Year in review: 365 days of Sussex County sports
The year 2013 was full of championships, champions, and even some new endeavors for the Sussex County sports scene.
Lance Fargo made Ocean View proud when he returned home victorious from the USA Triathlon National Championships with a Clydesdale-division gold medal around his neck, the Indian River boys’ soccer team made history when they defeated St. Elizabeth 3-0 and were crowned the first-ever Delaware Division II State Champions, and local pro-athletes Bill Baxter, Colin Herlihy and Brian Stoehr literally took their respective sports to new heights, with a machine called a winch.
We thought we’d highlight some of the year’s more notable moments to commemorate a very successful year for local sports.
The year started off with some big news in January, when Indian River High School quarterback Marquel Knight was invited to play in the Blue-Grey National All-Star Classic at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Fla. Knight was one of only 90 high-school seniors in the nation selected for the game.
Indian River High School enjoyed some additional well-deserved recognition that same month, when head soccer coach Steve Kilby was named Coach of the Year by the Delaware High School Boys Soccer Coaches Association.
In February, Knight stole the spotlight yet again, when he signed with Delaware State University to play football and scored his 1,000th career point on the basketball court. But he wasn’t the only Indian River basketball standout surpassing milestones that month. Twin sisters Keeonya and Keiosha Shelton each put up their 1,000th career point, as well — and they did it in the same game.
As winter wore on, spring sports began to heat up. In March, the Indian River lacrosse team played in the program’s first-ever game at the varsity level, the IR track team started off the season with six straight wins, and former Indian River student Heather Whippie decided to bike across the country for cancer.
April showers couldn’t slow the Indian River girls’ tennis team on the courts, as they started off the season 3-0.
Selbyville Middle School was the talk of the town in May, when the boys’ track team finished undefeated and won the Middle School Classic trophy for the third year in a row under head coach Sally Craig. The Indian River boys’ lacrosse team finished their inaugural season an impressive 10-5, and head coach Jim Dietsch began the Green & Gold game with the intention of making it a future alumni tradition.
As summer made its way to the beaches of Sussex County, local pro skimboarder Bill Baxter, pro surfer Colin Herlihy and pro bodyboarder Brian Stoehr fired up the winch to beat the heat — launching airs and getting shacked in the Delaware shorebreak. The Indian River girls’ soccer team racked up an impressive 15 awards — including Sarah Buchler, Brooke Beam and Brianna Belfiore collecting All-State honors.
When school let out, softball season hit full swing, especially when Roxana played host to the Little League World Series of Softball with exclusive coverage by award-winning media outlets including ESPN2 and the Coastal Point. The girls made Delaware proud when the state’s District III team defeated Puerto Rico 11-6 to be crowned Big League World Series national champions. Fargo also brought a national title home to Delaware the same month, after winning the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championship in Milwaukee.
With school back in session in September, Sussex Academy in Georgetown took off paddling with the first-ever Lewes Dragon Boat races as a fundraiser for the school — with the hopes of it becoming a longstanding tradition. In the same month, Gov. Jack Markell helped announce the return of the Slam Dunk to the Beach basketball tournament at a press conference at the Rehoboth Beach bandstand.
Along the shore, local surf fisherman reeled ’em in for the 16th Annual Delaware Seashore Fall Surf Fishing Classic, and 900 athletes gathered to participate in the second annual Bethany Beach First-Responders Tri-Du-Aquabike event.
In October, Indian River sophomore running back KiAnté Sturgis established himself as the bell-cow back and carried the pace for a 1,000-yard season as the Indians began to find their groove. The Indians’ football team dominated homecoming night by knocking off Laurel 46-14, and IR senior safety Tim Roberts notched three interceptions against Woodbridge All-State quarterback Logan Wescott to put the Indians in the driver’s seat for the Henlopen South.
The Indian River soccer team secured the conference early and drew quite the crowd for Latin Heritage Night at Sussex Tech, when father-and-son head coaches squared off. River Soccer played in the mud when a nor’easter tried to wash away their annual tournament, and the Indian River girls got tough at Powder Puff.
Local surfers enjoyed some turkey and some tubes with one of the best swells the coast had seen in a while over the Thanksgiving holiday — and Indian River continued to rack up championships and titles in November.
The streets of Dagsboro lined with green and gold when Kilby and the Indians’ soccer team made history and brought back the first-ever Delaware Division II State Championship, and senior Sam Izzo made school history as the only athlete to ever win two state championships —one for his 2012 season in football, where he is the team’s kicker, and that first-ever Division II soccer championship in 2013.
Coach Ray Steele and the football team added their third straight Henlopen Conference Championship, and the seniors battled tough but ultimately fell short against St. Georges Tech in the DIAA playoffs, ending a season that was defined by the number seven.
Both the Indians’ basketball teams started off the 2013 season with big wins on the court in December, with junior guard Kei Juan Major putting up 31 points in the absence Jaevon Holland and Brian Arthur. Surfboard shaper Clay Reynolds, 16, was selected to shape the skimboard trophies for Bethany’s first annual Surfin’ Snowman run. And the rockfish finally started biting for local fisherman.
As Mike Fabber and the Indian River boys’ basketball team prepared for December’s last major sporting event in the Governor’s Challenge, local sports fans can only hope that 2014 brings half as much excitement as 2013 did. Pick up a Point next week for a sneak peek into 2014.