Feiser takes one for the team

May 28, 2000|By BOB PARASILITI

* Smithsburg sophomore Michelle Feiser put her personal goals on hold Saturday to help the Leopards win their fifth straight Class 1A state track and field title.

CATONSVILLE, Md. - It's become passe and cliche, but coaches love to remind anyone who will listen that there is no "I" in team.

On Saturday, a dedicated sophomore did her very best to show there's no "I" in Feiser either.

cont. from sports page

Michelle Feiser can't help that that dotted letter stands tall in the middle of her name, but it didn't prevent her from taking one for the team to help the Smithsburg girls track win its fifth consectutive Maryland Class 1A state championship on a rainy Saturday at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County.

Feiser had the ultimate ego vs. success scenerio staring her in the face as the Leopards tried to set Maryland track history with another victory. She gave up personal gratification for a bigger prize.


"She had the inside track to win the 300 intermediate hurdles," Smithsburg coach Buddy Orndorff said. "But we felt we could use her to score more points for the team."

Orndorff asked Feiser to run the 400 and the intermediate hurdles, two grueling events that were scheduled consecutively. Orndorff asked Feiser to burn off energy to run the 400, not her top event, before she attacked the hurdles.

She was sacrificing her best event to help the Leopards by using her talents to score in an event she doesn't excel.

In the 400, Feiser had to pull back on her throttle.

"That was very hard for me," Feiser said. "I actually had more in me than I expected. I tried to go out and run with the girl from Poolesville because she won our region."

The strategy resulted in a second-place finish and a real challenge for the hurdles.

Instead of leading the event, Feiser was in chase mode.

Feiser tried to keep pace with Rachel Clinton of Owings Mills, Smithsburg's chief competition for the team title.

"I had more left in me than I thought," Feiser said. "I missed a couple of my steps early in the hurdles and it threw me off."

That translated into a third in her pet event. That sounds bad, but Feiser scored 14 points for the Leopards instead of just the 10 she could have had if she had competed in only the hurdles and won.

"We had a lot of girls do that for us," said Orndorff, who has led Smithsburg's girls to seven state titles in the last nine years. "She scored those points in a crucial part of the meet for us. It was the turning point of the meet and through her personal sacrifice, we got 14 needed points for the team.

"These girls worked hard and did everything we needed. The older girls are used to winning."

And so are sophomores like Feiser.

"It's amazing," she said. "It's like the domino effect. We weren't expected to do well this year, but we worked hard to win."

Feiser helped win Smithsburg a state title and she won a trophy case of admiration from her coach on Saturday. About the only thing she didn't win, was that medal the state hands out to signify an individual state championship.

"I really wanted it," Feiser admits. "I'll be ready to get it next year. Right now, that big (state championship team) plaque will take care of not getting that little medal."

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