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Bayer claims state discus crown

May 25, 2000|By DAN KAUFFMAN

BALTIMORE - Finally, North Hagerstown's Jaci Bayer has what she's always wanted - a state championship to call her own.

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Bayer put together an effort of 121 feet, 8 inches in the discus to hold off Paint Branch's Inia King and win the Maryland Class 3A girls discus title Thursday at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County.

Bayer, a senior, has played in the shadow of former teammate Meagan Verdeyen most of her high school career. Verdeyen won seven indoor and outdoor state championships in the discus and shot put and beat out Bayer for last year's outdoor discus title before graduating.

This year proved to be Bayer's time to shine.

"It's great to get out of her shadow," Bayer said moments after wrapping up the discus title. "I wanted to bust out and get my name out there this year."

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It took a couple of clutch efforts to get her name at the top of the standings - one to win, and one just to make it to finals.

A scratch and a poor effort left Bayer with one try to make the final cut, but a throw of 109-0 3/4 was enough to earn a shot at the title.

North coach Glenn Cross told Bayer to relax during the brief break before finals, and Bayer did so by listening to "Break Stuff," a Limp Bizkit song. Then, Bayer broke the competition by putting it all together for the winning effort on her second throw in the finals.

"Coach told me to slow down, and I did, and I got the big one," Bayer said. "It was like a huge weight lifted off my shoulder."

Bayer had to sweat for a moment as King put her best effort together on her final throw, but fell short.

"This is big for her," Cross said. "She's wanted that championship for a long time."

Bayer will return to UMBC on Saturday to compete in the girls shot put at 9:30 a.m. "I'm just hoping to repeat this in the shot put," she said.

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