It was another successful high school sports season in 2018 filled with state qualifying teams and individuals, coaching changes, retirements and even a field dedication to a former coach.
Here’s a look at some of the top local high school stories of 2018.
Kenny Rinker retires as Central athletic director: Rinker had been the athletic director at Central for eight years and had been teaching and coaching at the school for 31 years. He also spent seven years at Stonewall Jackson and two years in Harrisonburg. He was a varsity football coach at both Stonewall Jackson and Central as well as a softball coach at both schools.
Rinker was replaced later in 2018 by Justin Broughman, who was the assistant athletic director under Rinker in the fall and winter of the 2017-18 season.
Winter sports enjoys lots of success: Stonewall Jackson’s girls basketball team and Central’s boys basketball team each advanced to the state semifinals in the winter of 2018 to highlight the season.
Warren County’s wrestling team finished second in the Class 3 State Championships. Stonewall Jackson’s Dakota Bush, Strasburg’s Peyton Stickles and Skyline’s Tyler Davis each finished as state-runners-up individually in their wrestling state tournaments. In swimming, Central’s Ashley Funkhouser finished fifth in the 50 freestyle, and Strasburg’s Abigail Davis was fourth in the 100 breast stroke at the Class 2 State Championships.
Central, Stonewall Jackson to move up in classification, change districts in 2019-20: In late May, the VHSL released the latest average daily membership numbers, which determine which classification each school is placed in. The new numbers forced Stonewall Jackson to move up from Class 1 to Class 2 and for Central to go from Class 2 to Class 3.
Once everything was official later in the year, Stonewall Jackson was approved to move from the Shenandoah District to the Bull Run District and Central was approved to go from the Bull Run District to the Class 3 Northwestern District. The changes take effect with the 2019-20 school season.
State championships highlight the spring season: Central’s Kyle Clanton won the Class 2 individual state title in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dash at the Class 2 Track and Field State Championships. Central finished second as a team in the Class 2 State Championships. In other individual sports, Central’s Michelle Kim advanced to the Class 2 Individual Singles Girls Tennis Championships, and Sherando’s Kathryn Robertson and Alexa Venturato advanced to the finals of Class 4 Individual Doubles Girls Tennis Championships.
In softball, Skyline advanced to the Class 3 state semifinals, and in boys soccer, Stonewall Jackson advanced to the Class 1 state quarterfinals.
Pepper Martin steps down as wrestling coach: After 25 years as the Sherando wrestling coach, Martin decided in June it was time to move on. He stayed on at the school as physical education teacher and as the school’s baseball coach. Martin had a career coaching record at Sherando of 561-143. He had been the school’s only wresting coach since it opened in 1993.
Matt Keel also stepped down as Skyline’s wrestling coach to take another job at another school. Martin was replaced by Brian Kibler, who had been Martin’s assistant for the last 10 years. Keel was replaced by Kyle Symons.
Park View, Manassas Park cancel football seasons: Two schools in the Northern Virginia area, which were scheduled to play Central, canceled their seasons in August due to not having enough players on the team.
Central picked up another game and took a forfeit from Park View and only played nine regular season games in 2018. Warren County and Skyline, which are in the same district as Manassas Park, each were able to pick up another game to keep their schedules at 10 games.
Stonewall Jackson honors Dick Krol: Stonewall Jackson named its football field after the former football coach and held a dedication ceremony at halftime of the Generals’ game on Oct. 27.
Krol, who is also the track and field coach at the school, finished his career with 300 wins. He had 142 victories at Stonewall Jackson in 28 seasons. He also led the team to Region B Championships and state semifinal appearances in 1996, 1997 and 1999. The school’s football field is now named Dick Krol Field at General Stadium.
Sherando’s Hunter Entsminger signs with James Madison University: Sherando baseball standout Entsminger signed his letter of intent to play baseball at JMU on Nov. 14. He will be a pitcher for the Dukes.
Entsminger verbally committed to the Dukes in May. In the spring, Entsminger went 4-1 with a 1.69 ERA and had 47 strikeouts in 37 1/3 innings pitched for Sherando.
Two strong football teams highlight fall season: Central and Sherando each advanced to the region football finals in their respective classifications. Central finished with an 11-2 record, while Sherando was 10-2.
In volleyball, Warren County advanced to the Class 3 state semifinals. Last year the Wildcats advanced to the state final. They finished the last two seasons with a combined record of 42-9 and won back-to-back Region 3B titles. In cross country, Strasburg’s boys team finished third in the Class 2 State Championships with a young squad that had no seniors. In golf, Strasburg placed fifth as a team in the Class 2 Golf State Championships. Individually, Strasburg golfer Seth Stickley finished tied for fifth in the state.