The Rocket Flame

Pinning to the Top


On Feb. 21 and 22, five of the James Buchanan wrestlers went on to compete in Districts at Susquenita High School. These wrestlers included Shaun Reed (12), Hunter Smith (11), Logan Miller (11), Nathan Brake (9), and Hayden Shirk (9). 

Then, on Feb. 28th and 29th, Hayden Shirk participated in the second round of Districts. Shirk previously won his two matches the weekend before, leading him to Regionals.

Sending five boys to compete in this tournament and then a freshman making it to the second round was a huge improvement upon last year.

Making the podium, Shirk places 5th overall.

“We’re used to having three or four boys on the team, and this year we were able to put 12 on the mat,” said Coach Derek Straley.

Shirk and the other wrestlers have been in the mat room every day after school, practicing and watching their weight as that is a key factor in their performance. Even after all the winter sports were over, the boys continued to work every day.

Wrestling at practice, Hayden Shirk (9) prepares for Districts.

Reed, Smith, Miller, and Brake all were defeated in the first rounds in their weight class. However, Shirk went 4-2 and is continuing onto Regionals.  A big accomplishment for him over the weekend, was beating a senior he lost to two weeks ago at sectionals. 

“The main thing is getting out on bottom and taking and finishing the shots as well,” said Shirk.

He worked on techniques and improving his tactics for Regionals. Even though the other four boys did not progress past the first round of Districts, all of them continued to go to practice to keep working and prepare for next season. 

Shirk lost both matches during Regionals. This ended his wrestling for the season, but it was a successful season.

“Districts and Regionals went well but next year I hope to go farther in the rounds,” said Shirk.

All boys and coaches will be working to put all the wrestlers in Districts. With having much more District-qualifiers this year, they’re aiming for some boys to also make it to states.


A Tough Kick Against Lancaster Catholic


On Saturday, Oct. 27, The Lady Rockets accomplished more than just a win: for the first time ever, the Girls’ Varsity Soccer team made it to Districts, beating an undefeated team.

“We applied everything we learned in practice,” said Bella Shupp (10).

Kylee Long (11) with a throw-in

To prepare for the big game, the girls practiced penalty kicks and shooting all week. Before the game, the girls got warmed up by dancing to music and doing a team prayer.

  With freezing weather, a feuding crowd, and many tough players, the Lady Rockets managed to beat Lancaster Catholic. After the long game, the girls then went into double overtime, which were each 15 minutes long, and then lead to penalty kicks.

“My favorite memory was standing next to my team during the PK-shootout,” said Shupp.

Everyone was cheering in the crowds, hoping the Lady Rockets could achieve this step. With everyone on the edge of their seats, Breanna Dukehart (12) started the first round of penalty kicks, making the first goal. After twelve long nerve-racking rounds, Jade Wolfe (10) made the last shot which lead them to victory.

“It felt like having a piece of home along for the ride,”  said Addy Crouse (10). “It kind of gives us a boost of energy knowing we have their support.”

A few of our students came all the way to support our Lady Rockets and cheered them on during the game, no matter how outnumbered they were to the Lancaster Catholic Student Section.

“We were confident in each other and focused on putting everything together,” said Crouse.

After Wolfe made the winning shot, the students and parents cheered as the girls piled on top of each other.

The Lady Rockets celebrating their win

“The adrenaline was high and everyone swarmed each other while celebrating,” says Crouse

With tears running down their faces, they ran to their families and friends to celebrate the win they did not see coming.

The Lady Rockets are now moving onto semi-finals, playing Eastern Lebanon County at Donegal High School on Wednesday, Oct. 3.

Making Memories on the Green


Taking a nice swing Claire sends the ball towards the hole. Photo Credit: Maricris Alfree

Being the only girl on the James Buchanan golf team never stopped Claire Alfree (12)  from working hard and competing during her 2017 season. Not only was she the lone girl on the team, she was also the only person to make it to Districts to compete.Alfree considers herself an encouraging source on the golf team. Being a senior, she hopes her teammates listen to her advice and positive feedback.


“I’m more of a motivator,” Alfree said. “I know I’m not the best person on the golf team but I try really hard to make it enjoyable for everyone.”


Alfree has been playing golf on the James Buchanan team since her freshman year of high school. What got Alfree interested in golf her freshman year was her parents, but the beginning of that season was not her first time playing.


“When I was younger, my grandparents would take me out to hit a couple golf balls and see if they would go straight or not,” Alfree said.


She has been working to improve her skills in her four years of playing golf on the team, and that is how she made it from Mid-Penn’s on to Districts. Before she went to Districts on Friday, October 6th, she had to work hard on her physical and mental game, more so than she usually had to.


“I unfortunately hurt my shoulder at the last regular season match,” Alfree said.


Going into Districts with an injury, Alfree had to focus on the little things to get herself prepared for the matches she faced that day.


“I couldn’t really golf but I still felt like I needed to golf. I really focused on my short game, which is close around the green,” Alfree said.


Although she did not qualify for the last round at Districts, she was ranked well in the list of golfers.


“Out of 60 girls I was ranked 39, so that is pretty good for someone who hasn’t golfed for very long,” Alfree said.


In the group of girls she was golfing against, Alfree had the second lowest score, but it was only by a difference of two strokes. While in her match, she hit the ball from the T-Box all the way to the green, and almost to the hole, which is not an easy task. Sometimes it can take two to three or even more shots to make it to the green.


“Claire shot a 97, which was good considering she was playing injured,” Golf Coach Mr. Mark Wise (Faculty) said.


Although she will no longer be playing golf at James Buchanan next year, she has high hopes for them in the next season.


“It would be awesome if they had a winning record next year,” she said


To anyone that would like to play golf for James Buchanan next season, Alfree gives some tips.


“Don’t quit!  You’re supposed to be doing bad, and don’t let one single bad round ruin your game and stop you,” said Alfree.

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