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Athletes of the Week April 2

April 2, 2021
Jakob Hayes

Dial C for crazy, and if your cellphone vibrates, you may be a pole vaulter. Cape sophomore Jakob Hayes, a distance runner straight out of Mariner, toiled for a deeply talented Cape cross country team, the first Henlopen Conference school to win the Division I state championship, in 2020. And then he discovered the pole vault. Watching a young athlete learn to vault can cause a coach to cringe. It's how they miss that makes a coach say, “I think we need a bigger pit!” The loneliness of the long distance runner is nothing compared to some solitary pole vault practices. But Jakob has persisted, and on Tuesday at Sussex Central, he cleared a personal best 9-feet-6-inches, getting close to 10 feet and another moment of reckoning: Time to bend that baby, rock back, then wait for the pole to spring you up and over heights previously unimaginable.  

Luke Johnson

The 2018 state championship Cape baseball team had more heroes than Jersey Mike’s, and more next-level collegiate players than any team in Cape history.  Luke Johnson, who missed his senior season at Cape to the COVID shutdown, earned his first win on the mound for the Retrievers, a 7-1 victory over the Black Bears of Maine that stopped a five-game losing streak. Johnson allowed just one hit. UMBC improved to 7-5 on the season. Luke had a pinch-hit home run against Maine in the Saturday game, giving him a stat line of 1 hit, 1 run, 1 RBI  and 1 run scored. Luke made an over-the-shoulder catch in the bottom of the sixth during the 2018 state championship game when he was playing second base and threw it back to the infield for an inning-ending double play that will forever be legendary.

Madison Leeper

Madison’s Sussex Academy teammates call her Pinky. She plays lacrosse with a soft helmet on her head and her long hair flowing in the wind created by her speed. She is a field hockey player who has been concussed a couple times, and watching her play, you can see why. In traffic, Pinky has no brakes; plus she can play, and in lacrosse, shoot with either hand. Madison had four goals and four assists in an opening road win at Polytech, then came back with a three-goal effort versus a highly touted Archmere team. She was a starter in hockey on a 6-5-1 Seahawks team, scoring goals, dishing off assists and just generally creating havoc inside the circle.  

Kandice Schlabach

A senior honor roll student at Delmarva Christian, Kandice has made the Delaware softball scene take notice as she hit four home runs, her last a grand slam, March 29 against MOT Charter, going 5-5 and knocking in 11 runs. She followed that up with two doubles and two triples, and knocked in two runs in a 14-4 win over Archmere the next day. "Kandice is just a phenomenal all-around athlete and a special player," said Royals head coach Keith Stonebraker. "She is a five-tool player and an excellent hitter, but her power is impressive. There are times in batting practice where I will catch other players stopping to watch her hit, just to see how far a ball will go. I'm so thankful to have had the opportunity to coach her." She was an outside hitter on the Royals volleyball team in the fall and a power forward on the basketball team in the winter season. She will be attending Delaware Tech in the fall to play softball.

Ben Weathersby

Ben, a member of the 2019 Cape state championship lacrosse team, is a 6-foot-4-inch, 180-pound long pole who can run the field and handle the stick. He is now a starter for the Lebanon Valley College Dutchmen of 2021. LVC played just six games  the 2020 season, when Ben led the team with 33 ground balls and caused a team-high 10 turnovers. Like many others, Ben has persisted as a student-athlete during the COVID-19 restrictions. He graduated from Cape as an honor roll student and a member of the National Honor Society. He is a digital communications major. The Dutchmen are 4-2 on the season; Ben has 17 ground balls and 8 caused turnovers.   

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