Spring track and field just around a blustery corner
Spring track and field just around a blustery corner
March 1 is approaching quickly, and spring track and field will be upon us at middle school and high school levels. George Pepper and Matt Lindell will lead the Cape Vikings, both coming off some very impressive indoor performances. Mariner Middle will again be tough, as always, while I will team with former Cape hurdler and sprinter from the glory days of the late '70s, Gilbert Maull, to lead the Beacon team. Last year Beacon was very fortunate to break seven school records - five on the boys' side (100m, shot put, discus, high jump, long jump) and two on the girls' side (1600m, 400m relay). We were young last year, so most scorers will return. Mariner and Beacon will take part in a very short season of six dual meets, a mid-season invitational at Lake Forest and an end-of-the-season invitational at Cape Henlopen. There are 18 events to watch in a high school meet and 13 in a middle school meet, so a track meet is a little like the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus - organized chaos, with events going on wherever you look. I encourage parents and former Cape track athletes to come out and support your team and - even better - volunteer to help out at a track meet.
Always "Young at Heart"
The grocery store is the place where I bump into past Seashore Striders parents. Last Tuesday evening I caught up with the queen bee of the six-sibling Lewes Beach Young family - mom Eileen. I knew that in order to have the conversation end in under an hour and get an update on some of the toughest runners I have ever had in my program, I had to start firing questions. One by one, I asked where they are, what they're doing, are they coaching and are they running. Allison, a Carson Scholar winner as a LMS seventh-grader, was the first Young Seashore Strider and the one who had to see each cross country course twice to process, is living in Chicago, coaching lacrosse and doing much of the same managing that coaches did for her while she was growing up. I thought it was cool that she was working with young athletes. John and Chris are at Delaware and playing on some club teams, and had the Hens not dropped their wrestling program, maybe Chris, third in the state in 2011, would have a uniform on. Sara, a senior now at Cape Henlopen and one of the school’s most accomplished athletes in field hockey and lacrosse, has enjoyed several back-to-back state championships. Sara ran for the Striders in elementary school and ran for me at Beacon Middle School. Sara clocked a 5:50 middle school mile, just missing the school record at that time, and ran just as fast as she needed to in her races. As a Strider she finished second at the Delaware Open, coming off a sixth-grade field hockey season with no training under her belt. Sara was one of the toughest all-time when the gun went off. Sam, currently competing in the pole vault with a 12-foot-6-inch best, was always tough like brother Ben as I guided them through elementary school and made sure they were not on the same dodge ball team. The one thing that I admired about Eileen was that she was not only straight up with her children (if the van leaves at 7:50 a.m.- it means 7:50!), but was straight and up-front with coaches too. I remember her telling me early as her kids were starting to become runners that family is first, school is second and sports third. I remember wanting Sara to race in an invitational on a Sunday morning. Eileen reminded me of the priority order, and I never asked her to compete on a Sunday again. As a coach, some families you will never forget, and it’s always a pleasure to get updates after they are long gone from your program. When I think of the Young kids, I think of the three D’s (dedication, determination and desire) and also being able to stand on their heads for over 15 minutes in the old Shields Elementary School Headstand Contests.
Headstand flashback: I wrote this article eight years ago when I hosted the annual Headstand Contest at Shields Elementary School. This column is full of Young athletes:
The 14th annual Shields Elementary Headstand Contest was held last week with all athletes in grades 1-5 getting a chance to show their talent with a freestanding headstand. The field is narrowed to 25 athletes after the opening round for the semifinal championship, while five athletes would emerge from the semifinals to participate in the finals. 2003 champion Kaila Trueblood, a fifth-grader, led the field after the qualifying round with a headstand of 14:22, while she and 24 schoolmates headed to the semifinals. Fifth-grader Jaclyn Coveleski was the final athlete to qualify with a 1:13 stand. An exciting semifinal competition saw little Shae Hearn, just a second-grader, hang with the big dogs and just miss the final with a sixth-place stand of 11:44. As soon as I announced five finalists, athletes started dropping to save their body for the finals. Sara Young came down at 11:59, Kaleb Lemaire at 12:03, Jacob Nye at 12:05, and Karissa Lemaire at 12:12. Trueblood had another agenda as she decided she felt good enough to stay up. That she did as she breezed past her personal best of 26:14, the Chris Young school record of 26:44, and established a new school record of an amazing 30:04. To the finals we went as each athlete now had the added pressure of parents, teachers and administration watching the competition. The first to drop was Nye at 4:56 for fifth place, while Karissa Lemaire finished fourth at 5:27. Always tough Kaleb Lemaire was third coming down at 9:56, which left only Trueblood and Young to battle. Then the unexpected happened as record holder Trueblood came down at the 10:43 mark to place second, leaving the title to fourth-grader Young in a time of 16:00. Each athlete was presented with a certificate from Principal Janet Maull and enjoyed chocolate milk and a Striders Energy Bar courtesy of Surf Bagel at Five Points.
For the past seven years, dating back to 1999, an athlete from the Young family has placed in the finals of the competition. There is still a chance of the Youngs taking part in three more finals with Sara, Sam and Ben still in the building. Headstands have become a regular part of the chores in the Young household, as well as an alternative when vegetables are not eaten at dinner.
Sunday, March 10 - 3rd Get Pumped for Pets 5K/10K, Kent Island, Md.
Sunday, March 10 - Inaugural The Lucky Leprechaun 5K, Milton.
Saturday, March 16 - 6th St. Patrick’s Day 5K Run, Denton, Md.
Saturday, March 23 - 7th St. Paddy’s Day Shamrock Shuffle 15K/5K, Rehoboth Beach.
Saturday, March 30 - 2nd Bunny Palooza 5K/10K, Bethany Beach.