School & sports news for Oct. 23

The AD’s report

With fall regular seasons nearing their end, our Rapp sports teams are wrapping up their seasons on a positive note, preparing for further play in the postseason.

Varsity cross country leads the news this week, with the girls’ team claiming victory last week in a Bull Run District meet and several individuals running for glory last Saturday at the prestigious Milestat Meet. In last Wednesday’s (Oct. 15) meet at home against Madison, once again Gavin Jenkins and Julia Wood took respective firsts in their races and the girls team took the team victory on the added strengths of Emily Allen, Emma Endre, Kaitlyn Fisher and Brooke Athelli, who finished second, third, sixth and 10th, respectively.

Photo: Middle school, top slot | By Susanna McNear Members of Rappahannock County’s Junior Panther cross-country team — first in the Valley Middle School Conference regular-season point total and VMSC tournament champs — pose with trophies and coaches James Sharpe (left) and Mark Ramey (right), including (seated, from left): Luke Ellis, Nick Barnes, Savannah Hensley and Skylar Culbertson, and (standing between the coaches) Sam Barnes, Cassia Gainer, Mackensie Haunold, Danielle Frye and Lillian Jenkins. More school and sports news on page 9.
Members of Rappahannock County’s Junior Panther cross-country team — first in the Valley Middle School Conference regular-season point total and VMSC tournament champs — pose with trophies and coaches James Sharpe (left) and Mark Ramey (right), including (seated, from left): Luke Ellis, Nick Barnes, Savannah Hensley and Skylar Culbertson, and (standing between the coaches) Sam Barnes, Cassia Gainer, Mackensie Haunold, Danielle Frye and Lillian Jenkins. Susanna McNear

In the Milestat Race last Saturday (Oct. 18), featuring thousands of runners from across the state, Julia Wood finished eighth in the varsity A race; Emily Allen, third, and Gavin Jenkins, 10th in the varsity B race, and Mackenzie Haunold, Skylar Culbertson and Sam Barnes first, 12th and fourth, respectively, in the middle school race. Rapp’s varsity runners hosted the Bull Run District (BRC) XC Championship on Wednesday (Oct. 22) this week (results to come in next week’s article) and will travel to Washington and Lee High School in Montross next Wednesday (Oct. 29) to compete in the Rapp River Conference Championship — the first step on the road to states!

Volleyball had a light week last week, with just one game at William Monroe. Our junior varsity squad cemented their first-place position in the BRD standings with a victory, although varsity fell short in their efforts against the second-place Dragons of Greene County. Both teams had two games this week, Tuesday against Warren County and Thursday against Central, with J.V. looking to finalize their first-place season and varsity hoping to lock up a third- or fourth-place finish in the district, which give them the right to host a BRD playoff game next Tuesday at 7.

Tonight’s volleyball game with Central will be Senior Night for volleyball and cross country, with seniors and their escorts honored just before the varsity game, at approximately 7 p.m. Be sure to come out and congratulate these teams on a job well done this season and cheer them on as they strive for continued success in the postseason.

Varsity football traveled to Quantico last Friday and fell just short of achieving that elusive victory, falling 7-19 to the Quantico squad. Coaches and players are preparing for the season’s home finale this Friday at 7 against John Paul High School, with our football and band seniors being honored just before kickoff, at approximately 7 p.m.

Junior Panther volleyball wrapped up their season last week, advancing to the championship game of the Valley Middle School Conference (VMSC) tourney and falling to county competitor Wakefield Country Day School in a thrilling three set match. Despite dropping the championship game, their first loss of the season, the squad is deservedly proud of the regular season champion and tournament runner up trophies that they brought back to the Rapp trophy case. Coach Whorton had nothing but praise for her team and looks forward to next year, as they hope to continue with the success of this year.

Junior Panther soccer wrapped up their season as well last week, falling to Fresta Valley in a VMSC semifinal playoff game last Friday at home. Coach Paratore is justly proud of his team’s accomplishments this season, racking up three wins with a very young squad, and promises improvement in the seasons to come.

Junior Panther football dropped a game this past Monday to the Trojans of Buford Middle, putting forth great effort but just not able to match the speed and size of the visiting team. Coach Whorton’s team will take the home field for the final time this season on Monday, hosting Locust Grove, and hopes that our fans will fill the bleachers for the final football game of the 2014 season. A welcome addition to the home J.P. football games has been the appearance of the Junior Panther Cheer Squad, who have added some pep and vitality to the crowd with their synchronized cheers and overall ebullience.

As always, the latest Rapp sports news and schedules can be found on the athletics website ( Stay in touch and make plans to see our student athletes in action soon!

Jimmy Swindler

WCDS sports update

Middle school girls’ volleyball: The Wakefield Country Day School team came from behind to beat the previously undefeated Panthers of Rappahannock County, 2-1, in the VMSC championship on Oct. 17. Not intimidated by the Panthers’ power-service game, the Lady Owls played a tough first set but fell 25-22. The Panthers kept the lead for most of the second set, but the girls kept digging and battling.

With the Panthers holding set and match point, Lucy Clark served for WCDS. Along with strong play by teammates Anna Schuster, Eva Parios, Lily Shahida, Shannon Kelly and Elizabeth Burns, Clark’s serves led to several hard-earned points for the Lady Owls. Momentum shifted on a closely fought point with lots of digs, key saves and strong play by both teams.

The Owl girls ended up winning the second set, 26-24. In the third and final set, the Lady Owls did all the scoring early, with several aces and key service points by sixth graders Shayla Nelson and Mari Tisera against a strong Panther squad. Head coach Ann Pankow watched her girls ride their momentum to victory, playing as a team, passing, setting and hitting their way to victory.

Varsity boy’s soccer: The Owls hosted Saint Michael the Archangel for a nonconference game on Oct. 16. The boys parlayed a 3-1 lead at the half into an 8-2 win, scoring four second-half goals and getting an “own goal” when a ball went into the net off a Warriors’ defender. Tim Johns scored five goals; Gage Landis and Chris O’Heir scored a goal each. Spencer Bryan and Joe Dowell were credited with assists. The team is 2-5 in the Delaney Athletic Conference (DAC), 5-7 overall.

Varsity volleyball: The Lady Owls fought hard but fell to Foxcroft School on Oct. 14 in five sets. The girls won the first set convincingly, 25-13. Foxcroft edged out the girls in the second, 25-20. Foxcroft won the third set, 25-14. The girls dug down and pulled out the fourth set with a 25-22 win, but Foxcroft controlled the fifth, 15-6, and won the match 3-2.

On Oct. 16, the Lady Owls hosted Riverfront Christian for their Dig Pink match, a combined J.V./varsity match with both squads mixing together to face the young Rams. The first set was close, as the girls had several hitting errors, then Carolina Leonard served three aces and gave the girls an 11-7 lead that they never relinquished. Anna Clark had back-to-back aces and four serving points before a Rams’ kill stopped her, but the girls led 16-8. Maeve Dale served an ace, got a kill from Tatum Vaught and took the set to set point before Shahida subbed for her and the girls won, 25-13. Kendall Carroll added two aces in the set, and Dale had two other aces. The girls also got a kill from Clark.

The second set was much closer, as Coach Zylonis mixed in more J.V. players. The girls won the set 25-16, with Lily Shahida and Kendall Carroll contributing aces, Schuster serving two aces and Eva Parios making two kills. In the third set, the Lady Owls took an early lead on two aces each by Shahida and Carroll. With kills from Burns, Kat Cater and Schuster and three more aces by Shahida on the last three points of the set, they took the set 25-17 and the match 3-0. The team’s record is 10 -6 overall and 1-3 in the DAC.

VISA fully accredits Belle Meade

Sperryville’s Belle Meade School has scored yet another success — accreditation and full approval of both academic and financial policies by the Virginia Independent Schools Administration (VISA).

Announced this month following a year-long, rigorous examination of the curriculum, parent participation, school board role, policies, procedures and a financial audit, the accreditation team expressed approval of the school and its mission of integrating academic excellence and sustainable living for the benefit of its students.

“We were highly gratified that the VISA review committee appreciated the fact that Belle Meade’s college-preparatory curriculum focuses on our mission of integrating academic excellence and sustainable living and also found our students to be articulate, knowledgeable and willing to express themselves,” said head of school Susan Hoffman. “It required substantial documentation and was a very long, complex and thorough process; we are delighted with the results which validate all our academic programs, staff and business operations.”

VISA officials said they were impressed that “the school has the unique ability to offer its students a daily, direct involvement in a working farm as part of their school experience. Belle Meade School is to be commended for their hard work and dedication and to making their school a nurturing community with a family atmosphere.”

Hoffman and her husband, Michael Biniek, established the school in 2007 at Belle Meade Farm in a historic restored and renovated 1914 Sperryville school house on F.T. Valley Road, which they relocated from roadside onto the farmland. The school originally served grades six through nine, but in 2010, in response to requests, the curriculum was expanded through 12th grade.

Belle Meade students regularly excel in their studies, and the school recently celebrated with its first graduate, David Gerrish III, of Warrenton, a student for six years who is currently attending St. Mary’s College in Maryland, pursuing a degree in physics.

RCES to Big Meadows

Sixty-three fourth-graders from Rappahannock County Elementary School went on an October field trip to Big Meadows in Shenandoah National Park. The curriculum-based field trip is one of the free ranger-guided programs available for grades two through six that directly supports the Virginia Science Standards of Learning and the National Science Education Standards. As part of this program, classroom teachers are provided pre- and postvisit activities to be used in lesson plans.

“I have been so impressed with the park’s educational programs, taking RCES fifth-graders each year to study geology for the fifth-grade science SOL,” said RCES fourth-grade teacher chair Chuck Way. “Our teachers decided to take our three classrooms to participate in their “Ecosystems: World-Wide Web of Life” program that is centered around one of the science SOLs for fourth grade.”

The bus was met at the Byrd Visitor Center at Big Meadows by a head ranger and four interpretive rangers with backpacks. The children were divided into four smaller groups to go on a nature hike with several stops. At each stop, the ranger brought activities out of the backpack to help kids learn about ecosystems, habitats and adaptations to life. In their exploration of the natural ecosystem at Big Meadows, the children were able to begin to make connections between natural and human communities.

“The rangers were fantastic,” agreed fourth grade teacher Kelly Estes. “It was an amazing program, and it is so incredible that this Shenandoah program is free to our students!”

After the two-hour program at Big Meadows, the children enjoyed lunch at the Pinnacles Picnic Grounds on Skyline Drive.

— Rose Ann Smythe

About Staff/Contributed 5589 Articles
The Rappahannock News welcomes contributions from any and all members of the community. Email news and photos to or call us at 540-675-3338.