RCHS fresh­man takes 3rd at states

Rappahannock News - - FRONT PAGE - BY MELISSA DEL­COUR

Last Satur­day (Nov. 10) turned out to be a beau­ti­ful day for a run at Great Mead­ows in The Plains as young ath­letes from around the state con­verged for the Vir­ginia High School League (VHSL) cross coun­try cham­pi­onship.

It turned out to be an es­pe­cially lovely day for Rap­pa­han­nock County High School’s Ju­lia Wood, a fresh­man. She fin­ished third among the 129 young women run­ning in the Sin­gle A schools’ fi­nal, earn­ing a bronze medal. It’s the first time ever that an RCHS ninth-grader has medaled in a state cross-coun­try com­pe­ti­tion, and the high­est-place fin­ish in the states by any Pan­ther since Alex Ramey fin­ished 13th in 2005.

“There were a lot of peo­ple – dou­ble-A and triple-A schools, too,” Wood said. “They all have crazy huge teams. It was such a big event.”

The mag­ni­tude of the meet fell away as Wood fo­cused on the starter pis­tol. “We all started out on the line,” she said. “They shot the gun off, and some­one stepped across the line be­fore they shot. False start. That meant we had to restart the race af­ter we’d al­ready got­ten out of our boxes. You’re kinda in the zone al­ready, but I don’t think it im­pacted me too badly. I

kinda shook it off.”

Early in the race, Wood rec­og­nized her im­me­di­ate com­peti­tor. “I knew there was a girl from Le­banon who was run­ning close to my times,” she said. “I tried to hang with her as long as I could. She got ahead in the sec­ond mile, and I just couldn’t make up the dis­tance.

In a state- level com­pe­ti­tion, the sight of the fin­ish line holds its own mo­ti­va­tion. “The fin­ish is a re­ally long straight­away,” Wood said. “A lot of peo­ple start sprint­ing as soon as they can see the line. I knew that it was gonna be a long run from where you could see it to where it re­ally was. I kinda waited to kick it in, then I gave it all. I didn’t have much left at the end. I ac­tu­ally don’t think I’ve been that tired at a meet for a long time. When I fin­ished top five, I was re­ally ex­cited. I got a bronze medal?!”

“It was a great race,” coach James Sharpe said. “She took third by the first half mile. And she kept the num­ber two run­ner within about 10 sec­onds of her for most of the race. Ju­lia didn’t waste any en­ergy, and by the last 10th of a mile, she was run­ning on empty. She gave it ev­ery­thing she had. That’s a re­ally good feel­ing as a run­ner – know­ing you left ev­ery­thing on the field af­ter you ran the cor­rect pace and put your­self in the best pos­si­ble po­si­tion.”

“I’d like to thank my coaches for all the help and sup­port,” Wood said. “They held prac­tices for me af­ter the sea­son ended . . . ev­ery day they had prac­tice. Thank you to my team­mates who were al­ways there to push me. Thank you to ev­ery­one who has sup­ported me throughout the sea­son. And a spe­cial thanks to my par­ents be­cause they’ve in­spired me to al­ways try my hard­est.”

RCHS Quiz Bowl wins three

RCHS’ Quiz Bowl schol­ars trav­eled to Ge­orge Ma­son High School Mon­day night ( Nov. 12) for their lat­est Bull Run Dis­trict meet, re­turn­ing home with a mo­men­tum­build­ing three wins.

“Even though Coach [ Dave] Naser wasn’t able to be there, all the prac­tices paid off,” said se­nior Zach Huff. “Plus, Mr. [ Brad] Weeks knows how to coach.”

The Pan­thers took the qual­ity coach­ing and en­tered their com­pet­i­tive zone with en­thu­si­asm. “We were com­pletely on tar­get with buzzing,” Huff said. “Our buzzer con­trol was so great. At one point, Case [ Kramer] went out and put Henry [ Ma­son] in for him­self. Even with a dis­rup­tion in the en­ergy, we got right back on track.”

In ad­di­tion to the team chem­istry, Naser pointed out other ad­van­tages for the team. “Fa­mil­iar con­cepts came up in the meet. So, it proves that prac­tice does make a dif­fer­ence.”

The most im­por­tant in­gre­di­ent for team suc­cess is the ros­ter. “We have had a good year so far,” Naser said. “The team’s com­ing to­gether. Case is do­ing a great job as cap­tain be­cause he knows the strengths and weak­nesses of the team. We have a nice group of se­niors: Robert Yow­ell, Sa­man­tha Lan­drum, Zach Huff, Case him­self, and Trevor Achilles. Case is able to mo­ti­vate them all. Zach, of course, is just phe­nom­e­nal. He knows ev­ery­thing, even math. And, I can­not say enough about James MacLeod. He truly has a wide breadth of knowl­edge.”

“Case is do­ing a supreme job as cap­tain,” Huff said. “He doesn’t get stressed out, an­gry or ar­ro­gant. He takes things in stride and con­verses with us on strate­gies.”

“Yes, our over­all record re­flects the fact that we’ve been beaten by Ge­orge Ma­son and Manassas Park, the num­ber one and num­ber two teams from last year,” Naser said. “When we scrim­maged against them early in the sea­son, we did okay. But they’ve im­proved since then. The level of com­pe­ti­tion will just con- tinue to ramp up from here. We have played ev­ery­one once, and we’ll play them all again.

“We are go­ing to continue to im­prove go­ing into the sec­ond half of the sea­son,” Naser said.” I think all of these teams are beat­able.”

The Pan­thers will have their next op­por­tu­nity to prove their met­tle Dec. 3 in Manassas Park.

– M. D.

Wake­field sports up­date

Var­sity Vol­ley­ball: The Wake­field Coun­try Day School Lady Owls hosted Saint Michael the Ar­changel High School in the De­laney Ath­letic Con­fer­ence ( DAC) semi­fi­nal on Nov. 2. De­spite a one- week hia­tus due to the storm and sched­uled days off, the girls cruised to a 3- 0 sweep of the War­riors. Their win ad­vanced them to host­ing the DAC fi­nal against the War­riors of Quan­tico Mid­dle/ High School on Nov. 5. The match against Quan­tico was tight and very com­pet­i­tive. Af­ter the girls jumped out to a 6- 1 lead in the first game, the War­riors bat­tled back and con­tin­ued to make things tough for the Owls for the du­ra­tion of the game. Ul­ti­mately, the Lady Owls suc­cess­fully de­fended their ti­tle – their fourth straight – and went un­de­feated in con­fer­ence play.

Alexan­dria Can­cio- Bello, Maeve Dale, Kim Pankow and Han­nah Tufts were voted First Team All- DAC by the con­fer­ence coaches. Coach Zy­lo­nis won her fourth straight DAC Division II Coach of the Year award. Their fi­nal record was 16- 8.

Var­sity Soc­cer: The Owls hosted Fredericks­burg Academy for the DAC Division II Cham­pi­onship game on Nov. 2. Daniel Chad­duck scored the boys’ first goal 21 min­utes into the game off an as­sist from Marc Cugnon, while Conor O’Heir added a sec­ond goal with 13: 14 re­main­ing in the sec­ond half. The boys’ de­fense shutout the Fal­cons, and af­ter Sam Lil­burn added the third and fi­nal goal, the boys se­cured a 3- 0 cham­pi­onship vic­tory. The boys’ vic­tory gave them two straight sweeps of the reg­u­lar sea­son and tour­na­ment ti­tles and four straight reg­u­lar sea­son cham­pi­onships. Daniel Chad­duck, Marc Cugnon, Alex Fos­ter and Sam Lil­burn were named First Team All- DAC Division II for the sea­son. Alex Fos­ter was the unan­i­mous Player of the Year in the division, as voted by the con­fer­ence coaches, while Coach Tisera won the DAC Division II Coach of the Year award for the fourth year in a row. Their fi­nal record was 10- 5- 2.

Var­sity Cross Coun­try: The Owls travel to Ran­dolph Macon Academy for the DAC Cham­pi­onship meet on Nov. 1. Lu­cas DuMez led the boys with a 27th place fin­ish in a time of 21: 44. Michael Chen fin­ished 33rd in 22: 05, Will Scar­ing fin­ished 80th in 27: 20, Jerry Li fin­ished 90th and Aaron Cor­bett fin­ished 94th. Mary Leskovec fin­ished 46th with a time of 32: 46. Con­grat­u­la­tions to Coach Pop­kin and the team for a year of im­prove­ment.

Cour­tesy photo

Cel­e­brat­ing Ju­lia Wood's medal at Great Mead­ows Satur­day are (from left) coach Mark Ramey, Evan Hitt, Dy­lan Hitt, Emma Fisher, Kate­lyn Fisher, Sa­van­nah Hens­ley (in front), Wood, Kathryn Fisher, Davis Sh­effield and coach James Sharpe.

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