Riders sweep team titles at 40th Burgess Invitational

Caesar Rodney’s Keely Arndt, right, placed first in the 1600 meter run with a time of 5:26.00. Delaware State News/Ben Heck

FELTON — Caesar Rodney High runner Keely Arndt had never won a race at a track and field invitational.

That changed Saturday afternoon as the Riders’ junior placed first in not just one, but two individual events at the 40th annual Keith S. Burgess Invitational at Lake Forest High.

Arndt took home first-place medals in the girls’ 800 meter and 1600 meter events.

“I’m just super happy, also tired,” she said. “I was a little nervous, but I knew I had to just stay positive and focus on the race and do my best.”

“She’s never won an open race at an invitational before, and today she got two,” said CR coach Mike Tucci. “She said it was her first one. I couldn’t believe it, so she’s really happy.”

With 14 schools participating, including eight from the Henlopen Conference, both the CR boys and girls placed first overall.

The Rider boys put up 137 points while the girls accumulated 120.5 points to take home the pair of team trophies.

Dover’s Kerianne Smith crosses the finish line in the girls’ 400 meter run.

“Overall, it’s a pretty nice day,” said Tucci. “It’s nice and relaxed, the kids are relaxed and you’re not stressing. They know that we’re trying to get ready for the future, so if they make a mistake today they can learn from it.”

Arndt’s teammate Destiny Bailey-Perkins won three of her four events, placing first in the 100 meter, 200 meter and the long jump. She also earned a second place finish in the triple jump.

“It feels really good just to see my progress over time and to become somebody who is in the running for first place in almost all of my events,” Bailey-Perkins said.

The Riders pulled in wins across 10 events, with junior Leon Jett earning a pair of individual wins and Bikobo Sarkor and Josh Turner each earning one.

Jett grabbed first place medals in the 110 meter and 300 meter hurdles. Sarkor won the 400 meter, while Turner grabbed firs—t in pole vault.

The boys 4×200 meter relay team of Jett, Sarkor, Davon Cason and DeVaughn Collins rounded out CR’s first-place finishes.

North Caroline High, out of Ridgely, Md., scored 114 points for second place in the boys standings, while Sussex Central High put up 95 points for third.

Lake Forest freshman Josephine Ledford won the girls’ 3200 meter race, finishing in 12:07.00.

Cape Henlopen High (117.5 points) and North Caroline (105) rounded out the top three for the girls.

Lake Forest, the host of the annual event named for the 1940 Harrington High School graduate Keith Burgess who helped start the first cross country team in downstate Delaware, earned fourth place in boys and fifth place for the girls.

“At the Keith S. Burgess, you can always expect good, competitive races and events,” said Lake Forest coach Fred Johnson. “The weather turned out perfect and the kids have been performing well. It’s a good mid-season meet to see all of the competition and see how everything’s developing.”

Lake senior Shane Massey won a pair of individual events, placing first in the 800 meter with a time of 2:01.6 and finishing the 1600 meter in 4:34.00.

“I love it, the competition here is always great,” Massey said. “Every single race, they always tell me I have one of the better starts, so I just have to get out and take the wheel and keep going.”

Freshman Josephine Ledford won the 3200 meter race for Lake Forest, finishing the long-distance run in 12:07.00.

Lake Forest senior Shane Massey leads the pack in the 800 meter run Saturday afternoon.

“That’s a result of how they practice,” Johnson said of the runners. “Those two kids practice very hard every single day. When you practice hard, you’re going to get results like they’re getting. Everything they get, they deserve.”

Twenty-two of the invitational’s 32 events were won by Henlopen Conference schools.

Cape Henlopen girls won a pair of relay races in the 4×100 and 4×800. Cape’s Josiah Miller won the boys’ discus throw event.

Sussex Central senior Mahki Herring earned a pair of individual wins in the 100 and 200 meter dash. He was also one of the four members of Central’s boys’ relay team that earned a first-place finish in the 4×100.

Dover High’s Kerianne Smith placed first in the girls’ 400 meter run. Dover’s team of Jaylene Rodriguez, Z’Naiya Robinson, Sierra Wise and Laquaya Jones grabbed first in the 4×400 girls’ relay.

Sussex Tech High’s relay team of Dimitry Edouard, Jodi Johnson, Ty Kimmey and Ja’Kai Jones placed first in the 4×400.

Reach staff writer Ben Heck at bheck@newszap.com

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