Fall sports scorecard

Rapp sports update

Rappahannock News - - FRONT PAGE - — Jimmy Swindler

At the fall sports sea­son’s not-quite-mid­point, RCHS’ vol­ley­ball teams (that’s var­sity player Bri­anna Set­tle above) con­tinue their win­ning ways, and the Pan­ther var­sity foot­ball team has been im­press­ing the crowds (though not al­ways win­ning), as have the band, cross coun­try and cheer­ing squads.

With Septem­ber com­ing to a close, Rapp’s fall sports teams are ap­proach­ing the mid­point of their sea­sons, with vic­to­ries and stand­out per­for­mances rolling in like the ripe ap­ples from lo­cal or­chards.

CROSS COUN­TRY

Cross coun­try leads off this week, fresh off their per­for­mances at last week’s Bull Run Dis­trict meet and yes­ter­day’s home course opener (re­sults of the lat­ter too late for this ar­ti­cle). Last week at Cen­tral, the teams ran strongly, with the boys’ team tak­ing fourth out of seven and the girls’ squad plac­ing third out of four. Coach Kenny Burt re­ports that al­most all run­ners are pro­gress­ing ex­actly as planned, with new per­sonal records be­ing set weekly.

In­di­vid­ual per­for­mances in­cluded an­other first-place fin­ish for se­nior Gavin Jenk­ins, last year’s state run­nerup, a 14th-place fin­ish for Sam Barnes, 22nd and 23rd for team­mates Jor­dan Rec­tor and Chris­tian Pof­fen­barger, and 31st for Justin Ramey. On the girls’ side, Jack­lyn Humphries took sixth place, fol­lowed by Sky­lar Cul­bert­son in sev­enth and Sa­van­nah Hens­ley in ninth. Cam­ryn Clark took 13th and Brooke Athelli 19th to round out the top plac­ers for the Rapp squad.

In in­vi­ta­tional meets, this past week­end Gavin Jenk­ins com­pleted in the pres­ti­gious Oat­lands In­vi­ta­tional near Lees­burg. Com­pet­ing against many of the best run­ners from all across the state, Gavin fin­ished 16th with a time of 16:40, dra­mat­i­cally im­prov­ing over last year’s 40th-place fin­ish and 17:47 time.

Many of the var­sity run­ners will be com­pet­ing in the Stonewall In­vi­ta­tional this Satur­day (Sept. 24) on the New Mar­ket Bat­tle­field grounds. The teams then com­pete at Stras­burg Sept. 28 for a Bull Run Dis­trict matchup be­fore re­turn­ing to the home Blue Rock course on Wed­nes­day, Oct. 5. Run­ning against larger schools dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son, hopes are high that strong in­di­vid­ual and team re­sults will be posted at the con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship meet Oct. 25 at Lan­caster High School, the first step on the road to States.

Our Ju­nior Pan­ther run­ners have com­peted in sev­eral events, the lat­est of which was last Tues­day in a Val­ley Mid­dle School Con­fer­ence-sanc­tioned event at St. Joe’s School in Martins­burg, West Vir­ginia. On the girls’ side, Rachel Weghorst fin­ished fourth, Olivia Gib­son sev­enth, Cas­sia Gainer 10th, Jaden Cillo, Cait­lyn Clark, Sarah Dod­son and Lily Jenk­ins 12th through 15th, re­spec­tively, and Ava Genho 17th, giv­ing their team enough points to fin­ish sec­ond out of six teams.

On the boys’ side, Chase Whar­ton fin­ished fifth, Luke El­lis 10th and Nick Grigsby 19th to put the boys’ team fourth of six. This past Tues­day the team hosted a VMSC event and have two more events sched­uled be­fore the VMSC Cham­pi­onship Tour­na­ment Oct. 13 at Ran­dolphMa­con Academy.

SOC­CER

In J.P. boys’ soc­cer, the Pan­thers scored a win on the pitch in their first out­ing of the year, a home match Sept. 12 against VMSC op­po­nent Chelsea Academy. Luke Jung started the scor­ing just after the start of the game and then Luke fired an­other goal and the Pan­thers never looked back. Chelsea got one past the Rapp keep but the Para­tore broth­ers, Matthew and Nick, added two more with the fi­nal point in the 5-1 vic­tory com­ing off a Matthew Para­tore penalty kick over the Chelsea de­fender wall. The team trav­els to Fresta Val­ley to­mor­row (Fri­day, Sept. 23) and then re­turns to Pan­ther Sta­dium Sept. 29, host­ing Wake­field Coun­try Day School in a game be­gin­ning at 4:30.

VOL­LEY­BALL

In vol­ley­ball, the Rapp JV and var­sity teams have con­tin­ued with their tor­rid pace, main­tain­ing their un­de­feated record thus far in the sea­son. Mov­ing into their Bull Run Dis­trict sched­ule, the teams have racked up straight-set wins over Stras­burg at home and War­ren County on the road and then, in a pre­view of pos­si­ble post­sea­son play, added a vic­tory over con­fer­ence foe Northum­ber­land last Fri­day night. Out­stand­ing serves and set-end­ing hits have been a hall­mark of this year’s Rapp teams and, al­though they have been tested by some qual­ity op­po­nents and even been be­hind in some sets, the girls have showed their met­tle and pre­vail with wins.

Some no­table in­di­vid­ual per­for­mances in­clude Ju­lia Estes’ com­bined 41 kills in the last three games, in­clud­ing 18 in one night against War­ren County. Ju­lia’s team­mates Sarah East, Bri­anna Set­tle, Amber Smoot and El­lie Young have com­bined for more than 50 kills in the past three games with set­ter Kayla Robey tal­ly­ing over 75 as­sists and eight kills of her own in that span. Libero Jes­sica Thorne has had an out­stand­ing de­fen­sive sea­son, ex­em­pli­fied by the War­ren County game in which she had eight digs and a flaw­less pass-re­ceive game. Strong serves have also been a con­stant for the Rapp squad, in­clud­ing an eight-point run by Amber Smoot against Northum­ber­land.

This past Tues­day the teams hosted Madi­son County (re­sults too late for this re­port), but win or lose they are both as­sured of an early first­place stand­ing in the dis­trict. Coach Court­ney Atkins’ (var­sity) and Seth Wy­att’s (JV) teams re­turn to the home gym next Tues­day (Sept. 27) to meet the Ea­gles of Clarke County, JV tipoff at 6. Rapp fans won’t want to miss an op­por­tu­nity to see this team show­case their tal­ents.

On the Ju­nior Pan­ther side of the net, Coach Jeff Atkins’ team has only suf­fered one de­feat thus far, a three­game heart­breaker at Madi­son County. But that loss has been sand­wiched be­tween a win over Wake­field Coun­try Day School and sub­se­quent wins over Chelsea Academy and Fresta Val­ley. The JP squad re­turned to their home court this past Tues­day (re­sults too late for this re­port), seek­ing to avenge their loss to Madi­son. The team will be back home again Sept. 27 at 4:30 against St. Joseph’s, pro­vid­ing the open­ing game in a vol­ley­ball triple­header.

FOOT­BALL

JP foot­ball had their first game last Thurs­day, trav­el­ing to Prospect Heights Mid­dle School. Al­though they ended up on the short end of the fi­nal, Coach Rich Ho­gan was pleased with the team’s ef­fort and with the per­for­mance as a whole. High­lights in­cluded two first-half rush­ing touch­downs by J.B. Lei­den­heimer, an in­ter­cep­tion by Eli­jah Set­tle, a suc­cess­ful two-point con­ver­sion and a 14-12 half­time lead. Coach Ho­gan also noted the of­fen­sive con­tri­bu­tions of play­ers Taven Mur­rah and Ma­son Ramey.

Un­timely turnovers in the sec­ond half proved to be Rapp’s un­do­ing and led to the fi­nal 14-24 score, a vic­tory for Prospect Heights. The game was the JP squad’s first and was a huge learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence; for many Rapp play­ers this was their first or­ga­nized foot­ball game ever. The squad trav­els to Lo­cust Grove to­day (Thurs­day, Sept. 22) and has their home opener on Mon­day (Sept. 26), kick­off at 6 p.m.

Var­sity foot­ball strug­gled to get back in the win col­umn after tak­ing their home opener against Grace Chris­tian in late Au­gust. Con­sec­u­tive home losses to Ge­orge Ma­son and Page County sent coaches and play­ers back to the prac­tice field with a de­ter­mined at­ti­tude to right the Pan­ther ship. Their hard work was ev­i­dent last Fri­day night at home, where they lost to the Cru­saders of Cen­tral Mary­land Chris­tian but pro­vided fans with elec­tri­fy­ing mo­ments through­out what was a fun game to watch.

Un­timely turnovers and mis­cues plagued the Pan­thers, lead­ing to stalled drives and scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for the War­riors. De­spite those set­backs, Rapp was in the game un­til late in the fourth quar­ter, driv­ing for a score that would have put them within reach of a vic­tory. An­other costly turnover killed the drive and led to an­other Cru­saders touch­down. And while the game ended with a loss, there were many mo­ments that showed the marked im­prove­ment this squad has shown this year.

Game high­lights in­cluded Michael Reid’s 83 yards rush­ing, in­clud­ing a 19-yard rum­ble for a touch­down, and he brought the crowd to their feet with a thrilling, 78-yard kick­off re­turn for a touch­down. Jack Massie, in ad­di­tion to lead­ing the team on of­fense as the start­ing quar­ter­back, also led the team on de­fense with five tack­les and one as­sist.

The var­sity squad takes to the road for the next sev­eral weeks, with away games at Portsmouth Chris­tian on Satur­day (Sept. 24), at King and Queen Cen­tral on Fri­day, Sept. 30, at Mas­sanut­ten Mil­i­tary on Fri­day, Oct. 7, and then Quan­tico High School on Fri­day, Oct. 14. They re­turn to Pan­ther Sta­dium for their fi­nal home game of the sea­son on Oct. 21 against Ken­ston For­est, in their Home­com­ing Week­end game. Make plans now to be at Pan­ther Sta­dium for Home­com­ing to cheer on our Pan­thers, marvel at the syn­chronic­ity of the Cheer Squad, en­joy the award-win­ning Pan­ther March­ing Band and share in the fun of the corona­tion of the Home­com­ing Court.

BAND

And speak­ing of band, the Pan­ther March­ing Band trav­eled to their first com­pe­ti­tion of the year at Wood­bridge High School, and Ja­son Guira’s mu­si­cians re­turned home with four tro­phies — sec­ond place in mu­sic, sec­ond-place drum ma­jor, first-place march­ing and sec­ond place over­all for Class A. Best of luck to our band as they con­tinue with their com­pe­ti­tion sea­son in the com­ing week­ends.

Stay cur­rent with all Rapp sports scores and sched­ules at rap­pa­han­nock­coun­tyhs.rschooltea­ms.com, where Ath­letic Direc­tor Bran­don Bur­ley has all the lat­est. Go Rapp!

PHO­TOS BY DAVID HONG

BY DAVID HONG

The RCHS var­sity Pan­thers pro­vided some elec­tri­fy­ing mo­ments for fans at their last Fri­day game at home for al­most a month, when they lost to the Cru­saders of Cen­tral Mary­land Chris­tian but played a fun game to watch.

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