Bowser, Cave capture Henlopen cross country titles

Smyrna’s Namoi Bowser leads start of the varsity girls Henlopen Conference Championship at Killens Pond State Park on Saturday. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

Delmar’s Austen Cave came in first during the Boys Henlopen Conference Championship at Killens Pond State Park on Saturday. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

FELTON — Naomi Bowser did it again.

Meanwhile, Austen Cave did something that has never been done before.

Bowser of Smyrna High and Cave of Delmar High won the girls’ and boys’ Henlopen Conference individual cross country championships Saturday at Killens Pond. Smyrna earned the team championship on the girls’ side while Caesar Rodney High took home the boys’ team title.

Bowser, a senior, won for the second year in a row. She recorded a time of 18:44, improving on her mark of 19:01 from a year ago.

“It’s a little bittersweet with it being my last conference meet but I’m happy with how I did,” Bowser said. “I wanted to run a little faster than that. All in all in felt good though and I was happy with the results.

Cape’s Gregory Boyce, right, and Delamar’s Austen Cave race during the Boys Henlopen Conference Championship at Killens Pond State Park on Saturday. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

Cave, a junior, made history as the first runner from Delmar to ever win the event which started in 1969.

“Everyone is really happy,” Cave said. “Our vice-principal was here and he was really happy. It feels good for everybody.”

Cave finished with a time of 16:17. He was third at this meet last year and bettered his time by 40 seconds since 2016.

He took the lead at the half-mile mark and was able to pull away as the race went on.

“The first half mile I was worried because they decided to go out fast and hard,” “But I passed them after a half mile. After that, it was my race. I pushed and I pushed and I pushed, I knew they were on my heels but I just kept pushing to the end.”

Albert Norman of Sussex Central finished second in the boys’ race while Gregory Boyce of Cape Henlopen was third.

Caesar Rodney had 39 points to win the meet. The Riders placed four runners in the top-10 led by juniors Colin Ritchey, Aidan Stevenosky and Chris Crossen who finished fourth, fifth and sixth.

Cape’s Olivia Brozefsky came in second during the varsity girls Henlopen Conference Championship at Killens Pond State Park on Saturday. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

“I know over the summer we worked really hard,” Ritchey said. “We wanted to go for titles. It’s a team and we’re brothers. We had the mental toughness to push through. We’ve known each other for a long time, gone through pain and bonded.”

Mike Tucci, the coach of the Riders, was also awarded the boys’ Coach of the Year. It was the third championship in a row for CR who has won five of the last six seasons.

Tucci credited the Riders for running together as a team.

“We’ve been trying to close the gap from our number one to our number seven all season long,” he said. “We’re starting to see the fruits of that work now.”

Smyrna won the girls’ championship for the first time since 1989. The Eagles had Bowser, Abby Mace (third) and Destinee Ekanem (fourth) finish in the top four.

“I’m so proud of them,” Bowser said. “We worked all season to get to this point and win conferences. I’m so proud of how all of them did. They all really pushed themselves.”

Olivia Brozefsky was second in the girls’ race. Caesar Rodney’s Keely Arndt rounded out the top-five.

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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