With the regular season finally concluded and all the rainouts and reschedules behind us, Rapp’s athletic teams turned their attention to the postseason — the Rapp River Conference Playoffs in particular.
First up was our varsity track team, who traveled to Northumberland last Thursday to compete in the RRC Track Championship. Competing on a very hot day, our tracksters represented the home county well. Our girls’ team finished third (just missing second) and the boys fourth in a 7-team conference, sending 12 of our athletes to compete in 15 events at the regional meet today (Thursday, May 29) at Charles City.
Individual accomplishments included Julia Estes tying for third in the long jump and taking second in the 100 and 300 meter hurdles; Gavin Jenkins taking fifth in the high jump, fourth in the 1600 (mile) and third in the 3200; A.J. Palmer third in the shot put and discus; Hannah Bennett fourth in the discus; Alicia Stanley fifth in the discus; Jessica Thorne first in the 100 Hurdles and fifth in the 300; Sara Garcia third in the 100 Hurdles and fourth in the 300; Emma Endre second in the 400 and fourth in the 200; Evan Hitt sixth in the 1600; Kayla McGhee third in the 800 and 3200; and Julia Wood launching the defense of her state title with a first place finish in the 1600.
Those athletes will be making the trip to Charles City today, hoping to post times or finishes that will allow them to join Wood, Allen and Endre, all of whom have already qualified for the state championship on June 6-7 at Radford University. It’s been a long, and sometimes strange, trip, but hopefully there will some state gold at the end of it.
Our varsity girls’ soccer team was one of two Rapp teams to earn a home game by virtue of their regular season record, playing host to Luray on Monday (May 26). The game was a thriller, close throughout, but in the end the girls prevailed on the strength of Estes’ goal with about 20 minutes left in the second half. Kudos to Michelle White, Brittany Adams and keeper Jane Purnell for stepping up in crunch time with strong defensive efforts that stopped several Bulldog scoring opportunities. They traveled to George Mason Wednesday night (May 28) for a conference semifinal game (results next week).
In our other home playoff game, Tuesday (May 27), our varsity boys’ soccer team hosted Rapp River Conference opponent Lancaster in a 6 p.m. game. That too was a thriller, with our boys peppering a talented Lancaster goalie early and often to no avail. But they eventually got through, with two goals by Amrit Tamang and one each by Josh Racer and Shane L’Amoreaux, leading to a 4-1 victory. Like the girls, the boys traveled on Wednesday night, facing Washington and Lee High School at a neutral site (Essex High in Tappahannock). Results will be reported next week.
Lastly on Tuesday, varsity baseball and softball made the trek to the Northern Neck, with baseball visiting Rappahannock/Warsaw and softball visiting Essex. Both teams saw their seasons come to a close, dropping their playoff games to their conference foes.
Next Tuesday (June 3), our spring sports teams and athletes will be honored at the 2014 Spring Sports Celebration. Ceremonies begin at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium, with major season and end-of-year awards being presented, and will wrap up with individual team breakout sessions. The public is invited to witness this celebration of our Panthers’ prowess. Awards winners will be noted in next week’s article, along with more playoff updates and news of summer sports activities.
— Jimmy Swindler
WCDS’ athletes of the month for April are Gage Landis and Anna Schuster; Connor Poe and Emily Hennessy are the May honorees.
Landis, a varsity lacrosse player from Front Royal, was the Owls’ leading scorer in March and April (notching four goals) and stepped up his game when the team lost their original leading scorer to an injury. “Gage has really improved his game and is one of the best clearers on the team,” said coach Steve Dowell. “He did a good job handling his added responsibilities when Sam Nolan went out with an injury.”
Haymarket’s Schuster helped the middle school girls’ soccer team earn two wins in April over Front Royal Christian (7-2) and Fresta Valley Christian (6-0), and served as the Owls’ sweeper. “Anna knows when to attack, when to monitor the play and her position on the field is always where it should be,” said coach Nikki Brady. “Her efforts have benefited the team overall.”
Poe, from Marshall, Va., led the middle school lacrosse team in scoring in May with 11 goals and three assists. Poe took over faceoff responsibilities after the injury to Connor Glennon and helped the Owls to victory over Shenandoah Valley South Sabers, Shenandoah Valley North Vipers, Highland School and Culpeper LAX — leading to an undefeated season record of 6-0. “Connor stepped up big time in Glennon’s absence,” said coach Michael O’Heir. “He was directly or indirectly responsible for a high percentage of our goals in the month.”
Varsity soccer’s Hennessy, from Luray, returned from an ankle injury to give her team some much need depth, energizing the offense with her ability to put pressure on the keeper. She scored twice in May, including against the eventual champion Fredericksburg Academy Falcons. She and Alyssa Soldo were the only Lady Owls to score multiple goals on the season. “Emily is a fast, smart and fierce competitor. She has outstanding soccer ball handling and passing skills,” said coach Gustavo Tisera. “Always in position, she possesses a high degree of understanding of space and position. Her competitive spirit and leadership ability has benefited the team.”
Kim Pankow: All-DAC (varsity soccer)
Alyssa Soldo: All-DAC (varsity soccer)
Sam Nolan: First Team
Gage Landis: Honorable mention
Middle school girls’ soccer:
Most Valuable Player: Shayla Nelson
Most Improved Player: Jill Chiu
Coach’s Award: Shannon Kelley
Middle school lacrosse:
MVP: Connor Glennon
Most Improved Player: Alex Smith
Coach’s Award: Connor Poe
Varsity girls’ soccer:
MVP: Alyssa Soldo
Most Improved Player: Tatumn Vaught
Coach’s Award: Kim Pankow
MVP: Sam Nolan
Most Improved Player: Kat Carter
Coach’s Award: Shane O’Heir
Most Valuable Rider: Connor Poe
Most Improved Rider: Gabe Beroza
Instructor’s Award: Emma Cotter
Leonard Cowherd Award winners:
Female: Kim Pankow
Male: Alex Foster
The Chelsea Academy girls’ soccer team finished the year with a win against Holy Family Academy, boosting the team record to 5-0 — the first team in the school’s six-year history to finish undefeated. Led by captains Helena Briggs and Mary Margaret Olohan, the team played their final game before a large crowd of supporters. In the five-game run, Chelsea scored 27 goals and allowed only three.
Three Rappahannock County residents — Woodville’s Hannah Lee (#28), Teresa Lee (#12) and German exchange student Ruth Thalmann (#9) — were also on the team. Lee was the team’s leading scorer, notching 12 goals this season.
“We laid the foundation last year, focusing on technique and positional soccer. This year, picking up where we left off, we were able to play fluid, attacking soccer,” said coach Jacob Guttierrez. “I hope that the girls walk away with the life lesson that a five-yard jog now will save them a 10-yard sprint later. I am very proud of them.”