We are the champions and friends

Running families nature and nurture
November 29, 2022

Three equals six - I saw three state championship guys talking among themselves Saturday at the Cape takedown wrestling scrimmage. I herded them together for a priceless quick photo that they refused to pay for. Three Cape guys totaling six state titles: Matt Graviet (275) 1999, Cory Lawson (160) 2016 and 2017, and Thomas Ott (220) 2012, 2013 and 2014. Matt is a pilot (let’s get this baby off the ground) of large ships, Cory is the newly named wrestling coach at Sussex Academy and works at Club Fitness in Dover, and Thomas is in the Navy assigned to a destroyer and stationed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The state wrestling tournament was held at Delaware State College 24 years in a row from 1984 through 2007. DSC became Delaware State University in 1993. Cape has hosted the state tournament 10 times since 2012, with Dover hosting in 2017. Cape also hosted in 1977 at the Little Big House. The 2023 state tournament is also scheduled for Cape Henlopen.

Brian left out - Lyle Riggin dropped a mid-thought sentence on me Saturday at the wrestling scrimmage inside the Cape Big House. There was no setup and no warmup. “You left Brian out!” I said, “Well, let me open the door and let him in.” But I knew that I had messed up once again by making a list; this one of Cape state champion wrestlers. Through clerical, not hysterical, error I left out Brian Riggin. I sent my list to coaches Chris Mattioni and Shane Jensen, who both responded “looks good,” but never said, “looks accurate.” Jared Hill was first-team all-state soccer in fall 1990 and state wrestling champ (125 pounds) in spring 1991. Brian Riggin was first-team all-state lacrosse (defender) and state wrestling champ in 2006. I grabbed a photo of them in 2019 working as custodial interns at the state wrestling championships at Cape Henlopen. Champions ain’t too proud to mop a mat; they just like to be remembered in their own house.  

Runners and families - The 13th annual Huffin’ for Pumpkin Pie 5K had more than 400 runners. No surprise that there are families that combine nature with nurture and combine successful runners across the generations. Olivia Montini, 18, won the overall female title with a time of 19:20. Paul Montini won the 50-54 age group in 19:41. Becky Montini won the 50-54 female age group in 24:24. Gavin Furlong won the men's 40-44 in 19:46. Nolan Furlong won 9-and-under in 22:00. Nora Furlong, 7, won the 9-and-under female in 28:12. Kai Mundok won the 10-13 in 21:37, Jake Mundok took first in 20-24 in 17:34 and Eve Mundok was second in 14-19 in 23:02.

News flash! A Delaware home playoff game versus the St. Francis of Loretto Red Flash in the opening round of the Football Championship Subdivision will not put fans in the stands on a Saturday afternoon at Delaware Stadium to watch players slosh around “The Tub” in a 56-17 Blue Hens victory. Attendance was not announced or published, but sparse would be an exaggeration. Delaware scored the most points in an FCS playoff game in program history. I was there in Chattanooga 2003 when Delaware beat Colgate 40-0 in the national championship game. Mark Moore and Trip Delcampo of Cape were on that team. Fans flew into Tennessee on a chartered Hooters party plane from Wilmington Airport. Say it ain’t so, but you would be wrong. Delaware next travels to South Dakota to take on the No. 1-seeded Jackrabbits of South Dakota State. Game time for Saturday is 3 p.m. Delaware is a solid football program playing at a great venue with a rich tradition. Moving up to 1A would be risky. There are strong arguments on both sides. I’m sure the Red Flash thought twice before moving up from Division III in 1993. 

Snippets - I watched the entire Sunday night Eagles versus Packers game alone from a corner guest room with the sound turned down. The best announcer in football and basketball is Gus Johnson. I like Merrill Reese on the radio doing Eagles games. In fact, in a three-way race of 80-year-olds running for president, I’d vote Reese over Biden or Trump. Reese is the longest-serving play-by-play announcer in the NFL. An Overbrook and Temple guy, he is quintessential Philly. I’ve met Reese numerous times in the Eagles’ press area, and he is always on and always that guy. Go on now, git! 


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