School news for Feb. 16

Winding down and heating up for RCHS

Winter sports seasons are winding down, with some Rapp teams completing their journey and others warming another run at states.


On the Junior Panther hardwood, both Panthers’ teams ended their season in the Valley Middle School Conference Championship games last Friday. The boys’ team hosted Mt. View in a thrilling season finale that saw Rapp take an early lead and never relinquish it, although the Conquerors certainly made it very close.

Key early baskets by Matthew Pullen staked the team to that early lead and key baskets at key times along with non-stop tenacious defense kept the Panthers atop the score. Curtis Lillard, Luke Ellis, Hunter Boyce, Evan Jenkins and Matthew Sisk made some of those key plays throughout the game and, with the help of the rest of their teammates, proudly claimed the Regular Season and Tournament Championship Trophies at game’s end. A thrilling end to a thrilling first season for Head Coach Colton Ball and Assistant Coach Matthew Hummill, with hopes of more to come in the future.

The JP girls ended their season in a close championship game as well, traveling to St. Joseph’s last Friday for the VMSC championship. St. Joe’s however was the team that managed to scratch out the win, despite the Panther’s best efforts. Game end tears were soon replaced with smiles as the Panthers did bring home the tourney runner up trophy and, like the boys, are confident of more wins to come under Head Coach Sallie Shackelford and Assistant Coach (and JP alum!) Ella Mantiply.

On the varsity side of the gym, the boys’ basketball team ended their season in a Conference 43 quarterfinal playoff loss to Northumberland on the road last Friday. While the team was frustrated in its efforts to get back on the winning track of the first half of the season, no one who came to a game this year could doubt that this varsity program is greatly improved. Wins against Bull Run District opponents, all 2A or 3A schools, are tough to come by for Rapp but the losses this year were by single digits, as opposed to the high double digits of the past, and a strong JV and JP performance bodes for continued improvement for this varsity program.

Congrats to Head Coach Mike Atkins and Assistant Coach Jim Racer, both of whom put in countless hours over the past several seasons working to successfully bring this program back to competitiveness. And a special thank you to our senior players, all of whom were honored Friday night, February 3, in the Senior Night game. Gavin Jenkins, John Norris, Nich Strosnider, Justin Ramey, Josh Racer, A.J. Palmer and Chris McCullough — you will all be missed and remembered.

Girls’ basketball also honored their seniors last Tuesday, Feb. 7, at home. Julia Estes, Kayla Robey, Brianna Settle, Carly Dudley, and Missy Phillips were all honored, along with their parents, and then they honored the crowd with a thrilling regular season finale over Clarke County. Not a win but a tremendous game that launched the girls team into the Conference 43 tournament with just the right attitude and confidence.

And that attitude and confidence turned out to be winning ones as Rapp went on the road to Lancaster High School last Friday for a Conference 43 quarterfinal playoff game and came home as winners, prevailing over the Red Devils by a score of 45-34. Up 21-10 at halftime, the team had to hold off a determined Lancaster team in the second half. The Red Devils focused on senior standout Julia Estes, playing a box and one with one person permanently shadowing Estes, a treatment in the past that had typically focused on the other senior standout, Kayla Robey. But guards Kayla Robey and Olivia Atkins took advantage of the inattention and went to work to bust Lancaster’s zone defense, hitting six 3 pointers between them, including a timely trey by Olivia that squashed a Red Devil rally.

Robey led the team in scoring with 17 followed by Atkins with 14 and Estes, dogged by defenders all night, with 12. Missy Phillips led the rebounders with 11 and the entire team contributed in many ways to this key win. Next stop for the Rapp girls is Colonial Beach, where they traveled this past Tuesday for a Conference 43 Semifinal playoff contest. Although results are too late for this news edition, hopes are high for a semifinal victory which would assure a spot in the conference finals and a berth in the regional tourney.

In other basketball news, the Rapp Athletic Department is pleased to announce that two members of the varsity girls’ basketball team have been named to the Bull Run District post-season team. Senior Kayla Robey was named to the Bull Run District first team and fellow senior Julia Estes was named to the second team. This is an honor of distinction especially considering that of the eight team District, Rapp is the only size 1A school, all of the other members being 2A or 3A. Congratulations to both players and to all their teammates who worked hard together all season to help each other improve.

Scholastic Bowl

Coach Dave Naser’s state tourney bound team had one final warm-up this past weekend, traveling to New Kent High School last Saturday to participate in a multi team tourney. Finishing in the middle of a group of much larger schools, Coaches Naser and Layne Vickers were pleased with the effort, noting that having the actual competition served better than any practice in keeping the team members’ skills sharp.

On Saturday, Feb. 25, the team will leave Rapp for Williamsburg, borne by charter bus to compete in the VHSL Group 1A State Championship. Best of luck to the coaches and the team as they seek to add a third VHSL State Champ banner to the RCHS gym wall. And a special thanks to the Rappahannock County School Sports Association (RCSSA) for funding the charter bus that will take our Scholastic Bowlers to Williamsburg!


Last Friday and Saturday the Varsity Wrestlers competed in the Region 1A East Championship Tournament at Riverheads High School. Fresh off their Conference 43 championship and looking to defend last year’s regional title, the Rapp squad headed to Riverheads with optimism and determination. When the final mat had been slapped, Rapp had ten wrestlers headed to the State meet this weekend in Salem. The team finished third, just single digits away from second place, but while the team trophy eluded the Panthers the individual placement medals did not.

Top honors went to Chris Corbin and Johnny Beard, Region 1A East champions in their respective weight classes of 145 and 182. Josh Bennet took Region runner up honors in the heavyweight class with Mark Gurrerro and Sam Barnes taking third in their weight classes of 126 and 138. Quentin Woodward, Hunter Nicodemus and Jake Sisk all took fourth in their groups of 120, 113 and 195 pounds while Billy Taplin and Olin Woodward rounded out the scoring with respective 5th and 6th place finishes in the 220 and 132 pound classes.

The wrestlers and their coaches are putting in one final week of grueling work to put the finishing touches on their season. Best of luck to the team as they travel to Salem this Friday and look to bring home state glory for themselves and for Rappahannock County High School. And another special thanks to RCSSA for funding the charter bus for our state bound grapplers!

Hard to believe, but Spring sports will be starting next week. As always, all game and practice schedules can be found on the Rapp Athletic Website at, where all the latest scores and schedules are updated as soon as possible. Go Rapp!

Athletic Director Brandon Burley

Mini-golf, dunking challenge and Lion’s largesse

Band mini-golf

This Saturday, Feb. 18, the hallways of Rappahannock County High School will be transformed into a mini-golf resort via the award winning Panther Band’s Indoor Mini-Golf FUN-raiser. Running from 2 to 8 p.m., the mini-golf event will cost $5 per 18 holes for adults, $3 for students and children, with all proceeds going directly to the band.

Side games including mini-golf billiards and corn-hole will also be available and gamers are encouraged to show up hungry as concessions will be available and will include hot dogs, BBQ and coleslaw, candy, sodas and more treats.

A special thanks goes out to the community businesses that so generously supported this event. Hole sponsors included Leading Edge Screen Printing, Bean Hollow Grass Fed, Reynolds Memorial Baptist Church, Racer Construction LLC, The Gathering Christian Church, The Hair Gallery, Abra Cadabra Massage & Wellness, Theresa Caparucio and Friends, Ladybug Mountain Farm, Blue Ridge Artisans, Tula’s, Cosmetic Solutions LLC, Green Mountain Horticulture, Griffin Tavern, Cooter’s in the Valley, Waterpenny Farm, Settle’s Cars and Trucks and B&B Servicecenter.

The 19th hole sponsor is Leo the Band Dog and thanks to the Living Sky Foundation for their support of raffle prizes and to Shawn’s Smokehouse for providing BBQ. And a special thanks to Vaugh Barkdoll, a band grandparent who donated the mini-golf idea and the majority of the materials used to create the course. Be sure to come out to RCHS on Saturday from 2 to 8 p.m. and have some mini-golf fun and support the award winning Panther Band in the process!

Duchene M.D. dunking challenge

One of the many community service projects that have come out of this year’s Flex Classes is the Dunk and Donate for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy program. Inspired by the success of the Ice Bucket Challenges that raised awareness and funds for ALS research, the Duchenne M.D. Dunk and Donate challenge was adopted as a class project by Mrs. Richardson’s Flex Class. This particular cause is a personal one for RCHS students, having witnessed a classmate struggle with Duchenne’s each and every day.

Weeks of planning and research into the disease have been conducted by the class, including learning how to help a video go viral and how to foster success with the challenge. Students are now working on contacting organizations, media outlets, celebrities and YouTubers to help spread the word and promote the challenge. Students also created their own Facebook Dunking video which after just 36 hours of posting had achieved over 2000 views.

The public is invited to view the Dunk and Donate for Dechenne video and encouraged to take up the challenge on their own, participating and encouraging friends to do the same. Having some fun while raising awareness and funds for a worthy cause is a wonderful way to conduct community service and Mrs. Richardson’s Flex class is setting the example for the rest of us to follow.

Lion’s roar in the schools

RCHS extends a hearty thank you to the Rappahannock County Lion’s Club, recent donors to two school causes. A $350.00 donation was recently made to the RCHS Leo Club, the high school equivalent of the Lions community organization. And an additional $500.00 was donated to the RCHS senior class by the Lions, to be put towards expenses for their planned senior trip outing to New York City.

Photo by David Hong
The RCHS Band, with Jacob Sheffield in foreground.

The Lion’s donation is but one example of the many ways community members and groups help Rappahannock County Public Schools realize their stated mission of promoting a culture of learning, a roadmap for excellence, and the passion and character that leads to success. Assistance from community partners along with community service programs and extracurricular organizations like the RCHS Band are valuable resources that enable RCPS to empower each and every student to reach their full individual potential.

— Jimmy Swindler, RCHS Assistant Principal

Scholarships available

UVA Community Credit Union has added seven local public high schools to its scholarship eligibility list, one of them being Rappahannock.

In general, UVACCU will award one $1,500 scholarship per school, and students from 18 schools in its membership area are eligible. Students can apply online, and must submit a short essay (500 words max) that addresses this year’s theme:

“What are some common missteps people make when managing their money? Learning from these lessons, explain how you will avoid these mistakes?”

The application deadline is April 2, 2017, with awards being notified by May 1, 2017.

Complete program guidelines, application instructions and links to the application are available on the credit union’s website:

WCDS sports recap

Varsity Swimming

Courtesy photo
Lucas DuMez of Wakefield Country Day School was named co-swimmer of the meet at the DAC Championships on Febr. 11 at the WARF when he broke the meet record in the 100 Butterfly with a time of 53.18. His time in the 100 Back was a personal best at 54.51.

The Owls swam at the VISAA Division II Invitation at the Freedom Center on Feb. 4. Lucas DuMez scored 29 points, and Bridgette Larsen scored 13 points for WCDS allowing WCDS to place as a team, coming in 16th for girls and 12th for boys overall. DuMez finished in first place in the 100 Butterfly in a time of 53.35 for 16 points. His 100 Backstroke time was 55.00 for second place and 13 points. Bridgette Larsen clocked a 1:09.77 good for fourth place in the 100 Butterfly producing 11 points. Larsen’s 100 Backstroke time of 1:16.55 earned 11th place and two points. Larsen swam in an exhibition 200 Freestyle relay as well.

In VISAA State Top 16 rankings through Feb. 11, Lucas DuMez holds the 5th fastest time in 100 Fly and the 6th fastest time in 100 Back.

Varsity boys basketball

The Owls traveled to Mount Carmel Christian Academy on Feb. 7 for a non-conference game. The boys played even with the Warriors in the first quarter, leading just 12-11 at the end of the quarter. The Owls exploded for 29 points in the second quarter scoring many baskets in transition. Chris O’Heir scored 15 points in the decisive second quarter with Kevin He adding 8 points. The boys led 41-21 at the half. Both teams played even in the second half with the Owls grabbing a 69-51 victory. Gage Landis had a big night supporting his teammates with nine assists and 15 rebounds with 6 points. He ended up with 12 points and two assists. Connor Glennon grabbed 10 rebounds and scored 7 points. O’Heir had a career night with 42 points on 15 shots and 12 foul shots. O’Heir added 10 rebounds, three steals, and three assists. Jeremy Kwolek went 2-2 from the foul line and grabbed seven rebounds. Our record is 6 -6 overall and 3-5 in the DAC.

Varsity girls basketball

The Lady Owls hosted the Front Royal Flames for a JV game on Feb. 8. Our girls played a strong game, but the Flames transition game led to some easy baskets. The game was tight in the first half with several lead changes but the Flames led 16-14 at the half. The Flames went on a 6-0 scoring run at the end of the third quarter to lead 26-20. The Flames outscored the Owls 10-6 in the final quarter for a 36-24 win. Jill Chiu and Tatumn Vaught each had 7 points. Anna Schuster added 4 points. Lexi Johnston also made a basket in the game. Our record is 2-8 in the DAC and 2-9 overall.

JV boys basketball

 The Owls hosted the Front Royal Flames in a game on Feb. 8. The boys held a slight 8-3 lead after one quarter. The boys executed for 14 points in the second quarter and held the Flames to just three points to lead 22-6 at the half. The third quarter was the best of the season with 18 points building a 40-13 lead. The quarter ended on a long 3-point basket by Martin O’Heir at the buzzer. The Owls could not find the basket in the final quarter and several untimely turnovers helped lead to the Flames outscoring the Owls 17-0 in the last quarter, but the Owls held on for a 40-30 win. Ben Kelsey led the boys with 12 points and six rebounds. Kevin He had 10 points, while Jeremy Kwolek had a team high eight rebounds and scored 6 points. Martin O’Heir contributed 8 points, five rebounds, and three assists. John Mullins had 4 points and three assists. Nile Patel had a team high four assists. Our final JV record for the season was 3-0.

Middle school boys basketball

The Owls hosted Legacy Christian Academy for a B Team game on Feb. 3. The boys and girls played well. The following MS girls basketball players participated in the game: Ainsley Colgan, Alexis Cross, Beverly Eborn, Emma O’Neill, and Anika Pruntel. The Owls led 6-0 at the end of the first quarter and 16-5 at the half. Both teams scored 10 points in the second half as line ups were mixed, and the Owls went on to a 26-15 victory. All players who dressed for the game participated as the teams played two additional quarters for experience. Six players scored in the game led by John Mullins with 12 points. Bobby Reid scored 6 points. Alex Diehl, Jack Gerard, Emma O’Neill, and Alex Phillippe each scored a basket in the game.

The Owls traveled to Randolph-Macon Academy for their VMSC quarterfinal tournament game on Feb. 7. The powerful Jackets led 22-3 at the half. The Owls outscored the Jackets 8-5 in the third quarter, but the Jackets cruised to a 38-17 win. The loss knocked the boys out of the VMSC Tournament. Jon Mullins led the Owls with 12 points. Pierce Kiser and River Robinson each scored a basket. Griffin Landis sank one foul shot to score a point in the game.

The Owls hosted the Front Royal Flames for their final game of the season. The Flames lead 17-2 at the half but rested several players who had to play in the JV game that night. The Owls mounted a comeback but were down 17-10 entering the final quarter. The Owls scored 10 more points in the fourth to take a 20-17 come-from-behind win. John Mullins led the boys with six points. Griffin Landis and River Robinson each scored four points. Isak Burak, Connor Lummis, and Bobby Reid each scored a basket. The boys finished their season with a 3-6 record.

Middle school girls basketball

The Lady Owls had a home game against Mountain View Christian Academy that was forfeited by Mountain View due to a lack of players to play the game. The win moved the girls’ record to 1-6.

The Lady Owls traveled to Rappahannock County for a VSMC quarterfinal tournament game on Feb. 6. The Panthers employed a full-court press that allowed them to take control of the game. When the Panthers dropped back into a half-court defense, the Owls did a better job of running their offense.  WCDS scored two points in the third quarter, and the Panthers also scored two points. The Panthers went on to a 35-4 win to advance in the tournament. The loss ended the Owls’ season with a 1-7 record. Beverly Eborn and Anika Pruntel each scored baskets in the game.

WCDS students enter a “scientific bubble” as they study “A Journey to the Moon” and learn about matter and motion during science class.

Recent JMU grads

James Madison University is pleased to announce that Kira Lander of Sperryville graduated during the Winter Commencement exercises. Kira earned her degree in individualized study.

Also, Alexander Gasteazoro of Amissville, graduated Cum Laude with a degree in nursing from JMU.

The pair are among more than 800 students who received undergraduate, master’s, educational specialist and doctoral degrees at the recent commencement.

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