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Smithsburg girls team wins state cross country

November 11, 2000|By DAN KAUFFMAN

Smithsburg girls team wins state cross country



HEREFORD, Md. - At the beginning of the year, the odds of someone picking Smithsburg to win the Maryland Class 1A girls cross country championship were remote. Even the Leopards themselves weren't sure of what they had.

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"At the beginning of the year, we knew we had a good team," said sophomore Jordann Waldron, "but we weren't sure we would have a chance at states."

Slowly, Smithsburg made a name for itself in recent weeks, winning both the Washington County and 1A West Region titles.

When all the scores were tallied after Saturday's race at Hereford High School, the Leopards were state champions for the first time since 1978, winning by 2 points over Glenelg, 58-60.

"A lot of people didn't think we were going to do this," junior Carrie Hartman said. "I think we surprised a lot of people."

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"All year long, this was our goal, to win states," said junior Laura Stouffer, who won individual titles at the county and regional meets. "We all pulled together and worked really hard."

Williamsport finished third with 76, while Boonsboro finished fifth with 108, giving the county three of the state's Top 5 Class 1A girls teams.

The Loepards won their state title the same way they won all year long - with depth. Stouffer finished third in 21 minutes, 13 seconds, while Waldron put her best foot forward for a fifth-place finish in 21:54.

"I knew (the team competition) was going to be close, and I knew I'd really have to push myself," Waldron said.

"She's been hobbled with a (slight) leg injury," Smithsburg coach Jack Gest said. "She just put the pain aside and gutted it out for the team."

Then the backbone of the Leopards' team - freshman Emily Sprankle, Hartman and sophomore Nikki Centofonti - sealed the deal by finishing 14th, 22nd and 23rd. The three stayed close together throughout the race, as they did all season long.

"We push each other and encourage each other to become better," Hartman said.

"It was hard, very challenging," Sprankle said. "They encouraged me."

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