School and sports news for Dec. 8

WCDS’ strong showing at classical convention

WCDS delegates prepare to enter the Greater Richmond Convention Center Nov. 20 to compete in the Virginia Classical League Convention.
WCDS delegates prepare to enter the Greater Richmond Convention Center Nov. 20 to compete in the Virginia Classical League Convention.

Wakefield Country Day School (WCDS) was the fifth-largest delegation of 130 schools at the Virginia Junior Classical League (VJCL) convention held in Richmond Nov. 20-21, with 39 delegates. WCDS students’ 260 total awards was surpassed only by Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, which sent 100 delegates.

WCDS students earned 41 first-place finishes, and 11 students finished in the Top 10 Overall category for their grade levels. Senior Lucas DuMez of Front Royal served as second vice president for the convention, and junior Douglas Griffin of Broad Run was elected first vice president.

Promoting an appreciation for the study of Greek and Roman culture, the VJCL convention provides competitions in the areas of academics, creative works and graphic arts. The VJCL has more than 4,000 members and has been serving Virginia for more than 40 years.

— Lisa Ramey

Estes: Player of the Year, and more

Julia Estes poses with her Student Athlete Achievement Award at the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.
Julia Estes poses with her Student Athlete Achievement Award at the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame. Courtesy photo

Rappahannock County High School’s Julia Estes, the all-time kills leader for the school’s 1A state championship volleyball team, and chosen last week as Player of the Year by the Virginia High School League, is also the winner of the 12th annual Student Athlete Achievement Award.

Estes was nominated for the student athlete award, sponsored by the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in Portsmouth, earlier this fall. The award honors student athletes who are “dedicated on the field to their sport and off the field to their community.” Nominated for their athletic accomplishments as well as their contributions to the community, these student athletes represent all that is good about high school athletics.

Out of a large pool of students nominated from across the state, Estes was selected as one of the eight female finalists and, with her family, attended the awards banquet and presentation this Sunday (Dec. 4). When the awards were presented, Julia was named as a winner of the Student Athlete Achievement Award and her selection will be featured in a display at the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in January and February.

In her selection as state 1A player of the year, senior outside hitter Estes got the most votes among nine state first team players (as voted by region coaches). Two of her Panther teammates, senior setter Kayla Robey and senior middle hitter Brianna Settle, also made the first team.

The girls’ coach, Courtney Atkins, took the Panthers to the regional semifinals last year before this season’s perfect 27-0 record brought the state championship trophy to Rappahannock County.

Estes is currently a starting forward for the RCHS varsity girls basketball team. Congratulations to Julia and her parents on another outstanding achievement.

Rapp sports update

In other winter sports news . . .

Varsity wrestling had their first outing last Saturday (Dec. 3), participating in an invitational tournament at Tuscarora High School in Leesburg. Competing against much larger 3A, 4A and 5A schools and competing without several key players who are battling injury and illness, coach Alex Coffroth’s team had a very good day with several singular performances.

Johnny Beard finished the day with a perfect record, taking all five of his scheduled matches. Jake Sisk and Quentin Woodward both finished 4-1 on the day, adding to the Rapp wins. A notable performance was turned in by freshman Billy Taplin, filling in as backup for Rapp’s 285-pound wrestler and, despite giving away 50 or more pounds to his opponents, finished the day with an incredibly respectable 3-2 record.

The varsity squad will resume matches this Saturday (Dec. 10) at Cosby High School; the middle school squad will compete in their first tournament Saturday at Warren County High School.

Girls basketball: The JV Lady Panthers, led by coach Jeff Atkins, started their season at 2-0 with a win on the road last Tuesday over Stonewall Jackson and at home Friday in a one-point thriller over William Monroe.

The Varsity Lady Panthers, who due to the volleyball success have only been practicing as a team for less than two weeks, have fallen short in their first two games but are showing great promise for the near future. At Stonewall Jackson last Tuesday, they lost a heartbreaker by a score of 45-42 after leading at the end of the third.

Last Friday, the Panthers hosted 3A opponent William Monroe in a contest where they put up a respectable 41 points but allowed 71 to a team that features a 10th-grader, Sam Brunelle, who is a Division 1 prospect. Newcomer Missy Phillips put up 26 points between the two games and Julia Estes managed a double double in the Monroe game, with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Both girls teams traveled to Luray this Monday and hosted Nelson County on Wednesday (results too late for this article) and will be at home again tomorrow night (Friday, Dec. 9), hosting conference opponent Lancaster High School.

RCHS senior A.J. Palmer goes up high for the opening tipoff at the Panthers' home opener against Stonewall Jackson last week.
RCHS senior A.J. Palmer goes up high for the opening tipoff at the Panthers’ home opener against Stonewall Jackson last week. By Ken Pullen

Boys basketball: Varsity coach Mike Atkins has been working hard the past several seasons to rebuild the boys program and that hard work is starting to pay off, with the team starting off their season 2-0. Wins over Stonewall Jackson Nov. 29 (58-48) and Skyline High School Dec. 1 (57-53) staked the team to their best start in over a decade.

Balanced offensive play and tough defense is the hallmark of this Panther team and their play is sure to bring more excitement to the Rapp gym in the weeks ahead. Highlights included power inside play by seniors A.J. Palmer and Chris McCullough, surgical drives to the hoop by senior Gavin Jenkins and precision outside shooting by senior Josh Racer and junior Ryan Atkins. Special mention also goes to sophomore guard Ethan Sumner, who hit four foul shots in the closing minutes to preserve the win over Skyline.

On the JV side, the news is almost as good, with coach Henry Shackelford’s squad posting a 1-1 record thus far. A heartbreaking loss to Stonewall in their home opener, a game in which they had the lead for much of the game, was followed by a dramatic come-from-behind win over Skyline, with a final score of 43-39. Coach Shackelford’s team is small in numbers but big in heart and they promise to make people show up early on game night so as not to miss any excitement.

The boys’ teams traveled to Nelson County on Wednesday night (results too late for this article) and have a rematch at Stonewall Jackson next Monday (Dec. 12) before returning home Dec. 15 to take on the Rams of Strasburg High School.

All game and practice schedules can be found online at Go Rapp!

— Brandon Burley, athletic director

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