Dover boys earn Division I track crown


Dover’s Tayshaun Chisolm wins the Division 1 Boys 110 meter hurdles during the State Track & Field Finals at Dover High School on Saturday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

DOVER — Jim Solomon did his fair share of guesstimating before the DIAA State Championship track meet.

The Dover High coach settled on 100 points as a benchmark for his team. If the Senators could earn around 100 points, Solomon thought there was a chance they would take home the state title.

Dover surpassed that mark and was able to celebrate on its home field with the Division I boys’ state championship Saturday evening.

The Senators recorded 121 points to beat second-place Salesianum, the defending champions, who had 90. It is the second championship in the past three seasons for Dover.

“Our goal was 100 points,” Solomon said. “If someone like Sallies or A.I. got more than 100, then O.K. But I figured if we could get 100 or maybe more than we’d be O.K. We did just that.”

Padua won the Division I girls’ championship with Smyrna coming in second. St. Georges was the Division II title-winner in the boys’ meet while Tatnall captured the Division II girls’ crown, with Lake Forest in second.

Dover earned the championship behind the strength of its relays. The Senators won all four team relays — the 4×100, the 4×200, the 4×400 and the 4×800.

It all started on Friday afternoon on the meet’s first day when the team of Nyjal Drayton, Gavin Williams, Nathanael Guy and Kyron Roberts took home the 4×800 title. It’s an event typically won by Salesianum, but the Senators won it for the first time in recent memory.

“We set the tone with the 4×800,” said Drayton, a senior, “Since indoor and into outdoor, we haven’t lost a 4×800. We wanted to keep that streak going.”

Dover’s Tayshaun Chisolm is congratulated by teammate Jonathan Waters after winning the Division 1 Boys 110 meter hurdles during the State Track & Field Finals at Dover High School on Saturday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

Dover cruised to victories on Saturday in the rest of the relays with a combination of DeShon Harriford, Dalonzo Bouges, Jakari Long, John Rodel Castro, Tayshaun Chisolm, Roberts, Bouges and Drayton.

“That’s all (assistant coach) Roger Lilly he’s the orchestrator,” Solomon said. “The guys all ran their best times too. In the past we would sometimes take the 4×100, 4×200 and 4×400. We’ve done three of four, but to take all four relays, that’s something that has never happened. These guys have done a great job all year long.”

Dover had the title wrapped up before the final event, but went out in style as the anchor-leg, Chisolm, on the 4×400 held off a late challenge from Newark. Chisolm briefly lost the lead on the final straightaway before finding his second-wind for a last-second burst to ensure the Senators did not lose a relay.

“I saw Newark creeping up on the side and I knew I had to stay with him,” Chisolm said. “I couldn’t fall behind. I heard everyone yelling, ‘Go,’ and I heard footsteps coming up behind me. That’s when you know you got to go, when you hear those footsteps. I was just really excited to get past that line first.”

Chisolm maxed out his points in his two hurdle events, winning both individual Division I championships in the 110-meter hurdles and the 300-meter hurdles.

The Senators also received key points from Drayton in the distance races.

Drayton was up against some of Salesianum’s best runners but only finished behind one, George Steinhoff in the 800-meter run and the 1600-meter run. Drayton was third in the 800 and fourth in the 1600.

“It was really hard trying to hold off George (Steinhoff of Sallies) because he’s a great distance runner,” Drayton said. “I tried to do my best and to split up their other runners. The mile is not something I normally do, but I was pretty good at conferences so I tried it at states to try to separate some of their points so they didn’t sweep up in distance like they normally do. I didn’t think they were expecting it.”

Other downstate winners in boys’ events included Dayvhantae McDonald of Caesar Rodney who won the 100-meter dash and the 200-meter dash in Division I. Smyrna’s Eli Taylor was the Division I shot put champion while Polytech’s Troy Nixon won the high jump and Dijon Hull was first in the discus.

The Lake Forest boys’ won three field events in Division II with Cam Lewis taking the shot put title while Isaiah Morris was first in both the high jump and the triple jump.

CR’s Destiny Bailey-Perkins won the Division I girls’ long jump with a leap of 19-feet, 1.5-inches, The leap would have broken the meet record but was considered wind-aided because of the wind speed at the time.

Still, winning the state title was a measure of redemption for the sophomore who scratched on all three of her jumps in last year’s meet.

“When we were warming up, I just kept thinking, I hope what happened last year doesn’t happen — that I get at least one good jump,” said Bailey-Perkins. “I thought I was pretty capable of reaching around 19 but I was surprised when I hit 19.”

Smyrna’s Myrissa McFolling-Young won her third-straight discus championship in Division I on Friday and followed that up Saturday with a victory in the shot put to sweep the throwing events.

Two Henlopen Conference teams won relays in the girls’ meet. Polytech’s team of Nya Stedman, Talsia Brickhouse, Nadja Weaver-Postell and Janelle Magee earned the 4×100 Division I title and Lake Forest’s Yasmine Rowley, Jada Gourdine, Linda Ngouednja and Kentaya Fisher won the 4×200 championship in Division II.


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