Big Mac attack highlights county cross country championships Nov. 5
For the first time in Delaware in my memory, a brother-sister combination captured individual titles at the Sussex County Championships held Nov. 5 in the cold and wind at Indian River High School. Junior Austin MacElrevey and his little sophomore sister Madison each dominated their respective races, setting personal records in the process. Cape Henlopen's Austin battled tough sophomore Sam Hete of Sussex Tech for the first two miles before pulling away for the 16:34 win, while Cape Henlopen’s Madison went to the front early, pulling away from Sussex Tech senior Bethany Killmon for the girls' win in 20:09. Both athletes have plenty of running and racing experience, as they ran through elementary and high school with the Seashore Striders; their success has come from working hard and being dedicated and determined runners who give 100 percent every time they toe the line. It was a Big Mac day - and I don’t think either champion even likes Big Macs!
Weird stories last forever
When you coach for a long time, year 22 for me, you see many weird things happen in the land of sports. I was trying to come up with where the “Victor Rueda watches the conference meet from the sidelines” story would fall in my all-time top 10. In no particular order, here are 10 stories that I will never forget:
I was a teammate of a 14-6 pole vaulter with a DI scholarship in the bag; he failed shop and physical education to leave our track team a week before we lost the state championship by fewer than 10 points.
I was a teammate with a two-minute half-miler who hid in a house, not wanting to go to the state championship meet where we would fall to Sallies by eight points.
I watched a team of four cross country girls suit up a manager just so they could run off the line in the state championships; three of the four would go on to be named all-state and I think the manager even finished.
I coached an all-state distance runner who was shot in the eye over a pair of shoes in a pickup basketball game, losing his senior year and a good chance at being a four-time all-state selection.
I coached a 1:55 half-miler whom I had to move up to a mile to have a shot at winning a meet, but on lap four when the going got tough, he decided to stop and beat up the fence on the first turn of the final lap.
I was a passenger in a van full of teammates coming home from the Penn Relays when multiple policemen surrounded the van in Smyrna with guns shaking in our faces; they had mistaken our state vehicle for a van full of escaped prisoners with a driver who had a big head like our track coach.
I coached an all-state baseball and basketball player who came over to the track to try the shot put; by the end of the season he was our No. 1 sprinter and going after the 100-meter state title. On state meet day, he failed to show for the bus and I found him in the back room of his family's mobile home, luckily with an unlocked back door. After he told me I was crazy 32 times on the ride to Dover, he won the 100 meters, came in second at 200 meters, and anchored two relays to score more than 20 points and lead the team to victory.
I was invited to a banquet in Wilmington to receive the Delaware Coach of the Year Award in 1993, but the ceremony conflicted with our third indoor track invitational at the Salisbury Civic Center. I asked another coach in the high school to take my team, and coach and supervise them through the meet. For some reason a fight broke out, and two of my sprinters were thrown in jail in Salisbury for beating up an opposing runner.
I coached an all-state and all-American hurdler and jumper who forgot to take his basketball T-shirt off, running away with the trials of the 110-meter hurdles at the state championships. Faster than you could say “disqualification,” eight coaches were at the finish turning him in and taking 10 points away from our team.
I won a state championship team title in 1993 at the University of Delaware with only four scoring athletes and scoring in only one event on the track. We went into the final event, the triple jump, down by 22 points to Sallies and scored 24 points to carry the trophy to the station wagon. I treated each of the athletes to a Happy Meal following the trophy celebration.
I do not know the whole “Sussex Tech loses No. 1 runner” story and who did what or who didn’t do what - but I do know Victor Rueda was stripped of his chance to win a conference championship where he was the favorite. The innocent athlete suffered as well as his teammates. Taking Victor out of the conference championships was like taking pumpkins out of Punkin Chunkin!
Eighth-grader Ben Bamforth raced away from the field to become the second downstate runner ever to capture the Delaware State Middle School Championships by 30 seconds Nov. 3 and finished second on Sunday in the Mariner's 7-Miler with a final mile of 5:45.
The Seashore Striders put three in the top 10 that day, with Blake Hundley finishing eighth and Seth DePrince 10th. Logan Shuttleworth was sixth among the girls to grab the top 10 designation. The Striders will host the Regional Cross Country Championships Sunday, Nov. 11, at Killens Pond with nearly 400 athletes expected.
The Sea Witch Sandy-rescheduled 5K will start at 9 a.m., Sunday, Nov. 18, at Grove Park, while the Pumpkin Pie 5K will begin at 9 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 24, also at Grove Park.
The Rehoboth Marathon is nearing a sellout with 1,800 runners registered for the event at this time.
Over & out!