Track athletes running toward conference meets

January 12, 2024

The Cape indoor track girls and boys went their separate ways last weekend. The girls traveled north to Staten Island, N.Y., for the Freedom Games at the Ocean Breeze Track & Field facility, where 38 teams participated. The Vikings finished in 36th place with one point. Top 10 finishes were turned in by Addison Bowman, who scored the highest place for the team with a fifth-place finish in the pole vault and a clearance of 10-feet-0-inches. Ainsley Rineer finished seventh in the shot put with a toss of 27-4 ¾, while Kaylyn Clews finished 10th in the high jump with a clearance of 4-6. The Ocean Breeze facility is one of the fastest track surfaces around, with a 200-meter banked-turn track, making it a popular venue among teams on the East Coast.  

The boys took a trip northwest to Alvernia University for the fourth annual Golden Wolves Challenge at the Tom and Helen Flynn Indoor Track & Field Complex in Reading, Pa.  

The Vikings had five champions on the day led by Ben Clifton with a season-best performance in the 800 meters in 1:59:53. Cardin Benjamin was second in the 800 meters in 2:02.69 to give the Vikings a 1-2 finish. Clifton returned in the mile relay to help the Vikings to the win in 3:36.66 with teammates Benjamin, Jamar Beasley and Emmett Wheatley.  

Beasley is only a freshman and Wheatley is just a sophomore. “Both have been nice additions and have already run 2:12 also at 800 meters,” said coach Matt Lindell.   

Stephen Hart jumped well to capture the high jump win in a season-best height of 6-2, while Bernard Jones won the triple in 44-5 for one of the best performances in quite a few years for the Vikings. No. 3 vaulter Brady Mauro won the pole vault with a jump of 12-0, showing the depth Cape has in the vault event.

A rarely run distance medley relay was the right fit for the distance-loaded Vikings, as they turned in a time of 11:14.79 for a second-place finish. Jason Baker grabbed second in the 3,000 meters in 9:27.30.

The Vikings boys and girls will compete at the Virginia Showcase meet Saturday, Jan. 13, in Virginia Beach. 

Sussex Academy in Virginia Beach

The Sussex Academy team, coached by Jay Diaz, went south for the Virginia Beach High School Relays at the Virginia Beach Sports Center, another facility that ranks as one of the fastest in the country. Eighth-grader Paige Ballinger had a great meet, winning the 800 meters in a season-best time of 2:24.86, then returning 45 minutes later to win the 1,000 meters in 3:09.66. Ballinger also ran on the 4-by-1,600 relay with Katya Geyer, Lily Bowe and Mekenna Blades to finish second in 23:34.03. Ballinger also teamed with Bre Sordi, Taegan Forester and Bowe to finish third in the 3,200-meter relay in a time of 10:48.14. Ballinger raced 21 laps at Virginia Beach. Bowe placed fifth in the 800 meters in 2:39.64, while a much-improved Sordi was seventh in 2:43.24. Distance runner Geyer is also tough in the high jump, where she was second with a 4-10 clearance.

On the boys’ side, Justin Friscia won the 800 meters in 2:05.43, while Duncan Winger was third in 2:08.18 and Ryan Moody was fifth in 2:11.16. William Ducote was fifth in the 400 meters in 54.22, while Josue Laurore was ninth in 55.69. Max Rial finished seventh in the shot put with a heave of 46-3 ¾.

Sussex Academy and Sussex Central competed at Ursinus College Jan. 10. Friscia teamed with William Ducote and Josue Laurore to win the mile relay in 3:41.11. Friscia split 54.79 on the anchor to move into the lead on the final lap and catch the Penn Charter team that finished second in 3:41.88. Malik Kelsic ran a tough early season 200-meter dash to take second in 23.61 for the Golden Knights. Friscia ran 2:03.98 for a good 800-meter run for fourth. Central’s Victor Perez threw 45-9 in the shot for second.

Sordi set a new personal best in the 800 meters, with a time of 2:37.70, which was good for fourth.

Geyer was third in the high jump at 4-11 and went over the 30-foot mark in the triple. She also raced the 80m and 3,000 on the track.

Finish chute

The Blue Hens track & field team will compete at the Lions Indoor Invitational at the Armory in New York this Friday for their second meet of the season. Cape’s Katie Kuhlman is not scheduled to race, but Vikings alum Alexa Dougherty is set to race the 400 meters and the mile relay. The Seashore Strider 2024 Challenge is 100 miles per month for 12 straight months. If interested, go to


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