On Saturday afternoon, Killens Pond State Park will host this year’s Henlopen Conference Cross Country Championship.
Top runners throughout the conference will compete for the Henlopen crown as well as trying to secure their individual spots in the upcoming DIAA Cross Country State Championship.
Caesar Rodney Riders
Riders’ cross country enters the championship season off the heels of yet another successful regular season.
The boys team finished a perfect 12-0 as a team thanks to a large group of capable runners, many of whom should make an impact on Saturday.
Juniors Colin Ritchey and Chris Crossen have paced the boys, along with Aidan Stevenosky, Sam Epstein, Aidan O’Connor, Noah Mills, Malachi Stubbolo, Luke Knack, Lorenzo Andaya, Ben Dawson.
The Rider boys had 18 runners finish in the top 50 at the Kent County Championships, including Stevenosky, Dawson, Crossen, Ritchey, Epstein and O’Connor all finishing in the top top five.
The Lady Riders were just as successful as the boys in the regular season, finishing with a 11-1 record as a team. They enter the conference championships red hot, as their only loss came against Smyrna in a season opening Tri-meet.
They’re led by juniors Maleah Chumley, Fiona Doyle, Mia Edmanson, senior Samantha Stetzar, sophomore Keely Arndt and freshman Paxton Easton and Sydney Wissman.
All seven Lady Riders placed within the top 20 at the Kent County Championships, including Arndt, who placed third and Chumley and Stetzar placing in the the top 10.
“If we’re healthy, these teams, both the girls and the boys, will have a chance to showcase how far their hard work and dedication has brought them since they started offseason training in the summer,” said Caesar Rodney Head Coach Michael Tucci.
The Senators come into the conference championship with contenders on both the boys’ and girls’ side.
The Dover boys had a standout regular season as a team, finishing with a 9-2 mark overall.
They’ve been led this season by senior standout Gavin Williams, juniors Sam Courtney, Matt Bieker, Charles Anyanwu, Tahj Ward and sophomores Nathanael Guy and Ric Johnson.
Williams won the Kent County Championship earlier this week, finishing with a time of 16:46, 13 seconds faster than Smyrna’s Robert Eskridge who took second.
Guy was also a top-10 finisher, placing sixth for the Senators.
Five more Dover runners cracked the top 50, including Courtney, Jared Spencer, Anyanwu, Bieker and Johnson.
Meanwhile, the Lady Senators finished 5-6 as a team this year backed by a nice mix of experienced runners.
The girls have been led by a talented group including Ashley Jones, Emily Cook, Abrianna Dyer, Sophie Malenfant, Rebecca Jawahar, Riley McQuaide and Ann Guy.
All seven finished within the top 50 at the Kent County Championships, including Cook and McQuaide who cracked the top 20.
Despite posting losing records during the regular season, both Polytech squads enter the conference championship with talented runners capable of contending Saturday.
The boys finished the season at 5-6 as a team, led by strong senior and junior runners Jacob Stafford, Aaron Rash, Kevonte’ Jackson and Collin Brower along with underclassmen Michael Rodriguez and Andrew Garza
All six finished in the top 50 at the Kent County Championships, with Stafford and Jackson among the top 20.
Meanwhile, the Lady Panthers ended the regular season with a 4-7 mark as a team. They were paced this season by Lilly Crone, Emily Perry, Maddie Harrison, Sarah Fox.
All four placed within the top 30 at the Kent County Championships, with Danielle Gray, Alexis Waller and Delaney Mann all finished with the top 40 runners.
“As we look forward to the postseason, we have to take it up one more notch,” said Polytech Head Coach Czar Bloom. “It’s championship time. They must bring something better than their best so far - I believe they’re ready to do just that.”
Lake Forest Spartans
Both Lake Forest teams finished the regular season with winning records; the boys finished 7-4 overall while the Lady Spartans ended with a 6-5 mark.
The boys have been led by a strong group of underclassmen, including Marcus Mapp, Shane Massey, Patrick Willis, Zach Riggi, Stephen Culver, Shane Johnson and Kyle Gott.
All seven runners placed within the top 50 at the Kent County Championships, including Massey and Mapp who placed 10th and 11th respectively.
Like the boy’s team, the Lady Spartans are talented and deep.
Riley Wood, Shumialah Statts, Mikayla Cannon, Hailey Moore, Jessica Tyndall, Brianna Riggi and Bailey Dean paced the Lady Spartans’ effort at the Kent County Championships, with all seven runners placing within the top 30.
Wood placed in the top 10, while both Tyndall and Cannon finished in the top 20.