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All winning streaks must come to an end eventually

Nataleigh Hunter wins three events
Nataleigh Hunter at the Cape Middle School Relays. She won three open events in Mariner’s upset of Beacon. DAVE FREDERICK PHOTO
May 5, 2017

Tear-stained eyes - The Beacon track girls’ win streak was stopped at 73 May 2, as they lost to sister school Mariner 57-52. The girls of coach Kenny Riedel snapped up and down the lineup to pull off the upset. “We won eight events, and that was a difference,” Riedel said. Nataleigh Hunter won the 55 hurdles, 100 meters and 200. Samantha Jacona was a double winner in the 1,600 and 800. Dover Central and Chipman were also part of the meet. Coach Kenny walks among the yellow jerseys of Mariner boys and girls; he knows their numbers and events and capabilities. The athletes relate to him; he gives them space to excel. I told Kenny when he was in ninth grade, “You just need an edge. You must learn to be tougher or some people will simply bowl you over.” Later when he was helping out with Cape track, I told him, “I admire the enthusiasm you show coaching people with no talent and little potential.” And not because he stopped the Beacon track freight train at the junction of 73 and 74. Kenny embodies all those qualities you like to see in a coach, but I must stop being so nice to him because my job is always to toughen him up.   

The dragon is lurking - Teams that post long winning streaks and championships better know a fire-breathing dragon is lying in wait ready to bite their head off. I saw it last fall when the Cape hockey team lost to Tower Hill  2-0 in the state tournament after 100 straight wins against Delaware opponents and five straight state championships. The girls cried after the game. After living the dream for so long, it was time to refocus. Make no mistake, it’s hard to get to the top and harder to stay there. Cape girls’ lacrosse carries a streak of 104 straight wins against Delaware opponents and eight straight state championships. The tournament is later this month and someone asked me, “Like who is going to beat them?” Any other team who lines up on the other side of the circle, that’s who. You have to slay the dragons. They don’t roll over and play dead.    

Big guys ain’t better - I went to a middle school lacrosse game at Postlethwait May 1 to watch Beacon and support Mikey Fred, whom I have dubbed as The Forgotten Grandchild. Many fans think the taller and bigger guys are by default the best guys, but in lacrosse it’s head on a swivel, dodge, don’t dance, and pick up ground balls and see the field. Beacon won 11-4 and Mikey had four goals and two assists because he is crafty and cagey. I know Hank D’Ambrogi had three goals and CJ Fritchman had a couple, but that is as close as I could get to accuracy, as neither team has a numbered roster on their websites. 

Run for Recovery 5K - This Saturday, May 6, at 9 a.m at Cape Henlopen High School is the inaugural race. The monies go to Attack Addiction of Sussex County. It would be nice to see a big turnout for this event. You don’t have to run and you don’t have to donate - both would be nice - but just your presence and support would be great.

Snippets - Both girls’ and boys’ lacrosse will be at Tower Hill Friday, May 5. The girls face the Hillers at 4 p.m., while the boys’ game begins at 7.  The Cape girls defeated Tower Hill in last year’s state finals. Tower boys beat Cape last year 9-8, then lost to Appoquinimink 12-8 in the state semifinals. Should be a great doubleheader, but watch the Friday night traffic for the ride home. Cape football player Robert Mitchell will attend Lackawanna College in the fall. A traditional two-year school, Lackawanna College will begin bachelor’s degree programs in fall 2017. Go on now, git! 

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