By Gaige Winchester
This article is the opinion of sports writer Gaige Winchester. This does not necessarily represent the opinion of the Eagle’s Eye or Delta High School.
In athletics, winning championships is tough. Winning even a sectional title or two in a school year can be a daunting task. During the 2022-23 year so far there have been seven sectional championships (the latest being girls’ track on Tuesday night), and two regional trophies, with 36 athletes competing in a state championship at some point throughout the year, with spring sports yet to be concluded.
Today we’re going to break down the top five sports moments of the year up to this point.
- Nicki Southerland 4th Place National Finish: To compete for championships of any kind can be trying, but to compete against the top runners in the nation and place in the top five is nearly impossible. Southerland competed in this national contest in Boston, Mass in early March. She finished 4th the 800 meter with a time of 2:08 and 8th in the 1600 meter posting a time of 4:45. She said what got her there was the type of work she does. “I did a lot of speed work and a lot of long hard workouts to get ready,” she said.
- Semi-State Final 4 Boys’ Basketball: Following a lackluster period during the middle portion of basketball season, posting a 2-6 record in January, the Eagles bounced back to run through IHSAA sectional 40, winning games by an average of 18 points per game. After the new one- game regional format the Eagles found themselves in the Elkhart semi-state. With a first-round victory over John Glenn, they were one of the last four teams standing in the 3A division in the state of Indiana. This was farther than the program had been since its final four in 2009.
- 4 Wrestlers Competing At Individual State: Boys basketball wasn’t the only winter sports team that saw success in the postseason. The Eagles’ wrestling team advanced their 106, sophomore Ayden Bollinger, 120, junior Neal Mosier, 145, junior Kolten Rhonemus, and 170, junior Braxton Russell to the state finals. The highest placer at the state meet was Ayden Bollinger taking the third place spot, but as none of the state qualifiers were seniors the Eagles look to follow up with an even more impressive run next season. “It felt good to be on the podium higher than last year, but I’d like to make it to the top of it next year.”
- 30 Straight Sectional Tennis Titles: Many things have happened since 1993, but one thing has happened every single year at Delta High School, and that’s the boys tennis team winning a sectional trophy. http://www.dhseagleseye.com/2022/10/05/eagles-do-it-again/
- Girls Golf Team State Run: For the first time in program history, the girls’ golf team competed in the state championship. Although they came up short they, like the wrestling team, had a young lineup playing just one senior, Gracie Williams. Around her in the lineup were juniors Belle Brown, Hollis Klinger and Lillie Grismore, and sophomore Avery Stinson. “I think we’re all excited for this next year because we have more experience and we know what’s going to come,” Brown said.
- 18 Signed Seniors: Over the course of the school year 18 athletes in the senior class committed and signed to continue their careers in college. This is 10.5 percent of the entire senior class that will be continuing their athletic career at the next level.
- Abram Stitt County Long-Jump Record: In the 2023 Delaware County Track Meet, senior Abram Stitt broke the county long jump record of 22 feet 4.5 inches set by Cowan jumper Perry Dotson in 1978. This record was tied for the second longest holding county record in boys’ track, standing 45 years. “It feels great to jump that far in the county meet as there are still some big meets ahead of me, but it’s definitely an honor to hold that record,” Stitt said.
- Nicki Southerland County Track Performance: In the 2023 Delaware County track meet Southerland took on the tall task of running four events nearly back to back running the 1600m, 400m, 800m, and 3200m, in that order. Southerland went on to not only compete, but dominate in true Nicki fashion. She took the county record in the 1600m, 400m, and 800m, before deciding it wasn’t worth breaking the 3200 record which was already her own. However, she still won this race by a comfortable margin.
As spring sports seasons continue, we look to have many more impressive moments as a school, while finishing out the school year and the seasons.