It’s a phrase I never imagined I’d be able to use with a straight face: “Man — I could really use the help of R. Chris Clark right about now.”
Gerken, Conover, Mercer inducted as first IR soccer HOF class
There are two stars adorning the sleeves of Indian River High School soccer jackets. The stars stand as symbols — the program’s way of honoring its rich history and two state championship teams: the first in 2013, the other in 2015.
Recently, however, the Soccer Boosters at Indian River came up with a new way of honoring past stars — the ones who aren’t specifically mentioned on the prideful coats of current IR soccer lettermen and coaches yet still shine brightly from their days in green and gold and as one of the main reasons for the program’s development and continued success.
Last Thursday, March 9, three of those stars — Howard Gerken, Christopher Conover and Josh Mercer — got a chance to shine once again when they were officially honored as the first class of the Indian River High School Soccer Hall of Fame.
Indians set sights on South title
On his first day of practice after taking over the Indian River High School baseball team, first-year head coach D.J. Long told his squad of his playing days at long-time district rival Sussex Central.
Understandably, he was booed.
But while the gesture was made in jest, it also served as the ice-breaking introduction for the former-Golden Knight-turned-Indian, as he swaps out the blue in his blue-and-gold for green, boos for cheers, and aims to get the Indians back to the playoffs for the first time since 2011.
“It is different. I did have to update my wardrobe — it was all blue and gold,” said Long with a laugh. “Now, the Central game is definitely going to be a game I look forward to. I’m excited for that.”
Bear Trap Dunes to host Drive, Chip & Put viewing party
Ocean View’s very own Sarah Lydic will soon be headed to Augusta for the national finals of the Drive, Chip & Putt challenge; and her home club at Bear Trap Dunes is ready to watch her tee off on the national stage.
Bear Trap will host a viewing party and brunch at their restaurant, The Den at Bear Trap Dunes, where fans can watch the event unfold live on the Golf Channel and celebrate the occasion when it gets under way next month.
Lydic earned her way to the home of the Masters after placing first overall in the Girls’ 10-11 division at a regional qualifying event held at Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pa.
Last year, there was a new team. This year, there’s a new attitude.
Relying heavily on seasoned vets, such as Blue-Gold All-Star selection Emiley Shuey, in 2016, first-year head coach Kelsea Ayers and an inexperienced Indian River High School girls’ lacrosse squad still managed to win five games during their varsity season.
But despite graduating their leading scorer, the new-look Indians are aiming to double their win total and make a run at the playoffs this spring, with a full year of experience and new commitment to getting the program off the ground.
“Last year, as a beginning team, it was definitely more of relying on just a couple of players. This year, we’ve all improved as a team, so I don’t think this year will be just one person stepping up — I think it will be more of a whole team coming together,” explained senior Lexi Haden. “Instead of one person taking [Shuey’s] place, it’s going to be all 12 of us on the field being one.”
Bomhardt back on the diamond, tallies first career NCAA hit, run
Tripple Overtime: How Emilio Estevez may or may not have inspired female hockey players from the Middle East and/or everywhere
Emilio Estevez. You either love him, hate him, are completely indifferent to him, are somewhat indifferent to him, have another unspecified opinion of varying nature about him, or have no idea who he is. He’s just one of those classic ’80s movies stars where there is no in-between.
IR competitive cheer team ‘brings on’ first state title since 1984
The Indian River High School competitive cheerleading team knew they were going to have to “bring it on” when they took the mats at Smyrna High School for the state championships last Sunday, March 5. Luckily for them, it had already “been brought."
An impromptu performance in front of the entire school at a pep rally held on Thursday, March 2, paved the way for one of the team's top performances of the season at states just three days later, and helped bring home the school’s first state championship for competitive cheer since 1984.
“It was strategic. I didn’t want them to get comfortable,” said head coach Kaitlyn Donofrio of notifying her squad of the pep rally appearance the day before. “Every time you perform in front of people it helps.”
“We were nervous so we didn’t do our best. Two of our stunts fell,” said sophomore Gabby Hudson of that Thursday performance. “It just showed us that we needed to work harder before states.”
So, that’s what the Indians did as they prepared for their final performance of the season on Sunday, stabilizing their stunts and nailing their routine to eventually hoist the trophy in the co-ed division.
“I think everybody’s really excited,” said sophomore Lauren Grow. “Everybody was really excited on the bus ride there. At our last competition, at Lake Forest, it had been a little bit shaky, but then our warm-ups were really, really good, so everybody was feeling really good. We went out and performed, and I think it went a lot better.”
After down seasons, IR wrestling returns to top
It’s been, without a doubt, a history-making season for the Indian River High School wrestling team.
Not only did the Indians post their first winning record on the regular season since 2011 and their best regular-season record since before that at 16-3, not only did they see their first Henlopen Conference championship since 2011, in 106-pound freshman Will Rayne, and advance all the way to the state-duals — the Indians even saw senior co-captain Zeke Marcozzi break the school’s all-time wins record, with 133 career wins.
They also saw senior co-captain Jared Arlett nearly become the sixth wrestler in IR history to eclipse the 100-career wins mark, finishing just three short, with 97 on his career.
Delaware’s biggest road-race weekend is about to get even bigger.
After seeing nearly 2,400 racers turn out last spring, Coastal Delaware Running Festival race director Rick Hundley and the team at Focus Multisports are expecting upwards of 4,000 participants to show up when the starting gun goes off in Dewey Beach for the run’s return this April.
Recently named “Delaware’s #1 Marathon” by TripAdvisor, the First State’s only Boston Marathon-qualifier event will also be adding a 5K to the lineup and will again feature a marathon, half-marathon and 9K, all showcased along its scenic flat courses spanning from Dewey Beach up to Lewes.
River Soccer sign ups still under way until March 15
There’s still a chance to sign up for the outdoor spring recreational season at the River Soccer Club, with registration remaining open through Wednesday, March 15.
Having been sent off with a pep rally in their honor as they headed into their first playoff appearance since 2014, the Indian River High School boys’ basketball team returned home on Thursday, March 2, after suffering a loss to No. 15 St. Marks.
Despite seeing their state tournament run cut short, the Indians still finished the regular season 12-8, after going just 5-15 last season and after a 16-year playoff drought spanning from 1997 to 2014.
With a predominantly young squad of primarily freshmen and sophomores, and set to graduate just three seniors — forward Isaiah “Izzy” Bratton, guard Colby Chandler and guard Thomas DiBuo — the boys’ basketball program at Indian River looks to be very much up and coming.
With the Indian River High School boys’ basketball team set to make their first state tournament appearance since 2014, winter sports certainly aren’t over yet.
Crandell named HAC Coach of the Year
The goal for head coach Colin Crandell and his Indian River High School swimming team is always the state finals.
The Indians actualized that goal last weekend, when they clocked some of their best times of the year at the DIAA state championships held at the University of Delaware, breaking IRHS school records in the process.
The only female swimmer for the Indians to make it to the Top 16 on Saturday, Feb. 25, was senior Lindsey Grow, who broke her own school records in the 200 IM with a time of 2:20.61 and 100 Breaststroke with a time of 1:12.50.
The 100- yard breaststroke time was good for an 11th-place finish as Grow returned to the finals for the fourth straight year.
When we drove up Saturday, the whole conversation was about mindset,” said Crandell of heading into the finals. “The goal is always states. It’s a progression. Our trajectory is always to get them to go faster and faster and faster, and they did that. If they improve, we’re happy.”
IR's Rayne takes second at states
After a strong showing at the Henlopen Conference championships last week, local wrestling squads, including Indian River and Sussex Central high schools, followed up by sending a collective six wrestlers to the DIAA state individual championship finals, held at Dover High School on Saturday, Feb. 25.
For the Indians, it was freshman Will Rayne making it all the way to the finals of the 106-pound bracket, eventually earning himself a second-place finish after being taken down by Salesianum’s Zach Spence in a 10-6 decision.
Spence entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed, while Rayne earned the No. 2 seed when he clinched IRHS’s first Henlopen Conference individual title since 2010 at the HAC championships held at Sussex Central last weekend.
The Golden Knights saw two individual state championships on the night, when junior Rashad Stratton edged Charter’s Jesse Muaka for the state title in a 7-6 decision.
First there was a team at district high schools, then a winter clinic and a summer camp. But now, local lax-ers in fifth through eighth grades will have a chance to run with the “fastest game on two feet” in the spring, when the Indian River School District launches the Tribe Lacrosse recreation league later this month.
“There’s nothing like this around here. The kids are hungry for something like this,” said IR assistant boys’ lacrosse coach Dave Spencer of the rec league, which is set for Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 to 7:30 p.m., starting March 21 and spanning through May 4. “I know personally I want help the sport grow, especially because my kids are playing now.”
Spencer will help run the show, along with IR head boys’ lacrosse coach Jim Dietsch, who has been coaching at the youth, high school and collegiate levels for the past 42 years — including at Belmont Abbey College and the University of Maryland. Spencer played collegiately at Towson University and professionally for the Baltimore Thunder.
Coastal Delaware Running Festival registration open
“Delaware’s Coolest Marathon” is set to make its return to Dewey Beach this April 21-23, with online registration already open for the Coastal Delaware Running Festival.
(If you like local sports, local kids being able to learn stuff/do things)
Calling all tennis players. Calling all golfers ready for shotgun starts. Calling all shuffle-board players, 5K runners, jazzercise jazzers, yoga’ed-out yogis, grayed-out barrel-riders, cast-out fish-finders, and even calling all 65-year-old hockey players still carving rink with the best of them (if any of them actually happen to exist, aside from Selbyville’s Lee Stanley). Most definitely calling Vaughn Baker, the First State Pickleball Club and pickleball players everywhere.
Indians headed to playoffs
They call him “The Fixer.” Mostly because that’s what B.J. Joseph does.
In fact, ever since leading Cape Henlopen High School to a state title as a player in 1976 and capping his collegiate career at Wilmington College, that’s what B.J. Joseph has always done — taken down-on-their luck programs, such as Milford and Laurel, from playoff-plagued to playoff-perennial.
Now in his second year as the head coach at Indian River High School, Joseph is at it again, recently earning his 200th career win and getting ready to take the Indians to the state tournament after inheriting a senior-depleted roster in 2016.
“It just means you’ve been around for a little while,” Joseph said of the milestone, with a laugh. “When you start off taking over a program that’s down, it’s tough to build it back up, but I think we’re finally turning things around here.”
He may be just a freshman, but that doesn’t mean that Indian River High School 106-pounder Will Rayne wrestles like one.
Coming off an undefeated season at Selbyville Middle School, Rayne took the mats for the Indians earlier this season and immediately started racking up the wins, eventually finishing with a perfect 16-0 record during dual-meets and 33-4 record overall, earning himself the No. 2 seed at the Henlopen Conference championships this past weekend.
That’s where, on Saturday, Feb. 17, in front of a packed house at Sussex Central in Georgetown, Rayne would advance all the way to the 106 finals before taking down No. 1 seed Mike Primo from Caesar Rodney, 9-2, for the Henlopen Conference title.
Marcozzi sets new school record for career wins
It was, without question, one of the main events. If not the main event, even.
After getting the Henlopen Conference wrestling finals started with the 195-pound bracket, seniors Lucas Hudson and Zeke Marcozzi had to wait 13 long championship bouts before getting to the 182-pound title match at Sussex Central High School on Saturday, Feb. 19.
And so did the crowd.
With Marcozzi entering the tournament as the No. 1 seed for Indian River and Hudson as the No. 2 seed for Central, the highly-anticipated matchup would eventually give fans their money’s worth, and then some, as the longtime rival wrestlers from longtime rival schools finally took the mats and Hudson finally took the championship title, in a hard-fought 8-5 decision, for the tournament’s grand finale.
IR boys' hoops finishes 12-8, ready for playoffs
After capping the regular season with a 12-8 record, the Indian River High School boys’ basketball team is looking primed to return to the DIAA state tournament for the first time since the 2013-2014 season.
Indians say goodbye to Ford, McGee
Headed into the season, the goal for second-year head coach Donna Polk and the Indian River High School girls’ basketball team was simple: Be better than they were last year.
Even after dropping their last game of the season 38-20 to Laurel on Thursday, Feb. 16, that was still a goal that the Indians would accomplish, doubling their win total from 2015-2016 and finishing 10-10 — their best record since 2013.
“We’ve definitely improved. We’re getting better,” said Polk. “This year, I thought we started off really well, with them understanding the expectations a little bit more.”
After going back and forth with the Bulldogs during the first half of last Thursday’s game and eventually trailing 20-16 headed into the break, the Indians would struggle with the scoring in half No. 2.
Tripple Overtime: Indians, Golden Knights unified by Unified (The definitive Josh Timmons interview Pt. II)
For basketball fans, or even for fans of just, like, general humanity, it was very exciting. It was very, very exciting.
The Indian River High School girls’ basketball team is hoping to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2011, after the Indians clinched their 10th win of the season.
After a 53-27 loss to Sussex Central on Thursday, Feb. 7, the Indians bounced back with a 74-7 win over Delaware Design-Lab High School on Saturday, Feb. 11, and a 35-24 win over Maryland’s Salisbury School on Monday, Feb. 13.
Sophomore center Julia Jordan put together her fourth double-double of the season in Saturday’s game against Design-Lab, finishing the game with 18 points and 10 rebounds, while senior guard Madi McGee racked up a career-high 15 points and freshman guard Yolanda Wise added a career-high 13 points.
Marcozzi ties Magaha’s record
The Indian River High School wrestling team was ready to bring home the school’s first state title on the mats when they got to state duals at Smyrna High School on Tuesday, Feb. 14.
Instead, they’d see Milford bring home that school’s second in a row, as the Bucs came back from a 15-point deficit to take down the Indians 34-40.
After a back-and-fourth bout at states and 16-3 season, however, IR head coach Jeff Windish was far from discouraged with his state-finalist squad as they geared up for individual conference and state championships.
“We left it all out there. I don’t think anybody had anything left to give and, as a coach, that’s what you want to see,” said Windish.
Bratton selected as Blue-Gold All-Star
In front of a packed house last Thursday, Feb. 9, the Indian River High School basketball team earned a 64-57 win over district rival Sussex Central, in the process bettering their chances of returning to the DIAA state tournament for the first time since the 2013-2014 season.
“They’re starting to buy into the process. They’re buying into it, and it’s working,” said IR head coach B.J. Joseph, who took over the squad last season. “We just have to keep getting wins, taking one game at a time.”
The Indians started off hot in that game when senior forward Isaiah “Izzy” Bratton won the tip-off and sent a dart down to sophomore forward Jamier Felton, who finished the chance and put his squad up 2-0 in the game’s opening seconds.
Going up against some of the state’s stop talent at the Henlopen Conference championships on Saturday, Feb. 11, the Indian River High School swim team rose to the challenge, with a slew of swimmers taking the podium and setting new personal records in the process.
Among the top individual performances was IR senior Lindsey Grow taking second with a time of 1:05.88 and senior McKenna Burke taking third with a time of 1:07.68 in the 100-yard butterfly.
Both times were personal bests for the senior co-captains, earning both Grow and Burke top spots on the podium, along with Cape Henlopen senior Amelia Nigh-Johnson and her first-place time of 1:00.78.
“It was great to be up on the podium together. That was awesome,” said Burke after receiving her medal. “We were pushing each other in our heat.”
The Selbyville Middle School track-and-field team is about to get a whole lot of experience. More than 40 years of experience, to be almost exact.
It’s been a historic season so far for the Indian River High School wrestling team.