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December 1, 2006     Cape Gazette
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December 1, 2006

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Santa, CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, December 1. Monday, December 4, 2006 - 131 me these golf for SPORTS & OUTDOORS Cape swimmers hope to continue winning ways By Chrissy Beckman Special to the Cape Gazette After a pair of perfect 6-0 con- ference seasons, Cape's swim teams are looking to dive int 9 yet another successful year. Both teams are defending Henlopen Conference dual-meet champions. Additionally, the girls were also crowned Henlopen Conference champions. "We came home with three out of four trophies at the conference meet last year," said head coach Bill Geppert. "We're not sneak- ing up on anyone this season. We have a lot to defend and work for." Geppert is in his ninth year and has already coached his teams to well over 100 cumulative wins. He was named the Henlopen Con- ference Coach of the Year during the 2005-06 season and is the chemistry and marine sciences teacher at the high school. Cape's girls lost only two sen- iors last year, Mary Pawlina and Brittany Rutkowski. With 20 out for the team this year, including veterans and newcomers, the La- dy Vikings are already looking strong. However, the boys lost several strong swimmers such as foreign exchange student Sven Haag, Troy Cannatelli to wrestling and seniors Johnny Sapienza, Jimmy Priano and Matt Lindemer to graduation. "We have an abundance of girls and just enough guys," added Geppert. "The guys really have to step it up this year to make up for the losses. The girls have depth and that will help tremendously." For the last six consecutive sea- sons, the Cape's girls hav e pre- vailedwith a winning record each time.The most recent of which brought a new school record in every event except the 500 freestyle. "We're working harder than ever," said senior and co-captain Kristina Lingo. "We have a new assistant coach who is tough. In the long run, I believe we have the best team to accomplish all of our goals, which is to come home Continued on page 132 Dan Cook photos Cape swim team captains (l-r) Max Covelski, Kristina Lingo and Brenna Fleming hope to continued their winning ways during the 2006-2007 season which opens Monday, Dec. 4 at Sanford. Sam's life was a celebration and inspiration WHAT MADE SAMMY RUN? - Sam Leggins, Cape's No. 22 from the 1979 state champi- onship football team, passed away Thanksgiving Day morning at the age of 44 after battling a rare form of cancer first diagnosed in 1979 that gave Sam "no chance to sur- vive no time." But with sweetness and grace Sam survived 12opera- tions over 26 years and always looked good. "This is tearing me up and I'm having a hard time with it," said Sam's high school football coach Jim Alderman. "I gave Sammy my white cowboy hat which he wore every practice and at every game his senior year, and a clip- board and made him an assistant coach. But I remember him as a runner. The image of Sammy run- ning low and wide is the way I al- ways see him." This incredible story of a life- changing dramatic medical event striking Sam Leggins at the top of his game, nestled securely in the comfort of his coaches and team- mates, began with Sam approach- ing coach Alderman during the 1979 state championshipplayoff run and showing him a lump on his lower gum. By that spring part of Sam's lower jaw bone was removed and PEOPLE IN SPORTS Dave Frederick the next year a rib was transplant- ed to fill up the space. Sam's- prognosis was beyond poor. There were less than 10 cases doc- umented in the entire world and no one survived beyond two years. Over time Sam's cancer moved downward then spread, but if you knew Sammy you knew of his illness and you knew he didn't like talking about it. You also knew that he looked fit and seemed content and that he often worked two jobs because that was the way he rolled. Robert Leggins is Sam's brother and was his caretaker during the 26-year journey. The Rev. Annie Custis, who entered Sam's life in 1980 when Sam took her daugh- ter to the senior prom, never left his side becoming "Morn" in every true sense of the word. Both were with Sam every step of the way. "He never made a trip to Bethesda NIH that one of us weren't with him," Rev. Custis said. "And no matter what the proce- dure and how bad the news Sam just kept that sense of humor and looking forward attitude. He was just a beautiful person and I al- ways told him that." Sam's nephews Darrell Davis, Bobby Leggins and Brandon Leg- gins knew that if they were play- ing basketball Uncle Sammy was there watching them. The same goes for Brycen Davis, who last spring won the 100 and 200 meter championships at both Henlopen Conference and Division II state championship meets. I can still hear Sam, who had the talent to get loud in a soft voice - "That's what I'm talking about" - when Brycen dusted the field or when one of his nephews drained a jump shot. Amazingly, all the nephews I've known and Sam's son Vincent, who played football Continued on page 133 Submitted photo Cape's 1979 runhing back Sam Leggins, center, gets blocks from teammates Hertford Gibbs, left, and Tim Gray during the regular season which ended with a state championship.