Baron Vincent, Cape heavyweight wrestler, remembered as a good kid

July 10, 2018

The Closer - Baron Vincent was a Cape heavyweight wrestler who started all four years of high school. He was a two-time Henlopen Conference champion, graduating in 1991. Back then, all matches rolled from lightweight to heavy. Baron closed for some really good teams. I remember him as friendly and congenial, not an aggressive personality, seemingly a pretty steady and uncomplicated person. On July 5, the 45-year-old “good old farm boy and good kid” who liked to hunt and fish checked out of life’s grappling match. He was found expired inside a fully involved house fire. Word spread quickly because locals are connected over time in so many ways. Some wrestling teammates of Baron’s include Jared Hill, Matt Wiggins, A.G. Barlow, Shawneil Williams, Jeff Sopa, Bill Blakeney, Mark Dawson, Bobby Best, John Lobiondo and Andy Nowakowski. Some knew, while others (like me) didn’t know, that Baron suffered from addiction, which can turn a good kid into a confused and unsettled adult. Baron sought and received help from the Teen Challenge program out of Seaford, which has saved so many people. That program combines sobriety with spirituality, a search for God’s peace that reaches out into the universe but begins deep inside one’s own soul. In the name of our teammates like Baron, we all need to do a better job taking care of one another. I envision an aggressive program of education and interaction aimed at high school teens – good kids. They all know what’s up, and they know who is already off road. The message is best delivered by community people with credibility who are smart, savvy and know how to communicate without preaching. Godspeed, Baron, you were a good kid. I remember you at your best. 

Twenty years ago - The 1998 Cape lacrosse team went 19-0 that spring and won the first lacrosse state championship for Cape boys or girls, a total that reached 16 in 2018. That crew that came through in 1997 and 1998 had a lot of gifted athletes who played soccer and lacrosse. Members of that team include: Chris Keller, Logan Short, Kyle Archer, Bill Brennan, Malik Lopez, Joe Cahill, Josh Wyatt, Zack Plummer,  Bill Lingo, Josh Lowe, Matt Martin, Jamie Pratt, Dan Hamer, David Steele, Jim Derrick, Ed Savarese, Robert Wolfgang, Derrick Quillen, Scott Steele, Matt Lambrose, Jim Carpenter, Cory Mahoney, Brett Williams, Matt Hall and Alex Hense. Soccer players from that group included Brett Williams, Josh Wyatt, Ed Savarese, Bill Lingo, Matt Hall, David Steele, Jimmy Carpenter, Jim Derrick, Scott Steele, Derrick Quillen and Billy Brennan. Cape soccer, under coach John Myers in fall 1996, posted a 15-2-1 record, and in 1997 they were 13-3-1.  The class of ’98 won 28 soccer games over those two seasons and, as mentioned above, so many of those athletes were on the ’98 state championship lacrosse team. My message for single-sport athletes is: “If you’re good enough to be great in one sport, you most likely can be pretty good in another one.”

Magnificent seven - I wrote this in spring 1985, my last year as Cape track coach, closing down a 10-year career. “Seniors Troy Brittingham, Tony Miller, Mike Gibbs, Wayne Gibbs, Barry Lott, Tim Bamforth and James Boyer closed out a career winning 30 dual meets in a row, three Henlopen Conference titles, two Keith Burgess titles and one Dover Relays Championship.” I was summoned to the Cape room at Grotto Grand Slam July 7 to enjoy pizza and memories with Bill Gibbs, Tony Miller, Tony Zigman, Darren Purcell and Troy Brittingham. These kids, now men over 50, shared fond memories of their Cape coaches, with names like Alderman, Baird, Hitchens and Eisenhour coming up big.

Snippets - The junior lifeguard programs are up and running along the Delaware Atlantic Coast. It’s amazing how many little people take advantage of this resource. In fact, it’s really amazing how many different sports-related activities these kids do over the summer. I’m not sure how many do nothing because, after all, I don’t see those kids, but I know they are out there. Well, actually, not out there, but somewhere. Dewey Beach lifeguard Christopher Czerwinski ran 18:36 at the Kelly Fritchman 5K. Afterward, I grabbed him for a photo, saying: “Stand still. We’re related. I’ll explain it later.” My daughter-in-law Suzannah Martin Frederick is Christopher’s godmother and first cousin, and four of my grandchildren are his second cousins, so by Sussex County kinship rules, we are family. Go on now, git!