Beacon Middle captures McKinnon Championship in Wilmington

May 26, 2017

Fourteen teams came together May 18 at Mt. Pleasant under 90-degree temperatures for the annual McKinnon Middle School Championships. The meet was hosted by the Mt. Pleasant track team and put together to honor the late Rich McKinnon. The Beacon girls were the first to arrive at the meet, the last to leave and were able to capture their third team championship by winning eight events, including three of the four relay races. Mehkia Applewhite scored 25 points to lead Beacon, as the talented seventh-grader won the 100- and 200-meter events, anchored the 400-meter relay and led off the 800-meter relay team.

“We left it up to the girls as to whether they wanted to go to McKinnon after it was postponed due to weather,” said coach Gilbert Maull. “There was no question they wanted to try to end the season with a championship, and they competed so well the meet was not ever close. We won eight of 11 events and three of the four relays. We are fortunate to have three girls able to give our anchor Bre Kusen the baton and the lead, and when that happens, it’s over.”

Kusen, an eighth-grader, has run 26.7 in the 200 meters this season. At McKinnon, she won the 400-meter dash and anchored the 800-meter relay with Applewhite and the Daisey twins, Aya and Amaya. Kusen also anchored the 1,600-meter relay with the Daisey twins and her sister Destiny on the second leg. The 1,600-meter relay event, won by Beacon in 4:30, set a new meet record.

Beacon dominated the jumps with 37 points alone, as Amaya Daisey won the long jump in 15-feet-6-inches, a new meet record, while sister Aya was second at just over 15 feet. Aya Daisey cleared 5-feet for a personal best in the high jump, while Haley Craig was second in 4-feet-10-inches. Sixth-grader Haley Archambault was sixth in the shot put.

Germantown Track Series                                                

For the sixth summer in a row, Germantown Academy will host All-Comers Track & Field Meets Tuesday evenings June 20, June 27 and July 11 at the Carey Stadium and Athletic Complex in Fort Washington, Pa. This popular series, sanctioned by USATF, attracts a wonderful mix of youth, open and masters athletes, assuring excellent competition in nearly every heat or flight, and great camaraderie across the ages. For more information go to

Distance-only meet

The All-Comers Distance-Only Meet Tuesday, June 13, in Germantown will consist of the following events: Mile, 5,000 meters, 800, 3,000, distance medley relay and 10,000. If you are a distance runner, this is a showtime meet for you to become a spectator or a competitor. There are not many meets out in the track and field world for just a distance runner.

Beacon track banquet

The upstairs banquet room at Irish Eyes was filled with 140 parents, athletes and relatives of the Beacon track and field team, as they gathered May 24 for the annual end-of-the-year banquet. The celebration began with remarks from Sen. Ernie Lopez and a blessing from eighth-grader Aya Daisey. Following dinner, it was eighth-grader Amaya Daisey who wrote and shared an inspiring message about her track and field experiences. The coaches handed out the athlete certificates, and then guest speaker and former Beacon sprinter Katie Klabe took over, delivering a great message to the athletes about working hard and never giving up. Katie will attend Winthrop University to play lacrosse, while my son, Ben, will also attend Winthrop to run cross country and track and field.

One of the highlights of the evening was the presentation of the end-of-the-year awards. Tony Minni and Riley Klopp won the Sportsmanship Award, Sammie Price and Haley Craig won the Team Spirit Award, and Aya Daisey and Thomas Weeks won the Leadership Award. The Gamer Award went to Glenn Belle and Mehkia Applewhite.  Rising Star Award went to Hailey Archambault, Evan Sydnor and Trey Oplinger. The Rookie of the Year Award went to Mason Deery and Tia Jarvis, while the 3-Ds award went to Noelle Sabbagh and Josh Evans. Most Improved Award went to Josiah Miller, Liz Melson and Destiny Kusen, and the Coaches Award went to Shami Purnell and Amaya Daisey. The Most Valuable Runner Award went to Cody Workman and Bre Kusen.

The evening ended with a slideshow highlighting the season, complete with photos, videos and inspiring quotes. A great evening for the Beacon track and field program. 

Steeplechase flop

The Steeplechase is one of the toughest events in track and field, as it consists of four hurdles and a water jump every lap for 3,000 meters, which is 7.5 laps of the track. A total of 28 barriers and seven water jumps are cleared during the race. I competed in a few steeplechase races in college and post-college, and I seemed to always have trouble with the idea of stepping on the water jump hurdle and propelling yourself over the water.  If you misjudge the water jump and hurdle it instead, you simply go down hard into the water as if the floor disappears. I could not run with the big dogs, but ran equivalent to a 10:10 two-mile in this event, and I quickly told my coach that I would rather race the 5,000 meters and stay dry and less bruised up.

Emily Ritter (Sussex Tech/Rider) is one of the top Steeplechasers in the U.S., having run under 9:50 a few years back and made it to the NCAA Final and the USA Trials for some local excitement.

I ran into Bethany Killmon May 20, as she was the first finisher across the line at the Scamper for Paws 5K at Killens Pond. We started talking college cross country and track, and she shared a picture of herself missing the water jump for a classic steeple flop. Bethany will be in Lewes in the fall at the Sussex Consortium, and I am hoping to land her twice a week with the purple and yellow Seashore Striders. Bethany is one of the nicest gals you will meet, and my 7-, 8- and 9-year-old female runners will love her.