School and sports news for Dec. 15

RCPS sports update

The Virginia High School League (VHSL) last week announced the standings of the Wells Fargo Cup, an annual athletics ranking based on teams’ participation in state tournaments. Rappahannock County High School, on the strengths of the girls cross-country team finish and the volleyball team’s state championship, is currently ranked seventh of approximately 50 Group 1A schools. This is Rapp’s highest ranking ever in the Wells Fargo standings and, with the success seen so far in winter sports, hopes are high that the top 10 ranking will continue through the year.

And although winter weather has descended on Rappahannock County, sports teams are providing plenty of heat with some scorching early season performances.

Wrestling: Last Saturday both varsity and Junior Panther wrestling squads took to the road for tournaments and brought home some victories. Varsity participated in the Cosby High School Titan Classic, and when the final pin was recorded, the 1A Panthers came home with a seventh-place finish in a crowded field of 20 schools, all of which were 2A and larger.

Individual achievements included Christian McCracken, who went undefeated on the day and took first in the 152 weight class, Olin Woodward (second place in the 132 class) and Johnny Beard (second in the 182 class). Quenton Woodward placed fifth in the 120 class and Sam Barnes sixth in the 138 weight class.

The Junior Panther squad took part in their meet last weekend at Skyline High School. In addition to placing as a team, notable individual performances were turned in by Kent White, with a second place at 195, and Zach Abdullah and Austin Kennedy who took thirds in the 106 and heavyweight classes, respectively. Also, Taven Murrah placed fourth at 140 and T.J. Keane fifth in the 120 division.

This Saturday (Dec. 17) varsity wrestlers travel to Madison County High School for a tournament that begins at 10 a.m., and are hoping for a strong contingent of fans to cheer them on.

Girls basketball: After a slow start (due in large part to the success of volleyball and the subsequent absence of many key players when practice began back in November), the team has found its groove and notched a couple wins early in the season. Varsity dropped their second game of the season at Luray last week but then found the “W” in their home opener last Wednesday against Nelson County and ten again last Friday versus conference opponent Lancaster. Senior Kayla Robey led the scoring in the Luray and Nelson games, with 14 and 16 points respectively, including a fourth quarter against Nelson where she poured in eight much needed points.

Senior Missy Phillips has scored eight points in each of the last three games for the Panthers.
Senior Missy Phillips has scored eight points in each of the last three games for the Panthers. By David Hong

On Friday against Lancaster, Julia Estes took top-scoring honors, putting in 23 points to go with her 19 rebounds. Senior Missy Phillips and freshman Olivia Atkins have also contributed to the points total, with Missy scoring eight points in each of the last three games and Olivia hitting double digits in the last two. An aggressive defense has led the way for the varsity squad, with many baskets the result of steals.

On the JV side, coach Jeff Atkins’ team dropped their first game of the season to Luray but bounced back with wins over Nelson and Lancaster to boost their record to 4-1. In the Nelson victory, Carrington Wayland lead the team with 21 points, followed by Jenna Robey with 11 points. Robey led the Panthers’ scoring attack against Lancaster, recording 11 points, followed by Carrington Wayland and Mackensie Clark, each with nine points.

This Monday, the teams hosted Nelson County and then Luray on Wednesday (results too late for this article). Tomorrow night (Friday, Dec. 16), the squads travel to Bull Run opponent Strasburg.

Boys basketball: Coach Mike Atkins’ team has struggled since opening the season 2-0 but solid performances are cause for optimism. The team has dropped road games to William Monroe and Nelson County while battling sickness but as the players’ health improves Atkins expect the team’s performance to follow.

Gavin Jenkins, Josh Racer, Ethan Sumner and Ryan Atkins have led the scoring attack with big men Justin Ramey, Chris McCullough and A.J. Palmer racking up numerous rebounds. The Panthers took to the road this Monday, going to Stonewall Jackson where they hoped to return to the winning track (results too late for this article), and then host Strasburg tonight and Nelson County next Monday (Dec. 19).

Coach Henry Shackelford’s JV squad also lost to William Monroe but bounced back with a win at Nelson, 48-37, to match varsity’s 2-2 record. Like their varsity counterparts they traveled to Stonewall this week and then host Strasburg tonight and Nelson on Monday.

Junior Panther basketball: Rapp’s Junior Panther boys’ and girls’ teams have gotten off to an undefeated start with home wins against both Signal Knob Middle School and Fresta Valley last week. This Monday the teams traveled to Luray and were home on Tuesday versus Front Royal Christian Academy, results of both games too late for this article. Tonight the teams head to Chelsea Academy in Front Royal and then return to the home court on Tuesday (Dec. 20) against William Monroe. The teams wrap up their pre-Christmas schedule on Wednesday (Dec. 21) at Madison County.

As always, all game and practice schedules can be found online at Go Rapp!

— Brandon Burley, athletic director

WCDS athletics recap

WCDS swim team member Lucas DuMez cheers on teammate Bridgette Larsen as she nears the finish line in the 50 freestyle race at WARF last Saturday.
WCDS swim team member Lucas DuMez cheers on teammate Bridgette Larsen as she nears the finish line in the 50 freestyle race at WARF last Saturday.

Varsity swimming: Wakefield Country Day School’s Owls participated in a meet held at the WARF last Saturday (Dec. 10). Senior Lucas DuMez of Front Royal swam the 200 freestyle and took first place with a time of 1:55.51. He also swam the 100 backstroke and took first place with a time of 56.15.  Both are state qualifying times. Junior Bridgette Larsen of Front Royal swam the shortest and longest races: the 50 freestyle with a time of 28.62, coming in fifth overall, and the 500 freestyle at 6.46.59, finishing third.

The Owls swam at Central Park Aquatic Center on Dec. 2, a good first meet for the swimmers. Lucas DuMez won the 100 freestyle in a time of 51.34, s a VISAA state qualifying time. Lucas was second in the 100 breaststroke at 1:06.02. Bridgette Larsen was fourth in the 200 IM in a time of 3:03.88 and 13th in the 100 breaststroke at 1:34.19. Kathryn Phillippe was 10th in the 100 backstroke at 1:39.92 and 18th in the 50 freestyle with a time of 36.79.

Varsity boys basketball: The Owls traveled to Saint Michael’s for their first DAC game on Dec. 5. The boys struggled to score early in the game while the Warriors hit two three-pointers to take a 12-10 lead into the second quarter. The Warriors maintained their lead and had the boys on their heels, down 24-21 at the half. The boys erupted for 26 points in the third quarter to take control of the game. Chris O’Heir scored more than twice as many points as the entire Warriors team in the quarter with 14 points to give the boys a comfortable 47-30 lead entering the final quarter. Coach Costello mixed up lineups in the third and fourth to get most of the roster involved in the 56-36 victory. Chris O’Heir’s 26 points led all scorers. He also had five assists and three steals. Connor Glennon had a big night with 16 points and 14 rebounds for his first double-double of the season. Gage Landis added four points, 10 rebounds, three steals and three assists. The following players also scored in the game: Spencer Bryan, Kevin He and Ben Kelsey.

The Owls hosted Tandem Friends for a showdown of two teams tied for first place in the DAC Division II on Dec. 8. The teams battled and were tied 13-13 at the end of the first quarter. The boys outscored the Badgers in the second quarter to take a 24-23 lead at the half. The evenly matched affair was tied at 35 going into the final quarter. The boys did not take advantage of being in the double bonus for the final 4:40 of the game and were outscored 16 to 12 in the final quarter to drop a heartbreaker by the score of 51-47. Connor Glennon came off the bench to record his second straight double-double in DAC play with 19 points and 15 rebounds. Gage Landis scored a season-high 11 points and Kevin He had the first double-figure game of his varsity career with 10 points. Chris O’Heir and Ben Kelsey also scored in the game. The Owls’ record is 1-1 overall and in the DAC.

Varsity girls basketball: The Lady Owls traveled to Saint Michael’s for a DAC game on Dec. 5. The girls led most of the first half but then trailed going into the final quarter. The girls had a strong final quarter and got their first DAC win of the season by the score of 42-35. Tatumn Vaught led the team with 19 points.

The Lady Owls hosted Tandem Friends School for a DAC game on Dec. 8. The girls battled the Badgers in the first half to be down just 10- 6 at halftime. However, turnovers impacted their second half and the Badgers transition game separated the team in the second half. The Badgers led 23-10 heading into the final quarter and they went on to a 31-14 victory. Jill Chiu led the Owls with six points. Tatumn Vaught added four points while Lucy Clark and Anna Schuster each scored a basket. The girls are off until after Christmas break. The team is 1-2 in the DAC and overall.

— Mike Costello, athletic director

WCDS students’ holiday service project

WCDS third grade students, shown with their teacher Becky Ernest, are excited to donate the toys they paid for as a result of their "Chores for Children" service project.
WCDS third grade students, shown with their teacher Becky Ernest, are excited to donate the toys they paid for as a result of their “Chores for Children” service project.

Third grade students at Wakefield Country Day School went Christmas shopping last week, but not for themselves or their families. Instead, the class spent $373 collectively to buy Christmas presents for less fortunate children in the Toys for Tots program.

Becky Ernest, a WCDS teacher since 2006, challenged her students to a third-grade service project, “Chores for Children.” The goal was for them to earn spending money to buy their favorite toys to give away to other children. Ernest’s students eagerly earned their money by doing odd jobs around their homes since September, when the project began.

The much-anticipated shopping trip was a wonderful experience for all. After finding the right gifts and enjoying lunch together at a local restaurant, the class returned to school with a load of toys for the collection box and hearts full of gratitude for the chance to help others have a merry holiday. “Christmas isn’t Christmas until it happens in our hearts,” said Ernest. Her children and their smiles agreed.

Honors at Randolph-Macon

Among the Randolph-Macon Academy (R-MA) students who achieved a GPA of 4.0 or higher in the first quarter of the school year, thus earning a place on the Front Royal school’s President’s List, included Rappahannock residents Ryan Latham of Amissville, a junior at R-MA and the son of Stephen and Dawn Latham; and Benjamin Kopjanski, a freshman and son of Melanie Kopjanski of Boston.

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