Relative of the Week: Ergas Leps, Canadian Olympian and Big 10 champion

July 26, 2022

Relative of the Week - Back in the days of the Wednesday Whale newspaper, I ran a weekly feature in my People in Sports column called Relative of the Week. That was way before “six degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon” became popular. In last Friday’s column, I wrote about 8-year-old Ruby Leps running in every event at the Tuesday night open track meet and winning her age group in all of them. That item scared up the story of this 82-year-old great-uncle from Canada (Canadian bacon connection): Ergas Leps is a two-time Olympian who ran the 4-by-400 and 800 in Rome in 1960 and ran the 1,500 in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Ergas ran for the University of Michigan and was inducted into the Michigan Athletics Hall of Fame in 2008. Ergas (Class of 1962) was a four-time double winner in the Big Ten Championships.  Ergas was also a member of six Penn Relays championship relay teams – the mile relay three times (1960-62), the 4-by-880 twice (1961-62) and the distance medley relay (1960). Ruby, 8, has an older brother Whit, 10, who recently ran the Degnan 5K in 32:59. Both Whit and Ruby attend Lewes Elementary School.  

The Biz - Avary Miller, an incoming freshman at Cape Henlopen qualified and was selected for the AAU 2022 Junior Olympics Games (field hockey). This year’s event will take place Aug. 1-4, at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. The AAU’s premier multi-sport event, the AAU Junior Olympic Games bring together more than 14,000 athletes to compete in 20 sports. In the sport of field hockey, USA Field Hockey selects 108 athletes to participate in the annual event. Delaware athletes include Jordyn Holloman, Avary Miller, Bree Moffett, Audrey Nelson and Hannah Zimmerman.

Legends Ring of Honor - Dr. Jenny Nauman presented the Cape school board with the names of four Cape coaching legends that will be Inducted in the Ring of Honor this fall. They are P.J. Kesmodel, George Pepper, Janet Maull-Martin and Bill Collick. Cape may have to bring Bernie Bowden out of retirement to lag-bolt their plaques to the wall. Bernie always told me, “Coach Fred, you know that drill has reverse on it.” I will publish deep biographies on all four coaches as the induction ceremony draws closer. The duo of Miz Fred and Fredman are available for free to help with writing the inscription on the plaque and choosing a photo to be embossed and emblazoned in perpetuity for eternity. 

We are doodles - Watching the World Championships of Track and Field and when watching the World Cup, it is obvious that human migration has produced beautiful and talented people across the planet, which is what happens when the gene pool is diversified. The laws of science apply to all reproductive species; it is neither good nor bad, it just is what it is.

Snippets - I didn’t mind flunking out of college on my own, but no one could have paid me to leave. I have a pension from the state after 35 years of being a teacher. Is paying a person not to come to work an insult or an earned paid vacation? Sydney McLaughlin set a world record with a time of 50.6 seconds in the 400-meter hurdles, but what struck me in an interview afterward is her saying, “We’ll see what Bobby [Kersee] has planned next for us.” Coach Bobby Kersee, married to Jackie Joyner, is considered top of the line. Track is a highly technical, yet natural sport. It's all about finding the right coach at all levels. What happened to the Umbro soccer shorts of the ’90s? I read they gave way to the cargo shorts of the new millennium. Wrangler rocks always in all places, even at weddings. Go on now, git!  

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