Strong showing for Cape boys’ indoor track in Snow Hill
The Cape indoor track teams went south Dec. 20 for the Pat Russo Invitational in Snow Hill, Md., as 18 teams came together for an afternoon battle. From the 55 meters to the 3,200 meters, with hurdles, high jump, shot put, and two sprint relays, the athletes competed for awards going to the top six finishers in each event.
The Cape boys, a young-and-upcoming contender of a team with big numbers under first-year coach Ellis Gaulden, finished second overall with 65 points behind champion Kent Island, which scored 81 points.
Henlopen rival Smyrna was third with 57 points, while Lake Forest finished sixth with 35 points.
Sussex Tech was seventh with 29 points to round out the conference teams.
“The boys’ coaches are pleased with performances and work ethic so far this season,” said assistant coach George Pepper. “Lots of personal-best performances were recorded, and we were able to score in some events that had escaped us in the first couple of meets. All three relays had season-best times, which was nice to see. We are looking forward to a little relaxation and then we will try to step it up in January as we prepare for the Henlopen Conference Championship Meet. It’s nice to have a very focused group of student-athletes.”
Individually for the boys’ squad, distance runner Greg Boyce, a junior, led the way with a second in the 1,600 meters in a season best of 4:41.39, and a third-place finish in the 800 meters in 2:09.05, and anchored the 3,200-meter relay team to a third-place finish in a good time of 8:57.10. In that relay, Boyce brought the Vikings from back in sixth place to third on the anchor leg of the race.
Isaiah Fillyau was third in the 55 hurdles in 8.60, while the 800-meter relay team was third as well in 1:40.44. Another third-place finish was turned in by the 1,600-meter relay team in a time of 3:55.66, while junior Curtis Purnell ran a nice 300-meter dash for fourth in a time of 38.95. Patrick Tkach was fourth in the shot put with a toss of 38-feet-6-inches, while middle distance runner Owen Allen was fifth in the 800 meters in 2:12.46. Vaulter Ryan Head was fifth at 9-feet-6-inches, while John DiStefano was sixth in the 3,200 meters in 10:51.66. Jumper Kenny Witherspoon was sixth at 5-feet-4-inches, while Giovanni Bendfeldt was eighth in the vault in 9-feet even. Jordan Jefferson was eighth in the 300 meters in 39.74.
The Cape girls’ team, young as well and low in numbers, finished fifth overall with 36 points to record their best performance of the season.
“Several of our girls ran season-best performances, and some even personal-best performances, so we were pleased with the effort we saw today,” said assistant coach Gilbert Maull. “Many of our young kids are figuring out that good season- and personal-best performances come when they compete outside their comfort zone.”
Smyrna won the girls’ meet with 132 points and seems to keep adding to its powerhouse program. Lake Forest was ninth with 17 points, while Sussex Tech was 12th with nine points.
Individually for the Vikings, junior Ce’rya Middleton led the way by winning the shot put in 36-feet-1-inch, while junior Mackenzie Parker was third in the shot put in 32-feet-5-inches. Freshman Aya Daisey was fourth in the high jump at 4-feet-6-inches, while sophomore Timesha Cannon was fifth in the 55 meters in a personal best of 7.76 seconds.
“Timesha has been a pleasant surprise this season for us with her leadership, her work ethic and her positive attitude so far,” said assistant coach Jamie Loucks. “She is putting in the work, so it is nice to see her get the results back. That is the way it is supposed to work.”
The mile relay team of Timesha Cannon, Amaya Daisey, Aya Daisey and Bre Kusen finished fourth in 4:39.87 for a season best by over 10 seconds, while freshman Taylor Johnson was sixth in the mile at 6:00.26 and eighth in the 800 meters in 2:48.37 – both personal-best performances.
The 800-meter relay of Cannon, Amaya Daisey, Aya Daisey and Kusen finished sixth in a season best of 1:57.41.
Distance rising star Taylor Johnson
Taylor Johnson, a freshman out of Mariner Middle School, ran a six-minute mile on Snow Hill’s 10-lap, 160-meter oval. She follows a long list of Cape distance runners including Marty Shue, Cris Snarsky, Sonja Friend, Becky Steuer, Ali Coning, Rebecca and Hannah Pepper, and many more. Taylor has not run nearly as fast as some of the girls mentioned (yet) and is not in that category (yet), but she has run equal to them when looking at performances during their freshman years.
“Taylor is unique, as she is not afraid to go out hard and hang onto the leaders, and her ability to run on her toes, which keeps her in good form with a long, good-looking stride, helps her out in her races,” said coach Gilbert Maull.
Taylor played soccer at Mariner Middle and ran cross country this past fall for the Vikings, where she ran the 5K under 22 minutes. “Taylor may not be running as fast as some of the kids we have had in the past, but she will get there because she gives you 100 percent at practice and in her races,” said cross country coach Matt Lindell.
This indoor season is the first on the track for Johnson, who will change over from soccer to track and field this spring, seeing action in the distance races and possibly hurdle races, which she has also been working on after regular practice. Rob Perciful has coached more than 40 years at multiple schools and is the cross country assistant currently at Cape. He said, “I just met Taylor this past fall, and she is definitely one of my all-time favorite kids I have ever coached.”
Taylor is scheduled in January to race against some of the best freshmen in the area, as she will compete in New York City in the 1,000 meters, at Ursinus in Pennsylvania in the 1,600 meters, and at the new Ocean Breeze facility in Staten Island, N.Y., at the end of January in a freshman championship mile.
Catch your breath this winter break, Taylor, as you have some huge races coming in January.
Race into the New Year 5K
The annual Race into the New Year 5K will be the final event of 2017 locally at the beach. It will kick off from the Rehoboth Boardwalk at noon, Sunday, Dec. 31. There will be a kiddie dash just before the race, as the adults will cheer on the future runners before jumping on the line themselves for the out-and-back 3.1-mile race to North Shores. Go to www.seashorestriders.com to get registered, and bring your horns and New Year’s hat!