Track Team Excel at DIAA Championships

A.I.+runners+%28from+left%29+Daniel+Bernard%2C+Jalen+Bailey%2C+and+Elijah+Edmonds+%28far+right%29+pose+with+the+DIAA+Division+2+Championship+trophy.
A.I. runners (from left) Daniel Bernard, Jalen Bailey, and Elijah Edmonds (far right) pose with the DIAA Division 2 Championship trophy.

A.I. runners (from left) Daniel Bernard, Jalen Bailey, and Elijah Edmonds (far right) pose with the DIAA Division 2 Championship trophy.

A.I. runners (from left) Daniel Bernard, Jalen Bailey, and Elijah Edmonds (far right) pose with the DIAA Division 2 Championship trophy.

Rhys Levine, Sports Editor

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Heading into the hotly anticipated DIAA Championships, A.I. duPont showed great potential, finishing out the season in dominant fashion. In coach Steve Lantz’s 100th season as track and field coach, both the girls’ and boys’ teams have closed out their respective seasons at 7-0 in meets, with consistent performances across the board proving key to both team’s success. And, in both the first and second day of competition in the tournament, A.I. displayed great diversity in its collective skillset, doing well in a number of Division 2 events.

For the girls’ team, junior Destiny Parker turned in a solid individual display, finishing third in the 100 meter dash finals, as well as first in the pole vault finals, which she had limited experience in. With her contributions individually, Parker racked up a team high 17 points. Freshman Amanda Hawker also had a strong showing, taking sixth in the 100 meter hurdles to advance to the Division 2 finals, where she placed sixth.

Adding to a strong showing from the girls’ team, the boys also proved their mettle, closing out the meet with some of the best numbers of any competing school. Senior sprinter Lewis Kungu built upon a brilliant showing in the New Castle County Championships, earning first in the 100 meter dash preliminaries. Junior Zahmeire Lewis and freshman JaQai Bishop similarly turned in impressive times, finishing third and fifth, respectively. From there, Lewis and Bishop replicated there runs in the final, with Lewis earning third and Bishop taking fifth.

Senior hurdlers Jalen Bailey and Jy’aire Johnson proved just as commanding, with Bailey winning the 110 meter hurdles and Johnson finishing close behind in third. Bailey closed out the tournament with a school high 24 points. Sophomore Elijah Edmunds and Junior Daniel Bernard each put together respectable numbers in the long jump, with Edmunds leaping 19-feet 10-inches and Bernard clinching the event’s last available point with an 18-foot 4-inches jump. Along with Bernard, Edmunds also performed well in the triple jump, placing seventh, falling just behind Bernard in third and Bailey in fifth.

Individual events were far from the only bright spot for A.I., however, as tremendous relay runs assisted in securing strong finishes for both teams. Parker, sophomores Alyson Megerle and Anaija Hardrick-Salaam, and junior Imani Matthews took third in the 4×100 meter relay, as well as fourth in the 4×200. For the boys team, Bishop, Lewis, junior James Naylor, and sophomore Naz’Aire Miller captured third in the 4×100 and second in the 4×200. In the 4×400, Bailey, junior Lewis Sams, and seniors Nils Creque and Tristan Thompson finished fourth, and with senior Cooper Knox in place of Bailey, earned sixth in the 4×800.

By the end of the final day of competition, with a final score of 110, the A.I. DuPont boys team came out victorious, placing first in Division 2. The girls’ team, meanwhile, finished with a highly impressive fifth place, edging out Delaware Military Academy and Newark Charter School. With these efforts, competing athletes have advanced to the Meet of Champs, where they will go up against the likes of Tower Hill and and Archmere Academy. However, stiff competition has not deterred the spirit of the teams.

“We were the underdogs” said Parker. “We want to prove prove that the Tigers have some power in us. They underestimated us and we ended up on top.”

 

 

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