School and sports news for Oct. 20

Rapp sports update

Like the spreading fall foliage and cool autumn temperatures that bring new delights every day, so too the  Rappahannock County sports teams continue to deliver good news as their fall regular seasons wind down and playoff time approaches.

RCHS senior Gavin Jenkins’ on his way to a first-place finish at the Bull Run District Championship last week.
RCHS senior Gavin Jenkins’ on his way to a first-place finish at the Bull Run District Championship last week. By David Hong

First up in the sports news feed this week is the varsity cross country teams, spearheaded by senior Gavin Jenkins’ first-place finish at the Bull Run District Championship. Gavin’s victory brought him recognition as first-team all-district and the district’s Male Runner of the Year. Running at Central Woodstock High School against runners from the larger 2A and 3A schools that comprise the Bull Run District, Jenkins ran another outstanding race on his way to taking those first-place honors.

In addition to Jenkins, sophomore Sam Barnes finished 11th in the boys championship race, earning second-team all-district honors. On the girls’ side of the course, freshman Skylar Culbertson and junior Jacklyn Humphries finished 15th and 16th, respectively, just missing all-district honors. Both teams begin the road to states next Tuesday (Oct.25) with the conference championships at Lancaster High School.

Junior Panther cross country ended their season last week with the Valley Middle School Conference Championship race at Randolph-Macon Academy. When the final runner had crossed the finish line, the Rapp girls’ team had scored well enough for the championship runner-up trophy. Rachel Weghorst placed first for Rapp with Lily Jenkins adding an eighth-place finish. The boys’ team top runner was Chase Wharton, who finished fifth overall.

Panther setter Kayla Robey does her thing during the undefeated Rappahannock varsity volleyball team's 16th win last Tuesday against Warren County.
Panther setter Kayla Robey does her thing during the undefeated Rappahannock varsity volleyball team’s 16th win last Tuesday against Warren County. By David Hong

Over on the volleyball court, coach Courtney Atkins’ undefeated and Bull Run District first place Panthers continued their winning ways, scoring a win at home last Tuesday night against Warren County in their first Dig Pink game and then taking another on the road last Thursday at Madison — with both wins accomplished in straight set 3-0 victories. Varsity returned home this past Tuesday (Oct. 18) for the final Dig Pink game, a benefit fundraiser for Breast Cancer awareness and research, and then travels to Clarke County tonight.

Next Tuesday (Oct. 25) will be the team’s final regular season home appearance and will also be Senior Night, with seniors and their parents to be honored just before the start of the varsity game. Posting a 16-0 record thus far and with playoffs just around the corner, Coach Atkins is working hard to keep her team focused on the next opponent while at the same time poised to make a deep playoff run. Fans will want to show up early next Tuesday to get a good seat and be a part of what is turning out to be a very special season.

Coach Seth Wyatt’s JV team continued its winning ways as well, matching varsity win-for-win last week to maintain their first-place standing in the Bull Run JV division with a 14-2 record. On the JP court, coach Jeff Atkins saw his team host three VMSC playoff games last week, culminating with a tournament championship win last Friday over Wakefield Country Day School. Claiming the regular season and the tournament champion trophies, the JP team concluded a successful 13-1 season by defeating the Owls 2-0 in two very competitive championship games. Congrats to the JP volleyball squad and congrats to both the JV and JP coaches for ensuring a strong talent pipeline for varsity.

The Junior Panther boys soccer team, led by coach Paul Paratore, also completed their season last week, hosting and winning a VMSC playoff game on Thursday against Randolph-Macon Academy and then traveling to Wakefield Country Day School in Flint Hill last Friday afternoon for the championship.

In an exciting game, Rapp took the lead midway through the second half on a goal by Ian Cordero and then Wakefield responded to tie it with just five minutes left in regulation. In overtime, the first period was scoreless but Wakefield got in a score with just 30 seconds left in the second period to take the game and the championship. Finishing with a 4-1-1 season, the boys of the pitch had much to be proud of and did bring home a tournament runner-up trophy to add to the JP collection.

In football, the Panthers’ road victory streak came to an end last Friday but they left the field with heads held high. Though on the short end of a 20-6 score, they knew they had given the undefeated Quantico team all they could handle. Coach Kemp Pullen’s varsity squad will be working hard this week to prepare for their final home appearance, the Homecoming game tomorrow (Friday, Oct. 21) vs. Kenston Forest.

The game will be packed with activity. Seniors will be honored at 6:45, just before the 7 p.m. kickoff, and the 2016 Homecoming Court will be announced and crowned at halftime just after the band’s halftime show. Meanwhile on the playing field, the varsity squad will be intent on ending the night with a winning record, looking to add win number five to their current (and best ever) 4-4 record.

JP football traveled to the Maryland School for the Deaf last Thursday and played hard but came up short in a 28-15 loss. Coach Rich Hogan is working the team hard in this, their final week of practice, as they prepare for their final home appearance on Monday (Oct. 24), when they host Locust Grove Middle School at 6 p.m.

Don’t forget the final home regular-season volleyball game is Tuesday (Oct. 25). If you haven’t been to a game yet you may want to mark your calendar and be a part of what are shaping up to be memorable seasons. More at

See you at a game soon, where we hope you’ll join us in cheering, “Go Rapp!”

— Jimmy Swindler

First-hand fire safety at RCES

Last week, preschoolers and kindergarteners at Rappahannock County Elementary School were thrilled to welcome several community members from the volunteer fire departments of Chester Gap and Sperryville. Appearing at RCES as part of National Fire Prevention Week, the community volunteers gave a safety talk and demonstration to their rapt student audience.

The focus of the discussion and demonstrations was fire safety and prevention, to give younger students safety tips on what to do in case of a fire. While the schools practice fire drills and other safety precautions on a regular basis with students, those instructions are limited to the school environment; the volunteers helped extend the fire safety education to the home environment as well.

The firefighters reviewed with students the importance of having smoke detectors and how students should respond if a smoke alarm sounds or if they see smoke in their home. Students learned the importance of crawling on the floor when exiting their home to their “safe place” and also learned the value of designating such a “safe place.” Firefighters also taught students the difference between “safe play” and “no play” with common household items, teaching students the potential fire danger of misusing everyday objects. The practice of stop-drop-roll and knowing to call 911 in the event of an emergency were strongly reinforced to increase student preparedness in case of emergencies.

The visiting firefighters ended the day by demonstrating how they dress appropriately in their safety equipment and gear when responding to an emergency. They explained the role of the fire truck and demonstrated the type of emergency equipment that can be put into use when responding to a fire. In what was likely the highlight of the day, excited students toured the fire trucks in a real hands-on experience, and received their own fire helmets and gift bags.

RCES appreciates the time and effort expended by the dedicated volunteer heroes of our community, both in their responses to local emergencies and in their efforts to teach our students effective methods of protecting themselves in the event of a fire.

— Dawn Phillips

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