Glasgow’s Ja’Saan Cunningham sprints to county championships
Glasgow High School junior Ja’Saan Cunningham earned the unofficial title of fastest high school athlete in the county after capturing both short sprint titles at the New Castle County Track and Field Championships on Saturday.
Cunningham raced to the 100-meter title in the morning with a time of 10.95 seconds at Delaware’s most historic track, Baynard Stadium, and then followed that up with a winning 22.40 time in the 200 to help lead Glasgow to a fifth-place finish.
“It was exciting because I feel as though the county meet is more fun than state and conference meets because all the divisions are together, and it’s a great environment,” said Cunningham, who didn’t compete at last years’ county championships due to a need for rest before the state meet.
Cunningham capped his stellar performance at the 74th-annual event by anchoring Glasgow’s winning 4x200 relay team to a first-place finish in a time of 1:28.51. Sophomore Martise Younger, senior Simeon Dailey and senior Darius Blalock set up Cunningham nicely for his sprint to the finish.
“Just break that school record,” Cunningham recalled of what was going through his mind when Blalock handed him the baton and he was trailing only Mount Pleasant.
And the Dragons’ 1:28.5 time did break the record of 1:28.7, set in 2008 by a team that included Glasgow assistant coach Alan Harding.
“Coach expected us to,” Cunningham said, laughing. “All my teammates met me at the finish line when I crossed it, which is more exciting than an individual race, and we looked and saw the time on the scoreboard and heard it announced. We then went to Coach Harding and told him, ‘We broke your record.’”
Each of the three high schools in the Christina School District had one runner who placed in the top three of an event. Glasgow sophomore Ashley Pearce placed second in the 200 (25.40), Newark senior Rachel Beston ran to a third-place finish in the 1600 (5:12.18), and Christiana freshman Ta’vio Rider placed third in the 110 hurdles (16.01).
Glasgow’s girls finished ninth overall, Newark’s boys 15th and girls 10th, and Christiana’s boys 17th. Newark Charter, competing without a senior class, placed 20th (boys) and 19th (girls).
Mount Pleasant won the boys team title for the second consecutive year, while Padua won its fifthstraight team title and 17th overall.
“As the county meet was approaching, much was expected for all my athletes in terms of their overall performance,” Glasgow coach Terrence Wilson said. “I expected each individual to perform to the best of their ability and be the leaders they are intended to be, including Ja’Saan Cunningham.”
Cunningham now turns his focus to the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association Track and Field State Championships, which take place at Dover High School this weekend.
“I think I am more established now. I’m sort of … well, I guess I am the person to beat,” Cunningham, who is the defending indoor short sprints champion, said.
Cunningham learned a lot from last years’ experience, when he placed second in the 100 and third in the 200. He said he plans to change his routine the week leading up to the state meet.
“I’ll change up what I eat and drink and probably stretch more,” he said. “I’ll drink all water this week and eat more bananas. I’ll train at practice the same this week as last week leading up to the county meet. You can’t really build on anything right now. You’re just maintaining right now.”
Cunningham’s focus isn’t solely on his individual performance.
“I’m focused on winning it not only individually but as a team, too, because we have a chance to win as a team,” Cunningham said. “My job is to motivate everyone and make sure everyone is doing what they are supposed to be doing at practice and getting in by curfew and stuff like that.”
Glasgow High junior Ja’Saan Cunningham won the short sprints titles at the New Castle County Track and Field Championships, held at Baynard Stadium on Saturday.