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Laws uses the right approach

May 23, 1998

By RON SOMERS

Herald-Mail Sports Editor

CATONSVILLE, Md. - Tom Laws stepped right up and won the state high jump championship Friday.

Laws, a Williamsport junior, won the Class 1A title with a leap of 6 feet, 2 inches at UMBC Stadium. He said it wasn't so much his flight over the crossbar that won him the crown as the steps he took approaching it.

"I've been running through my steps all season,'' he said, clutching his first-place medal. "I have them down pat. They were solid. Ninety percent of (high jumping) is your approach. The other part is arching your back and natural jumping ability.''

Laws' solid approach technique was working well Friday, but he needed one more element to win - a clutch jump under pressure.

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Laws, Nathan Bieniek of Perryville and Mike McGreavy of Allegany had all cleared 6-0. Bieniek, who eventually finished second, and McGreavy, who was third, had missed all three of their chances at 6-2. Laws had missed twice. If he made the third jump, he would win. If he missed, there would be a three-way tie, which would have been broken by whomever had the fewest misses. It would not have been Laws.

"I was like, man, I gotta make this and be state champ,'' he said, recalling feeling intense pressure. He did.

Laws was not the only area athlete to win a state title in the meet, which will conclude today, starting at 10 a.m.

Middletown's Greg McCormick, a freshman, won the 2A high jump title at 6-6. North Hagerstown's Meagan Verdeyen won the 2A discus throw at 131-5. Clear Spring's Tim Mason easily won the 1A 3,200 run in 9:44.66. South Hagerstown's girls 800 relay team, comprised of Teresa Kajencki, Erica McCann, Tiffany Burns and anchored by Emilie Bonano won in 1:48.22. Urbana's Tom Miller outdistanced the 2A shot put field with a toss of 52-8, and Brunswick's Steve Ferrel won the 1A pole vault at 12-0.

Urbana won the girls 2A 3,200 relay in 9:37.10, and FSK took the boys 2A 3,200 relay in 8:10.68.

The North boys placed third in that event, slicing 11 seconds off their qualifying time for a surprising 8:15.26.

Another surprise came in the girls' 2A 3,200. Neither North's Kari McCarty, the 2A West Region champ, nor Middletown's Randy Buzzell won.

McCarty and Buzzell pushed the pace but could not lose Lee McDuff of River Hill. She hung with them and passed Buzzell for the lead on the backstretch of the sixth lap of the eight-lap race. McDuff clocked 10:59.48 to 11:19.46 for Buzzell in second and 11:39.72 for McCarty in third.

South's Matt Peters finished second in the 1A shot with a throw of 51-2 1/4, and Clear Spring's David Hose was third at 49-8.

Area performances of note:

1A Girls

3,200 relay - 3. Williamsport, 10:17.06; 6. Smithsburg, 10:34.44. 800 relay - 2. Brunswick, 1:50.81. Triple jump - 3. Heather Jenkins, Smithsburg, 32-11 1/4; 6. Joanna Smith, South, 32-1. Discus - 2. Jessica McGough, Smithsburg, 101-9. Pole vault - 2. Sarah McDonald, Williamsport, 8-6; 3. (tie) Christine James, Clear Spring, and Karen Fuss, Williamsport, 7-6.

1A Boys

3,200 relay - 2. Williamsport, 8:30.56. 3,200 - 1. Tim Mason, Clear Spring, 9:44.66. Long jump - 5. Vernal Briscoe, 20-4 3/4. Shot put - 2. Matt Peters, South, 51-2 1/4; 3. David Hose, Clear Spring, 49-8. Pole vault - 1. Steve Ferrel, Brunswick, 12-0; 5. Aaron Bush, South, 11-0. High jump - 1. Tom Laws, Williamsport, 6-2; 4. Jake Delinois, Williamsport, 5-10.

2A Girls

3,200 relay - 1. Urbana, 9:37.10; 2. Middletown, 9:44.74. 3,200 - 2. Randy Buzzell, Middletown, 11:19.46; 3. Kari McCarty, North, 11:39.72. Discus - 1. Meagan Verdeyen, North, 131-5; 3. Solveig Skattkjaer, Urbana, 111-8; 5. Nicole Ruby, North, 104-3.

2A Boys

3,200 relay - 1. FSK, 8:10.68; 3. North, 8:15.26. 3,200 - 4. Alex McAbee, North, 9:57.3. Long jump - 4. Derek Dye, Middletown, 22-2. Shot put - 1. Tom Miller, Urbana, 52-8; 3. Charles Poole, FSK, 47-9 3/4. High jump - 1. Greg McCormick, Middletown, 6-6; 2. Derek Dye, Middletown, 6-6; 5. Steve Hanson, Middletown, 6-2.

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