Memories made at Track Hall of Fame banquet and cross country nationals
On Nov. 22, I had the pleasure to introduce my high school track coach, Dave “Fredman” Frederick, to a crowd of almost 200 at the Cavaliers Country Club in Newark. Fredman, as I told the crowd he is known south of the canal, was being inducted into the Delaware Track & Field Hall of Fame along with jumper Sallie Beth Johnson of Sussex Central, Mark White of Howard and longtime coach Joe McNichol.
I had the pleasure to drive up a vanload of former Cape greats, as my sleeping co-pilot was Bill Collick, and in the rear were longtime coach George Pepper, athlete and coach Gilbert Maull, half-miler Darren Purcell and sprinter Vaughn Trammel. Also in the van was Cape track supporter Eric Beam of Ocean View, a former 4:07-miler.
We arrived at the banquet to be greeted by a few more of the Cape family. Hall of Famer and Clemson 25-foot long jumper Kai Maull was there, Henry White flew in from Illinois, and 6-foot-11 high school high jumper Rodney Smith flew in from Florida to be with Fredman and present him two of his high school medals attached to his high school track spikes. Hurdler Chico Beckett was also in attendance as well as host of other downstate supporters.
I touched on the influence that Fredman has had and continues to have to this day on hundreds of athletes, from elementary school to high school, and how his stories, articles and photos are such an important part of each athlete’s life. I told a few stories and had the room laughing about some of his experiences coaching football and track & field and how much of an impact Fredman has had on my career as an athlete, a coach and a person. All in all, it was a nice night to remember and an honor well deserved.
Banquet notes: A cool thing that happened was that I was able to introduce Hall of Famer Sallie Beth Johnson to Hall of Famer Vicki Huber-Rudawsky at the banquet. Johnson was the very first Seashore Strider to go to Nationals back in fall 1990, when we flew to Portland, Ore., along with local Cape graduate Suzannah Martin Frederick. Vicki, as she was to so many young runners, was an icon to Sallie Beth, and as Sallie logged the miles downstate for the Golden Knights, Vicki set records at Villanova and went on to become an Olympian. Johnson was one of the most, and possibly the most, dedicated and focused young runner that I have ever coached in cross country and track & field. Hall of Famer Art Madric, longtime coach of Glasgow High School and founder of the Wilmington Track Club, was in attendance, and it was great to see this great friend and supporter of mine.
Nine Striders named Youth All-Americans
The Seashore Striders made their 26th consecutive trip to the national championships, this time in Evansville, Ind., under cold and windy conditions. When the dust settled at the end of the day, the purple and yellow team had crowned nine Youth All-Americans, which may be the best-ever showing in the history of the Striders. Leading the way for the Seashore Striders were Devin Hundley and Helena Helou, who both finished 11th in their respective races with personal best finishes. Hundley ran her best race of the season, logging a time of 11:56 for the 3K distance in the midget division, while Helou ran 15:34 for the 4K distance in the youth division, equivalent to a 19:15 5K. Chris Friscia, 6, finished 12th in the primary division in 9:55 for the 2K distance, while Luke Burton finished 13th in the midget division in a time of 11:00. Sussex Tech senior Ben Bamforth finished 15th in 16:42 for the young men’s 5K distance, while Greg Boyce out of Cape was 16th in 16:54. Austin Cave out of Delmar was also 17th in 16:54 in the intermediate division. Katie Kuhlman was 20th in the midget division in 12:25.
Other Seashore Striders finishers are as follows: 31st - Justin Friscia, 11:26, 3K; 33rd - Faith Mitchell, 12:41, 3K; 40th - Mia Nuebling, 12:14, 3K; 43rd - Alliare Burton, 9:50, 2K; 45th - Emma Barthelmess, 17:07, 4K; 54th - Matthew Friscia, 9:16, 2K; 77th - Emily Trout, 17:34, 4K; 93rd - Aiden Bowman, 12:04, 3K; 109th - Raphael Perez-Rivera, 13:00, 3K; 117th - Stephen Hart, 13:39, 3K; 118th - Brayden Trout, 13:39, 3K; and 130th - Brooke Jones, 20:10, 4K.
National notes: Ryan Flood, a junior out of Missouri, ran with the Seashore Striders so we could have enough runners to form a team in the 17-18 age group. Flood, who ran a personal best of 16:00 at his state championship meet to finish 12th, ran just as well, finishing in 16:02 for fifth overall. The Seashore Striders team of 17-18 boys finished fourth in the team standings.
On Saturday, Nov. 26, work off your turkey dinner with the seventh annual Pumpkin Pie 5K at Grove Park in Rehoboth Beach at 9 a.m. Visit seashorestriders.com to register. Packet pickup is set from 3 to 5 p.m., Friday, at Grove Park.
On Sunday, Nov. 27, work off your turkey day leftovers with the 14th annual Sea Colony Turkey Trot 5K at the Freeman Fitness Center in Bethany at 9 a.m. Visit seashorestriders.com to register.
Both events attract large numbers and T-shirts are only guaranteed to preregistered runners, so show up early. Gobble Gobble!