Lo­cal har­ri­ers to com­pete in states on Sat­ur­day

Newark Post - - SPORTS - By JON BUZBY JonBuzby@hot­mail.com

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 de­sports@wind­stream.net or call 302-562-5129.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.