Local college notebook: Sudden end shocking for Hornets

Delaware State’s Jared Gillis

DOVER — Delaware State’s baseball players knew about all the talk.

One of the last things the Hornets heard before they took the field for practice on March 12 was that the University of Delaware had canceled the rest of its spring sports season.

“Everybody kind of had a weird feeling in their stomachs,” said DelState senior third baseman Jared Gillis. “Like something wasn’t sitting right.”

Still, that didn’t make the news any less shocking for DSU when it found out a few hours later that its own season had ended because of the spread of the coronavirus.

“Hearing about everything closing is completely different than, yeah, it actually happened,” said Gillis, the Smyrna High grad. “You could hear a pin drop once the coaches told us in the dugout. It was just like, ‘Man, it really is real.’

“You can’t take anything for granted, that’s definitely what it taught this team.”

The Hornets’ seniors, including Gillis, are planning to return next year with the extra season granted them by the NCAA. Gillis said sometimes you really don’t appreciate something until it’s taken away from you.

“As a senior, you kind of want a Senior Day,” said Gillis. “You want the season to end how it’s supposed to. But when it ends with 40 games left, that doesn’t feel good.”

Life-changing moments

The current pandemic has impacted the world like nothing we’ve seen in modern times.

Delaware football coach Danny Rocco said the closest thing he can remember to it were the 9/11 attacks of 2001.

Rocco was an assistant coach at Virginia at the time.

“I can remember that so vividly and how that moment impacted our world, our lives,” he said. “Then we tried to take that information and apply it to our jobs.

“That’s kind of what everyone is doing (now). We first have to process how this impacts our world, our lives, our families, our surroundings, our well-being. And then, once you feel like you have some idea of what the parameters might be, then you really start applying it to your job and moving yourself forward.”

On the road again

After almost a decade of playing split conference schedules — North teams playing only North teams and South playing only against the South — the MEAC was set to play a complete league slate in baseball again this spring.

The conference has fluctuated between playing as one conference or two divisions in the sport over the years.

That means Delaware State will be traveling to Florida again to face Bethune-Cookman and Florida A&M as well as other trips south. The Hornets haven’t played a regular-season MEAC game in Florida since 2010.

“I was excited for our guys to go travel and see some of these teams and see their campuses,” said DSU coach J.P. Blandin. “To do that in conference play was going to be pretty cool.”

Notes

• Caesar Rodney High grad Jared Wagenhoffer pulled off the rare feat of playing two different sports at two different colleges in the same school year.

After being a backup quarterback in football at Wesley College in the fall, he played lacrosse at Wilmington University in the spring, scoring five goals for the Wildcats.

• Former Dover High baseball player Dmitri Floyd bounced back from an injury that cost him most of last season to bat a team-high .343 for UMBC this spring. Maybe most impressively, the junior catcher walked 13 times — only one player on the squad had more than three walks. 

• Wilmington University softball standout Rosa’lynn Burton, another CR grad, was batting .485 (16-for-33) with seven stolen bases in 10 games when the season ended. Freshman Sara Miller (Smyrna) had three doubles and a triple for the Wildcats.

• In women’s lacrosse, former Rider Delaney Steele collected 25 of Wilmington’s 34 total assists and finished the seven-game season with a team-high 34 points.

• On Wilmington’s baseball squad, CR grad Quintin Ivy had scored eight runs with seven walks in 12 games. Sussex Tech product Matt Warrington led the pitching staff in strikeouts with 25 in 18 innings.

• Former Dover High standout Jordan Allen finished second on the team in scoring at 18.4 ppg in his first season at Lynn University. The junior guard reached double figures in each of the Knights’ last 13 games, netting a total of 56 points in the last two contests.

Mason Fluharty appeared in six games, pitching seven innings for the Liberty baseball team this spring as a freshman. The former Cape Henlopen standout recorded five strikeouts.

Zoe Wilcox (Smyrna) earned the first hit of her collegiate career for the Mount St. Mary’s softball team against San Diego during the final week of the season before it was canceled.

• The Delaware State women’s basketball team secured a commitment from Kiana Coomber, a 6-foot forward. Coomber was at Chipola College and previously played for the University of Memphis. She has one year of eligibility remaining.

• Delaware State bowlers Samantha DeLong, Ashley Merritt, Alexis Neuer, Melissa Ortega. Kaitlyn Robb and Stefanny Toala earned MEAC All-Academic honors. Student-athletes with a 3.0 or better cumulative grade point average are eligible.

• Due to the pandemic, the University of Delaware has extended the football season ticket deadline until April 30.