Cape boys win Henlopen Conference track title

February 17, 2023

The Henlopen Conference Track & Field Championships were held Feb. 8-9 at University of Maryland Eastern Shore. After two days of competition, the Cape boys won the team title with 147 points, while the Smyrna girls won with 156 points.

Sussex Central boys were fourth with 78 points, while Sussex Academy was sixth with 37 points and Sussex Tech was ninth with 17 points.

The Cape girls were a distant second to the Eagles with 103 points, while Sussex Central was fifth with 55 points. Sussex Academy was sixth with 53 points, while Sussex Tech ninth with 11 points.

The Cape boys scored 41 points in the field and 17 points in the sprint races, hurdles and two sprint relays, but it was the strength of the distance runners, with 69 points in three longer races and the relay, that carried the team to the trophy. The Vikings scored 59 points in the three distance races – 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meters – with seven different runners scoring points, showing Cape’s depth. Cape 500-meter school record holder Ben Clifton won a big 800 race, outrunning state champ Ian Cain of Caesar Rodney to cross the finish at 2:07.52, with Cain close behind in 2:08.13. Cape’s Ryan Baker won the 1,600/3,200 distance double with performances of 4:33 and 9:56, respectively.  

Bailey Fletcher won the pole vault at 13-feet-8-inches, a new record, while teammate Brady Mauro was second with a great jump of 12-0, gathering 18 points for the Vikings. Liam O’Donnell had a solid meet with a second-place finish in the 1,600 and third in the 800. Jason Baker ran superbly in the 3,200 with a time of 10:22. Cape won the 1,600 relay in 3:36.98 and the 3,200 relay in a new school record of 8:17.18. Stephen Hart was second in the high jump at 5-10, while Billy Cerf was third, also at 5-10. Nate Horn was third in the shot put at 42-8½.  

Sussex Central’s Tim Wright won three events and ran on a winning relay team to gather my Most Outstanding Athlete Award, if there was one. Wright won the 55-meter dash in 6.53, 200-meter dash in 22.47, long jump in 22-3½ and ran on the 800 relay. Teammate William Harrison finished second in the 200 in a nice season best of 22.88. Harrison also won the 400 meters in 50.73, and the Golden Knights also loaded up their sprinters to win the 800 relay in 1:31.55 and finish third in the 1,600 relay in 3:37.69. The Golden Knights gathered 54 points in the three sprint events and two sprint relays.

The Sussex Academy boys placed in seven events, led by a third-place finish in the 3,200 relay in 8:44.34. Justin Friscia was fourth in the 800 in 2:09.19, while Riley Lapinsky was fourth in the pole vault at 8-0. Emmanuel Charles Aine was fourth in the triple at 39-2¼, while William Ducote was fifth in the 400 meters in 54.28. Brett Parker was also fifth in the 1,600 in 4:49.68, while the 800 relay team finished sixth in 1:44.26.

Talented state champion Yougendy Mauricette of Sussex Tech finished second in the 55-meter hurdles and long jump to earn 16 points for the Ravens. 

The Vikings girls took four championships, as Hannah Maney won the 800 in 2:32.29 and Katie Kuhlman won the 1,600 in 5:27.48. Cape took the 1,600 and 3,200 relays in 4:21.00 and 10:13.78, respectively, while they finished third in the 800 relay in 1:51.34. All three finishes were season-best performances. Kuhlman was second in the 3,200 in 11:57.85, while Kennedy Johnson was third at her new 400-meter dash event in 1:03.49. Haley Archambault was third in the shot in 30-0. 

Tatiana Kelsic of Sussex Central continued her fine season with second-place finishes in the 55-meter dash in 7.34 and long jump at 16-3, while returning to win the 200-meter dash in 25.97. Essence Briddell won the 55-meter hurdles in 8.94, while the Golden Knights won the 800 relay in an impressive time of 1:47.55. 

Sussex Academy’s Katya Geyer won the 3,200 in 11:47.79 for a season best, and she was also second in the 1,600 in 5:36.90 and third in the high jump at 4-10. Lily Bowe was second in the 800 in 2:33.01, while the Seahawks finished fourth in the 1,600 relay in 4:29.80 and third in the 3,200 relay in 10:21.87. My’Ajah Henry of Sussex Tech was third in the 55-meter dash in 7.40 and fourth in the 200-meter dash in 26.84.

The New Balance Nationals will be held Friday to Sunday, March 10 to 12, in Boston, Mass., and I know so far that Cape Henlopen will be represented in the meet with a small group of qualifiers.    


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