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Smithsburg girls are state champs

May 24, 1998|By RON SOMERS / Herald-Mail Sports Editor

CATONSVILLE, Md. - They had a lot to deal with.

There were injuries, kids who quit the team, a dropped baton in a relay race and, not the least of the obstacles, the death of a teammate.

--cont from front page--

Charas Heurich, a runner on the Smithsburg High School girls cross country and track teams, died in an automobile accident last November.

But the girls put it all behind them and put their futures in front of them when they came to the Maryland state track and field championships, which concluded Saturday at the stadium at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County.

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They had run many laps in practice and in meets this season, but none were as sweet as the one they took at the end of the state meet while holding the championship trophy.

Smithsburg piled up 74 points to 67 for runner-up Oakland Mills in the 24-team 1A girls division.

"This group overcame an awful lot,'' coach Buddy Orndorff said as he watched the girls circle the 400-meter oval, laughing and shouting. "We were worried for a while.''

But the girls weren't intimidated by their worries or by their competitors.

"Today, we were counting down the points, watching the performances, and when they announced us (as the winners) ... we earned this one, baby!'' said Heather Jenkins, who finished second in the 400 meters in 58.57 seconds.

"I thank God for this one,'' said Lisa Holsinger, who said she prayed before taking third in the 300-meter hurdles in 47.37 and fifth in the 100-meter hurdles in 16.53.

As the girls celebrated, posing for pictures and vying with each other to get quoted in the newspaper, they didn't forget the more serious side of the event.

Sarah Hartman, who was sixth in the long jump at 15-1/2, remembered to thank Orndorff for his hard work.

"We won it for Charas,'' Jenkins said, as several chimed in that she was surely watching them from above.

Orndorff paused to remember Heurich, too.

"It's been a wild year, a roller coaster of emotion with Charas' death,'' he said.

There were downs, but the final day was one up after another: Smithsburg won the 1,600-meter relay in 4:13.33 and took second in the 400 relay in 51.48. Casey Nogle placed fifth in the long jump with a leap of 15-5. Jessica McGough finished second in the shot put at 34-6 3/4, and Tissa Porter was fifth at 30-7 1/2. Stacy Welch was fourth with a high jump of 4-9.

"We really came together,'' said Sara Hutzell, who did exactly that with Holsinger, Melanie Whitt and Jenkins to win the 1,600 relay.

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