There’s no question that both the boys’ and girls’ soccer programs at Indian River High School have had a lot to celebrate over the years. Over the course of the past five years alone, the boys’ team has made it four state title games and won it all twice, with the girls making school history with back-to-back title appearances in 2015 and 2016 themselves.
‘Body Slam ALS’ set for Saturday at Frankford fire hall
The Frankford fire hall will be the site of a WWE-style “Royal Rumble” this Saturday, Jan. 21, when Tim Hill of Bethany Beach’s Wilgus Associates and array of pro wrestlers — including WWE Hall of Famer Tito Santana — get set to put on a show to benefit the Ten Mile Miracle charity.
(And other presidents who did stuff like that)
I remember the last week of school: Getting to use your “senior privileges” to go off-campus for lunch instead of having to stomach whatever Miss Debbie was serving up in the cafeteria that day. Getting to watch the movie “Boiler Room” in economics class instead of having to learn about, like, actual economics. The way how, for the first time in all your 18 years of being a person, it was cool to just do nothing for once.
Indians, Golden Knights go wall-to-wall in annual swim rivalry
It was hard to decide which was the home team when the Indian River and Sussex Central high school swim teams faced off at Howard T. Ennis in Georgetown on Thursday, Jan. 6. With both squads sharing the pool at Howard T. Ennis for home meets and often for practices, they certainly know each other well.
And, while the Indians may have gotten the best of this year’s matchup, with a 111-57 win for the boys and 92-74 win for the girls, the annual district rivalry is one to which, win or lose, both teams always look forward.
“It’s always very friendly; our teams get along really well,” said IR head coach Colin Crandell, who works with Central head coach Jeff Kilner on the Middlesex Beach Patrol in the summer. “It’s one of those environments where it’s real cooperative. We both tell each other what we’re seeing on the other team.”
The Fitness Center at Sea Colony is helping local pickleball players beat the cold this winter, offering a variety of sessions at their indoor facilities through March.
While the sessions are open to both residents and non-residents of Sea Colony, and to pickleball players of all skill levels, the facility will amp things up with an introductory demo this Wednesday, Jan. 18, hosted by none other than Vaughn “The Baron” Baker of the First State Pickleball Club (FSPC).
“We’re doing this so people can enjoy themselves during the winter,” said Sea Colony Assistant Fitness Manager Michael Pitts, who gave the sport a try himself this winter. “Everyone that has walked by that and seen it going on has jumped in and had a great time. It’s just a lot of fun and it’s a great facility perfect facility for this game.”
With every new year come resolutions to get in shape and lose weight. Will this be the year that you stick to your guns and make it happen? Let’s look at why this year a new you could make a world of difference in your health and quality of life.
IR wrestling off to 1-0 start with dual-meet win over Laurel
While there’s been plenty of tournament action for the Indian River High School wrestling team already this season, the Indians kicked off their first dual meet of the season with a 54-17 win over Laurel on Wednesday, Jan. 4.
You know the guy in all those “Friday” movies? And those “Next Friday” movies? And also those “The Next Friday after the Friday after the last Next Friday following the following Next Friday” movies?
Indians take fourth, gear up for duals
The beach has officially been battled at.
Some of the top wrestlers from 17 schools across the state and beyond showed up to hit the mats at Indian River High School for the “Battle at the Beach” wrestling tournament last Thursday, Dec. 28, and Friday, Dec. 29, with several local squads dominating the final standings.
Coming out on top was Sussex Central High School, with Cape Henlopen taking second, Emmaus High School from Pennsylvania placing third, and the Indians putting together one of their best team showings in recent years with a fourth-place finish in front of defending DII state champion Milford in fifth.
“Overall team performance, we wrestled an outstanding tournament,” said IR head coach Jeff Windish, who established the Battle of the Beach at IR in 2009.
Refuse to lose.
That’s what Indian River High School head girls’ basketball coach Donna Polk told her squad before taking the court against Henlopen South rival Milford on Tuesday, Jan. 3.
And despite not having been able to take down the Bucs since the 2011-2012 season, that’s exactly what the Indians did, in a second-half comeback and eventual 23-19 division victory.
“After practice, we always do an assessment, and one of our seniors, Madi McGee, said at the last practice, ‘We have to get it together.’ So today, that’s what we said we had to do,” Polk explained of the mindset heading into the game and coming off of back-to-back losses at the Pat Burowski tournament over winter break.
“We had to get it together. Refuse to lose. Step up and do what we’re supposed to do. Today was just a total team effort. We saw a lot of good things today.”
After going up 2-0 on a pair of free-throws and managing to hold the lead until midway through the second quarter, a three-pointer from Milford senior Kiarra Brittingham broke the scoring drought and gave the Bucs a 3-2 advantage.
IR sophomore center Julia Jordan would answer and tie the game at 4-4 after putting back an offensive rebound, then end up doing it again just before the half; but Milford would still manage to take a 9-6 lead into the break.
Hill to hit the ropes in WWE-style ‘Battle Royale’
After being diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as “ALS” and “Lou Gehrig’s disease”) in March of 2014, Tim Hill’s doctors told him to “take it easy” and to “get his affairs in order.”
He responded by walking 10 miles from Dewey Beach to Bethany Beach.
Then, he jumped out of an airplane.
IR boys’ hoops falls to 5-2 after loss to Milford
After a three-week hiatus, the Indian River High School boys’ basketball team returned to the court on Tuesday, Jan. 1, in a 68-38 loss to Milford. The division setback dropped the Indians to 5-2 overall and 2-2 in the Henlopen South, as IR head coach B.J. Joseph faced off against his former team.
In the sort-of-famous words of the Seattle-based 1990’s alt-rock/grunge band and obvious Kurt Cobain wannabes “Alice In Chains”: “Yeah, here comes the rooster, yeah.”
Indian River High School to host ‘Battle at the Beach’ wrestling tournament
Wrestlers from across Delaware will hit the mats at Indian River High School this weekend, when the Indians host their annual “Battle at the Beach” tournament.
The event is open to the public, and set to take place on Thursday, Dec. 29, and Friday, Dec. 30.
It may still be getting cold out, but for the Delmarva Shorebirds, spring is just around the corner with the official release of their 2017 game times.
The Baltimore Orioles Class A affiliate announced the game times for all 2017 home games to be played at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium in Salisbury, Md.
Starting with their home-opener against South Atlantic League rival and Washington Nationals Class A affiliate, the Hagerstown Suns, at 7:05 p.m. on Thursday, April 13, the majority of the rest of their Monday-Saturday game times will feature a 7:05 p.m. start time as well.
“The game starts for this season will continue to be primarily at 7:05 p.m. with some unique start times to accommodate special promotions and holidays,” said Shorebirds general manager Chris Bitters of the 2017 game times in an official statement.
As the old saying goes, “You’ve gotta spend monkeys to make monkeys.”
There are only four names displayed on the “100 Wins Club” wrestling banner hanging up in the Indian River High School gymnasium.
Just over two weeks into his senior campaign, however, IR senior Zeke Marcozzi is already adding his name to that list, after a 4-1 performance at the Beast of the East tournament, held at the University of Delaware from Friday, Dec. 16, through Sunday, Dec. 18.
“We knew Zeke could potentially hit it in that tournament,” said IR head coach Jeff Windish.
“It’s definitely a milestone — very few wrestlers get to reach that accomplishment. It’s a testament to his off-season work ethic. He worked hard to get where he is, but he needs to continue to work that hard and finish out the season strong.”
New season. New pool. Same wall-to-wall rivalry.
The Indian River High School and Sussex Academy swim teams faced off for the third straight year but the first time at Sussex Academy’s new pool on Tuesday, Dec. 21, with each team walking away with a division win.
On the boys’ side of things, the Indians pulled off a 96-76 victory, while the Seahawks’ girls’ team came out on top 99-66 after getting edged in a close matchup last season.
Showcasing the rivalry’s tension once again was IR senior McKenna Burke and SA sophomore Cailey Murphy, who have been longtime friends on land but cutthroat competitors as soon as they hit the water.
Last year, Burke got the best of that rivalry in the 100-butterfly, but this year, it was Murphy hitting the wall first, clocking in less than a tenth of a second before Burke, with a time of 1:07.59.
Sussex Central wrestling starts 2-0 with wins over Tech, Middletown
The Sussex Central High School wrestling team is off to a 2-0 start with dual-meet wins over Sussex Tech on Wednesday, Dec. 14, and Middletown on Friday, Dec. 16.
Tripple OT: Is Jeff Fisher the Donald Trump of the NFL? One local sports reporter says, ‘Yeah, kind of’ (It’s me)
Jeff Fisher made the move from a city sort of near the “Big Easy” to a city sometimes referred to as the “Big Orange” with only one thing on the agenda: make the Los Angeles Rams great again.
Headed into the 2016-2017 season with a beefed-up roster, it’s no wonder that the Indian River High School wrestling team has some beefed up expectations as well — ready to take a run at both the Henlopen South title and the state duals this February.
With a number of key returning upperclassmen and a talented incoming freshman class, head coach Jeff Windish and his squad will have 34 wrestlers hit the mats this year — exactly double the size of last year’s squad, which totaled just 17.
“We have numbers this year — they can all contribute,” said Windish of the 13 freshmen joining the ranks, five or six of whom he said could crack the varsity lineup.
“We always set our exceptions high — we want to compete in the South, but we want to compete for a state title as well. This year, with the pieces coming together and if we continue to work the way that we’re working, I think that’s an obtainable goal.”
The Indian River High School girls’ basketball team entered the 2016-2017 season determined to surpass their win total from the 2015-2016 season.
Just four games in their schedule, second-year head coach Donna Polk and her squad and already more than halfway to reaching that objective, jumping out to a 3-1 start after a 37-34 overtime victory against Delmar on Friday, Dec. 9.
“The goal is we have to be better than last year, and we always want to compete every game. That’s the first thing,” said Polk after the win over the Wildcats. “They’re more used to me, they understand the system — they came into practice excited to play basketball. That foundation is starting to be there, and they’re starting to understand what to expect.”
“Our main goal is to be better than we were yesterday,” added junior guard Fabrea McCray, one of the team’s co-captains this season, “to work together and to achieve more than we did last year.”
McCray is one of seven returners for the Indians this season, posting double-digit points in three of the first four games so far and leading the way along with senior co-captains Maggie Ford and Madi McGee.
Also returning to lineup are junior forwards Latayja Atkins and Braydee Whitman, junior guard Trayona Nock and sophomore center Julia Jordan.
Atkins was instrumental in last Friday’s win over Delmar, recording her first career double-double, with 23 points and 17 rebounds, also giving the Indians a 37-34 advantage when she put away a shot under the basket on an assist from Ford with just 0:34 left to go in overtime.
It had only happened one other time in Indian River High School sports history.
And while the Indians have seen their fair share of finalists for the Brian Piccolo Award through the years, it had never been awarded to a female athlete.
Until Madi McGee.
The senior standout for the Indians in field hockey, basketball and softball made her way into the school history books recently, officially becoming the first female athlete at Indian River to receive the award honoring former Chicago Bears running back Brian Piccolo.
“I was so excited when I found out I won,” said McGee, who received the UNICO National Delaware District 1 award at a ceremony last month. “This recognition is great because of the meaning behind the award. And being the first female at IR to win this award is just awesome.”
The national award has been designed to recognize high school athletes of Italian heritage exemplifying “courage, friendship, loyalty, teamwork, dedication, anti-bias and a sense of humor,” since 1977.
Back in Bethany Beach for the fourth year, and the second for the area’s only “twilight run,” is the Surfin’ Snowman 5K and Santa’s Helper 2-mile Walk/Run, ready to ring in the New Year and help send out 2016 in style on Friday, Dec. 30.
After the Indian River High School soccer team saw 12 players receive All Henlopen Conference honors, five players bring home All State honors, and senior Johan Cordoba named a Regional All American, the IR coaching staff also earned some post-season recognition when Brandt Mais was recently named the state “small school” Assistant Coach of the Year.
“I was very excited but very humbled as well,” Mais said of when he received the news of the honor.
“It’s really a team award, though — I didn’t get Assistant Coach of the Year by myself. It wouldn’t have happened without the support of the parents, players, the community, the coaching staff, everyone.”
Also named the Henlopen South Division Coach of the Year, Mais was recognized for stepping in earlier this season to take over for head coach Steve Kilby after he was sidelined from the pre-season with health issues.
Hair of the Dog/Exercise Like the Eskimos set for New Years’ Day
The sixth annual Hair of the Dog 5K/10K and 21st Annual Leo Brady Exercise Like the Eskimos Plunge will return to Bethany Beach this New Years’ Day, with online registration open through Dec. 27.
What do you like better, Christmas or wedding season? The correct answer would be: banquet season.
There’s nothing like a good misquoted Vince Vaughnism [sic] to send us into the most wonderful time of the year.
IR swimming aiming for fourth straight South title, first conference title
They graduated two of the top swimmers in Indian River High School history, in Mason Sanders and Lauren McCoy.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is a youth infusion of new swimmers joining the ranks and returning veterans coming back even stronger has Indian River High School head swimming coach Colin Crandel with not only hopes for a fourth straight division title for both the boys and girls, but a possible first-ever conference title for the boys as well.
“The boys’ team doubled in size — we’ve got more talent than I anticipated, so I’m really excited about our chances,” Crandel said. “It’s a really good moldable group that I can work with.
“With the boys, I anticipated a rebuilding year, but more of them came out than I anticipated, and they’re more talented than I anticipated.”
Legendary Indian River coach Dale Steele passes away at 68
Hanging up facing the desk of Athletic Director Todd Fuhrmann at Indian River High School is a photo. There isn’t much else on display.
The photo is in black and white, and it’s simple: Dale Steele leaned back in his chair in his own former office, with the look of someone who’s exactly where they’re meant to be, doing exactly what they’re meant to be doing.
The point of the photo is simple as well. It’s a reminder for Fuhrmann from his former mentor on not only how to do the job, but on how to do the job well.
That’s the kind of legacy and influence that Dale Steele left behind at Indian River High School and across the Sussex County sports world when the long-time IRHS athletic director, head football coach and baseball coach passed away after a battle with cancer on Friday, Dec. 2, at the age of 68.
“He really helped me out, and helped me learn the ins and outs of being here in the small school setting,” said Fuhrmann, who spent a year under Steele after arriving at Indian River as an athletic trainer in 2004.
“He really loved the kids and just loved everything he did. He did everything for the kids. That was what was so great about him.”
IR boys’ hoops starts 3-0, aiming for South title
Change the culture.
That’s what head coach B.J. Joseph set out to do after taking over the Indian River High School basketball team last season.
Now, in just his second year at the helm, his coaching philosophies are already starting to set in, with the Indians off to a 3-0 start with wins over Delmarva Christian, Worcester Prep and Seaford.
“He keeps us going. He wants to work hard every day — he’s not playing around,” said senior forward Isaiah “Izzy” Bratton of Joseph. “We’re confident, but we’re not slacking off. Not a bit. We still have to go hard at practice.”
“It looks like the culture is starting to change,” said Joseph. “I think we’re moving in the right direction.”