined tossup scoring for the three matches (since the first one was won by forfeit) was 270 for MacLeod, 75 for Leake, 20 for Streu and 15 for Mason. It is hard to attribute points for the team rounds, but everyone contributed, including Daniel Schlosser; Gabe Hernandez, Nicky Taylor and Joe Gold provided moral support and were ready to come in at any moment.
After the win, congratulations came in from present and former teachers and administrators, as well as 2009 State Championship team captain A.J. Collins, who said he plans to attend the state tournament to offer support. Former superintendent Bob Chappell, now interim principal at Madison High School, said he felt from watching the team earlier in the season that it is the strongest since 2009, and has good prospects for the state tournament.
Naser agreed, thanking all who have supported the team. “It’s just been a really exciting ride so far,” he said, noting that more intense preparation is needed. “This team really has a desire to win, and the realignment has helped. Many of the teams at Colonial Beach had stories to tell about playing the likes of [perennial champions] George Mason and Radford in a first-round match. We don’t know all the teams going to states yet, but we won’t play those two,” he said.
Weather continued to play games with Rapp Athletic schedules, but even with two days canceled last week, Rapp Sports managed to get in some contests and bring home some victories — including a Regional Championship!
In wrestling action, our varsity grapplers saw their match last Wednesday (Jan. 29) at Manassas Park, already rescheduled once, get canceled again due to weather. On Saturday they finally got to take the mat in Warren County at the Bull Run District Championship, coming home not only with some much-needed mat time but some accolades as well. Dylan Hitt took first in his weight class, David Smoot took second and Christian McCracken took third. Several other Rapp wrestlers managed top six placement in their weight class — finishing seventh overall as a team. The Panthers are the only 1A school (the smallest) in a district that features four AA schools and four from the AAA classification.
This Saturday (Feb. 8), our wrestlers will host the first ever Rapp River Conference Wrestling Tournament beginning at 10 a.m. in the high school gym. Weather forecasts for the tournament are not positive, so keep an eye on rappahannockathletics.org for the latest scheduling news. Regardless of what happens with the Conference Tournament, the Rapp Wrestling Squad has already qualified for the Region 1A East Tournament Feb. 14-15 at Parry McCluer High School in Buena Vista. Action starts at 2 p.m. and coaches Coffroth, Kelly and Miller are very optimistic that, by tourney’s end, we will have a large contingent qualified for the state meet (Feb. 21).
In basketball action, our Junior Panther squads had a busy week, getting in some games and bringing home some victories. Last week’s games against Wakefield Country Day were scratched by weather, but on Friday (Feb. XX), J.P. girls traveled to Mt. View Academy and came home with a solid win over a non-conference opponent. In further non-conference action, William Monroe Middle School came to Rapp this past Monday (Feb. XX), with both Panther squads looking to avenge early season losses. J.P. girls opened against an undefeated Dragon squad, playing a tight game throughout but coming up on the short end of a 42-47 score. Coaches Atkins and Smith were proud of the performance however, noting that the first game earlier in the season was a runaway by Monroe and further noting that 41 of Monroe’s 47 points came from their 6-foot star, who had been on a tear all season long.
The J.P. boys’ game was equally thrilling, with Rapp surging to an early double-digit lead only to watch Monroe slowly claw their way back into a tie by halftime. With the score remaining tight until the fourth quarter, Rapp pulled away to an eventual nine-point victory, 42-33, behind a strong defensive press and some great tactical moves by Coaches Sumner and Hanberry. And with that win, the boys extended their win streak to 10 games.
Both J.P. teams were scheduled to host semifinal playoff games yesterday (Wednesday Feb. 5) — the girls faced Wakefield Country Day and boys battled RMA. Both teams will host the VMSC championship tonight (Thursday, Feb. 6): Girls tipoff at 4:30, boys at 5:45 p.m.
That night, trophies will also be presented, including the Regular Season Championship, which both J.P. teams have already earned by virtue of their first place/undefeated finishes in the VMSC regular season. The Rapp Athletic Department urges the county to come to the game tonight and see some thrilling basketball action and evidence of Rapp’s improving fortunes in basketball.
Despite the weather, our varsity teams also got in some games, but are still searching for that elusive district win. Although rescheduled games have resulted in weeks of four games, games on three consecutive nights and even Saturday games, both teams continue to work hard and Coaches Thornhill and Fisher are hopeful that a win is on the horizon. Our varsity squads host Manassas Park tomorrow (Friday, Feb. 7) in the final Bull Run District Home game.
Senior athletes will be honored before tipoff. The last regular-season game is the traditional in-county matchup with Wakefield Country Day, rescheduled for Monday (Feb. 17) — 5 p.m. for the girls, and 6:30 p.m. for the boys. Both of these events promise to be well worth the price of admission and Rapp residents are urged to come out and help us pack the gym for these regular season finales.
As always, the most current schedules and Rapp Athletic news can be found on the athletic website. County residents are invited to check out our website and attend some games, taking the opportunity to show your Panther Pride and support our superb student athletes.
— Jimmy Swindler
Varsity girls basketball: The Wakefield Country Day School Lady Owls hosted Tandem Friends in a Delaney Athletic Conference (DAC) game on Jan. 28. A strong defensive effort gave the Owls (ranked ninth in the most recent VISAA Division III State Poll) an easy 41-19 victory. Maeve Dale had a double-double with 18 points, 14 rebounds, nine steals and six blocks. Kim Pankow scored 13 points, dished out five assists and grabbed eight steals. Julia Weir grabbed 10 rebounds to go along with four points. Emily Hennessey pulled down eight rebounds and contributed six points.
The Lady Owls were back in action the next day (Jan. 29) at Randolph-Macon Academy. The girls jumped on the Yellow Jackets early and scored 15 first-quarter points; the Owls closed out their second straight DAC game with 41-17 victory. Hennessey had her first double-double of the season with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Dale had her second straight double-double, pulling down a season-high 22 rebounds to go along with 10 points and six blocks. Pankow had 11 points, six assists and six steals. Tatumn Vaught grabbed six rebounds and scored two points. Anna Clark added three points.
The Lady Owls’ third game in as many days saw them hosting the DAC-leading Fredericksburg Academy for a critical game on Jan. 30. In a battle of two state-ranked teams, the Owls held a slim 14-13 lead at the half. The Falcons surged ahead in the third quarter, and despite three clutch three-pointers from Hennessy and Dale — and a last-second half-court heave from Pankow — the Falcons clinched the victory, 30-28. The Owls’ record is 6-4 overall and 3-2 in the DAC.
Varsity boys basketball: The Owls traveled to Emmanuel Christian School for a DAC game on Jan. 27, cruising to a 62-34 conference win. Alex Foster led all scorers with 22 points. Tim Johns had 18, while Michael Stone tallied 11. Gage Landis scored four points and Harrison Wells had three (Fred Wang and Max Lilburn also scored).
The Owls were back in action the next night hosting the second-place Badgers from Tandem Friends. Despite a solid first quarter, a rash of turnovers cost the Owls, who lost 45-22. Foster and Wang each grabbed 10 rebounds, but no player scored in double figures.
The Owls hosted the first-place team from Fredericksburg Academy on Jan. 30. The Falcons were hot in warm ups and carried that into the first quarter. Despite a strong effort from the Owls, the Falcons’ speed and athleticism was too much, as they won 63-43. Foster recorded a double-double (11 points, 13 rebounds). Stone scored 10 points, while Sean Brown scored nine. Johns led the team with five assists (and added seven points). Wang pulled downs five rebounds, grabbed three steals and scored a basket. The Owls are 6-4 overall and 3-2 in the DAC.
New school board member Larry Grove and superintendent Donna Matthews attended the Virginia School Boards Association (VSBA) orientation for new board members and superintendents in Richmond on Jan. 28. This one-day orientation is held twice a year and is specifically designed to help new board members and superintendents quickly transition into these important leadership roles.
Matthews reported that the conference “offers a chance for new members to discuss the many roles and responsibilities for board members and superintendents . . . The conference offers the opportunity for new members to network and learn from experts across the state while supporting the overarching themes of teamwork, policy and leadership with other newly elected board members.”
Education leaders from all across the Commonwealth attended the orientation. Topics covered included an overview of the roles and responsibilities of school boards and superintendents, school law, ethics and parliamentary procedure.