Delmar pair, Middletown’s Hurd honored by DSBA

 

Jodi Hollamon

NEW CASTLE — Jodi Holloman grew up in a coaching family.

Her dad, David Byrd, was the basketball coach at Pocomoke, Md. High and she has an aunt and uncle who coached, too.

So Holloman, the field hockey coach at Delmar High, knows it’s both a demanding and a rewarding job.

“I put a lot of time in it — my whole family does,” said Holloman. “It’s what I grew up with, it’s what I was taught to do. And I love every minute of it.

“I wouldn’t change anything. It’s a lot of sleepless nights during the season, a lot of family time that gets taken away. But my family has grown up around sports, that’s what I did. I love every minute of it.”

So it was especially rewarding for Holloman to receive the Tubby Raymond Award as the state Coach of the Year at the Delaware Sportswriters & Broadcasters Association 69th annual banquet on Monday.

Holloman has led the Wildcats’ field hockey program to back-to-back DIAA state titles, including an undefeated season this past fall.

Also honored at the event were the Canal Major League softball squad as the state Team of the Year; the B+ Foundation’s Joe McDonough as the Herm Reitzes Award winner for community service and Delmar High cross country runner Haylie Cox, who won the Buddy Hurlock Unsung Hero Award.

The DSBA’s longest-running award — the John J. Brady Delaware Athlete of the Year Award — went to Middletown’s Morgan Hurd, who won the female gymnastics all-round world title last October. The Brady award has been given out every year since 1949.

The 16-year-old Hurd, who was unable to attend Monday’s luncheon, was a last-minute replacement for another injured U.S. gymnast.

Morgan Hurd

“I clearly wasn’t favored to win and some people questioned why I was on the team in the first place,” Hurd said in October.

“what an incredible way to end such an amazing trip!” Hurd posted on Twitter after she won. “I feel so blessed to be walking away with two medals from my first worlds! so honored have competed with such an amazing group of athletes.”

Delmar’s Cox, on the other hand, got involved in cross country knowing that she’d probably never win any gold medals.

Then again, it’s something of a miracle that the junior is able to compete at all.

Born 16 weeks early, Cox weighed just one pound, six ounces at birth. She had to have a shunt surgically placed to relieve fluid buildup that puts pressure on her brain.

Twice, says Cox’s mom, Robin, Haylie almost died when her shunt malfunctioned. She also has mild cerebral palsy and some slight learning disabilities.

But none of that stopped Haylie from running cross country the last three years at Delmar. After finishing their runs, her teammates — as well as runners from other teams — will go back to find Cox and encourage her to the finish line.

“I’ve been told, ‘Don’t give up, you’re almost there,’” said Haylie, who has cut 21 minutes off her times from when she started. “That pushed me to do my best. My teammates encourage me to keep at it.

“As years went on, I decided it was a good sport for me to make new friends and such. All the coaches I’ve worked with are amazing.”

Haylie Cox

Sometimes Holloman and her players will be out at practice when Cox goes running by with the cross country team.

“Haylie is awesome,” said Holloman, “She has overcome a lot. She works really hard at school, I see her in the weight room.

“She’ll run by her hockey practice and we’ll all cheer for her.”

“Bob, her father, and I have always encouraged her to give the best that she can do,” said Robin Cox. “She has always amazed us with her perseverance and her drive. We’re very blessed.”

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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