IR Lax makes the jump to varsity
Just last May, Kelsea Ayers was leading the Ohio State University Buckeyes lacrosse team to the Big Ten title game and an NCAA tournament appearance. Less than a year later, she’s aiming to lead the Indian River High School girls’ lacrosse team to similar success in their first varsity season, as head coach.
“I just loved everything about it,” Ayers said of her collegiate career. “The things I learned there — core values and how to work hard — is what I’m bringing to this team.”
Even after a week of practice and a scrimmage against Stephen Decatur on Thursday, March 10, that experience and enthusiasm has already started to make its way onto the field. And, to carry out the new mantra of the team, Ayers has named senior midfielder Emiley Shuey, junior midfielder Lexi Haden and sophomore midfielder Kealey Allison as captains.
“She understands us — she’s been in our position before,” said Allison. “She works us hard, but it pays off.”
Last season, the Indian River High School softball team had no seniors. This season, they’ve got four of them — each bringing three years of playoff experience, along with their three varsity letters.
Needless to say, expectations for 2016 are high.
“We’ve been to the playoffs every year now,” said senior OF Callie McDowell. “Every year, we’re hoping to make it further than the year before, and last year we fell a little short.”
“We want to go farther than we have before,” added senior OF Ky’Lesha Neal.
Returning for their third season at the helm are head coach Erika Brittingham and assistant coaches Abi Buchler and Catherine Bennett.
After finishing 4-14 in 2014 and improving to 7-11 in 2015, the Indian River High School baseball team is looking to rack up the win tally yet again with head coach Chris Megee returning for a third season.
Between six returning seniors and a talented freshman and sophomore class, the squad is still forming a new identity.
“We have the talent to win. We just gotta learn how to win now,” said Megee. “We’re excited about this team. Definitely, the talent’s come up.”
“I think that comes from the past years of not knowing what we can do,” said junior LF Zane Richard of the team’s new outlook. “Now, it’s a different mindset. As we get everybody into it, I think we’ll come together.”
A Second Team All-Conference selection in 2015 as a sophomore, Richard will be called upon as one of the team’s new leaders in replacing graduated 3B/P Eddie Hogan and CF Kenny Rishel. However, so far this pre-season, he hasn’t played much outfield.
He’s a former All-NBA selection. He’s a two-time NBA All-Star, and the No. 3 overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft. But on Friday, March 4, local hoops fans got to see Baron Davis in action at the University of Delaware’s Bob Carpenter Center when he made his debut for the Delaware 87ers — the first step in attempting his NBA comeback.
“It felt good. I would say I definitely gotta get into a rhythm,” said Davis after the game. “It’s been a long process. I know a lot of people don’t know how long it’s been, but it’s just been a long process just getting to this point, I’m just excited about tonight, being able to play and feeling the way I do, after I do after tonight’s game, and knowing that I got so much more for improvement.”
After signing with the Philadelphia 76ers affiliate on March 2, the 36-year-old point guard put up 14 points in his debut performance, though the 87ers fell to the Iowa Energy, 114-106.
He missed out on one for “Gilbert Grape” in 1994, and it’s been eating at him ever since. But last Sunday night, some 22 years later, and at the revenant-ripe age of 41, Leonardo DiCaprio has finally won an Oscar for Best Actor.
IR cheer still stuntin’ in year two, headed for states
Two years ago, Indian River High School didn’t have a competitive cheerleading team. This Sunday, the Indians will be headed for the state championship in Smyrna — again.
After taking second place in 2015, the squad will be looking to raise the bar and claim the title when they go up against both Smyrna and Caesar Rodney on Sunday, March 6. Just like they raised the bar in launching the program in 2015, and again in 2016, going from 16 to 23 members, they are making their presence known.
“We’re creating attention, and I think that’s so beneficial for us,” explained senior Madison McCabe. “The school’s starting to realize that cheerleading is a sport.”
While some of the roster is made up those new to cheer, much of it consists of former cheerleaders, such as McCabe, who are either rekindling their interest in the sport or leaving other non-school squads to instead represent their school.
“I was on an All-Star team last year, and I quit that team to join this team,” explained freshman Gabby Hudson. “There were a lot of good things about this team.”
Marcozzi takes third for the Indians
Of the 14 weight classes competing at the DIAA Individual State Tournament at Cape Henlopen High School on Saturday, Feb. 27, the Henlopen Conference would claim 10 of them as state champions.
Conference champions Smyrna High School had three wrestlers take the crown, with Caesar Rodney, Cape Henlopen and Sussex Central high schools all finishing with two state champs and Woodbridge taking the cake at heavyweight. Sanford, Salesianum, Middletown and Newark high schools were the only non-Henlopen teams with a state champion.
Locally, Sussex Central senior Justin Bennet defended his No. 1 ranking at 145 in a tight match against Milford’s Barton Dalious. The title was redemption for Bennet, who had come up just short at the championships during his junior campaign at 152. Bennet’s teammate, junior Brandon Bautista, racked up the second title for the Golden Knights at the tournament, finishing No. 1 at 160 after entering the tournament at No. 2.
Over the last 20 years, I’ve been really pleased to see so many women of every age getting increasingly active in sports. You all know I’m a fan of staying active because it adds so much to your quality of life and improves your health at any age.
It ends at the finish line, but it starts at the bar.
While the Tour de Har Ride for Pulmonary Fibrosis will take off for a ninth year this summer, the fundraising efforts will get under way this Thursday, March 10, at the Cottage Café near Bethany Beach.
(It’s Black History Month)
After last week’s “Tripple Overtime Takeover,” where Coach Kilby laid into me like a comedian into Justin Bieber during a Comedy Central roast, I vowed to never again slander his beloved New England Patriots, a model NFL franchise, or his beloved Tom Brady, a model NFL… model, or his beloved Bill Billichick — who, considering his keen fashion sense and always animated demeanor, should really consider modeling.
Registration still open
After knocking it out of the park, so to speak, in its inaugural yeat, the Lower Sussex Little League Challenger Division is ready for year two.
“[Last season] went really, really well,” said Megan Browne, who helped launch and run the LSLL division last year, along with her husband, Kevan. “We were amazed how quickly the kids picked up how to play and the whole flow of the game — they all loved it.”
The Little League Baseball organization designed for players with special needs was started last summer, after the Brownes had approached the LSLL board with the idea, inspired by how much their son, Aiden, had enjoyed playing in a similar league when they lived in Maryland before moving to the area.
Not only was the board supportive of the idea, but they arranged to have two Challenger teams play at the Pyle Center in Roxana during the Little League World Series this past August.
Indians say goodbye to D.D., Hooper, Major
It wasn’t exactly a storybook ending. In fact, it wasn’t anything like how seniors DeAndre “D.D.” Cooper, Barry Hooper, and Jahylek Major could have possibly pictured their playing days at Indian River High School ending.
Despite high hopes for their senior season after making contributions as sophomores on the 2014 team that ended the Indians’ 15-year playoff drought, and bigger contributions as juniors on the 2015 team that narrowly missed a consecutive appearance, the senior trio saw their basketball careers come to a close with a 70-32 loss against St. Thomas More on Tuesday, Feb. 22.
But in facing the state-ranked Ravens (15-5), just because it wasn’t shaping up to be their night, that didn’t mean that the seniors weren’t going to play like it was their last game. In fact, in an unintentionally symbolic gesture, the seniors accounted for all of the Indians’ three-pointers on the night — with Cooper knocking down two, Hooper one and Major one as well.
Three wrestlers and two alternates will represent Indian River High School this Friday, Feb. 27, after qualifying for the 60th Annual DIAA State Individual Wrestling Tournament.
Senior Mitchell Bolton and juniors Jared Arlett and Zeke Marcozzi have all been seeded in their respective brackets for the two-day event to be held at Cape Henlopen High School in Lewes and will go up against the top competitors from across Delaware, while junior Arturo Salas and freshman Dylan Ely also made the cut as alternates.
Bolton finished 11-0 in dual meets and 26-12 overall during his senior campaign, earning himself the No. 14 seed and a first-round bid against Polytech senior and No. 3 seed Spenser Hahn, at 113.
After making a serious splash at the Henlopen Conference Championships earlier this month, the Indian River High School swim team will be looking to do the same at the DIAA State Championships as well.
The preliminary rounds were set to get under way at the University of Delaware this Wednesday, Feb. 24, and Thursday, Feb. 25, (after Coastal Point press time), with the top 16 swimmers of each event advancing to the finals on Saturday, Feb. 27.
Senior Mason Sanders, sophomore Tylor Wilson, and freshmen Michael Barnes and Dylan Tuttle were all set to compete Wednesday, with the all of them entering both the 200-Freestyle Relay and 400-Freestyle Relay.
Anglers encouraged to check requirements before fishing
Sea Colony’s indoor courts will be rockin’ Saturday evening, March 19, for the center’s annual March Madness free tennis event and fundraiser.
Open to the public for all ages and skill levels, March Madness features music, food and games, including fast-serve, slow-serve and accuracy contests, complete with prizes from 7 to 9 p.m., with free play and social from 9 to 10 p.m.
Inaugural Tommy Ten Miler and Fifth Annual Daffodil Dash 5K to benefit Sussex Consortium
[Disclaimer: The following “Tripple Overtime Takeover” was written by Indian River High School soccer coach Steve Kilby, in response the continued ridicule of his beloved Patriots’ Tom Brady and Bill Bellichick in “Tripple Overtime.” Aside from the jokes about Chris Clark, it is all written in jest… We think...]
Girls earn best finish in program history
After being named co-Southern Division champions, along with also-undefeated Milford last week, the Indian River High School girls’ swim team got a chance to settle the score at the Henlopen Conference championships held at the Lake Forest Aquatics Center on Saturday, Feb. 13.
In taking third place overall, behind Henlopen North squads Cape Henlopen and Sussex Tech, the Indians did just that — besting the fourth-place Bucs by just five points and earning their best finish in program history.
“I’m extremely happy with that. I told you at the beginning of the season, I knew the girls were Top 3,” said head coach Colin Crandel. “Going up against Cape and Tech, they were outnumbered, and they’ve got career swimmers. They did really well.”
“We all did so well today, and we’re not even tapered,” added senior Lauren McCoy. “We’ve just been building and building.”
The Lake Forest Aquatics Center played host the Henlopen Conference Championships for both boys and girls swimming on Saturday, Feb. 12, with ten teams showing up to compete. North Division Champion Cape Henlopen took the conference titles for both boys and girls, and was also responsible for setting two new HAC records.
Indians gear up for Henlopen Championship
The Indian River High School wrestling team capped regular-season dual meets last week, putting together a 36-33 comeback win on the road against Woodbridge on Wednesday, Feb. 10, before falling to Sanford 57-24 on Friday, Feb. 12.
Trailing headed into the middle weights during what was a rescheduled match against the Blue Raiders, junior Zeke Marcozzi got the Indians back on track with a 4-0 decision at 160, and junior Arturo Salas followed with a pin at 170.
Junior John Keller would then narrow the gap with a 5-2 decision at 182, before sophomore Brock Wingate regained the lead for IR with a pin in 0:46 and junior Shaikeem Miller ensured the victory at 220 with a pin in just 0:07 that made it 36-27 with just one match to go.
The division win put them at 5-6 overall on the season and 3-3 in the Henlopen South, with Friday’s non-conference loss dropping their final record to 5-7.
During Lauren McCoy’s first swimming lesson, when she was being taught the breaststroke, she started swimming backwards. Needless to say, in terms of her swimming career, there was nowhere else to go but up — or, for that matter, forward.
Sets new school record in 50-freestyle
Mason Sanders was expecting to break the Indian River High School 50-freestyle record at the Henlopen Conference championships last Saturday, and rightfully so. The senior had been knocking on the door of former teammate Carter Michael’s 2013 time of 22.67 all season, somewhat infamously coming up just 0.03 seconds shy on not one, but two, separate occasions during regular season meets.
What Sanders was not expecting, however, was being named the Henlopen Conference Outstanding Swimmer of the Year — an award made through coaches’ votes that, in the recent past, has typically gone to Cape Henlopen senior Jack Weeks. But, this year, Sanders instead heard his name called when it came time for the closing ceremonies.
It was a special day for Indian River High School interim girls’ basketball head coach Paul Weisengoff when the Indians took on Stephen Decatur on Friday, Feb. 12. That was not so much because he was filling in for head coach Donna Polk for the game — as the head-coaching veteran has plenty of experience of his own — but because, on both sides of the ball, Weisengoff had previously coached throughout their basketball careers a number of the players out on the court.
“It was a great experience, on a personal basis, to be able to see those kids again and actually coach against some of them. That was a really great experience,” he said after the game. “They’re good kids and they want to do well and they want to succeed. That’s what makes this all worthwhile.”
But with two very different teams this season, Weisengoff was one of the only common denominators on the day, which showed when Decatur got off to a hot start and eventually sealed a 61-20 win behind a senior-led squad and 31-point performance from senior guard Dayona Godwin.
The Quiet Resorts Charitable Foundation (QRCF) announced this week that the fifth annual Bunny Palooza! 5K/10K run/walk will take place on Saturday, March 26, the Saturday morning before Easter. The Bunny Palooza home base is at the Bethany Beach bandstand, and races will start on Parkwood Avenue and South Atlantic Avenue in downtown Bethany Beach and will end on the boardwalk.
DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police reminded anglers this week that it’s time to purchase their 2016 Delaware fishing licenses, as their 2015 licenses expired on Dec. 31. A valid fishing license is required for fishing, crabbing and clamming in Delaware, in both tidal and non-tidal waters.
There’s a lot we know about the past presidents of the United States (of America). Abraham Lincoln could never tell a lie. George Washington had wooden teeth and, from far away, he kind of looked like an old lady in that powdered wig he was always wearing. And even after being elected, twice, George W. Bush is still a huge disappointment to his father.
Bolton, Arlett, Marcozzi remain unbeaten
Going into the matchup against undefeated Sussex Central High School on Wednesday, Feb. 3, Indian River High School wrestling coach Jeff Windish knew that his squad was in for a tough bout. But he also knew that his own undefeated wresters — including senior Mitchell Bolton, junior Jared Arlett, and junior Zeke Marcozzi — would go out there and get wins, just like they always do, giving the Indians a chance at taking the dual if they could pull out a few other weight classes.
“Mitchell, Jared and Zeke are clicking right now. When they go out, I expect them to get six points for the team, and they know that walking out on the mat,” Windish explained. “I’m proud of the way we came out. We knew there were some matches that we had on paper, and then we were hoping to pick up a couple other ones on the back side.”
While the Indians would eventually end up falling to the Golden Knights 61-18, they got six points from the usual suspects, just as Windish had expected — with Bolton, Arlett and Marcozzi all getting the fall and remaining undefeated in dual meets this season.
Headed into high school at Indian River, playing collegiate lacrosse wasn’t much of a thought for Erik Gulbronson.