The Indian River High School track-and-field team started off the season in a tough dual meet at Cape Henlopen last Tuesday, April 1, with the boys falling to the Henlopen North squad by the final score of 109-37 and the girls 135-10.
Senior Tim Roberts was excused from lacrosse practice to establish himself as high-scorer in the meet, winning the long jump at 19 feet, 4 inches; the triple jump at 40 feet, 4 inches; and high jump at 6 feet even.
On the track, sophomore KiAnté Sturgis ran competitively for the first time this season without shoulder pads and a helmet, notching a win in the 200 with a time of 24.2 seconds.
The boys’ only other top finish on the day was junior Shaquille Hall’s 17.1-second finish in the 110 hurdles.
For the girls, senior Shanice Waley locked in the only first-place finish, with a time of 1:11 in the 400-meter dash.
“It’s a good learning experience for us,” said head coach Bob Hahn after the meet. “Cape’s always been one of the more powerhouses in track-and-field, so we’re getting good experience. There’s only two teams here, so we can see where we stack up against Cape. They’re a top team.”
Both the boys’ and girls’ Indian River High School tennis teams started off the season with multiple conference wins last week, with the girls starting 3-0 with wins against Seaford, Milford and Lake Forest and the boys starting off 2-1 against the same teams — their only loss against Milford, 3-2 — last Friday, March 28.
After a rainy pre-season eliminated many of the team’s planned outdoor practices, the girls got one of their first opportunities to play together when they faced Seaford last Thursday, March 27.
“This was one of the first times they’ve played together, because of the weather,” said head coach Stefanie Riddle after that match. “I think they did really well. I think they mentally were prepared.”
Kelsey Waite — who is now serving as head coach of the boys’ team while continuing to assist with the girls’ team — had similar thoughts on finally being about to get back out on the courts.
Sussex County soccer youths can kick it on Saturday, April 5, when The River soccer Rec Soccer program starts their spring season at the River Soccer Complex in Roxana.
The program is open for boys and girls ages 4 to 14, with players being placed on teams based on age and ability. Full uniforms with be provided for all players.
A talented freshman and sophomore class was on display last Tuesday, March 24, as underclassmen lead the way in the Indian River High School girls’ soccer team’s season-opener, taking down Henlopen North foe Polytech 4-3.
The Lady Panthers jumped out to a 1-0 lead to start the game, but sophomore forward and 2013 All-State selection Brooke Beam answered the call before the end of the first half, scoring off the assist from freshman forward Maddie Hogsten.
Beam returned the favor to start the second half, setting up Hogsten for a goal of her own, to put the Lady Indians up 2-1 at the beginning of the second half. The sophomore star added another assist in the 58th minute, setting up junior midfielder Maria Papavasillis in front of the net, floating one just over the head of Polytech keeper Amanda Deputy, to make it 3-1.
After Hogsten notched her second goal of the game, to make it 4-1, off an assist from junior defender Marissa Fox, head coach Steve Kilby decided to let some of his less-experienced players close out regulation. However, after sitting through most of the game, withstanding frigid temperatures, the girls struggled to warm up, allowing Polytech to cut the lead to 4-2 in the 73rd minute, and eventually make it a one-goal game in the 78th minute.
With temperatures in the low 30s, it didn’t quite feel like opening day for the Indian River High School softball team last Tuesday, March 24. But despite the frigid cold, the Lady Indians were swinging hot, battling back from a 5-1 deficit to take down one of the top teams in the state in Polytech High School, 10-6.
The Lady Panthers jumped to a 4-1 lead early on, but senior pitcher Rachel Hudson kept her composure to keep their bats at bay, getting some help from senior short stop Karlie Smith who got the first out of the fourth inning with a diving grab between second and third before combining with senior catcher Sarah Hickman on a double play to close out the inning.
Senior second baseman Anamaria Impastato set the tone for a fifth-inning comeback, leading off with a shot to left field that fell just shy of the fence and ended in a double. She would score from second after Hudson dropped one in the centerfield gap on the next at-bat, closing the Polytech lead to 5-2.
The Indian River High School baseball team started the 2014 season facing a tough opponent in Polytech High School — who finished last season an impressive 12-4, while battling in the Henlopen North.
Though the young squad battled tough behind sophomore starting pitcher Billy Williams, they would eventually go on to lose the opening game of the season 10-4.
According to Co-Head Coach Kevin Cordrey, a loss against a tough team like Polytech can actually provide some benefits for a developing young ball club.
“When they get out there and have an opportunity to play against teams like this they get seasoned quick,” he explained after the game. “Either they figure out how to do it, or we find somebody else that can.”
Williams struggled on the mound early, but eventually regained his composure — especially as a batter, nearly homering in the first inning.
The Indian River High School lacrosse team started off their second-ever varsity season on the right foot last Tuesday, March 24, dominating Salisbury School on the road, 18-2.
Senior attackmen Spencer Murray lead the scoring with four goals in the matchup, but most the Indians’ offensive attack was generated by their midfield.
Senior middie Tim Roberts notched a goal of his own, and continually drew defenders by dodging from up top, dumping it off for the assist four times. Senior midfielder Ben Gonski also racked four assists on the day.
“Now he’s learning how to play the game, he’ll slow it down a bit,” Dietsch said of Roberts’ progression and four assist performance. “It’s pretty hard to stop him one on one, so a lot of people will slide to him really quick and he can dump the ball.”
The production from the midfield units wasn’t at all surprising for Head Coach Jim Dietsch, who acknowledged the position as the strong point of the team for both this season and last.
Recently beginning their second varsity season, the Indian River High School lacrosse roster is full of athletic talent. However, most of that talent is raw when it comes to stick skills and lacrosse fundamentals, which can be expected considering that most of the team never played youth lacrosse.
There aren’t many 62-year-olds playing ice hockey against 20-year-olds still in their prime. In fact, there aren’t many 62-year-olds that are playing the physically demanding sport of ice hockey at all. But not only is Selbyville resident Lee Stanley still lacing up his skates and heading out on the ice, he’s still helping his team win tournament championships.
Just last weekend, Stanley geared up with his sons, Matt, 24, and Jack, 21), and the rest of his Piney Orchard Men’s Hockey League team, the Bottom Line, to take down an upper-level team from Harrington 3-2 and win a tournament in Easton, Md.
“They were a stacked team,” said Stanley of the high-level of competition. “We faced an upper-level team with all younger players. Our average is probably 20 to 45, and then you plug me in at 62.”
“Everybody was excited, and it was unexpected because the [Harrington] Titans team was tough. We had no anticipation of taking them two games in a row.”
Though he admittedly may have lost some speed in comparison to his younger playing days, what Stanley’s game lacks physically, he’s able to make up for mentally through his more than 40 years of experience on the ice.
Frontside airs won’t be the only thing that Bethany-based pro skimboarders Dave and Tom Bracht are launching when summer rolls around, as the two brothers have teamed up to start Relyance Skim Camp for local youths.
Both brothers will utilize their more than 10 years of experience running surf and skim camps to help instruct beginner, novice and even advanced skimmers in taking their performance to the next level. But, to them, setting good examples and being positive role models is a goal of equal importance.
“Our whole thing is making the kids better in and out of the water,” said Dave Bracht of the Relyance mission. “Everything we do, we try to be positive role models for the kids to look up to.”
A business partnership between brothers with similar interests and professional expertise might seem almost inevitable but, according to Tom Bracht, it was something that was almost necessary.
For 25 years, the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce has held the Ocean to Bay Bike Tour to benefit the Quiet Resorts Charitable Foundation and enjoyed steady success. Still, they’re planning to change things up a bit this year, as the event hits the quarter-century mark, aiming higher than they ever have before.
Just two years removed from a Henlopen South championship, the 2013 Indian River High School Golf team finished the season a disappointing 2-11. However, with an infusion of new talent and a fresh start in 2014, head coach Paris Mitchell Sr. fully expects his squad to be back on par with the rest of the Henlopen South, to battle for yet another title this year.
Just months after the Indian River High School boys’ soccer team made history, winning the first-ever DIAA Division II championship, the school’s girls’ soccer team is gearing up for the spring season with hopes of doing the same.
As noted among the Henlopen Conference, Indian River High School is home to one of the nicest and most scenic trails around. So the course was the natural venue to pick when the cross-country team and boosters President Robert Daisey began planning a fundraising effort. They’ll open the course up to the public for a 5K Run Walk on Saturday, March 29.
Both the boys’ and girls’ Indian River High School tennis teams are used to winning Henlopen South titles. The girls’ team has won the division for the past four seasons, and the boys’ team has won quite a few of their own — not to mention that most of the team comprises state champion soccer players.
After getting knocked out of the first round of the DIAA playoffs by St. Georges Tech last season, the Indian River High School softball team will not only look to get back to the playoffs this year but to push the limits even further and challenge for a state championship.
While the Lady Indians will see a variety of key players returning — including senior shortstop Karlie Smith, senior pitcher Rachel Hudson and senior second-baseman Anamaria Impastato — they’ll have a first-year head coach at the helm in Erika Brittingham.
“We have a young team,” Brittingham explained. “We lost three good players, all starters,” she said of the shift from last year’s roster. “We’re really trying to push the expectations, because we feel that we could have made it much further than we did last year.”
She may be stepping in for last year’s head coach, Chris Megee, who has joined the IRHS baseball team as co-head coach, but Brittingham is already familiar with most of the squad, as she was an assistant coach last year. She also has collegiate experience as a player at Salisbury University and plans to utilize that experience to not only better her players for the upcoming season but to help them as they move on to the collegiate level themselves.
“Keep fighting.” That has been the mantra of the Indian River High School basketball team throughout the entire 2013-2014 season. That mantra never changed, and the team has never faltered from it — even after a 12-0 run by opponents Cape Henlopen early in the second-half in the first round of last week’s DIAA playoffs destroyed the balance of a game that, to that point, the Indians had controlled.
Though IR would never recover from the Vikings’ hot streak and would eventually go on to fall to their Henlopen North rival 72-59, they never stopped fighting.
Senior forward Jaevon “B.B.” Holland and senior forward London Tucker set the tone early on both offense and defense in front of a packed house at Cape Henlopen High School last Tuesday, Feb. 26, locking in a rhythm that the No. 14 ranked Vikings could not manage to figure out.
Up 14-10, Holland held his ground in the paint and managed a crucial block at the end of the first quarter, driving down the court and finding Tucker for the easy basket, to make it 16-10. After the “Sportscenter”-worthy play, the signature chant of Indian River’s No. 1 fan, Queen Bratton — “I like that, do it again!” — sounded out, un-matched, over Cape Henlopen bleachers that had fallen silent. The Indians had a 15-year playoff drought to make up for, and their star seniors were leading the way.
Indian River High School senior forward Jaevon “B.B.” Holland has led the Indians basketball team in virtually every statistical category for the past two seasons. However, he’s also been the team’s leader in a category that’s a little more difficult to measure — sportsmanship.
During the many times that the Indians needed a boost during their program re-defining 2013-2014 season, Holland was typically the one to give it to them — whether it was in the form of an emotionally charged speech, beating on his chest and congratulating his teammates after a big play, or just witnessing his non-stop motor and un-matched determination never falter despite the game’s circumstances.
There wasn’t another player on the court that wanted to win more than Holland, and all he has wanted to do for the past two seasons is lead his team to “The Bob” — the University of Delaware’s Bob Carpenter Center — to contest a state championship.
While he and the Indians fell just short of that goal — getting knocked out of the DIAA playoffs in the first round against Cape Henlopen last week — Holland’s incomparable drive and standout sportsmanship earned him a spot in the Blue-Gold All-Star game, which, somewhat ironically, will be held at “The Bob.”
While his appearance at the UD facility may not be what he originally had in mind, Holland said he is still honored to represent his school and his team in front of players, coaches and fans from all over the state.
“I’m going to just go out there and play my game,” he stated confidently, “and show everybody what they expect.”
The game will be held on Saturday, March 15, at 4 p.m. and will feature a halftime dunk contest, as well as appearances by Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Chip Kelly and former Delaware Blue-Hen and current WNBA star Elena Delle-Donne. On March 12, all players invited will also get the opportunity to have lunch with Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden and Gov. Jack Markell.
Indian River High School’s head swimming coach, Colin Crandel, had one goal in mind heading into last weekend’s DIAA state championships: he wanted personal bests for all his qualifying swimmers.
“It’s not about winning. It’s about personally winning,” said Crandel regarding the IRHS seniors that he has been training since the first year he started the Sharks youth program. “They might come out second or third, but if they hit their best time — they just won. I’m just really proud of them.”
Not only did the boys’ swim team accomplish that goal last Saturday, March 1, at the finals held at the University of Delaware, but coach Donna Smith and the girls’ team went above and beyond in achieving some goals of their own.
“These kids have made Indian River history,” Smith said to put the fifth year program’s accomplishments in perspective. “[They’re] the first female squad to make it to the finals round.”
Just months after starting the school’s first-ever dance team, the Del Tech Diamonds were put to the test in front of a lively crowd at the University of Delaware on Friday, Feb. 21, performing the halftime show for the Delaware 87ers — a semi-pro basketball team.
Representing southern Sussex County in the show were 2013 Indian River graduate Adriana Alarcón Sosa and Milford-graduate-turned-Selbyville-local Carina Aguilar, who said they “brought it on” in their first-ever live performance.
“We brought it,” Aguilar recalled enthusiastically. “The audience loved us. I was ecstatic to be a part of Del Tech’s dance team.”
“It was an amazing and unforgettable experience,” added Alarcón Sosa. “After we finished our dance, all my girls felt accomplished and proud of how far we came in such little time.”
In the program’s first year, the team members only had about a month to prepare for the show, overcoming inexperience as a whole, as well as differing levels of experience within the team.
“We made history, pretty much because we have never had a dance team until this semester,” Alarcón Sosa explained. “We practiced for over a month. To come up with a team in such little time — everybody was really impressed.”
Though some of the girls on the squad are just starting out, Alarcón Sosa and Aguilar have both been dancing since they were young.
Indian River senior forward London Tucker wasn’t part of the starting five at the beginning of basketball season. Senior forward Jaevon ‘B.B.’ Holland only has two years of varsity experience under his belt after breaking his knee as a freshman and having to sit out his sophomore year.
But neither of these factors could stop either player from collecting All-Conference honors in their senior seasons — or from leading the Indians to their first post-season appearance in boys basketball since 1999.
Holland, who was named second team All-Conference last year as a junior, was awarded first team honors for the 2013-2014 season, while Tucker makes his first appearance on the honorable mention list — though he has also been named All-Conference for football.
“I’m very honored to make it to the first team,” said Holland. “It shows that I came a long way in two years. It shows how much my game improved in a year. It really showed me what I have taken from [Head Coach Mike Fabber] teaching me.”
“When I was a sophomore I did not think I would be in this position,” Tucker continued. “It’s a great feeling.”
The Indian River High School football program will be sending two seniors to Newark this summer to participate in the 59th Annual Delaware Foundation Reaching Citizens Blue-Gold All-Star football game, to be played at the University of Delaware Tubby Raymond Field.
The Ocean City (Md.) Recreation & Parks Department held its 3rd Annual Sportsmanship Ceremony on Wednesday, Feb. 19, at which it recognized several youth athletes participating in the department’s winter-season sports who had “exemplified good sportsmanship” in their respective sports. A select number of participants from boys’ basketball, girls’ basketball and indoor soccer were chosen to receive an award and public recognition at the banquet.
The event also recognized two winners of the Mid-Atlantic Recreation & Parks Sports Association Alliance (MARPSA) 2013 Dennis Callahan Good Sport Award.
Kealey Allison of Selbyville had already attended a special ceremony in Annapolis at which she and Robert “Bob” Frick of Bishopville, Md., received the prestigious Callahan award for their year-round participation in several different sports offered by the OCRPD and exemplary sportsmanship the two exhibited while participating in those sports. Allison participates as an athlete in multiple sports, while Frick has been coaching youth teams since 1987.
Season opens March 1
The DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife recently announced that its spring 2014 downstate trout season will begin Saturday, March 1, with the opening of two downstate ponds stocked with rainbow trout. On that date, Tidbury Pond near Dover in Kent County and Newton Pond outside of Greenwood in Sussex County will open for trout fishing beginning at 7 a.m.
Hot dogs and baked beans, apple pie and scrambled eggs: who wants some?
If you’ve been to an Indian River High School basketball game in the last decade, you’re well aware that this isn’t a grocery list — it’s a chant. You’re probably also aware that it isn’t just any chant, it’s a chant from the Indians’ number one fan, Queen Bratton, strategically timed to disrupt the concentration of opposing foul shooters.
After shouting out her signature foul shot chant, students in the bleachers usually respond with an enthusiastic “I do!” — and sometimes even begin the chant themselves, most recently at a packed gymnasium on the road during the Indian River/Stephen Decatur matchup.
“I like that, it was awesome because it was support,” said Bratton of the cheer section at the Decatur game. “I need that support. I knew somebody had my back.”
Coming off a deflating 83-59 loss to Stephen Decatur last Monday, Feb. 17, the Indian River High School boys’ basketball team rebounded with a 66-64 win against Seaford on Tuesday, Feb. 18, to keep their state tournament hopes alive.
Senior forward Jaevon Holland put up a team-high 17 points for the Indians in what was an uncharacteristically low-scoring game for two typically high-scoring teams.
“Every time we play these guys, it’s a war,” said head coach Mike Fabber after the game. “Both coaches know each other real well. Both teams are pressing teams — both teams tried not to press today.”
Holland also pulled down a team-high 12 rebounds and added five steals and a block defensively. “We played a hard game. We played our hearts out,” he stated. “We know what type of team we are.”
The Indian River High School girls’ basketball squad has come a long way since the beginning of the year, but ended the season with back to back road losses against Stephen Decatur and Seaford.
Battling a hostile environment and talented Decatur team last Monday, Feb. 17, the Lady Indians continued to fight until the last whistle but ultimately fell, 63-28, to the Lady Seahawks.
“The kids understood the value of this game,” said head coach Matt Mayette after the loss. “We played a good middle two quarters, and then we showed our frustration in the fourth.”
Junior Faythe Wise put up a team-high 11 points in the loss, but the Lady Indians struggled against the Lady Seahawks’ bigger inside players.
For years, Lower Sussex Little League has held their opening day ceremonies on a Saturday. But this year, the league will begin a new tradition after scheduling opening day festivities for Friday, April 11.
The BunnyPalooza 5K/10K will take place a month later this year, thanks to the shifting Easter holiday, with the hopes of warmer weather drawing up more interest for the already successful Quiet Resorts Charitable Foundation event.
“We sold out at 800 last year,” said event coordinator Brigit Taylor. “I would venture to say that we will have the same number, if not more” this year. “It’s about a month later, so warmer weather will probably bring out more people.”
The Bethany Beach-based run is set for Saturday, April 19, but the surrounding events will kick off with a guest bartending event held at the Cottage Café on Wednesday, March 5, from 5 to 9 p.m., with a percentage of the proceeds going toward the QRCF. The event will feature music and raffles, with the opportunity to win race-day gear and even free entries.
Anyone who doesn’t remember Marquel Knight probably didn’t catch too many Indian River High School football games in the past few years — or pick up a copy of the Coastal Point to read the sports section, for that matter.
One of the key players on the Indians’ 2011 state championship team, Knight racked up 45 total touchdowns during his junior and senior seasons. As a wide receiver his junior year, he pulled in 73 passes for 1,168 yards with former-IR-quarterback-turned-Major-League-Baseball-prospect Jamie Jarmon under center.
After Jarmon graduated, Knight took control of the offense and was implemented in more of a running back role, carrying the ball 261 times for 1,838 yards, for an average of more than 7 yards per carry, and leading the Indians to their second consecutive Henlopen South title.