Basketball Games: Girls v. Giles and Boys v. Alleghany

By Alyson McCullough

On Monday, January 7th, 2019, the Lady Knights basketball teams, both junior varsity and varsity, hosted the games against the Giles County High School Lady Spartans. The junior varsity team started the game with Olivia Thacker (10), Meradith Brogan (9), Karlee Eubank (9), Gracie Harlow (10), and Janiah Merchant (9). These girls put up a great fight against the Lady Spartans. James River was ahead for the majority of the game, but Giles came back and tied it. After a hard fought game, the Lady Knights fell short with a final score of 30-34, and Giles won. As for varsity, the starters for the game were Lakota Lucado (11), Madison Brogan (11), Victoria Trabulsie (11), Myla Lester (10), and Olivia Griffin (9).

With a technical for each team in the first quarter, spectators knew then that it was going to be a rough game. Unfortunately, in the end, Giles defeated the Lady Knights, the final score being 54-19. The Lady Knights’ next game is Wednesday, January 9, 2019, at Alleghany High School and then Friday, January 11, 2019, at James River High School against Radford High School.

On Tuesday, January 8th, 2019, the James River boys basketball teams also hosted the game against the Alleghany County High School Mountaineers, and the James River community really showed up to support these games. The junior varsity boys started off with Ryan Steger (8), Jacob Alderson (10), Isaiah Moran (10), Cole Miller (10), and Heath Andrews (8) on the court. The Knights came out with a 43-24 win over the Mounties, with Ryan Steger, an eighth grader, leading the team with eighteen points scored, sophomore Isaiah Moran in second with ten points, and sophomores Parker Thompson and Jake Braun both with six points. It was not one of the hardest teams they had encountered this season, but it was still a fun game to watch.

The varsity game was definitely a great one for spectators because it left you on the edge of your seat the whole time. The starting players for James River’s varsity were Patrick Clevenger (9), Devin Cheatwood (12), Dyllan McAllister (11), River Clonch (12), and Walker Andrews (10). Alleghany was a tough team to beat, but the James River Knights brought the definition of “blood, sweat, and tears” into this game. Many fouls were made by both teams and River Clonch ended up with a technical foul. In the second half, both teams had ten fouls each and Alleghany had a player foul out with a few with three or four fouls. There was not a single second that every player was not putting in everything they had on the court. Even those players not on the court at the time were cheering their teammates on and were just as involved in the game.

The Knights worked as a team and used communication to get through this tough battle. With a full student section that showed lots of love and support for their classmates and were on their feet cheering for the entirety of the game, James River pulled out a win with less than ten seconds left on the game clock. With six seconds left in the fourth quarter, an Alleghany player made a three-point shot, tying the game at 61 all. James River got the ball back and with three seconds left, Walker Andrews was fouled by a Mountie and with his foul shots, won the game. All of James River’s fans were screaming and cheering for their James River boys and they all left without their voices that night. Sophomore Walker Andrews had the second most scored points for the night with seventeen, senior River Clonch led with twenty-two, and freshman Patrick Clevenger scored thirteen. They have been working hard in practice and played with good sportsmanship, and it definitely was used to benefit them in the end.

The Knights’ next game is Thursday, January 10th, 2019 at Radford High School and then they go back on the road to play Friday, January 11th, 2019 at Staunton River High School. The next home game for the boys is Monday, January 14th, 2019 against Floyd County High School.

The junior varsity games, for all four teams, will start at 5:30 pm and varsity games, also for all four teams, will start at 7:00 pm.

Also, despite how small of the squad they have this season and both captains being injured, the James River cheerleaders are still going out on the court with a smile and a good attitude to support their friends and classmates. These ladies are doing an outstanding job spreading school spirit and showing their James River pride.

Please come out and join James River High School in supporting their athletic departments and student-athletes that work hard every day for these games.

Friday Night Football Season Recap

By Brooke Moran and Meadow Wilkerson

For the 2018 fall season, James River High School’s football team finished out the regular season with 8 wins and 2 losses. Closing out the regular season with over 8 wins has only happened a handful of times at this high school. By the team’s bye week, the record was 4-0, a first time that has never been done in school history. According to coach Jake Phillips, it was only the 8th playoff appearance in school history. A couple of the senior players got recognition from local news organizations and the VHSL organization.

River Clonch, a senior player for the team, was placed on second team all-state for the receiver position. Clonch was also local news station WDBJ 7's player of the week for the week of September 7th. Clonch’s leadership in the 49-19 victory against Chatham High School helped him achieve this recognition. River Clonch and quarterback best friend, Coulter Hodges were given a “dynamic duo” player of the week for WFXR news channel 27.

Coulter Hodges, a senior quarterback, had a great season just like Clonch. Hodges got the award of offensive player of the year for the Three Rivers District, which is the district James River High School is in. He received player of the week for week one on WSLS Channel 10. When the team played Chatham High School, they defeated them 49-19, with Hodges scoring six out of seven touchdowns. According to the WSLS article, Hodges having a 361 total offensive yard gain helped him capture the week one achievement.

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The team started off strong at the beginning of the season. In week one, the Knights defeated the Chatham Cavaliers by thirty points, then proceeded to beat the Randolph-Henry statesman by thirty-four points in the following week. The Knights proceeded to have four weeks full of away games. In week three, the Knights beat the Fighting Blues by two touchdowns. During the week four matchup against Covington High School, the JRHS team had to come back from a deficit but took the win 39-28 against the Cougars. After the team had a bye week, they traveled to Salem to take on Glenvar. This game was featured on WDBJ7 news channel as their spotlight game of the week for week six. The rainy weather and wet field proved to be too much as they took their first loss to the Glenvar Highlanders 13-2.

The next game was one of the best that happened all season. When playing at Giles High School, the Knights were down 28-7 at halftime. With perseverance and a lot of hard work, the Knights defeated the Spartans in the final 30 seconds of the game 36-28. In football, James River has only defeated Giles one other time and that was back in the 1970s. This game earned Friday Night Blitz game of the week for week seven. “The Miracle in Pearisburg” was what the news station WFXR was calling the game.

Week eight was homecoming week for James River, after a school week full of competitions and pep rallies, the boys were ready to win. The boys pulled out a 54-7 win against the Alleghany Mountaineers. The boys were on the road again traveling to Radford for the last home game of the regular season. With the Knights down 14-0 at halftime, they came out strong in the second half but fell short in the end 31-13. After a tough loss, the boys were ready to finish the season strong. Floyd County was no match for the Knights; James River pulled out a win 28-19.

The last game of the regular season for James River was a home game against Carroll County. With this game being senior night, the players were ready to go out with a bang. After losing to Carroll County last year 32-12, they turned the tables and beat the Cavaliers 35-21.  

Finishing up the season with 8 wins and 2 losses earned the team a place in the state playoff tournament. In James River history, the football team has only made it to the playoff eight times. After traveling to Gretna High School for round one, the team lost to the Dragons 35-2.

While finishing the season 8-3, it is still one of the best seasons James River football has ever had. According to an interview done by WFXR, the team said that during their training camp, they wanted to have at least an 8-2 record and that is exactly what they accomplished. The team stayed mostly healthy throughout the whole season with only a couple having injuries.

Behind the Budget of Your Favorite School Teams

by Brianna Baldwin and Kaitlyn Keith

High School Activities are a beloved part of a student’s life, but the management to keep these sports and activities upheld can be hard to keep in order. There is a limited amount of money available for VHSL sports  and activities here at James River, making the funding possibly strained. Certain teams require more money, some teams require money now, and others can wait. When asked about the number of VHSL teams at James River High School, there are “22 teams, including activities”, according to Tim Jennings, the school’s athletic director. During an interview with Mr. Jennings, he was asked a series of questions about the funding for the school’s athletics and activities. It was made clear that a majority of the funding is on a need-based system. This is a long way from the misunderstanding that many have when it comes to how funding is provided to each VHSL sport and activity. In fact, many believe that funding for sports and activities depends on how well the team is doing. This would be measured by victories, losses, number of audience members, etc. This is not the case as each team’s funding changes from year to year. Although there are many expenses that each team expects each year, such as fixing broken equipment, buying new uniforms to replace ruined ones, and other such necessities, there are unexpected expenses that come to the forefront each season. An example of this would be a new full set of uniforms for an entire team. As said before, funding can be strained, so how can teams buy things that they need and want when the school funding is running low or used entirely for the year? Fundraising! Fundraising is another big part of gaining funding for sports and activities. “All fundraisings just need to be approved through me and the school board, just needs to keep the fundraising current, so people will buy them,” Mr. Jennings said.

When thinking about funding for a team, many think about physical items used in the sport or activity, but many do not think about transportation. Each VHSL sport and activity typically have at least one competition per year. Some of these competitions or games happen at home, JRHS, while others happen at other schools, which means our teams have to travel. One example of this is the football team. During this past season, the football team had five home games and five away games, according to Daniel Holter. Daniel is a senior at James River High School. The team did not have to drive themselves to any of the five away games as they had a bus provided by the school. As Tim Jennings said in the same interview mentioned above, “If they travel, they recieve some school funding.” This means that the few teams that do not receive school funding for equipment, such as Drama, still are considered to be receiving school funding for the bus used to take the team to any away competitions.

Certain sport and activity teams have a hard time fundraising and getting school money, which can make them feel less important. Some teams have almost no funding, for example Drama. Unlike football, the Drama team is unable to sell tickets. This can cause a great strain on the budget for the team. “Drama has never had a budget,” said Sharon Keith, Drama director and a teacher at James River. Luckily, with the help of parents and Attic Productions, the team is able to put on captivating shows year after year. Putting on these plays can be quite more expensive than people think. “Scripts are ten dollars each plus a fifty to seventy-five dollar fee per performance,” she continued. This isn’t including costumes, props, and other necessities that can cost anywhere in the range of “500 to 800 dollars,” per semester. While some plays have copyright preventing the team from selling tickets, VHSL and James River school rules do not allow the team to sell tickets at any performance. This means that the team relies solely on donations by audience members, parents, and the rest is purely out of the director’s pocket. Typically, the Drama team has two home performances, One Act and Spring, where they accept donations. These performances are not always allowed. One example is last semester: the team was forced to change performance dates multiple times as well as cancel one performance. This was because the majority of the team is in the school band and were required to be at the football game that was rescheduled to the same day as the drama performance.

While funding may be need-based, not all teams and activities are created equal. Some receive more funding than others and some are even pushed below others. Sometimes, underfunding is understandable but when it effects outside funding and student/teacher’s lives, it is unfair and unwelcome.

Indoor Track Competes at Liberty University

By Tessa Jones and Erin Walker

The James River Knights traveled to Liberty University on Saturday, January 5 to compete in the Bulldog Invitational. This meet hosted 80 teams and upwards of 1,500 athletes, ensuring fierce competition throughout the day. The meet started at 9:30 a.m. and lasted well into the evening, with the last event beginning at 9:10 p.m. Stepping off the bus into the crowded entrance would have made anyone nervous, especially knowing that you’ll be competing against some of the top runners in the country. Despite the numbers, James River really made some noise at this meet.

The meet started with a strong performance from the girls’ 4x800 meter relay. Tessa Jones started off the knights as the first leg of the relay, handing the baton off to Catherine Amos, who handed off to Kayla Myers, who handed it off to the last leg, Abbagail Link. The girls finished 14th with a time of 11:39 minutes.

Next up was the 55 meter dash. Erin Walker was the only girl entry in this event, but made sure Liberty knew that James River was there! She ran 7.7 seconds, running a blazing personal best that qualifies her for the state meet. Walker placed 13th out of 135 runners.  

As the 55 meter dash was being run, the girls’ 1600 meter run lined up on the outside of the track; there were 149 entries in the 1600, making sure there was intense competition in every heat. Lily Snow of Deep Run High School ran a winning time of 5:03, the fifth fastest time in the nation so far this year. The Knights entered in Kayla Myers and Abbagail Link to run the mile. Myers ran 6:34 minutes, placing 101st, and Link ran 6:18 minutes, earning her 72nd place.

The 55 meter hurdles was run next on the track with Reagan Hester as the only girl entry. She ran 10.4 seconds and placed 34th overall.  

After hurdles, the 4x200 meter relay took to the track. This race kept everyone in the facility on the edge of their seats as the girls sprinted around the track, running at top speed. Two teams, Mills Godwin and Highland Springs, ran times that qualified them for the New Balance National Indoor Track Meet, running only .01 seconds apart from each other in a nail biting finish. The James River girls team ran 2:00 minutes even with runs from Rachael Hix, Reagan Hester, Morgan Marshall, and Erin Walker; they placed 15th overall.

The Knights had two entries in the 300 meter run: Erin Walker and Morgan Marshall. Walker ran 45.9 seconds, which won her heat, and placed 35th. Marshall ran 46.9 seconds and placed 72nd overall.

Throughout the day, long and triple jump took place on the inside of the track. Morgan Marshall and Rachael Hix jumped for the Knights in both events. Marshall long jumped 13 feet 1 inch, earning her 66th place and a personal best! She also triple jumped 28 feet 5 inches, placing 32nd. Hix long jumped 11 feet 2 inches, placing 97th and triple jumped 27 feet 2 inches, which placed 42st.  

The James River boys also gave incredible performances last weekend, with Evan Akers kicking off the boy’s events in the 55 meter hurdles. This was Aker’s first time running the 55 meter hurdles at a meet, and what a meet to start with! He ran an 11.5, a season’s best.

Next was the boy’s 55 meter dash. Gabe Sabastino was the only boy’s entry and ran a speedy time of 7.6, his personal best, and earned 130th place.

While Aker’s and Sabastino were running their races, the boy’s 4x800 relay team, consisting of Anthony Etzler, Cole Miller, Daniel Holter and Camden Powell, ran a time of 9 minutes and 11 seconds. Not only did this time win them 17th place overall, but also solidified their seed at the state meet later on this winter.

When asked about the state qualifying 4x800 meter relay performance, Daniel Holter feels pretty good about it. “I think we did as good as we have so far” he says, “and we hope to continue to improve.” Their 9:11 minute time not only qualified them for the state meet, but ranks them third in the state. The boys’ plan from now until then is simply “To get faster.”

The 300 meter dash was a close race for the River boys, with Akers and Sabastino both running for the Knights. Sabastino ran a 42.5 and Akers ran a 42.58, taking 129th and 130th place.

In the boy’s 500 meter dash, Owen Krisnitski placed 88th overall. This was his first time running the 500 meter ever, having switched from long distance to sprints this season. He showed that he is an all around athlete with a blazing time of 1:21.

To finish if off for the runners, Daniel Holter ran in the boy’s 1000m, placing 88th overall with a time of 3:03, this season’s personal best.

The James River throwers also had a successful weekend, with Logan Williamson throwing 44 ft in the boys shot put, earning him in 6th place. Deacon Paivanas threw 40 feet 8 inches, winning him 18th place. Jeremiah Albert threw 39 feet 10 inches and placed 21st overall.

River’s jumpers also gave phenomenal performances, despite our small numbers, Sabastino and Krisnitski both shook the table. In long jump, Sabastino jumped 14 feet 6 inches, while Krisnitski jumped 15 feet flat. Sabastino was our only boy triple jumper and jumped 30 feet 10 inches.

Coach Vincent Wyatt, the hurdling and mid-distance coach, said of the meet,  “The Bulldog Invitational was an amazing meet and a great opportunity to our student athletes to compete against some of the best in the state. We work very hard in practice to prepare ourselves for meets and I’m very happy with the approach our student athletes had in every race.”