Cape winter track at ease like an Ocean Breeze

Cape grapplers fifth at Iron Horse Duals
January 10, 2023

Cranapple Games - Cape winter/indoor track has always chased the competition going back 50 years when Marge Hickman knitted blue-and-gold toboggans with tassels for all the athletes running for her focused husband coach Tom Hickman. Cape would compete in Pennsylvania parking lots, school hallways and all the way to the Philadelphia Civic Center for the Inquirer games at the Spectrum. And cleverly, the state championship meet was actually held in the First State at the University of  Delaware Fieldhouse before the Blue Hens got a great deal from a carpet mart and turfed the fieldhouse and subsequently dropped its men's track program. Meanwhile, fast forward your VHS to 2023 at the Ocean Breeze Freedom Games in Staten Island, N.Y. Cape noggins sans toboggans, both men and women, are on an overnight journey because “will travel” has always been the mantra of Cape indoor track. All digitized results – thousands of fragmented bits of information – can be found at Cape junior Bailey Fletcher won the pole vault at 13-feet-6-inches. Kirsten Hoffman from Kennett High was the next best vaulter in the building, clearing 13-0. Cape’s Eddie Houck jumped 11-6; he was part of a second-place logjam. Katie Kuhlman broke the school record in the 1,600 with a time of 5:15:68. Ryan Baker ran the 3,200 in 9:30 for fifth place. Maurki James soared 20-10 in the long jump, Nate Horn hurled 44-0 in the shot put and Brandon Ayers sprinted 38.3 in 300 meters in other notable performances. 

Iron Horse Duals - I’m expecting a poster of Tonto guarding the gym at C. Milton Wright High School in Maryland, as Jay Silverheels is the only person I ever heard refer to a locomotive as an iron horse. The mascot at C. Milton Wright is the Mustang, which would be a cool mascot for Salesianum – The Mustang Sallies. The Cape team wrestled eight matches and won six, placing fifth in the 16-team tournament. The top 8 team results were South Carroll, Loyola-Blakefield, Sparrows Point, Stephen Decatur, Cape Henlopen, South River, Archbishop Spaulding and Smyrna. Cape’s eight matches (6-2) for the tournament were: Cape over Stephen Decatur 39-32; South Carroll over Cape 55-22; Archbishop Spaulding over Cape 42-36; Cape over Montgomery Blair 69-12; Cape over Leonardtown 53-17; Cape over Boys Latin 75-6; Cape over John Carroll 76-3; and in the fifth-place championship match, Cape defeated South River 53-24. Cape will host Smyrna Wednesday, Jan. 11, with JV action beginning at 6 p.m. Individual records for the two-day tournament were: Tripp Gannon 4-4 with two pins, Cale Baker  3-5, Rony Perez 4-4 with one pin, Holt Baker 0-4, Max Meadows 4-0, Josh Wright 7-1 with six pins, Brady Cole 3-0 with two pins, Kingston Davis 2-4 with one pin, Andrew Schaen 7-1 with one pin, Hayden Wheeler 5-2 with two pins, Jeffrey Rainier 3-1 with one pin, C.J. Fritchman 6-1 with six pins, Robbie Payton 3-2 with three pins, Luke Arnold 3-1 with two pins, Alex Taylor  7-1 with five pins, Mason Couchman 4-1 with three pins and Tyler Costello 5-2 with four pins.

Dumarius Gooch - A 2014 Cape graduate who excelled in football and baseball, Dumarius now works for the Jacksonville Jaguars, this photo showing him after the “Jagwires” clinched the NFC South Championship. “I work in the media department,” Gooch said. “I have a bunch of different assignments throughout the game, whether it’s queuing up the camera crew or making sure media personnel get to the right places for different camera angles. I also do the escorting on and off field for national anthem singers, color guard, military personnel, halftime performers, etc. Such an amazing opportunity.”

Best to better - Many years ago, I snapped a photo at the Lewes Little League Park of 10-year-old minor leaguers trudging around the field with their all-star team carrying a District 3 championship banner. There was a chasing town dog so happy he just wanted to bite some kid in the calf. I remember saying, “it’s sad, really, a couple of those kids just peaked. They have reached the penultimate pinnacle – the Pikes Peak of youth sports. Next stop: Dairy Queen. They will never climb to the elevation of this elation ever again.” I spoke in jest, which explains why those near me cleared out, and as a rule I don’t chase sad stories, preferring to remember people at the best moments. But the fall-flat-and-getting-flatter, one-time brilliant and celebrated athletes walk among us every day. Maybe I’m due to write a series, “Off Road Down the Wrong Road.”

Semester breakaway - It’s always great to see the college kids, especially the freshmen athletes home for semester break. “Lost in Transition” describes a few who are already missing the greatest gig in the world, that of playing high school sports with your homies and getting coached up by people who care about you, getting in-depth sports coverage with stories and photos in the local media. Break away if you may from the small-town Sesame Street by the Sea, but it will never get any better. 

Snippets - “Nothing to gain but your pain” explains the Detroit Lions eliminating the Packers from the 2023 playoffs at historic Lambeau Field with a 20-16 Sunday Night Football win. Packers linebacker Quay Walker was flagged for 15 yards and ejected for shoving a Lions trainer in the back who was trying to get to injured running back Jamaal Williams. The boneheaded move was all the more glaring against the backdrop of “Fight for Damar” shirts worn in stadiums around the league. In fairness, the trainer did nudge him out of the way like he was a no-count somebody. Go on now, git!


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