With county, conference championships coming up, the Caesar Rodney High School boys cross country team is taking aim at first place.
The Caesar Rodney High School boys cross country team knew it was going to be good coming into the season, but with just a few weeks left in the campaign, it could have never predicted things would turn out like they have this fall.
Head Coach Mike Tucci’s squad sits undefeated right now at 9-0, 9-0, and while the Riders’ top runners have done what they were expected to do, it’s been some newcomers that have boosted the team to an elite level.
Take for instance CR’s most recent tri-meet, an all-around win over Seaford High School, 15-49, and Woodbridge, 15-50, Oct. 20.
The Riders had three freshmen and two sophomores finish with times under 20 minutes, a feat that has been as consistent as a Philadelphia Eagles quarterback controversy this year.
Tucci said his team might be as deep as it’s ever been, and with so many solid performers the Rider runners aren’t just getting pushed by the opposition but by each other as well.
“The first four, five, maybe six spots on varsity is pretty much decided at this point,” he said. “But that No. 7 spot, we easily have four, five or six different people that can run there in any meet.
“And they want to be there.”
Leading the pack all year long for CR has been senior Jimmy Simons and junior Terrell Oliver, a duo that is confident their team will earn both county and conference championships this year.
The biggest hurdle for the Riders in reaching those goals will be Milford High School, a team CR handled on the Bucs’ home course Oct. 13 when it squeaked by 25-31.
Simons said when their team sees Milford again it will be more of the same.
“We’re going to beat them every single time we see them,” Simons said.
Tucci, however, is taking a little bit more of a cautious approach to Milford, as he said he respects the team’s talent and realizes it is going to want some revenge against his squad.
“They’ll definitely have a chip on their shoulder. We went to their place and took care of business, and they’re probably not very happy about that,” he said. “We’ll have a big target on our backs for counties and conferences.”
To win those two big meets, the Riders will need to continue to drop times, Simons said, something they should be able to do, as he added that his teammates have yet to peak.
The other thing CR has working for it, Oliver said, is momentum.
By beating Milford, he said, the Riders have gained a bit of a swagger and confidence, and he sees no sign of that letting up.
“That win over Milford felt great. It was one of the best things we’ve done,” Oliver said. “And it’s given us a lot [of momentum]. We know what we have to work on and know what’s already been done, so we’ll be ready.”
The Kent County Championship Meet is set for 2:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 1, at Killens Pond State Park, while the Henlopen Conference Championships will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 6, in the same location.
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