Luke Burton, Beacon roll at middle school cross country invitational

October 27, 2017

The Beacon boys' cross country team continued its dominance of the state cross country scene at the 18-team DAAD Invitational Oct. 25, scoring a scant 36 points thanks to a 1-2 finish by seventh-grade standouts Luke Burton and Brexton Carter. Burton clocked 12:37 for 2.14 miles to take the individual crown over 313 competitors, surging to the front shortly after the mile mark and never looking back. Carter ran stride-for-stride with his teammate until the final 800 and hung on to claim second in 12:43, while eighth-grader Ethan Edery ran the race of his life to break the tape fourth in 12:48. Eighth-grader Hunter Jones (11th, 13:13) and seventh-grader Brody Smith (18th, 13:30) added to Beacon's medal haul in the top 20. Eighth-grader Owen Smith (21st, 13:38) and seventh-grader Liam O'Donnell (25th, 13:47) closed out the varsity scoring for coach Paul Ecker's talented bunch. Beacon outdistanced defending champion Springer Middle by 55 points by placing all seven varsity finishers in the top 25 overall.

The girls' race was highlighted by a second-place finish in a 234-runner field from Mariner seventh-grade sensation Katie Kuhlman, whose 13:59 time ranks right up there with those of local legends like Olivia Brozefsky and Lindsay Rambo. Kuhlman ran a fearless first mile of 6:17, planted herself firmly in second behind Holy Cross superstar Sophia Holgado, and maintained her position through the line to help Mariner place sixth in an 18-team field. Eighth-grader Mia Nuebling notched a top 10 finish of her own for Mariner, running her best race of the season to grab ninth in 14:46. Also scoring for Mariner were seventh-grader Brayden Parkes (32nd, 15:46), sixth-grader Olivia Burkentine (41st, 16:09), and sixth-grader Mac Cryne (63rd, 16:46). Sixth-grader Lillian Fisher (69th, 16:54) and sixth-grader Kate Perry (121st, 18:22) also cracked the top seven for the Vikings.

The Mariner boys placed fifth overall on the strength of top 10 showings from eighth-graders Brian Sponaugle and Elliott Bastian. Sponaugle cranked out a 5:38 opening mile and ran in the top three almost the whole way before finishing sixth in 12:52, while Bastian improved on his 2016 time by more than a minute with a breakthrough performance of 13:10, crossing the line 10th overall. Eighth-grader Justin Marsh (29th, 13:52) continued his solid, steady season, while sixth-graders Gage Joseph (36th, 13:58) and Jackson Isaacs (43rd, 14:07) recorded big personal bests to score points for Mariner. Eighth-graders Angelo Ballard-Rose (59th, 14:35) and Joseph Nsiah (66th, 14:43) also ran in the varsity seven.

As for the Beacon girls, Liz Melson set the pace with a 24th-place finish in 15:25, while Madison Couchman (49th, 16:25) and Alissa Swann (50th, 16:25) worked together to break into the top 50. Clio Evans (56th, 16:42), Ella Walker (120th, 18:21), Lilly Williams (129th, 18:34), and Maya Thompson (167th, 19:46) also scored varsity points for Beacon, which placed ninth among 18 teams.

Sussex Championships

The Sussex County Championships will kick off the Halloween celebration this Tuesday, Oct. 31, as seven teams will come together on the 3.1-mile course at Sussex Tech High School to decide the county champion. The boys' race will go off at 3 p.m., while the girls will race off the line at 3:30 p.m. Look for some exciting races up front. See you there.

Cape XC splits

The Cape Vikings traveled to Indian River to take on the Indians and the Eagles from Smyrna in Henlopen Conference cross country action Oct. 25. Cape added two more wins on the boys' side with a 22-39 victory over the Indians and a 23-35 win over the Eagles. The Cape girls dropped both meets, as the Eagles topped the Vikings 19-40 and the Indians topped the Vikings 22-33. As of Thursday morning, there were no individual results posted anywhere in the country and this writer is not sure why.

Caesar Rodney tops Sussex Tech

The boys' meet Oct. 25 in Georgetown easily went to Caesar Rodney by a score of 16-47. Ryan Morrow's personal-best time of 17:01 was the bright spot for Sussex Tech. On the girls' side, young first-year runner Hannah Murphy ran 20:48 and has a shot at making first-team all-conference. The Riders easily topped the Ravens girls 20-41. It was the unofficial final dual meet for longtime coach Lou Nicoletti, who has been coaching cross country for more than 40 years.

East Coast Regional Championships

The Regionals are coming up quickly, and any cross country runner in Delaware is encouraged to participate in the East Coast Coaches Cross Country Regional Championship set for Sunday, Nov. 5, just outside Philadelphia. The Seashore Striders will be taking part along with an army of talented Philadelphia CYO runners. The meet will be hosted for the first time by the Ambler Olympic Club.