Cross country runners, lace up your training shoes!

August 4, 2017

The cross country season is approaching, and the high school athletes will be lacing up their training shoes and hitting the roads beginning Aug. 15. September quickly brings early-season invitationals and the start of the dual-meet season, while October is when it really gets down and dirty with duals getting faster and invitationals more serious. November is championship month with county, conference, state and national competitions week after week when athletes are at the top of their game.

Locally here in Sussex County, last year’s top two freshman girls, Olivia Brozefsky of Cape and Helena Helou of Sussex Academy, went head-to-head several times, and it should be no different this year, as both quality girls are so close in talent. Helou was third at the Henlopen Conference Championships in 19:55, while Brozefsky was fifth in 20:28. Hadley Rhue was 26th in 22:52 for Cape.  

Add Lindsey Guida to the Sussex Academy crew along with some other young talent, and they should continue to move up in the ranks as well.

Both Brozefsky and Helou were on the Delaware all-state team. 

I hate making early predictions, but when you have a feeder program and a high school program that are lucky enough to have the girls together on a team for a few years, it does not happen much, but it could mean the making of something great.

Brozefsky led the Vikings last year as a freshman out front all by herself in most all of the competitions, but this season she will have plenty of support at practice and in meets. With the addition of five runners from Beacon, Mariner and the Seashore Striders feeder, the Vikings should be tough for any team in the Henlopen Conference to contend with. Freshmen runners Lindsay Rambo, Carolyn Maull, Aya and Amaya Daisey, and Fallon Moore are talented, have experience and are just plain tough mentally and physically. They will team with Brozefsky and upper-class runners Zoe Callard, Hadley Rhue and Yesenia Ramirez. That should make for one tough team. Rambo, the Daisey twins, Callard and Brozefsky each have been on the line at a national championship as well and know how to compete well together.   

The reality is that I really do not know if all this will pan out, but these runners will be walking in at 1250 Kings Highway, and the hardest thing will be to get them to all come out.  I always say, once they are on the starting line, half the battle is over.

On the Vikings boys’ side, to be honest, outside of all-conference runner Greg Boyce, I really do not know how they will unfold. Boyce went 16:47 at the conference championships last season and competed at the national championships with the Seashore Striders, but backing him up for the Vikings dropped to the mid-18 range. Young and rebuilding is what likely lies ahead.

Should be a fun season nonetheless.  

Here comes Jack

Jack Markell is currently heading southeast to Delaware and is less than a week from finishing his journey across the United States. As I wrote about last week, the former Delaware governor will complete the last leg of his cross-country cycling journey in Rehoboth Beach Monday, Aug. 7. He will then dip his front tire in the Atlantic Ocean, signifying the completion of his epic ride for Motivate The First State.

Join the public, including the Seashore Striders, at the Rehoboth Beach Bandstand and Boardwalk as we welcome Jack home to the First State. The public is encouraged to come out and support the former governor as he arrives.

Here is a Facebook post from Jack from Aug. 1: “I'm in Perry, N.Y., after riding 76.1 miles at an average speed of 14.1 mph. I'm on the final phase of my journey and have left my friends from America by Bicycle Inc. and am now riding with four awesome Delawareans: David P. Sokola, Dave Ford, Steve Steinwedel and Dave Sysko. We had some intense climbs - 2,600 feet in all - with a particularly nasty 17 percent grade on one short section. As a graduate of Newark High School (as is Carla), I was interested to learn that Perry, N.Y., is home of the Yellowjackets!”

A post from Aug. 2: “I'm in Wellsville, N.Y., after riding 59.4 miles at an average speed of 13.5 mph. Our routes for this phase of the trip were prepared by Marty Lessner. Marty is a great friend and cyclist, and as anybody who has cycled with Marty knows, the hillier and dirtier the route, the better. Hence big hills in the beautiful Letchworth State Park and some gravel and dirt roads for good measure! Tomorrow, we enter Pennsylvania.” 

Dam Mill Rescheduled 5K

The rescheduled Dam Mill 5K Run, in its 34th year, will be held Sunday, Aug. 13, beginning at 8:30 a.m. from Cupola Park in Millsboro. Register for the shady, flat and fast, out-and-back 5K run by going to  The event will be the final one in the Seashore Strider Racing Series. The goal of the series is to qualify as many runners as possible, and if you are someone who is falling one race short now, you should contact me at, and we will work with you. See you on the starting line!

Dam Mill Hall of Fame

The highlight of the morning will be the presentation of this year’s Hall of Fame inductee. Here is a look back at past Hall of Fame ceremonies at the Dam Mill 5K.

2003 - Gary Brittingham, Graham Living and Donna Rogers 

2004 - Marion Lisehora and Tom Sombar 

2005 - Eric Beam and Dr. Paul Collins

2006 - Joan Boyce and John Hall

2007 - Roger Marino 

2008 - Bruce Springer 

2009 - Dr. Lee Masser

2010 - Millsboro Police Department

2011 - Herb Hall and Terry Ayers

2012 - Peter Tracey and David Landis

2013 - Richard Tikiob and Dave “Fredman” Frederick

2014 - Joey Kwit and Roxy Castillo

2015 - Alan Quillen and the late Larry Windsor

2016 - Breck Vanderwende.