Kevin Smith, the most successful football coach in recent memory at Polytech, is back at the Panthers’ helm.
In 2013, Smith took over a Polytech program that had a combined 10-40 record in the previous five seasons. Despite moving up to the more competitive Henlopen North, the Panthers went 5-5 and 4-6 the next two years.
But Smith was hired as Polytech’s athletic director in June 2015, and school district regulations did not allow the AD to coach any sport. Stanley Burris was hired as football coach just a month before the season, and the Panthers slipped to 0-10.
Smith missed coaching, and when the football job became available again this year, he applied.
“The record last season did not influence me one way or the other to get back into it,” Smith said. “I thought that I was ready to take the next step in my life, as far as an administrative-type role, and give up coaching because I’ve been doing it for 15 years. … I thought I was a little bit burned out, but I realized last fall that I wasn’t.”
So Smith is back as football coach, and will remain the Panthers’ athletic director, too. District rules have been changed to allow a dual role.
“I really missed the coaches, the staff that we had, and I really missed being around the players,” Smith said. “The two years I was here, I developed a real quick bond from being around them every day.”
Smith wants to watch all of the game films from last season before deciding on offensive and defensive strategies for the Panthers. But he believes hard work can make Polytech competitive again.
“I never predict wins and losses or anything like that,” Smith said. “I want the kids to play hard. I want the kids to do well in school. And if they have the chance to play in college, I want them to go to college.”
Right on track
Ursuline’s Najiya Cornish got off to a flying start at the Diamond State Relays on Saturday, winning both the girls 100- (12.24) and 200-meter dashes (25.37) at A.I. du Pont.
Smyrna’s Myrissa McFolling-Young was the only other double winner among the girls, sweeping the shot put (36-10) and discus (118-8).
Padua’s Lydia Olivere (5:09.11) edged Tatnall’s Keelin Hays (5:11.46) in an early-season 1,600-meter showdown, and Concord’s Katie Macturk finished third in the 1,600 and won the 3,200 (12:12.26).
Padua’s Taliah Cintron won the 300-meter hurdles (44.50). In the field events, Asaana Shamlin of Charter of Wilmington took the high jump (4-10), Darby Deutsch of Padua was best in the pole vault (10-0), Christina Cropper of St. Elizabeth won the long jump (16-6¼) and Micaiah Dendy of St. Georges took the triple jump (37-0¼).
The Glasgow foursome of Kayla Moody, Ashley Pearce, Desire Singleton and Feyi Solanke took the 4×100 relay in 51.43. Padua’s quartet of Victoria Steinhoff, Lydia and Maddie Olivere and Amber Owens was fastest in the 4×800 (10:00.07). And Tatnall’s Jillian Reinhardt, Eirinn Sikes, Caroline Silverman and Lauren Anshen won the distance medley relay (12:54.94).
A.I. du Pont’s Noah Agwu was the only boys double winner, sweeping the shot put (46-3¾) and discus (166-10).
Charter got victories from Roy Lee in the 400 (51.33), Kevin Murray in the 800 (1:57.64) and Robert Hite in long jump (19-7).
John Walker took the 1,600 (4:24.57) and Noah Bale won the pole vault (12-6) for Salesianum.
Other individual winners were Tahaire Riley of A.I. du Pont in the high jump (6-2), Ja’saan Cunningham of Glasgow in the 100 (11.19) and Jacob Puharic of Caravel the 3,200 (10:11.50).
Smyrna’s Jarren Jenkins, Christian Munoz, Troy Richardson, Charlie Taylor combined to win the 4×100 relay in 45.31, and the Eagles’ Jamal Powel took the triple jump (42-6½).
Glasgow’s Brauli Florentino, Dakota Davis, Devon Johnson and Damian West won the 4×200 in 1:31.39. Appoquinimink’s Matthew Lloyd, Jonathan Ramos, Colin Deutsch and Iddriss Iddriss took the distance medley relay in 11:05.76.
Rounding it up
— The top-ranked, seven-time defending DIAA champion Cape Henlopen girls lacrosse team scored a rare first on Saturday – a victory over Queen Anne’s County (Md.). After falling to the Lions 11-9, 10-9 and 15-4 the previous three years, the Vikings finally broke through for an 8-6 win. Elizabeth Frederick led the way with four goals, and Alison Palmer, Evelyn Shoop, Cailey Thornburg and Alia Marshall also scored.
— Delaware Military Academy is seeking a head coach in girls volleyball. Send a letter of interest and resume to athletic director Michael Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
— With Kevin Charles retiring June 30, the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association has posted the job opening for its executive director position. Applications will be accepted through April 16. Go to www.doe.k12.de.us, click on “about DOE” and scroll down to “employment” for details.
— William Penn’s Brandon Dooley, a two-time All-State lineman, will continue his football career at Susquehanna University.
— Jordon Blake and Jordan Burroughs, basketball teammates at Conrad for the last four years, will continue to play together at the next level at Misericordia University.
Contact Brad Myers at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @BradMyersTNJ