Cape cross country trampled by Riders

October 13, 2023

The Cape cross country teams traveled to Brecknock Park in Camden Oct. 11 to take on the tough Riders of Caesar Rodney and the Golden Knights of Sussex Central. The Riders dominated the meet on both sides, with the boys making seven of the top eight finishers to win 15-48 and the girls making six of the top seven finishers for a 17-48 win. The Riders were led by sophomore Griffin Spana in 16:00 with the individual win, senior Patrick Craig second in 16:03, senior Ian Cain third in 16:03, senior Caleb Price fourth in 16:13 and senior Maddox Downs fifth in 16:21. Sophomore Jason Baker was Cape’s top finisher in sixth place in 16:26. The Riders placed their final two on the varsity in the seventh and eighth positions. Cape wrapped up the top 10 with sophomore Brayden Redd in ninth in 17:16 and senior Joey DeGregory 10th in 17:25. The Cape boys swept Sussex Central 15-50.

The CR girls were equally dominant, led by senior Bree Talley with the individual win in 19:38. Senior Alexis Blackwell finished second in 20:38, while sophomore Analyse Caskey was third in 20:40. Cape junior Hailey Hassell was fourth in a season-best time of 20:44. Riders junior Raegan Dawicki ran 21:03 for fifth place, with senior Madeline Francis sixth in 21:11, junior Isabel Austin seventh in 21:23, Cape sophomore Allaire Burton eighth in 21:23 and senior Natalie Lewis in 21:44 for ninth. Freshman Emma Thompson rounded out the top 10 for the Vikings at 10th in 22:02. The Cape girls swept Sussex Central 15-48.

As far as performances go, this was the best meet I can remember in the history of Henlopen Conference cross country. On the boys’ side, a 17-minute 5K that normally would win the race would only get eighth overall on this day. On the girls’ side, a sub-21-minute runner only placed fifth overall. That’s impressive. Head coach Mike Tucci has been around a lot of years; he always seems to build competitive teams and has them ready for the postseason. CR has four seniors on both the boys’ and girls’ sides, leading some to believe he will have to rebuild next year. I disagree, as he has 94 runners on his two rosters. His program will just reload. This season could be the best CR teams I remember, and I was beat by some good ones while coaching with the late Lou Nicoletti at Sussex Tech years back.

Sussex Academy XC

Sussex Academy took on Lake Forest and Woodbridge for a tri-meet at Sandhill Fields Oct. 11, as Sussex Academy celebrated its Senior Night with both the boys’ and girls’ teams moving to 7-0 in the Henlopen South. The boys easily topped Lake 19-42 and swept Woodbridge 15-50, while the girls swept Lake and Woodbridge by identical scores of 15-50.

Sophomore Ryan Moody ran a nice race of 17:39 for the win. He was followed by junior teammate Duncan Winger second in 17:46 and senior Justin Friscia third in 18:00. Lake Forest No. 1 junior Kyle Surguy was fourth in 18:08. Lake grabbed fifth with junior Tyree Johnson in 18:19. Seahawks junior Harrison Dabbs was sixth in 18:35, and Woodbridge freshman Kaileb Herold was seventh in 18:50. They were followed by Sussex Academy junior Josue Laurore in 19:12 for eighth, Sussex Academy senior Emmanuel Charles-Aine ninth in 19:20 and Sussex Academy junior Stout Whitman 10th in 19:25.

The Seahawks girls took the top seven spots in the race, led by eighth-grader Paige Ballinger in a super time of 18:12. Senior Lily Bowe was second in 20:36, freshman Makenna Blades took third in 21:21, sophomore Katya Geyer ran 21:57 for fourth place, junior Peyton Stanislav was fifth in 22:04, freshman Riley Moriarty ran 22:28 for sixth and junior Brianna Sordi rounded out the varsity lineup in 22:43.

Mariner Middle School

The Mariner and Sussex Academy middle school cross country teams squared off at Cape Oct. 9, as the Vikings boys prevailed 19-42 and the Seahawks girls earned an exciting 27-30 victory by flipping six points over the final 300 meters. Asher Woods of Mariner took top honors on the boys’ side, covering three kilometers in 11:34. He was followed home by teammate Jude Bastian (11:55), Benjamin Moody of SA (12:10), Ben Hill of Mariner (12:12), Andrew Ockels of Mariner (12:19), Kai Mundok of SA (12:25) and the Mariner quartet of Caleb Olmsted (12:30), Joe Ruark (12:48), Trizton Willey (12:48) and Cody Williamson (12:52).

Mariner’s Bree Terhune won the girls’ race comfortably in 12:24. Other top 10 finishers included Taegan Forester of Sussex Academy (12:44), Allison Ortiz-Rivera of Mariner (12:44), Sussex Academy’s Jordan Blades (13:17) and Patricia Lara-Nieto (14:01), Mariner’s Bella Sapienza (14:05), Reilly Mobilia of Sussex Academy (14:16), Fiona Fisher of Mariner (14:18), and the Sussex Academy duo of Garrity Cox (14:31) and Natalia Gatti (14:35).

Smiley in the Windy City

Local elite runner Dylan Smiley tackled the Chicago Marathon for the second year in a row with a 245th-place male finish and a 77th-place finish in the 25-29 age group. With the first three consecutive 5Ks in 16:34, 16:35, 17:19, Smiley hit the half in 1:14:06 and the finish in 2:34:23.

“Chicago won the boxing match for the second time in a row, but I was able to make it to the final bell,” said Smiley. “Despite things going against me, I stayed determined and mentally strong. That is enough for me this year – a win in my eyes.”

Congrats to Dylan Smiley.

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