Track teams head to Henlopen Conference Championships

May 12, 2023

The Cape track & field teams head to the Henlopen Conference Championships May 11-12 at Lake Forest High School in Felton. Both Cape teams are undefeated at 7-0 and both Henlopen Northern Division champions. It was the third title in a row for the Cape girls.

“We are young and we are hoping to be in the top three teams,” said conservative girls’ coach Jen Cawthern.

The Cape boys will load up the 3,200-meter relay, a distance runners’ highlight relay where each athlete does a double loop of the oval for 800 meters. The Vikings are loaded at 800 meters and will go with the team of Trey Leggins, Ryan Baker, Liam O’Donnell and Ben Clifton in an effort to take down a record that was set about 23 years before these guys were born. The record of 7:59 was set at the Dover Relays with the team of James Johnson, Hank Stack, Darren Purcell and the late Danny Harmon. If the current team runs anywhere close to their season best, they definitely have a good shot at the record.

Other highlights heading into the championships include Alexa Dougherty with a shot at the 300-meter hurdles title. She is ranked third, but she’s set up nicely in on the inside of the top two seeds in lane three. Baker should handle the 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter run as top seed, while Clifton has run 1:57 and will be in the mix at 800 meters against a tough Ian Cain of Caesar Rodney, who has the top seed. Speaking of the 3,200-meter run, it is shaping up to be a Cape/CR dual meet, as 10 of the 12 athletes in the race are from Cape and CR. Cape also put seven in the 1,600 meters and six in the 800 meters. The Cape pole vaulters are top-notch and have a shot at equaling their indoor state meet success with a 1-2 or 1-2-3 finish.

Sussex Central is loaded in the sprints. The boys should also take the 800-meter relay title. With clean handoffs from both Cape and Sussex, the 400-meter relay title may be a photo finish. Cape ran 43.50 at the Penn Relays, with Sussex Central at 43.55, and don’t count out Smyrna. Will Harrison is the only guy in the 400-meter dash who has broken 50 seconds this season.

Sussex Tech has Athlete of the Year Yougendy Mauricette, and he could show up in seven events and be in the mix for a title in each. However, he can only do four events, so he will go 110-meter hurdles, 300-meter hurdles, 200 meters and long jump. Mauricette will compete this summer in the USATF U20 U.S. National Championships, the same meet where Cape’s Kai Maull competed in in the long jump in 1998. Speaking of the Ravens, Arina Varrato is another distance runner who should be near the front in the 1,600/3,200 double. The Golden Knights have a tough 400-meter relay team on the girls’ side as well with speedy anchor Tatiana Kelsic. They will battle with Smyrna, which went well under the 50-second barrier at Penn last month. Sussex Academy has quality distance runners with Katya Geyer in the 1,600 and Lily Bowe in the 800. They should also do well in the 3,200-meter relay where they are ranked second behind CR. Also on the line for coach Bobby Hahn’s Indian River team will be a tough Brynn Crandell, who has gone 5:08 for top seed. Hahn has a good-looking team with some quality field event athletes and hurdlers. Crandell is a multi-county and conference champion, and a first-team all-state selection in cross country.

Track note - I reported a few weeks ago that Cape’s 1,600/3,200 indoor school record holder Katie Kuhlman was done for the season because that is what I was told. I looked crazy when she came back for the Vikings’ final dual meet where she ran well in three events, then ran at the Penn Relays. I am told again that she is out for the rest of the season, so I am going to leave it at that.

Finish chute

The inaugural Cape Gazette Run and Fun Fest 5K will take place Saturday, May 13, at Nassau Commons near Lewes, and more than 200 runners and walkers are expected to take part. The course will do a quick pass through Nassau Valley Vineyards before heading to the Lewes-to-Georgetown Trail toward Minos Conaway Road before turning around. A 400-meter straight finish, the only one in the area, will greet the runners sprinting to their new personal best. Registered runners and walkers may come to the Cape Gazette office between 5 and 6:30 p.m., Friday, May 12, to pick up their bib and T-shirt. Parking for the event will be on the north side of the Nassau Commons parking lot and at Redner’s Fresh Market, which is one of the event sponsors. Martin Rodriguez will serve as race director, while the race team of Alyssa Simon, Jane Boyd, Karen Eller, Jack Vassalotti and John Dowling will run the logistics. CK Timing Team will handle the results. Cape Gazette’s Tara Marks has done an amazing job organizing her first 5K run.

Rodriguez finished second May 7 in the SprintREV Duathlon in Bivalve, Md., in a time of 1:18:53 for the 1.4-mile run, 15-mile bike and 3-mile run distance. I am beginning to see an increase in emails to my inbox regarding the Dogfish Dash. To set the record straight, the Seashore Striders are involved in the event management, but the race organizer makes the decision on when registration opens. What I am told is that the Dogfish Dash will open on National Running Day, the first Wednesday in June. Race registration will open at noon. We will double the field this year and accept 2,000 runners, so get your laptops ready and loosen up your fingers. The record sellout is about six minutes achieved in 2018 with a field of 3,000.


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