Smyrna girls, CR boys win Henlopen Conference track championships

Caesar Rodney’s Destiny Bailey-Perkins, center, wins the girls 100-meter dash against Smyrna’s Saani Edwards, right, and Lauren Summers, left, during the Henlopen Conference championship finals at Lake Forest on Friday. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

FELTON — The Smyrna High girls made it seven while the Caesar Rodney High boys pushed themselves back into the picture at the Henlopen Conference track championship meet.

The Eagles won the girls’ team title with 212 points across the two-day meet as action wrapped up late Friday night. It is the seventh conference championship in a row for Smyrna.

Caesar Rodney meanwhile won a three-way battle between Dover and Sussex Central to claim the boys’ championship for the first time since 2013.

It is the sixth ever title for the Riders and the second for coach Mike Tucci.

“Just all around everyone stepped up their games,” he said. “I’m really proud of them.”

“Our big picture was states,” Tucci added. “We wanted to use this to fine tune some things and figure out what we needed to address so next week we can represent downstate at states.”

Sussex Central’s Mahki Herring, center, wins the boys 100-meter dash against teammate Andre Teagle, right, and Sussex Tech’s Julian Roach during the Henlopen Conference championship Finals at Lake Forest on Friday. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

The girls’ championship meet began in 1977 and Smyrna never won it until 2013. No one else has hoisted the trophy since then.

“The only thing that ever feels the same is this interview,” Smyrna coach Maura Schafer chuckled. “It’s always different. There’s always different things we have to overcome and different ways we have to come together. We’ve had so much turnover in seven years, it’s kind of like putting together different puzzle pieces each year. That’s kind of the fun part of it, seeing how everyone fits in.”

The boys’ title was always going to be up for grabs.

The regular season championship ended in a tie between the three teams of CR, Dover and Sussex Central. All three had one loss to some combination of each other but the point differential tiebreaker could not be used because the three different matchups between the three squads all ended up 77-69.

Caesar Rodney pulled ahead at conferences thanks to racking up points in the distance races.

Christopher Crossen won the 3200-meter run on Thursday before coming back Friday and winning the 1600. Aidan Stevenosky was second in the 1600 followed by Blaise Moyer.

Just a day before Moyer was second to his teammate Crossen in the 3200 and Stevenosky was third. An-other CR runner, Jake Bole, was fifth.

Those distance points proved key as Caesar Rodney won the meet with 143 points to Dover’s 123 and Sus-sex Central’s 119.

Lake Forest’s Jada Gourdine, center, leads the girls 100-meter hurdles.

The Riders also were first in the 4×200 relay and Leon Jett won the 300-meter hurdles.

“I like how we came out and were determined to put points on the board,” Jett said. “We were working all week to do what we did today.”

“It feels really good,” Jett added. “We still have a young group of guys who have been working harder and harder to get the team better.”

Sussex Central’s Travon McVicker won a pair of individual events taking the 110 hurdles and the high jump. His teammate Mahki Herring was first in the 100 and 200-meter dashes. The Golden Knights also won the 4×100 relay and Brandon Greenlee took home top honors in the pole vault.

The Dover boys were led by Javon Peace’s win in the long jump and Bradly Anyanwu’s victory in the shot put. The Senators also won the 4×400 relay and the 4×800 relay.

Lake Forest’s Shaney Massey pulled off a rare double, winning the 400 and the 800. Smyrna’s Braden Young (discus) and Sussex Tech’s Jakai Jones (triple jump) rounded out the boys’ champions.

The Smyrna girls swept the relays, winning the 4×100, 4×200, 4×400 and 4×800.

The Eagles posted four individual champions — Sarah Larose (1600), Kayla Bess (400), Kelly Barr (800) and Ja’Lynn Pugh (shot put).

“We’ve had so many girls in so many events scoring so high it’s amazing,” Schafer said. “I honestly sit back sometimes and I’m just amazed at what they can accomplish. It’s fun to see them come back and say, ‘I didn’t know I could run that time.’”

“It’s a hard conference,” she added. “A lot of girls in this conference will place pretty high at states. We’re very appreciative of it and work very hard to get it. But it’s definitely become an expectation and a stand-ard that the new members want to live up to.”

Lake Forest’s Melissa Valcin competes in the long jump.

Caesar Rodney was second in the girls’ competition with 112 points. The Riders were led by Destiny Bailey-Perkins who won the 100 and 200 while Keely Arndt won the 3200 on Thursday.

CR received 32 points from its throwers, led by Alex Reid who was the champion in the discus.

“The girls were fantastic,” Tucci said. “On paper we shouldn’t have been second. Our throwers came up huge, we’re really happy for them. Like tears of joy, kind of happy. We’re piecing it together.”

Polytech had a pair of winners with Talasia Brickhouse in the long jump and Casey Talamini-Kelemen in the triple jump.

Dover’s Lindsey Wong was the high jump winner. Cape Henlopen’s Olivia Brozefsky was the pole vault champion and Selex Horsey of Sussex Tech took first in the 300 hurdles.

Editor’s note: Full results from the Henlopen Conference track meet will be available in Sunday’s print edition.

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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