All levels of cross country entering championship season

October 21, 2016

Area cross country runners are deep in their season with under a month to go and championship season just around the corner. In the next three weeks, the champion teams will rise to the top and the top individuals will be racing up front for bragging rights.

There are the young guns of the Seashore Striders prepping for their upcoming regional championship meet, which will advance them to nationals in Evansville, Ind. Then there is the Mariner and Beacon middle school teams who are cruising through the conference. They met each other Oct. 19 in two close meets and will race in the end-of-the-season invite Wednesday, Oct. 26 in Milford. Lastly, the high school teams are finishing up their dual meet conference schedules and will head into the post-race season of county, conference and states in Delaware.

Here is a recap of the last week of cross country in the area. 

Seashore Striders

At Cape Henlopen State Park Oct. 15, the Seashore Striders hosted the inaugural Strider Youth XC Open at Herring Point with courses from 1K to 4K for young runners 14 and under. 

Gracie Barthelmess won the girls’ mighty mites, while Alliare Burton won the sub-bantam girls.  Julie Daniello won the bantam girls, while Con Freese won the bantam boys. Emma Barthelmess won the youth girls’ race.

Faith Mitchell, a 10-year-old Strider, won the Herring Point 5K the following morning, racing just over 25 minutes.

On Sunday, Nov. 6, the Seashore Striders will host the Eastern Regional Cross Country Championships at Killens Pond in Felton. The meet is a quality end-of-the-season meet for youth ages 14 and under and it is a chance to earn a way into the nationals in Evansville, Ind., Nov. 19. Go to to print out the application.

Beacon and Mariner

The Mariner and Beacon cross country teams split a district showdown Oct. 19 at Lewes’ Virden Center, with the Beacon boys prevailing 27-30 and the Mariner girls triumphing 27-29 in a pair of thrilling races. In stifling 80-degree heat, Mariner seventh-grader Brian Sponaugle took home the boys’ individual title in 11:19 on the winding, flat Virden course, pulling away from Beacon sixth-grader Luke Burton over the final half mile. Burton took second in 11:31 and was followed home by Mariner’s Jordan Jefferson, who crossed third in 12:01. Next to the line came Beacon’s Hunter Jones in 12:04 and Brexton Carter in 12:10, who outdistanced Elliott Bastian of Mariner in 12:32. Four of the next five places went to Beacon, as Aiden Bowman (12:38), Brody Smith (12:41), Ethan Edery (12:41) and John Hocker (12:50) cemented the victory despite a valiant effort from Mariner’s Justin Marsh (12:40). Shamar Snead was Mariner’s fifth man, breaking the tape in 12th in 13:20.

The girls’ competition produced one of the more thrilling finishes in recent memory, as five Vikings finished within nine seconds of each other. Seventh-grader Aya Daisey of Beacon used a strong kick over the last 100 meters to take the win over Mariner’s fast-improving sixth-grader Brayden Parkes. Both runners were timed in 13:21, but Daisey’s lean at the line proved to be the difference. Mariner’s Katie Kuhlman overcame a nasty cramp and took third overall with a 13:24 clocking, while Mia Neubling of Beacon followed closely in fourth (13:27). Mariner’s Fallon Moore contended with the leaders all the way in route to a fifth-place showing (13:30). The Beacon duo of Amaya Daisey and Elizabeth Melson claimed sixth (14:01) and seventh (15:08), respectively, but Mariner answered with a solid pack in Evelyn Turman (eighth, 16:32), Kimmy Cooper (ninth, 16:38), and Kaci Ieppert (10th, 16:45). The Mariner and Beacon boys and girls also defeated Woodbridge by wide margins.

Cape High

Sophomore Greg Boyce led the Vikings at the Joe O’Neill Invite at Bellevue State Park Oct. 15. Always a fast course with most everyone running a personal best when they race there, Boyce ran 16:42 for his personal best. Freshman Olivia Brozefsky led the Lady Vikings with a time of 20:28 good for 24th place in the field and the third ninth-grader overall. The Vikings were 20th in the team race.

The Cape Vikings traveled to Trap Pond State Park on the same day and took on Delmar, Caesar Rodney and Dover, and as of Thursday morning no results were posted for the meet. 

Sussex Tech

The Ravens of coach Lou Nicoletti are sitting at 13-0 in the dual meets this season, and the biggest dual meet of the year is next Wednesday at Brecknock Park, when the Ravens meet the Riders of Caesar Rodney in Camden. Last season the Ravens won the dual meet conference championship and were nipped at the conference meet by the champion Riders. This season the Riders have one loss (Dover) and the Ravens beat Dover for their one loss. With a Ravens win, they win the dual title outright, while a Rider win would give each team a loss and then it gets interesting. Without knowing the ruling, I would say Dover would win the dual meet title as they beat the Riders and the Riders beat the Ravens if the cards fall that way. Time will tell.

Senior Ben Bamforth led the Ravens at Bellevue with a new school record of 16:16, good for 11th in the race. The Ravens were fifth in the team standings out of 35 teams participating in the meet.

Alexis Singh led the 24th-place Ravens girls at Bellevue.

The Raven boys topped Sussex Central by a score of 23-38 and Sussex Academy 15-50 Oct. 19, while the Ravens girls topped Sussex Central 15-40 and Sussex Academy 23-32. Ben Bamforth of the Ravens won the individual title in 17:26, while Helena Helou, fab freshman of Sussex Academy, won the girls title with a time of 20:33. 

Upcoming Events

• Saturday, Oct. 22, Booo–B-Que 5K by the Sea, 9 a.m., Indian River Inlet,

• Saturday, Oct. 22, Believe in Tomorrow 5K, 3 p.m., Fenwick Island,

• Sunday, Oct. 23, 14th Mariner’s Trail Run 5K/7-Mile, 1 p.m., Bethany Beach,

• Sunday, Oct. 30, 27th Seawitch Fall Classic 5K, 9 a.m., Rehoboth Beach,