Wilmington Charter sweeps Blue Hen cross country meet

Wilmington Charter sweeps Blue Hen cross country meet

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Wilmington Charter sweeps Blue Hen cross country meet

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Two ninth-graders who will never again compete in the race won the Blue Hen Conference cross country championships at Bellevue State Park, as Charter of Wilmington swept the individual and team titles.

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Andrew Avila and Maya Bordrick, who became the Force’s top runners instantly on arrival this fall, finished first in the 58th championship meet for a league that Charter harriers have dominated for the past decade, and will leave at the end of this academic year, to join other charter and magnet schools in the Diamond State Athletic Conference.

Avila ran 16:11.39 to stave off Appoquinimink senior Vail Freed by two seconds to win his first major high school championship, after going undefeated in middle school at St. Edmond’s and St. Mary Magdalen.

After fencing with his brother Chris in an opening 5:06 mile, “the pace really slowed,” said Avila.  “It was cold. It was muddy and it was rainy. The grass was very slippery, but the horse track was in better condition, because the dust has been packed.”

His time was 14 seconds slower than his 15:56.36 two weeks earlier, which was the fastest ever by a freshman at Bellevue, “but you can’t be upset with the time,” said Avila.

Freed, whose sister Piper won the Blue Hen Conference title three years ago and now competes for the Naval Academy, challenged Avila at the third mile.

“I tried to stay with Andrew as best as I could and hopefully pass him at the end, but he had a strong finish,” said Freed.

“I put on a little surge at the 3K to make sure I didn’t get outkicked,” said Avila.

Johnelle Joe of Mount Pleasant, who finished second nationally in the 2,000-meter steeplechase (6:19.9) at the Junior Olympic championships in Houston on Aug. 5, finished third in 16:28, 11 seconds ahead of Charter’s Ben Snyder. Chris Avila, gamely battling a sinus infection that has slowed him for weeks, was fifth (16:49).

Charter was without junior Grady McPeak, who would have been a contender for top 15, but is lost for the season due to a high ankle sprain that he incurred while jogging over a loose rock in practice. Sam Reyes, who became Charter’s fifth runner in his stead, provided the 3-point winning margin with a career-best 17:58.6 to finish 25th.  Logan Kim (16th) was Charter’s other scorer as the Force won the meet for the 11th time in 14 years.

With a best-ever 54 points, Appoquinimink repeated its second-place finish of last year, with Jacob Wozar (7th) and Ryan Candy (11th) backing Freed.  Connor Wagaman (6th), Eli McIlvaine (8th) and Garrett Checchi (9th) led third-place Concord. Shalon Ferguson of Middletown was tenth.

Bordrick, the state’s top eighth grader last year, when she made second-team All-State, transferred from Conrad and joining her sister, Sicily, a senior discus thrower, and twin brother Aurelius, a miler, at Charter.

“I think about what I have to do and do it,” explained Bordrick, who broke away from the field in the second mile in a measured, economical pace.

She has fit easily into the lineup of a team that won its 11th straight league title. “We have a welcoming team environment,” says Sofia Alfieri.  “We all know what it’s like to be a freshman. We make an effort to include them.”

Newark’s Naomi Dawkins was nine seconds behind in second, recovering from a sprain that had prevented her from finishing a race since the Manhattan Invitational three weeks ago.

Alexa Crowell of Brandywine exceeded her previous best by 20 seconds to finish third in 19:58. Charter’s Sydney Kriner (4th), Emily Martin (6th), Alfieri (7th) and Natalie Fuhr (9th) flanked Grace Slate of Concord (5th) and Megan Hurst (8th) of St. George’s. Alexandra Zeller of Middletown was 10th.

Charter School of Wilmington runner

Charter School of Wilmington runner

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