Local harriers to compete in states on Saturday
The leaves are changing colors and falling on trails in parks all across the First State, and on Saturday, hundreds of runners will trek through the woods at Brandywine Creek State Park while competing in the 2018 Delaware Interscholastic Athletics Association Cross-Country Championships.
Sophomore Zeke Dawkins, fresh off his individual win at the Blue Hen Conference Championships, will lead Newark High’s team of seven runners who collectively hope to put together their best performance of the season.
“My hope for our team at states is that we can work together as a pack and push each other to ensure that we all have the best races possible and finish the season on a strong note,” said Dawkins, who two weeks ago finished 12th overall at the Joe O’Neill Invitational, which included nearly every school in the state. “My individual goal is to make secondteam all-state.”
In addition to Dawkins, Newark High runners competing are juniors Armando Zavala, Evan Prusisz, Matt Guckenberger, Isaiah Gerard and Bailey Polecaro and sophomore Caleb Cutler.
Head coach Mike Mooney said Zavala, the team’s No. 2 runner, split time training with the soccer team earlier in the season but now his focus is completely on running.
“He is seeing dramatic improvement and is a real competitor,” Mooney said.
Mooney added that the threesome of Prusisz, Guckenberger and Cutler will play a significant role in whether the Yellowjackets are able to secure a high placement at states.
“Evan, Matt and Caleb all had significant improvements at the Blue Hen Championships,” Mooney explained. “It was on the strength of these guys that we were able to keep the gap from our No. 2 man to our No. 5 man much narrower and finish second in the conference meet.”
Newark placed 11th at last week’s New Castle County Championships held at Winterthur Estate, and Mooney is optimistic his runners will use that experience to continue to improve heading into the final week of the season, just as they have each week leading up to this point.
“Our goal is always the same – work together as a team and support one another’s effort with our own honest effort,” Mooney said. “These guys have done that this year. We have come a long way. The state meet is the real test. Running well as a team on that day is the goal.”
Senior Naomi Dawkins leads a talented group of Newark High girls that includes seniors Maria Hernandez and Kendal Gerard, juniors Allie LaPorte and Erin Dillon, and sophomores Katie Zucaro and Ana Donato.
“Naomi is coming off an AllCounty performance where she got stronger the second half of the race,” head coach Gordon Thomson said of Dawkins’ 12th-place finish. “That kind of racing bodes well for Brandywine Creek State Park. To date, she has had a solid season, but I know she wants to put an exclamation mark on the state meet her senior year.”
The Yellowjackets’ expectations in the meet took a blow when they lost their No. 2 runner, Brianna Espinal, to injury, but Thomson is confident Newark will compete.
“With Brianna’s injury, our team goal just took a hit,” he said. “We could still finish strong. If we can pack it in after Naomi, then we can be respectable.”
Newark Charter harriers
After finishing seventh (girls) and ninth (boys) at the New Castle County Championships, Newark Charter hopes to compete for a Top 5 spot at states, according to head coach Steve Sinko.
Sophomore Madi McWatters is expected to lead the Patriots on Saturday after coming off a first-place finish at the Diamond State Athletic Conference individual championships. “She is primed to have a great race,” Sinko said.
The pack she will lead through the park includes representatives from every class: seniors Mackenzie Smith and Riley Young, junior Emma Hadley, sophomore April Polk, and freshmen Margaret Barrier and Allison Huthmacher.
“While racing well, the girls have not had a meet all season where all seven runners perform at a high level,” Sinko explained. “They are primed to have a complete team meet at states.”
Senior Roan Numa and junior Aidhan Corbett are the top runners on the boys side.
“Roan has been a leader on the team all season and Brandywine Creek is a good course for him and he should be in contention for a medal position,” Sinko said. “Aidhan has shown continued growth and improvement all season.
“[The boys] raced well at Brandywine Creek earlier in the season, and that experience should pay off at states,” Sinko added.
Locals named to soccer all-state team
Chrstiana High’s Moustapha Diaby and Glasgow’s Raul Lopez were named to the Delaware Boys Soccer firstteam all-state team as selected by the high school coaches. Andy Ngass of Glasgow was named to the second team and Michael Aullon of Newark High and Quinton Kramarck of Newark Charter were thirdteam selections.
Delaware Sports Hall of Fame nominations
The Delaware Sports Museum and Hall of Fame is holding a public nomination event for induction candidates for the 2019 Hall of Fame Nov. 11, at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino. Anyone planning to attend the event and make a nomination or anyone needing additional information should email email@example.com or call 302-562-5129.