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Middletown sweeps west region track title

February 03, 2001

Middletown sweeps west region track title



By DAN KAUFFMAN / Staff Writer


Todd Morris runs.

It sounds simple, and for Morris, a senior at Williamsport, it is.

"I just go out and run," Morris said while taking a breather after gutting out victories in both the boys 300- and 500-meter dashes at the Maryland Class 1A/2A West Region Championships on Saturday.

"I carry on in practice and stuff, but here, it comes down to business. I go out, and it's just going out and running."

Middletown swept the team titles at the Hagerstown Community College athletic complex.

The Knights' boys got victories from Mark Samuel in the 1,600 (4 minutes, 43.2 seconds) and 3,200 (10:12.4) and scored 100 points.

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"The opportunity presented itself (to win both events), so I just took it," Samuel said. "I was just trying to qualify for states."

Northwest finished second with 92 1/2 points, Fort Hill was third with 50 and Smithsburg finished fourth with 42 1/2.

Middletown didn't clinch the boys title until the second-to-last event, the 800, when Paul Dorsey won in 2:07.6 and John Coconis placed fourth in 2:11.0 to turn back Northwest's challenge.

Randy Buzzell won the girls 500 (1:20.8), 800 (2:22.2) and 1,600 (5:05.9) and anchored the winning 1,600 relay team as Middletown's girls finished with 85 points.

"I think it was my night," Buzzell said. "You have meets sometimes where everything goes according to plan. ... I was really happy with (the 1,600) performance, that got me on a roll tonight."

Poolesville's girls finished second with 65 points, while Williamsport finished third with 43.

While Washington County teams failed to make a major dent in the standings, Morris himself turned in two of the best performances of the afternoon.

In the 300, Morris passed Dorsey early, then went shoulder to shoulder with Northwest's Mike Simms down the final stretch, leaning for the finish just a split second in front.

His time of 36.4 was a half-second faster than his county record performance of last week.

"Strength, it's pure strength," Wildcats coach Andy Ulmer said. "I don't know where he finds it sometimes. We call him the animal."

Then in the 500, Morris jumped out to a 10- to 15-meter lead on Dorsey before Dorsey mounted a furious challenge into the final turn, coming up on Morris' shoulder at the beginning of the final stretch.

"I knew he was there," Morris said. "I was just going to hold him off."

And hold him off Morris did, again calling on one last reserve of energy to clock 1:08.5, beating Dorsey by four-tenths of a second.

"We were afraid he went out too fast," Ulmer said, "but ... he always finds that other gear. ... He's all business. His work ethic is top-notch."

Now, Morris can turn his attention to the state championships on Feb. 19, where he will most likely meet Oakland Mills' Kyle Farmer in the 300. Farmer has a 34-second 300 in the books this season, but Morris looks forward to the challenge.

"I've been waiting. ... Yeah, I know he's two seconds under me, but that's just one race he did that at.

"I'll give it all I've got."

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