Sparacino and Dalton win Ashley Furio 5K

October 20, 2023

A nice field of 372 turned out for the Ashley Furio 5K Run/Walk Oct. 14 at Crooked Hammock Brewery. The event benefits the Children’s Beach House in memory of the late Ashley Furio.

The popular fall event began with a kid’s dash and an impressive rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by local Sarah Freih. The Rocky theme got participants ready for the starting air horn. Last year’s champion Matt Sparacino, the Harrington Harrier, wasted little time taking the lead on Kings Highway toward the Junction & Breakwater Trail along Gills Neck Road. The course went through the Governors and Senators communities before turning around at the Children’s Beach House water stop just before the Hawkseye development. Sparacino cruised out front and hit the finish in 18:06 to claim back-to-back wins. Alex Ernakovich of Lewes was second across the line in 19:11, while Bobby Hutton of Rehoboth won the male masters race with a third-place finish in 19:26. Steve Eshelman of Millsboro finished fourth in 19:33, while John Costello of Milton rounded out the top five male runners in a time of 19:53.

Trudy Dalton of Selbyville and Melissa Wiley of Ocean City, Md., matched each other stride for stride throughout most of the race, but it was Dalton who pulled away for the overall female title in a time of 20:04. Wiley was second in 20:10, while young Beacon Middle School runner Shiloh O’Grady ran a super time of 22:25 for third place. Beacon teammate Claudia Stazzone was fourth in 22:48, while Mardiny Ung of Elizabethtown, Pa., rounded out the top five and won the female masters title in 23:44.  

“I asked for 400 runners and walkers, and we were close,” said Rose Furio. “I am happy and thank everyone for coming, and next year we will get over 400.”

Middle school wrap

The Beacon cross country team moved to 5-0 with a pair of Oct. 16 sweeps over Chipman 15-54 and Selbyville 15-62. The girls also beat Chipman 18-45 and Selbyville 17-46. The meet was held at Killens Pond State Park on the 2.14-mile course, which will be the site of the popular DAAD Middle School Championships Wednesday, Nov. 1, with nearly 30 teams competing.

Eighth-grader Nicholas Petito has been on fire this season. He was first across the line again in 12:47, while eighth-grader Ethan Thompson ran 13:00 for second place. Seventh-grader Jude Peacock put together a nice race in third with a 13:09, with seventh-grader Brandt Kuklish fourth in 13:37 and sixth-grader Brady Sherman in 13:41 for fifth.

Eighth-grader Erin Noonan has been tearing it up lately and has won the last two meets for her Beacon team, including a win at Killens in 14:32. Claudia Stazzone, a much-improved eighth-grader, was a close second in 14:34, with sixth-grader Emily Hilton in third in 14:45. Eighth-grader Shiloh O’Grady finished sixth overall as Beacon’s No. 4 runner in 15:45, while eighth-grader Isabella Murphy rounded out Beacon’s top five finishers in 16:02.

Sussex Academy will host Selbyville Tuesday, Oct. 24, at Sandhill Fields. The Seahawks have invited Beacon and Mariner to the meet, making it a quality quad affair. The Sussex Academy girls beat Mariner last week at Cape Henlopen, with four Seahawks winning the kick at the finish. Mariner has two frontrunners in talented Bree Terhune and Allison Ortiz; then there’s the Beacon pack where the top four have been under a minute apart, led by Erin Noonan. There is no clear runaway team or individual here, so we will see who shows up to race at Sandhill Fields.

The boys’ race features Sussex Academy eighth-grader Ben Moody, who just ran 13:10 at Sandhill and continues to improve each meet. Moody will be backed up by seventh-grader Joseph Bukartek and young sixth-graders Kai Mundok and Nolan Furlong. Nick Petito, who may have the best turnover I have seen in many years, will lead the Beacon team. Then there is frontrunner Asher Woods from Mariner, whom no one will run away from.

The Sussex Academy girls have only one loss to Beacon, while both the Beacon boys and girls have not lost a meet. The Mariner boys are also undefeated, while the Mariner girls have one loss to Sussex Academy. If you want to see some talented middle school boys and girls on all four teams, this is the meet to watch. There is no admission fee to Sandhill Fields, but this quad meet will be well worth the price if there was one.

The Mariner Middle cross country teams downed visiting Milford Oct. 13 at Cape, with the boys sweeping the Buccaneers 15-50 and the girls earning a 22-39 win. Eighth-grade standout Asher Woods broke the course record for the Vikings, blazing 11:08.9 for three kilometers. Seventh-grader Jude Bastian took second in 11:39, while first-year runner Ben Hill ran 11:46 in third for a big personal best. Also scoring for the boys were Joe Ruark (fourth, 12:09), fast-improving Owen Beitzel (fifth, 12:10), Andrew Ockels (sixth, 12:15) and Dylan Harp (seventh, 12:17). The girls were paced by seventh-grade star Bree Terhune, who ran 12:41 to triumph by nearly a minute. Fiona Fisher (third, 14:16), Kenzie McLaren (fifth, 14:55), Elena Kucharik (sixth, 15:07), Rayvin Jester (seventh, 17:12), Ainsley Zachary (eighth, 19:29), and Crystal Ramirez-Montano (ninth, 20:08) rounded out the Mariner scoring. Mariner eased past Woodbridge three days later. Terhune provided the major highlight of the meet by running 12:16 for 1.84 miles. Last year’s DAAD runner-up came within eight seconds of outpacing all the boys in the race. Bastian took the boys’ competition with a 12:08 clocking.


Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter