From contributed reports
Normally, Feb. 7 is not a great date to head for the beach. This time, though, despite a few rough waves, it worked well for the Panthers Scholastic Bowl team as they traveled to Colonial Beach High School and brought back the VHSL Region 1-A Championship trophy.
After winning the Conference 43 Tournament three weeks before, the Rappahannock County High School team knew they would again face Rappahannock High School of Richmond County (hereinafter called Richmond); but they were unfamiliar with the most of the other teams at regionals.
At the end of the day, Rappahannock went 5-1 in the double elimination tournament, narrowly losing to Richmond by a score of 165-190 in the third match, and having to fight their way back through the losers’ bracket to defeat Richmond twice. Three Panther seniors, James MacLeod, Henry Mason and Jon Streu, scored a combined total of 1,000 toss-up points on the day. MacLeod made first-team all-region, and Mason made second team. Head coach David Naser was named Regional Coach of the Year.
Rappahannock now advances to the state tournament in Williamsburg on Feb. 28 to play a round-robin tournament against Richmond, and the two 1-B teams, Galax and perennial challenger Radford.
“Last Saturday’s event is the pinnacle of the hard work these players have been putting in all year,” Naser said. “After taking fourth at states last year, and learning from their mistakes, these players are hungry for a state title. They are doing lots of preparation on their own, as well as at practice.”
Going into the regional tourney, MacLeod was averaging 112 toss-ups per match. Unlike other teams at Colonial Beach though, Rapp’s success is a team effort, not just the accomplishment of one person.
The first match against Parry McCluer of Buena Vista was lopsided with the Panthers leading 110-0 after round one and holding their opponents to 20 points in the match for a final of 325-20. The next match was also a big Rapp win by 300-105 over Middlesex. After a break, Rapp faced Richmond, led by senior captain Nick Jett, who scores most of their points. This match was a real nail-biter with both MacLeod and Mason taking penalties in round 1, leaving Rapp behind by 60-80. The directed round questions were difficult, but Rapp was able to narrow the margin to 10. In round 3, Rapp was kept under the gun and ironically missed a U.S. history question to lose by 25.
Rapp would now have to defeat Galileo Magnet School of Danville to make it to states. In an exciting first round, Rapp scored 60 before Galileo’s buzzers were heard for a 105-20 score. Senior Jon Streu got three tossups, MacLeod four, Mason two and Jacob Sheffield, a freshman, one. Galileo outscored Rapp 80-50 in round two until a triumvirate of MacLeod, Streu and Mason outscored Galileo 95-35 for the win. Final score was 250-135.
Now assured a trip to states, Rapp would have to win two against Richmond.
The next match started out neck and neck like the first Richmond match with Jett scoring most of the points and Rapp behind by 10 after round one, allowing the Panthers the choice of directed set. This time, however, Rapp dominated round two, outscoring Richmond 90-20 and carrying over into the final round, eventually silencing the Richmond buzzers and scoring 80 unanswered points to end the match at 275-110. Now came the deciding match for first place. Round one was all MacLeod and Streu, giving Rapp a 30-point lead which they extended by scoring 90 in round two to Richmond’s 30.
Then after Henry Mason missed the first question in Round 3, Richmond scored 40 in a row, until Streu turned the tide on a Bible question. Richmond got the next three, with Streu getting another, and then Richmond scored again, before Rapp got the last four for a final score of 225-170. Captain MacLeod summarized the final match, saying “We were confident in our lead until the final round when Nick Jett reduced our 90-point lead to a tenuous 20 points with five questions left, until Streu and Mason were able to save the day and secure our final victory. The hard work that Richmond put in paid off and it was apparent that they had improved since conferences and will be a formidable rival at states, “ he added.
To sum up, Rapp will have to take their game to the next level to win a state title as they did in 2009. They scored 1,540 points in five matches, an average of 257 points per game on Saturday, with MacLeod scoring 580 toss-up points, Mason 230, Streu 190 and Sheffield 50. Other players like John Riedel, Gabe Hernandez and Jane Purnell made contributions on directed rounds.
“If you average 200 points a game, you win a lot of games,” Naser said. “Now we need more than 200.”
Winter sports seasons are wrapping up at Rapp athletics and — following our Scholastic Bowl team’s lead — teams are taking every opportunity to add wins to their end-of-season totals.
Also taking championships were our Junior Panther girls and boys basketball teams (more on them here), and varsity wrestling came oh-so-close to also claiming a championship, earning the Rapp River Conference runner-up trophy at last Saturday’s first-ever RRC Wrestling Championship held right here in Rappahannock. Finishing second by only 2.5 points (Rapp had 148.5, champion Lancaster had 151), the Rapp grapplers had a great day on the mat and are poised for more success at this weekend’s Region 1A East championship tournament at Parry McLure High School in Buena Vista.
Standout performances for the day included Quentin Woodward (the No. 4 seed!) taking a first-place medal in the 113-pound weight class, Christian Poffenbarger (the No. 3 seed!) taking a first in the 126-pound class and Gus Norris and David Smoot living up to their No. 1 seeds by taking first-place medals in the 138 and 195 pound weight classes, respectively.
Other medalists included Hunter Nicodemus (second in 106) Christian McCracken (second in 132), Dakota Woodward (third in 145), Jason Barnes (third in 152, in his first matches since breaking an elbow several weeks ago), Ethan Foley (second in 170) and Johnny Beard (second in 182). Overall, coaches Hodge Miller, Conner Miller, Jeff Nicodemus and head coach Alex Coffroth were pleased with the effort and result, looking forward to more success in the upcoming regional tourney.
Special thanks go out to the wrestling parents (and former parents, including school board member Amy Hitt, who ran a tight ship in concessions and graciously presented the medals and team trophies) and all the team members — varsity and J.P. – who helped make the tournament a success. And a very deserved thanks to Coffroth and (cross-country coach) James Sharpe, who ran a near perfect meet. Many compliments were forthcoming from opposing coaches, visiting fans and the officials about the graciousness of the Rapp hosts and the smoothness in the running of the tournament itself. Kudos to all the Rapp helpers who ensured that our school was a class act and set the bar high for future RRC tournaments.
Good luck to our varsity wrestlers this weekend as they travel to Buena Vista for the Region 1A East championships.
While no championships were attained (yet!) by our varsity basketball teams, both our boys and girls teams added to the win column in the past week.
After their win at Manassas Park last Monday, the boys took to the road to Clarke on Wednesday, falling short to the Eagles but still putting 42 points on the scoreboard. They returned to the victory column last Friday at home however, hosting the Cougars of Manassas Park this time and taking a 69-53 district win at game’s end for their third district win of the season. It was Senior Night for the team and senior players Gary Jenkins and Bradlee Frye, along with senior bookkeeper Jordan Atkins, were honored before the game.
Additionally, Frye was honored just before the start of the second half for his points total thus far in his career. As of the end of the game, Bradlee had tallied 1,193 points, placing him second on Rapp’s all-time scorer’s list for boys’ basketball — and, with at least three games remaining, putting the record (held by alumnus Mike Leake) within reach.
The boys’ team traveled to George Mason for a Bull Run District quarterfinal playoff game this past Monday (results too late for this article) and will be home tomorrow night (Friday Feb. 13), hosting St. John’s in their final regular-season home appearance. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. The following week (Tuesday, Feb. 17), Rapp will be in the quarterfinals of the Rapp River Conference Tournament.
The Varsity Girls Basketball week was pretty much a mirror of the boys, with a little extra drama thrown in last Friday. After soundly defeating Manassas Park last Monday (Feb. 2), the team hosted Clarke County on Tuesday night (Feb. 3) and were treated to a clinic by a team that will likely be the 2A state champion. Friday night they too hosted Manassas Park and on a night when the shots just would not fall earned a tough 34-32 win in overtime to claim their fourth Bull Run District win of the season.
Without starter Hannah Bennett (out with an injury) and trailing most of the game, the Lady Panthers got it together in the fourth quarter to tie it up in regulation and then took the lead in the OT period and never relinquished it, claiming victory as time expired. Seniors Klaire Gubler, Kathryn Fisher and Kaitlyn Fisher were all honored before the game’s tipoff and all contributed to the dramatic win. Highlights included another (her third of the year) double double by Julia Estes (12 points and 12 rebounds with 7 steals), 9 points and 3 steals (and one block) by Kayla Robey, 7 points and 6 rebounds from Kelsey Parker (plus a key steal at the end of OT) and, while Brooklyn Phillips had just two points — they were the two that tied it up at the end of regulation!
Next week, look for playoff updates and postseason honors as our wrestlers and basketball teams compete in their postseason tournaments. Next week also features our spring sports parent/athlete meeting (7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 19 in the high school auditorium). All Rapp athletes planning to play spring sports and their parents need to be in attendance.
As always, get the latest news and schedules at rappahannockathletics.org.