Editor’s note: This article appeared in the May 24, 2011 edition of the Cape Gazette. Over the next several weeks, we are going to highlight some shining moments in Cape’s 50-year history.
“It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.” - REM
Coaches Rob Perciful and George Pepper salvaged a couple of empty lawn chairs and kicked back on the infield grass watching an endless series of 3,200-meter open races prior to Cape’s final “show up for the showdown” in the Division One 4-by-400-meter relay, the final event in the two-day state championships held May 20-21 at Caesar Rodney High School.
Perciful sipped a Mountain Dew and joked, “I’m just waiting for the Rapture," a reference to the prediction of Judgment Day on May 21.
Pepper, not wanting to jinx a pending championship in a meet in which he has finished second 15 times over his 33-year career while wining four times, said, "Christiana figures to win the race. If we run a clean race and are in the top four, we should win this thing.”
Cape’s team of Hannah Pepper, Ali Coning, Megan Hart and Shanel Dickens got through all the crowded exchange zones and placed second in the race to win the state championship meet with 91 points. Christiana was second with 84.5, followed by Charter 72, William Penn 66, Saint Mark’s 65 and Delcastle 55.
“Forty years ago in 1971 George [Pepper] and I were on Cape’s very first state championship track team running for Tom Hickman,” Perciful said. “This has come full circle in my 100th season of coaching to come back to my alma mater and win a state championship coaching with one of my best friends.”
Hannah Pepper with 26 and Kadijah Doughty with 26 combined for 52 points. Pepper won the 300 hurdles in 47.2, was second on the high jump at 5 feet, third in the triple jump at 35-1 and led off the second-place 4-by-400 relay.
“The high jump and hurdles Hannah didn’t even do until this year,” her coach dad said. “That’s pretty amazing.”
Sophomore Doughty proved a track and field beast, winning the shot put at 38-4, placing second in the discus at 104-0, third in the long jump at 16-6 and leading off the 4-by-100 relay team running with Akeesha Duffy, Tyra Weatherly and Johnesha Warren to a second-place finish.
Kayla Albertella picked up eight points with a second-place finish in the pole vault while Ali Coning picked up 8.5 running on the 4-by-800 team with Megan Hart and Liz Sparks and anchor Shanel Dickens for a third place in 10:00.1. She also ran on the second-place 4-by-400 relay, picked up a point in the 1,600 for her 5:27 sixth-place finish and earned four for her 2:25.0 fourth-place finish in the open 800.
Shanel Dickens had an off day on the track for her, still contributing 7.5 points to the win, the actual margin of victory.
Amanda Hurst picked up 4.5 points with a sixth place in the 100 hurdles and fifth in the 300.
"Every single kid on the team contributed to the championship," Pepper said.
The title was the first in Division One for the Vikings. Cape won Division Two titles four consecutive years from 2001 through 2005.
The Vikings now have 50 individual state champions since 1977 and 16 relay state champions.