The Cape Henlopen boys’ cross country team of coach Matt Lindell jacked it up and shut it down Dec. 6 at Killens Pond, racing to the Division I state championship with 42 points, crushing Salesianum (60) and Caesar Rodney (82).
The Division I win was the very first by a boys’ team in the Henlopen Conference, and came 19 years after Pat Pollock coached a Cape team to the Division II title.
Cape placed its top five scoring runners in the top 15 with runners six and seven in the top 22.
“Honestly, this is a group that’s easy to coach. I really didn’t have to say much to them all week,” said Lindell. “They knew they had to run better than Sallies and were confident they could do it.”
Salesianum’s Ryan Banko was overall champion in 16:09, followed by Kenny Guy of Polytech in 16:15. Then with runners rolling full bore toward the finish chute, the storyline began to shake out.
Rounding out the top 15 were Ryan Baker, Cape,16:30; Blaise Moyer, CR, 16:42; Ethan Edery, Cape, 16:46; Julian Callaway, Cape, 16:48; Jack Steinhoff, Sallies, 16:54; Luke Riley, Sallies, 16:54; Jonathan Drew, Middletown, 16:58; Jake Bole, CR, 16:59; David Wooten, Sussex Central, 17:00; Ralph Nicholson, CR, 17:07; Lance Kauffman, Cape, 17:13; Matt Gatune, Polytech, 17:20; and Daniel Adili-Khams, Cape, 17:25.
And the few real-time tabulators along the rope, like Cape’s statman Kenny Riedel, knew the trophy was on the bus when Cape’s Liam O’Donnell, 17:31, placed ahead of Sallies’ No. 4 runner and Andrew Wolak, 17:48, placed in front of the Sals’ No. 5.
“We got it,” Riedel said. “Something good finally happened in 2020!”
The Division I girls’ title went to Padua with 41 points followed by Charter School of Wilmington with 105 and Cape Henlopen with 107.
Mary Katherine Dorsey of Padua was overall champion, running 19:33. Cape sophomore Katie Kuhlman was second in 19:54. In Katie’s freshman year, she placed 19th in the same race.
The Division II boys’ title went to Tatnall behind medalist Declan McDonnell, who ran 15:51, the fastest time of the day. Indian River’s Declan Burke was the top Henlopen finisher, placing eighth in 17:17.
The girls’ Division II team title went to Ursuline, but Saint Mark’s Tiffany Herrera ran the fastest time of the day in 18:51.
Top Henlopen finishers were Brynn Crandell, IR, third, 19:17; Josey Ledford, Lake Forest, seventh, 20:05; and Emily Trout, Sussex Academy, 24th, 21:18.
Look for expanded cross country coverage in the Friday edition of the Cape Gazette.