Local college notebook: Wesley telling Howerin’s story of recovery

Family, friends and teammates celebrated when Wesley field hockey player Lexi Howerin finished a round of chemotherapy. Wesley College photos

DOVER — College student-athletes have a lot to deal with in their busy lives.

But cancer isn’t supposed to be one of them.

So the fact that Lex Howerin found herself confronting stage 2 breast cancer was stunning for the Caesar Rodney High grad and Wesley College field hockey player.

The 21-year-old, though, is surviving the ordeal. She faces her last five weeks of radiation in November and has hopes of playing for the Wolverines again this spring.

Wesley College is telling Howerin’s story in a four-part series on its athletics website (athletics.wesley.edu) entitled ‘The Unthinkable: Alexis Howerin’s Road to Recovery.’ A new part will come out each Thursday at 7 p.m. during October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Howerin, her head shaved, talks about how she’s survived the ordeal in an excerpt from the series that’s available on YouTube.

“I think through all this, God has a purpose,” Howerin said. “He doesn’t give any battles to people that they can’t handle. He knew that I could do this, He knew that I could get through this.

“He knew that placing this team here and placing this coach here and my mom and my family and my best friend through all this. … He knew that with their support I’d get through it no matter what.”

The Wesley field hockey program became part of Howerin’s story, too. The Wolverines helped support their teammate as she went through a pair of surgeries and weeks of chemotherapy.

Howerin’s teammates have helped the Caesar Rodney High grad get through her cancer ordeal.

Howerin, who plays defense, started in all 39 games for Wesley in 2018 and ‘19. She also played softball at CR.

“It gave everyone a purpose of ‘We’re going to be here for Lex,’” Coach Tracey Short said in an interview that’s part of the series. “‘We’re going to do this thing for Lex.’

“She’s being positive, she’s being strong. She’s being everything that you cannot imagine of someone that was going through what she was going through. If Lex can do this than the rest of us can do it, too.”

New number

Apparently, Debo Williams will be the first player in Delaware football history to wear the number zero on his jersey.

Smyrna High grad Debo Williams will wear No. 0 for the Blue Hens. Delaware sports information

The NCAA is allowing players to wear the number this fall. The organization wanted to make another number available as it tries to limit each team wearing duplicate numbers, which has become popular in the sport.

Teams are now supposed to use only two sets of double numbers.

Williams, the former Smyrna High All-State linebacker, is a freshman with the Blue Hens. He posted photos this week of him wearing jersey No. 0.

DSU administrator adds role

Delaware State has announced that Alecia Shields-Gadson, Senior Associate Director of Athletics for Compliance and Senior Woman Administrator, has added the newly-created position of Deputy Athletics Director to her title.

The appointment assigns Shields-Gadson additional responsibilities as the department’s Diversity and Inclusion Designee, fulfilling a new NCAA requirement that went into effect on Aug. 1.

Shields-Gadson has more than 25 years of experience in intercollegiate athletics as a senior level administrator and head coach.

Prior to joining the Delaware State staff in 2016, she was an athletics administrator at Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference rival Coppin State, in addition to Alcorn State of the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

As DSU Athletics Diversity and Inclusion Designee, Shields-Gadson will facilitate programming, provide educational resources and advocate for diverse, equitable and inclusive environments that enhance the overall student-athlete experience.

Last spring, she spearheaded Delaware State’s “Athletics in Action,” a forum offering group and personal discussion, reflection, testimony and expert guests, along with resources to deal with the challenges posed by the pandemic and social justice issues for student-athletes, coaches and staff.

Notes

Don’t expect Delaware and Delaware State football teams to play in football this spring. While the Hens have two non-conference dates besides their CAA slate, the Hornets are expected to play a MEAC-only schedule. The two programs were supposed to meet in the fall season finale. … The CAA hasn’t announced its spring division alignment yet. But if it goes geographically, Delaware would be in a tough South division with James Madison, Elon, Richmond, Towson and William & Mary. … Former Smyrna High running back Leddie Brown, now a junior at West Virginia, went over the 1,000-yard career rushing mark last week in a loss to Oklahoma State, According to game descriptions, Brown got a lot of his 103 yards in the contest by breaking tackles. He now has 1,040 yards on 234 carries after surpassing 100 yards in both Mountaineer games this fall. … Three former Delaware State greats, Cassandra Joyner (2006-09), Odessa Barnes (1985-86) and Sonja Banicevic (2008-11) are among the 125 nominees for the top 50 all-time MEAC volleyball players. The league is currently holding voting for the team on its website. … Delaware State has been picked to finish third in MEAC bowling. The Hornets received two first-place votes and 191 total points, trailing only Maryland Eastern Shore and North Carolina A&T in the 11-team poll. … DSU placekicker Jose Romo-Martinez has been selected to the MEAC Football Preseason first team, while linebacker Brooks Parker and defensive back Juwain Granger were second-team picks.