School & sports news for Sept. 11

The AD’s report

With summer giving us a (hopefully) final blast of heat last week, Rapp athletics matched the weather, turning in some red hot performances and bringing home some wins.

Varsity cross county, off this week, led the way last Wednesday with a searing victory by the girls’ team over larger 2A and 3A neighbors Culpeper and Eastern View. Julia Wood (running in her first race of the season) and Emily Allen turned in sweltering one-two finishes, leading from the starting gun, with Emily bettering her first-place time from last week by more than 90 seconds.

Wood finished with a time of 20:15, with Allen close behind at 20:41; teammates Emma Endre, Kayla McGhee and Katelyn Fisher sealed the team’s victory with their respective fifth, seventh and 10th place finishes. Endre and Fisher also both knocked multiple minutes off their previous week’s times.

On the boys side, Gavin Jenkins took first with a time of 18:18. Several of his teammates — Andrew Kopjanski, Evan Marcus and Jake Demory — reduced their previous week’s times by substantial margins. Victory eluded the boys team, but running against larger schools will certainly pay dividends in the victory column later in the year during conference events.

J.P. cross country also faced larger schools last week, running against 2A Luray and 3A William Monroe. The boys’ team took first place, led by Sam Barnes’ first-place finish and then by brother Nick’s sixth place and Luke Ellis’ seventh-place results.

On the girls’ side, top honors again went to the Rapp team, led by Mackenzie Haunold’s first-place finish and ably supported by the third- and fourth-place finishes of Savannah Hensley and Skylar Culbertson. Both teams ran this past Tuesday on the Blue Rock Course in a Valley Middle School Conference Invitational. (Results in next week’s column.)

Moving indoors, our varsity volleyball team went 1-2 on the week, trouncing Bull Run opponent Manassas Park in straight sets at home on Tuesday and then falling to defending district champ Madison on Thursday and then again to defending conference champ Northumberland on Friday.

Coach Courtney Atkins was disappointed with the losses but not with how the girls played, noting that their intensity was high and the losses were close, with one victory earned in each match. Losing starter Ellie Young to an injury the week before facing Clarke upset the rotation, but the team made adjustments and looks forward to her return this week, as they host three games on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday (Sept. 12). (Results in next week’s article.)

The J.V. volleyball squad saw its win streak stopped at four, defeating Manassas Park and Madison, but falling in two close games to Northumberland on Friday. Coach Seth Wyatt expects his team to be back on the winning track this week as they also host games Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.

Junior Panther volleyball opened its season last week at King George, traveling to the much larger middle school and coming home with a strong victory. Led by the serving of Hannah East, Danielle Adams, Megan Dodson and Alicia Whorton, and complemented by the terrific passing and on-point setting of Olivia Atkins, the J.P. squad put forth a strong showing and looks forward to doing more of the same for the home crowd this week. Our J.P. girls played Wakefield Tuesday (Sept. 9) and host William Monroe tonight (Thursday, Sept. 11) and then Fresta Valley tomorrow (Friday, Sept. 12). (Results in next week’s article.)

Varsity football had its second home game of the season, but came up on the short against a strong George Mason squad. An injury to quarterback Aaron Dodson took him out of the game in the second quarter and our varsity squad just couldn’t get back in sync afterward. Ben Montgomery did gain some positive yardage and first downs on the ground but highlights were few for our Panthers on that night.

The team travels to Cumberland tomorrow (Friday, Sept. 12) and then returns to Panther Stadium next Saturday (Sept. 20) for a rare afternoon game, with kickoff at 3 p.m. Coach Mark Heinle looks forward to seeing the Rapp faithful in the stands and promises that improvement is coming.

Our Junior Panther football team went on the road last week, traveling to Frederick, Md. They put some points on the board but not enough to overcome those they gave up early in the game. Coach Dave Whorton was pleased with the performance, especially in the second half, and while he knows they have a tall order in their next few games (all against bigger schools), he is optimistic that this rapidly maturing squad will tally a mark in the victory column before season’s end.

The J.P. boys’ soccer team had its home opener Monday night (Sept. 8), prevailing, 4-3, over Wakefield Country Day School in a very exciting and competitive game. The Panthers’ defense, led by Ben Kopjanski, did an outstanding job and the offense came through with two goals by Matthew Paratore, one by Jonathan Jenkins and one by Mark Hensley. Coach Paul Paratore reported that the entire team showed excellent teamwork and sportsmanship. J.P. soccer returns to action Wednesday (Sept. 17) when they travel to Riverfront Christian in Front Royal.

As always, the Rapp athletic department invites you to one of our home events — J.P. volleyball tips off at 4:30 today, while a volleyball tripleheader begins at 4:30 tomorrow. As always, the latest Rapp athletic news and schedules can be found on

Go Rapp!

Jimmy Swindler

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