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Tierney is the Warrior

April 24, 1999|By RON SOMERS / Sports Editor

MIDDLETOWN, Md. - A slow start out of the blocks in the 100-meter hurdles?

No problem.

Having trouble with the steps in the 300-meter hurdles?

No problem.

Pre-race nerves?

No problem.

Just a sophomore?

No problem.

Boonsboro's Maggie Tierney hurdled all those barriers on her way to two individual Monocacy Valley Athletic League track titles Saturday at Middletown High. She joined teammates Mary Clark, a freshman; Ashley Reeder, a sophomore; and Amber Zuspan, a junior, to win the 4x200 relay championship.

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North Hagerstown won the girls team title with 134 1/2 points, and Middletown won the boys team title with 122.

"She sure doesn't run like a sophomore,'' Boonsboro coach Bernie Semler said of Tierney.

But she nearly didn't make it out of the 100 hurdles semifinals.

"I almost false-started,'' Tierney said. She was warned about it, and decided to come out of the blocks cautiously in the final.

"I was really nervous about this one,'' she said.

But neither nerves nor cautiousness slowed her. Tierney grabbed the lead early and won in 15.6 seconds, slicing a whopping half second off her personal best.

After a short break, she took the baton second in the relay. Halfway through her 200-meter leg, she smoked past North's Nikki Holman to give Boonsboro the lead for good. It was the Boonsboro girls' first win in that event this season, Semler said, and their clocking of 1:50.9 was their best.

Then, it was back to the hurdles, this time the longer, more strenuous 300-meter version. Tierney said gauging the number and the length of her steps properly as the fatigue builds in the latter stages of the race is not easy.

"My steps weren't as good as I wish they had been throughout the whole race,'' she said.

But they were good enough for her to win in 48.8, exactly a second better than her previous best.

Longtime Boonsboro coach Dwight Scott, now retired, has been working with Tierney on her confidence. Tierney said Scott has her run the 400 hurdles from time to time to help build her stamina.

But Saturday, as on all race days, she was alone as she took her mark.

"I try to relax, take deep breaths, pray to God and focus on my lane,'' she said. "It happens so fast.''

Fast enough for a trio of titles.

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