Academics meets athletics and spawns many unmarketable majors

Sonja Friend, a former Cape great, won the GNC Liberty Mile masters division in Pittsburgh in a time of 4:47. BY STAR TRAC
August 21, 2012

Rabbits run - The broad country expanse known as Rabbit's Ferry, Delaware, off Beaver Dam Road going back toward Five Points through Jimtown and Belltown used to produce a lot of distance runners for Cape Henlopen. Direct or indirect descendants of the Nanticoke Indian tribe, it was firmly believed that these athletes could run because it was in their inherited nature to do so. I coached the first Cape cross country team to win a state championship back in 1977. The top seven runners were Lance White, Glenn Smith, Nick Miller, Linwood Downing, Davis Lewis, Phil Wilson, Jeff Jones and Ronnie Wright. Miller and Wright were definitely Nanticoke connected. Coach George Pepper won boys' titles in 1979 and 1982 while Pat Pollock coached championship boys' teams in 1999 and 2001. Names associated with Rabbit's Ferry running include Johnson, Harmon, Norwood, Street, Jackson, Miller, Morris and Wright . I'm sure I'm missing a name or two. The big question is, where is the next generation of distance runners from the Nanticoke tribe?

Salt and Peppers - An odd story unfolded last week about how Bears linebacker Julius Peppers' college transcript was somehow published on the University of North Carolina website and was up long enough for everyone to see his best grades were in Afro-American studies classes and there was an insinuation that these classes lacked academic rigor and oversight and I thought, “You don't want to open that can of corn,” to use a baseball metaphor. I remember once at Cape bringing two Afro-American administrators to the door of a class in Advanced Placement European History and asking them if they thought it created the wrong image as only European Americans were in the class and there were no classes in African History, advanced or otherwise. Majors in college have been created but more deleted because few students want to be historians or mathematicians - disciplines based on actual facts - but rather concentrate on sociology and sports management or parks and recreation. But I got news for the NCAA. Many of its member schools hand-schedule athletes with nonmarketable majors with friendly faculty members in exchange for season tickets or a seat in the Tweed Dweeb sky box on Saturday afternoon. Say it isn't happening right now, but you would be wrong.

Personal training - We are all personal trainers in charge of our own strength and health; just throw in a good dose of genetics and luck, and you're pretty much awash in the human life cycle, a virtual Amana for all seasons. I have been hitting various time slots at Club Fitness in my road to rehabilitation and keep running into old friends and making new ones. My favorite spot is sitting in a chair by a table waiting for my ride hoping someone/anyone will sit down and talk to me. Life is all about “chatting up” another person, just don't forget conversation is an art and not to complain; that you save for family and close friends.

Snippets - Cape's Jenna Steele is on her way to Mary Washington College where she will play field hockey. Ali Coning, freshman chemistry major, is on the cross country team at Towson University. Desmond Sivels, a star running back while at Sussex Tech, is a sophomore on the roster at West Virginia Wesleyan University. Rachel Sadowski, former Cape soccer player, is a junior defender at Lynchburg College. Severna Park won the Maryland 4A state field hockey title last Nov. 20 for coach Lil Shelton, who retired after 37 years on the job. The 20 state titles is a National High School Federation record. Cape plays at Severna Park Saturday, Sept. 15. It should be interesting. Cape girls' lacrosse will play at powerhouse Radnor in the spring. One thing is sure, the Cape programs of hockey and lacrosse, both undefeated last year with 11 players who played on both squads, are not ducking quality competition; in fact, they are going looking for trouble. Sonja Friend, a former Cape, William and Mary and RBP athlete, recently won the GNC Liberty Mile masters division in downtown Pittsburgh in a course record time of 4:47. Delaware opens the football season Thursday night at 7:30 hosting West Chester for the last time in the long lopsided series. Wow, that's a long day to hang around for a bad game, but the bands are great. I never knew anyone with a degree from West Chester who didn't absolutely love the place. Zach Wood, a former Cape player, is a defensive corner for the Golden Rams, and trust me, if the Purple and Gold pull off the upset, daddy drummer Greg Wood will be rocking "Woolly Bully" somewhere Saturday night. Go on now, git!

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