Despite losing the best sprinter in Delaware for much of the meet, Padua Academy had no trouble defending its Division I outdoor track and field state championship May 16 at the new Dover High School. The Pandas outdistanced their nearest competitor, Middletown, by a wide margin, collecting 199 points to the Cavaliers’ 76.
Maiya Dendy, the all-state runner headed to the University of South Carolina next year, was hobbled by a hamstring injury that may have cost her wins in two events, but the Pandas were plenty deep enough to overcome the injury. Dendy did manage two victories, in the 400-meter run and as the anchor of Padua’s 4×100 relay team (with Cameron Lucey, Darby Deutsch and Jordan Sobolesky).
In addition to those two first-place finishes, the Pandas grabbed wins in five other events. They included sophomore Taliah Cintron in the 300-meter hurdles, freshman Lydia Olivere in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters, the 4×400 relay (Deutsch, Erin Spadaccini, Jill Ciritella and Cintron), and the 4×800 relay (Victoria Steinhoff, Amber Owens, Emily Paolucci and Spadaccini).
Coach Marnie Giunta’s squad scored in nearly every event it did not win, including finishing second, third and fourth in the 800-meter run.
For the Pandas, this was their 14th Division I state title and 16th overall. In Division I, for schools with larger enrollment, they won six straight and seven of eight between 1983 and 1990, then five of six between 2003-08. They also won Division II championships in 2012 and 2013.
Ursuline placed fourth in the Division II meet, which Hodgson Vo-Tech won. Freshman Najiya Cornish won both the 100- and 200-meter races. Archmere also had a double winner, as senior Colleen Carney took the 1,600- and 3,200-meter events.
In the boys’ meet, Salesianum placed third in Division I. The Sals scored most of their points in the distance running events.
The high school track season will conclude Wednesday night at the Meet of Champions, also to be held at Dover High.