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Athletes of the Week Nov. 29

November 29, 2019
Julie Heffernan

New Zealanders would call Julie a “good mate.” Here, the Cape junior field hockey goalie is the quintessential good teammate. Julie stays in the game, whether protecting the Cape cage on the doorstep of few shots or standing on the sidelines watching her teammate and fellow goalkeeper Marlee Geppert protect the house. “Julie is an active and aggressive goalie, and she’s been there all season when we needed her,” said Cape coach Kate Austin. Julie was a one-save wonder in late wins over Dover, Polytech and Padua, and if those saves were not made, the postseason banquet at Baywood may have been moved to the school cafeteria. Julie was also a midfielder/defender last spring on Cape’s JV lacrosse team that finished 13-1. 

Elizabeth Melson

Cape sophomore Elizabeth “E-Beth” Melson saved the best for last, as she ran a personal best time in the 5K at last weekend’s Cross Country Coaches National Youth Championships in Indiana. E-Beth moved past several girls in the final stretch of the race to hit the line in a time of 20:49. When her coaches reached the finish area to congratulate her, she said with a smile, “I have been waiting all season for this. I set a goal and I made it.” This was the second year at the Nationals for Melson, who was the No. 4 runner for Cape Henlopen’s cross country team most of the season, finishing 18th at the Henlopen Conference meet and 30th at the Delaware State Championships. Melson will now turn her attention to indoor and outdoor track & field. 

Allison Ortiz

This 9-year-old fourth-grader made her second trip to the Cross Country Coaches National Youth Championships last weekend in Indiana. The top 25 finishers in each age group are named Youth All-Americans, and Allison had her 2018 finish on her mind this year. “I finished 28th last year, and I remember how happy the girls were when they got their medals on stage, and that’s what I wanted.” Allison came through the mile in a relaxed time of 6:50, just outside the top 30. She then went to work, passing one girl after another for a negative split of 6:35 in the second mile, finishing in seventh place in her age group and a trip to the stage. “After the mile, I just went for it all the way to the finish. I knew I trained harder this year and I knew I was in good shape.” Allison ran 12:45 for the 3,000 meters, which was a new personal best. 

Jeff Young

Jeff, a 28-year-old runner on the local scene with dual citizenship in Rehoboth and West Chester, Pa., ran a personal best in the Philadelphia Marathon Nov. 24, clocking a time of 2:39:13, eclipsing his previous best by four minutes. He ran a 6:04 mile pace if you’re keeping track at home. Jeff graduated from Cabrini College and is now studying nutrition and dietetics at West Chester University. After earning a master’s in applied statistics, Jeff wants to be a registered dietitian. He owns personal bests of 15:45 in the 5K, 33:08 in the 10K and 1:15 in the half marathon. Jeff is a congenial guy along the lines of Mike Wardian. Both men hang around after a race and support runners still on the course. Jeff said he enjoys eating a big bowl of oatmeal after a big race. He’s a former winner of the Rehoboth Seashore Half-Marathon.