School and sports news for Feb. 5

STEAM and stream at Belle Meade

Belle Meade science teacher John Glass, right, works with students on the school’s Kilby Run stream quality assessment project.
Belle Meade science teacher John Glass, right, works with students on the school’s Kilby Run stream quality assessment project. Courtesy photo

This year, Belle Meade School is integrating a S.T.E.A.M component (science, technology, engineering, art/design and math) into the school’s curriculum. Throughout each semester, middle and high school students will be working on experiential group projects that focus on hands-on, real-world situations and questions. For example, students are currently working on a “Kilby Run Stream Quality Assessment” project that spans all subjects: science, math, humanities, language arts and art. They will be collecting and assessing data from Kilby Run stream (which passes through Belle Meade Farm) and analyzing the impact that the farm has on stream quality. The data collection will include: invertebrate samples, water flow/velocity and volume, discharge, streamside vegetation, oxygen and pH content, clarity, and temperature.

In addition to the typical data collection and analysis, the students will publish their results and present their findings publicly. This will include a formal scientific paper, regular press releases and a group presentation which utilizes audio, visual and tactile elements shown both locally and regionally. The primary objective of this project is for students to learn how to work together on a meaningful task that relates and contributes to their community as well as the world around them.

Anyone interested in learning more about this project and the programs at Belle Meade should contact director Susan Hoffman at 540-987-8970, or arrange a visit to the campus at 353 F.T. Valley Road, Sperryville.

The AD’s report

Losing two more days of games and practice to the weather did not stop our Rappahannock County Panthers from continuing to garner wins and gather momentum for the coming postseason tourneys, with teams and individuals added to the win tallies across the board.

Varsity basketball takes the top of the column this week, with both teams having the best week in recent years’ team history. Varsity girls broke into the win column with not one but two Bull Run District wins over the past week, both on the road, while the boys added another District win, also on the road and against a 3A team!

Last Friday, our girls’ team traveled to Madison County where they took their second victory of the season over the Mountaineers and then they put on a repeat of that performance this past Tuesday on the road at Manassas Park, taking a convincing 56-25 win over 3A opponent Manassas Park. Sandwiched in between was a game effort against perennial state contender George Mason, which saw the Lady Panthers fall short on the score but score high in heart and hustle. With three District victories now under their belts, the Lady Panthers are poised to surprise some opponents in the upcoming postseason tournaments.

Julia Estes and Kayla Robey led the way, with Estes garnering a double double at Madison, putting up 17 points and snaring 10 rebounds, and Robey leading the Panthers Saturday night against Mason with 19 points and four steals. Then at Manassas Park, Robey took the points lead with 21 while Estes recorded another double double — 15 points and 13 rebounds. In keeping with the team effort that has brought them success all season, Katherine Fisher contributed 16 points and Robey and Klaire Gubler had eight each in the Madison contest, with Estes adding 11 rebounds. Brooklyn Phillips had five points and four rebounds in the Mason event and then 9 points at Manassas Park, and starter Hannah Bennett continued to contribute with her fierce defense as she has all season long.

Tuesday night our girls hosted Clarke (results too late for this article); on Friday (Feb. 6), they will have their final home District event, hosting the Manassas Park Cougars at 6:15 p.m. Our seniors will be honored on Friday and Rapp hoops fans will want to be in attendance for what promises to be a special evening.

On the boys side, Coach Atkins’ Panthers suffered from the lack of practice and saw the short end of the score last Wednesday and again Friday against Mason and Madison — but they then notched their second District win of the season, taking it to the Cougars of Manassas Park on the road Monday night. Again the Panthers have benefited from a team effort, with leading scorer Bradlee Frye continuing to pour in the points and teammates Josh Racer, Gavin Jenkins and Jackson Stricker proving to be quality complements from both two- and three-point range, and A.J. Palmer, Justin Ramey and Gary Jenkins pounding the paint in the lanes. And in addition to his usual points contribution, senior Frye snared an amazing 19 rebounds Monday night at Manassas Park, showing his prowess on the boards as well as around the basket.

Our varsity boys traveled to Clarke on Wednesday night and host Manassas Park Friday (Feb. 6) as the second game of a two-game varsity doubleheader, boys tipping off at approximately 7:45. As with the girls’ team, Friday will be our boys’ Senior Night and, again, Rapp fans will not want to miss the game and the presentations beforehand, honoring seniors who have worked for so long to bring Rapp basketball back to the competitive level it now finds itself.

Teaser Alert! Serious hoops fans will want to be on hand Friday to witness not only the game but also some Rapp basketball history as Bradlee Frye continues to add to his growing career points total.

Our JV girls ended their season Tuesday night with their final regular season game against Clarke. Coach Whorton’s young team may not have gotten many wins but they proved their mettle and achieved their purpose, preparing our girls for competition at the varsity level while managing to get a District win in the process. Varsity Coach Burley looks forward to seeing these young ladies continue their contributions to our basketball program in the seasons to come.

On the Junior Panther half of the hardwood, our J.P. boys have continued to add wins to their undefeated season — again undefeated, losing two games last week to the weather but picking up victories over Luray and then Peter Muhlenburg in their final tuneups for the VMSC tourney. The girls’ teams saw two close losses in the same timeframe, dropping a game on the road to Luray and then losing a nail biter to the Patriots of Peter Muhlenburg last Friday at home.

Both J.P. teams are the No. 1 seed in the VMSC tourney and hosted semifinal games this past Tuesday (results too late for this article). Expectations are high that both teams will host the VMSC championship today (Thursday, Feb. 5), with the girls tipping off at 5:30 and the boys at 7. Again, the Rapp faithful will not want to miss basketball history in the making as our girls seek to repeat as conference champs and the boys look for a three-peat in the title game.

Good luck to our Scholastic Bowl team, which travels to Colonial Beach this Saturday (Feb. 7) for the Region 1A East Championship Tourney. First questions will be posed at noon and coaches Naser and Weeks have been honing our teams’ skills and knowledge as they seek to successfully defend their regional title as they did several weeks ago at the conference level.

Wrestling finally got in some mat time, with our varsity and J.P. squads taking the mat at home last Wednesday and then varsity competing in the Bull Run Tournament last Saturday at Warren County. Coach Nicodemus was very pleased with his J.P. squad’s final effort, seeing continuation of the success they have had all season. Notable performances by Sam Barnes and Brandon Wood highlighted a successful season which saw our young grapplers show positive growth that will serve them well as they rise to the varsity level.

On the varsity level, Rapp’s team defeated Central and William Monroe at home last Wednesday, losing only to Madison and dropping that match only by 10 points. On Saturday the Panthers, the only 1A school in a nine-team District that features four 2A and four 3A schools, finished ahead of both 3A Central and 2A George Mason. Wrestlers Hunter Nicodemus, Christian McCracken and David Smoot all achieved all-district status by virtue of their finishes.

Wrestling fans will want to be in the Rapp gym this Saturday (Feb. 7) as our teams hosts the first-ever Rapp River Conference Championship. Rapp will be competing against four other 1A schools (Lancaster, Northumberland, W&L and Essex) and the day will give a good preview of performances to come in the march to the state meet. Wrestling starts at about 9:30 so make plans to come by the school and see some serious high school grappling!

Winter sports are almost behind us so be sure to plan to come by the gym this week, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, for some final chances to see our Rapp Athletes in action. Remember, all the latest scores and current schedules can be found on the Rapp Athletic Website at

 Go Rapp!

— Jimmy Swindler