Impact of the Ratpack

By Sarah Lam and Sydney Newcomb

Photo by Colleen Peery

Photo by Colleen Peery

At James River High School, something we take very seriously is sports. Not only are the parents involved, the student body is a huge part of our athletic program. Almost every weeknight, students come out and support our sports teams. They go all out and make props, organize tailgates, and dress up in themes that have been coordinated by the Pep Club. This amazing body of students at James River is known as ‘the Ratpack.’

Being seniors, we truly realize how much the Ratpack really has impacted us in the past four years. Whether we’re in the stands, on the court, or on the field, we’ve all felt a strong impact of the Ratpack.

Although the Ratpack is fairly new to James River, It has grown tremendously throughout the years. Being an athlete myself, I personally know how much the Ratpack has on our teams and vise versa. The Ratpack is definitely more than a student section, it’s more like a family.

Sports like football, volleyball, and basketball definitely have the most support when it comes to the Ratpack. These sports bring in the most students for a few reasons: one being how intense those sports can be, two being how well we did with some of those sports within the past couple years, and three most definitely being our insanely awesome themes!

Themed games draw in the crowds to games and liven them up. Everything from blackout, to hawaiian night, to one of our favorites, american night! Almost all sports have the same theme, but do they get old? Absolutely not! Having such a strong student section known as the Ratpack, which most schools would be embarrassed about, yet we embrace, not only helps us grow as a school but also helps us grow as a community.


Volleyball is definitely one of those sports you need people cheering you on and you play off of how the crowd is interacting. My junior year of volleyball we had the most outstanding student section ever. Not many other student sections would travel all the way to Marion, which is two hours away, to watch us kick some butt! I know for a fact the Ratpack helped us get as far as we did that year, we owe it all to them.

We asked Bailey Marshall what the Ratpack has meant to her over the last four years:

“It has really shown me the unity and support we have in our school. Not only do you see that during sports games, but that also carries over to being in class with those people and doing things outside of school. It just brings a sense of community that is super special!” -Bailey Marshall


Basketball, boys’ especially, has always had a good turnout too. From tip off to the last second of the fourth quarter, you could count on every rat in that Ratpack to be standing and cheering as loud as they possibly could. Also, you can’t turn down the free donuts or pizza they offer on some game days.

We asked Jack Hutchens about how the Ratpack has influenced him on and off the court during his years at James River:

“Off the court, it just feels like you’re part of the team when you’re cheering on whoever you’re cheering on. You’re impacting the game in a way that’s just kind of like indirectly and it’s really fun to get into it and get into the other teams’ heads. On the court, if you do something great or even if you do something like you’re playing bad, you always know you have support of the student section behind you.” -Jack Hutchens


Football was definitely our most dominant sport last year, which just drew the Ratpack in. From tailgates to the crazy themes, everyone was all geared up for those Friday night lights. I feel like the Ratpack might have been even more excited than the football players at times. Having such a great team this year made us want to cheer louder, throw more flour, and be crazier!

We asked River Clonch his experience of the Ratpack in his four years of football:

“Over the past four years, my experience at James River has been great; it has been fun being part of the Ratpack and being supported by them. It’s always nice to see them supporting us at games because they seem to make it fun and more of a thrill to play.” -River Clonch

As the seniors start their second semester and prepare to enter college in the fall, they remember all the memories made in the Ratpack. From all the pep bus rides, to the tailgates, to the insanely awesome themes, they have made some of their best high school memories in the Ratpack. Once a Knight, always a Knight.