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Washington County prep track previews

March 25, 1997

Boonsboro Warriors

Coach: Sue Lowery, 1st year

1996 Class 1A South Region team results: Boys third; Girls fourth

Top returners: It will be the last go-round for Doug Oates and Jessica Bracken with the Warriors. Oates, specializing in distances ranging from 800 to 3,200 meters, will lead a strong distance contingent, which includes juniors Brad Long and Matt Wamsley. Bracken will concentrate on the pole vault, the first year Maryland will offer the event for girls. She will also compete at the middle distances, hurdles and long jump. In the boys' field events, Troy Bigelow (Sr.) should be listed in the area discus rankings and Mike Mullendore is counted on in the pole vault. Junior Dennis Rexrode will anchor the sprints.

Top newcomers: Ryan Suter (Sr.) shot put, discus and sprints; Jesse Reeder (Jr.); Angie Rhoderick (Fr.) 800, 1,600 and 3,200; Ellen Tierney (Jr.) hurdles, pole vault and sprints; Jami Wolfe (Jr.) hurdles, pole vault.

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Outlook: Despite Boonsboro's long tradition in track, Lowery downplays this team's ability. "I expect us to do well, but we've got some areas that we are not strong in," she said. "We just don't have anybody strong in the boys' hurdles or high jump. We're just not strong the whole way through."

Clear Spring Blazers

Coach: Scott Horning, 4th year

1996 Class 1A West Region team results: Boys second; Girls fifth

Top returners: Garth Martin and Willie Jones return to lead the sprints. The senior-junior combo are the only two members returning from last year's region champion 800 relay team. The Blazers feature one of the best 1-2 long distance punch in the state with Mark Schnebly (Sr.) and Tim Mason (Jr.). Triple jumper John Miles (Sr.) and pole vaulter Brad Wetzel (Sr.) could place high in the field events. Senior Amy Mirra adds strength for the girls in the 300 hurdles and triple jump.

Top newcomers: David Hose (Jr.) shot put; Ed Wallman (Sr.) shot put; Jamie Kriner (Jr.) 400 and 800; Lisa Walters (Fr.) sprints; Carrie White (Fr.) sprints; Lindsay Shives (Fr.) 400 and 800.

Outlook: A strong showing in the field events may put the Blazers past Southern Garrett in the Region 1A West standings this year. Horning said Hose could be Clear Spring's "best in a long, long time."

"We've always had good athletes," Horning said. "But (we) never seem to do well as a team."

Hancock Panthers

Coach: Jeff Spielman, 25th year

1996 Class 1A West Region team results: Boys fifth; Girls eighth

Top returners: Spielman admits the Panthers will be experiencing growing pains this season. Many of his top athletes graduated after last season. Hancock's strength will lie in the boys' feld events. "We lost a regional championship relay (team), three out of four - actually, all four because Aaron Zimmerman transferred to South High," Spielman said. Senior jumper Kasey Kerns leads a pack of 10 boy and 10 girl performers. Jeremy Dobzranski (Jr.) will pole vault and compete in some sprint relays. Ryan Shifflett (Jr.) will throw the shot and discus. Senior Angie Baker leads the girls, running in the low and high hurdles. Andrea Higgins (Jr.) will work in the jumping and some sprint relays.

Top newcomers: Steve Kesecker (Sr.), John Allen (So.), Sam Hess (So.), Mike Hixon (Fr.), Stacey Moats (Fr.).

Outlook: "Sometimes we get these one-year wonders. A lot of them have panned out in the past, and I hope this one does, too," Spielman said of Steve Kesecker, a senior in his first year of track scheduled to compete in the hurdles and sprint relays. "We've had trouble with numbers fielding a team. We're kinda hurtin', but we'll try to get as many of them at the state meet as possible."

North Hagerstown Hubs

Coach: Ray Shriver, 8th year

1996 Class 2A West Region team results: Boys fourth; Girls fifth

Top returners: Although individual events are exciting, nothing creates more drama than the chase for the county title. In the boys' meet, Boonsboro may be the defending champions, but North Hagerstown has the team which could dethrone the Warriors. Jacob Mongrain (Sr.) and Cameron Miller (Jr.) will be featured in the 400 and 800 and Hunter Cross (Jr.) will compete in the hurdles, high jump and triple jump; Mike Lum (Jr.) is North's top distance runner and Mike Thomas (Jr.) will be the focus at 100 and 200 meters. For the girls, Stacy Hott (Sr.) in the 200 and 400 and Kari McCarty (So.) in the distance events are North's top returnees, but Stephanie Overberger (Jr.) shouldn't be overlooked in the hurdles and sophomores Nicole Ruby and Meagan Verdeyen give the Hubs a one-two punch in the shot put and discus.

Top newcomers: Eric Schneider (Jr.) jumper; Alex McAbee (So.) middle and long distance; Man Cho (Fr.) sprints; Matt Kauffman (Fr.) distance; Jacy Bayer (Fr.) shot put, discus; Breanna Donovan (Fr.) sprints, middle distance; Jessie Stickler (Fr.) sprints, pole vault; Gwynn Hunt (Sr.) sprints; Miranda Lewis (Jr.) sprints.

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