(Jan. 18, 2013) To honor longtime Stephen Decatur indoor/outdoor track and cross country coach, Pat Russo, who retired last spring after 41 years, an invitational hosted by the Bayside Conference was held in his name last Wednesday at the Worcester County Recreation Center in Snow Hill. Twenty teams participated in the Jan. 9 competition.
“[The meet] was to honor him for all that he has done for the track culture on the Eastern Shore,” said Decatur Coach Jody Stigler. Russo can still often be found at the Seahawks’ practices and at meets providing assistance.
He presented awards to the top teams and individual athletes.
The first- and second-place boys’ and girls’ teams received trophies. The top three athletes in each event took home medals. Individuals who placed fourth through sixth were presented with ribbons.
The Decatur boys’ squad finished in second place with 73.5 points. Caesar Rodney of Delaware won the meet with 109 points.
“I’m happy with the boys’ performance. Caesar Rodney was the only team to beat us and they’re one of the best teams in Delaware,” Stigler said. The next Bayside team (Parkside) scored 32 points. That’s a big difference and I think it helps build our confidence going into Baysides.”
The Seahawks racked up 24 points in the 300-meter race. Senior Kyle Kelly crossed the finish line first (37.27 seconds). James Mapp, also a senior, was right behind him, finishing the race in 38.11 seconds, and sophomore Jakhai Woodard followed in third place (38.51 seconds).
Kelly, sophomore Jackson Mumford and seniors Sunny Aroh and Daniel Winters teamed up for the 1,600m relay event. They won the race in 3:45.6.
Senior Patrick Phillips threw the shot put 46 feet 6.5 inches to earn top honors in the event.
The Lady Seahawks finished in eighth place overall with 30 points.
“The girls did OK. The meet was dominated by Delaware schools,” Stigler said. “We finished third among the Bayside schools, but there’s definitely room for improvement.”
Decatur junior Katie Collins was victorious in the pole vault (7 feet 10 inches) and senior Ameerah Lewis won the shot put event (32 feet 4 inches).
“Our main focus from here on is the Bayside championship,” Stigler said. The conference championship is scheduled for Jan. 23, in Snow Hill.
The Decatur boys’ team is favored to take home the title for the second consecutive year.
“We can score points in a lot of events and we can win a lot of events, too,” Stigler said.
The competition is tough on the girls’ side. Stigler said the Lady Seahawks should finish in the top three or four. They have earned the title the past four years.
“It depends on who has a good day that day. It’s a toss-up between a few schools,” Stigler said.
Kent Island looks the strongest among the four schools battling for the top spot, he said, followed by North Caroline, Parkside and Decatur.