The Selbyville Middle School boys’ track team has wrapped up another impressive year, snagging first place in early May at the Delaware Middle School Classic Invitational Track Meet and finishing the season undefeated for the second time in the program’s seven years. Several school records were set throughout this year’s schedule, and the successful performance holds promise – not only in years to come at the middle school – but at Indian River High School, as well, where the sport recently finished its second season.
“Our kids are working really hard,” said SMS head track and field coach Sally Craig. “They’re pushing forward to help our team score, but they are also working toward their personal best, as well.”
SMS’s Kenny Pinson finished in first place in the 100-meter run, as did Zach Umstead with his discus throw, on the school’s way to grabbing the top honor at the state’s middle school invitational, held at Cape Henlopen in early May.
Several second-place finishes came from the Indians’ middle-school team, too. Ki’Ante Sturgis came in second in the 200-meter run, as did the team’s 4-by-100 relay squad, which included Pinson, Sturgis, Damontae Purnell and Isaiah Morris.
Umstead’s shot put throw of 43 feet, 1 inch, may have only been good enough for second place at the invitational, but it set a new school record and personal best. Sean Whelen did the same with his mile run, clocking a second-place finish in the 1,600-meter run, but he scored a personal best and a school record, with a time of 5:07 minutes. Pinson finished the invitational with a third-place finish in the high jump, and the boys’ 4-by-200 relay team, which included Sturgis, Purnell, Morris and Andrew Foreman, also grabbed a bronze.
Earlier this season, several other school records were broken, including Pinson’s 11.9-second 100-meter run; Sturgis’ 24.9-second 200-meter run; Morris’ 58.16-second 400-meter; the boys’ 4-by-200 relay team, made up of Purnell, Foreman, Sturgis and Josh Fiddler, with a time of 1:44 minutes; and Umstead’s discus throw of 140 feet.
“Everyone seemed to have their goals set at the beginning of the season,” said Craig. “These kids are all talented athletes. They were determined to get through the season, and they did. They finished undefeated and won the middle-school classic invitational meet. I am very proud of their hard work. It definitely paid off.”
To recognize their performance, the Selbyville Middle School boys received team jackets.
Craig said she hopes to increase participation and interest in the girls’ team to do the some in years to come.
“Our girls did very well,” said Craig. “They only lost one dual meet all season, which is nothing to be ashamed of. At the invitational, they came home with two bronze medals and two ribbons for sixth place. We didn’t have as many going there, but they worked very hard, and we hope to get more out here next year.”
While athletes like Umstead and Whelen have finished up their run at Selbyville Middle, rounding out their eighth grade year, plenty of other team members will be returning to the track next spring, in hopes of repeat success.
“We got to see a lot of competition this year,” said Pinson. “It was tough, but we did our best. We were always wanting to get better.” “A lot of it is mental,” said Whelen. “You’ve got to go hard every day.”
Next year, athletes including Umstead plan to help the young Indian River track-and-field program, which closed out its second year – its first under head coach Bob Hahn – at the end of last month.
“We had a great season,” said Umstead, “but there was a lot of hard work that went into it. For the incoming middle-school class, you should start getting in shape now. It can be a tough sport if you’re not prepared.”
The Selbyville Middle School track-and-field team boasts 55 athletes, boys and girls.
“There are a lot of hard-working athletes,” said Craig, “and, fortunately, I have some great assistant coaches to help out. We hope to continue next year with another successful season.