Cape’s wrestling managers worth their weight in gold

Crime scene trainer shelters under canopy
July 24, 2020

High school cool - I have much respect for team managers. I have always been that guy since I was a player. Cape’s graduated wrestling managers I know well. I’m the guy who hasn't missed a match in two years. MacKenzie Irelan is already on campus at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, while Autumn Davis is on her way to Tulane University. The acceptance rate at West Point is 9.6 percent with women making up 20 percent, but in 2020, eight of the top 10 graduates were women. The acceptance rate for Tulane is 21.5 percent. Tulane is considered one of the best private universities in the country. Pretty impressive for these two young women. Next wrestling season, veteran coach Chris Mattioni will have to pay closer attention to all the things he didn’t have to worry about because his managers had them under control. 

Tubby for Fredman - “Fredman! Coach Tubby is in the office to see you. Please come down when the bell rings.” I wondered why the secretary Miz Taylor was making up nicknames on the spot. I thought that was my job. Down in a small conference room next to the main office was legendary Delaware football coach Tubby Raymond. I sat down across from The Tubster. “Coach Bill Muehleisen said, ‘If you stop by Cape to ask about a player, make sure you see Fredman. He’ll give you the straight scoop.’” “Except scoops are rounded, not straight,” I said. “Let me introduce myself to you as the Phanatic’s father,” Tubby said. “Some people know who I am, but everyone knows the Philly Phanatic. My son David is making a $100,000 a year being a mascot.” That was 1978 and David Raymond, now 64 years old, has a mascot company that among many accomplishments developed the Flyers’ weird mascot Gritty. Raymond retired as the guy inside the costume in 1993 after the Phillies’ World Series appearance. He is still the best Phanatic ever, and along with that wacky San Diego Chicken played by Ted Giannoulas, they are the best two mascots of all time because of their athleticism and creativity inside the costume while pushing the boundaries of acceptable behavior.  

Wait a minute, what? Retired baseball and cross country coach Harry Davies was recently inducted into the Delaware Baseball Hall of Fame. His son Brian is a Navy commander on a nuclear sub, so big deal. My son Dave is a commander of Beacon Middle School. Brian Davies and three shipmates ran a full marathon while at sea, shattering the feat of Joe Chico Barranco, who ran a 10K around his basement oil burner during a blizzard. A marathon underwater has got to be another first-and-last endeavor. But what about Harry the Hall of Famer? The Pennsylvania native and Bloomsburg grad landed at Conrad to teach in fall 1967 and became baseball coach in 1969. He steered Conrad to a 106-65 record, five conference titles and 1971 and 1972 state finals over his 10 seasons. He coached Wilmington High for two years before moving to Newark, where he initially mainly coached cross country with great success. Harry began an eight-year stint as the Yellowjackets’ baseball coach in 1988, winning the state title in 1990, three Flight A titles and four Flight A Coach of the Year awards. He logged an overall baseball coaching record of 229-129 and coached 93 All-Blue Hen and 38 all-state players. Harry and wife Sandy have two children, (Rear Admiral Select) Brian and and Capt. Keith of the U.S. Army. Harry, now 78, has run eight marathons; his best time was 3:14. Harry and Sandy have lived full time in Lewes since 2010. Reflecting back on his baseball coaching, Harry said, “I am close friends with Derrick May and Lenny Richardson.” Lenny will be happy he made the back end of that sentence. Harry is also a retired volleyball and girls’ basketball official, having refereed the championship game in both sports. 

Summited - John Henrickson, 42, summited Mt. Rainier in Washington July 20, which is pretty special for a Lewes kid and 1996 Cape graduate. John was captain of the Cape soccer team, then graduated from the University of Delaware, earned a master’s from Dartmouth College in Engineering and closed that out with a PhD from Texas A&M in Ocean Engineering.. John lives in Atlantic Beach, Fla., and works in marine construction. John was Indian River Lifeguard of the Year in 2004. Mt. Rainier is 14,411 feet and is the highest mountain in the United States. The climbing success rate is listed at 50 percent. The climb is dangerous mainly due to avalanches. Fifty-eight deaths have been recorded since 1981. John is one of those “soccer fit” athletes and always quick with a smile.  

Crime scene trainer - In between games at DE Turf, I dragged my Fruity PopPop self to the trainer’s canopy, which was cordoned off on three sides by police tape; otherwise, heaven knows who comes jogging through the neighborhood. “I’m standing here briefly,” I said softly to the young trainer. “But you can kick me out, which makes a better story.” “You’re cool,” she said, but honestly, when you heat up like a ‘58 Buick hot to the touch, it takes two days to cool down. 

Snippets - Dale “D.J.” Gray, former Sussex Central state wrestling champion at 185 in 1974, passed away July 20 from cancer. Gray beat Cape sophomore Tyrone Gibbs in the final. Gibbs would go on to win state titles in 1975 and 1976. Goodspeed, D.J. Gray. 


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