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County athletes are golden at state meet

February 25, 2003|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

Landover, MD - In the first 2A-1A boys race of the Maryland Indoor Track & Field Championships, four Wildcats covered 3,200 meters faster than anyone in Class 1A history.

Williamsport's 3,200 relay team of Rhet Troxell, Mike Barnes, Matt Rouse and Aaron Buchman blew away the field Monday, winning in 8 minutes, 17.1 seconds at Prince George's Sports & Learning Complex and breaking the previous 1A record of 8:21.79 set by Oakland Mills in 2001.

"They were fired up," Wildcats distance coach Taylor Oliver said. "They really wanted to set the state record today, and they did it."

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Williamsport's girls 3,200 relay team also won gold, as did four other Washington County athletes - Boonsboro's Dan Robinson, Clear Spring's Ashley Lockard, North Hagerstown's McKenzie Fox and Smithsburg's David McDougal.

Troxell, running the first leg of the boys 3,200 relay, eliminated any suspense over which team would win, using his final lap to put a 40-meter gap on the rest of the field.

"My goal was to get the lead, so with one lap left, I took off," Troxell said. "I wanted to give the team a shot at the record."

Barnes, Rouse and Buchman then competed against the clock for the record. Barnes turned in a sizzling second leg in 2:02, and Rouse and Buchman brought the record home.

"We knew coming in here we could win and also get the record," Buchman said. "I knew what I had to do and I went out and did it."

Williamsport's girls completed a Wildcats sweep of the 2A-1A 3,200 relay titles. Theresa Ruland, Makeena Hardy, Laura Forsyth and Kristin Berry - all of them freshmen - finished in 10:08.1 to hold off Glenelg and Poolesville.

"They ran really well, all of them did," Oliver said. "They all ran good splits. It's something we told them they could do."

Ruland gave Williamsport about a 20-meter lead with her final lap. Forsyth, running the third leg, found herself in a battle with Glenelg that carried over to the fourth leg.

But Berry's final surge down the frontstretch was enough for the title, as she made the final pass on Glenelg and held on.

"It was a matter of who died first," Berry said.

In the much-anticipated 2A-1A boys 55 hurdles, Robinson won his second straight state title, defending the 2002 championship by outleaning Southern-Anne Arundel's Andrew Peresta at the finish to win by three-hundreds of a second in 7.67.

"I just tried as hard as I could to get first, I wanted it so bad," Robinson said. "Every time I went over a hurdle, I could see him on my right inching up. I just tucked and leaned at the finish."

Lockard came from the back of a pack of five runners in the final lap, blowing past the other four on the final turn and winning the 2A-1A girls 1,600 in 5:25.6.

"I was right there where I was supposed to be," Lockard said. "I was surprised when I got the lead at first, and when I crossed the finish line, I was so happy."

Fox won the 3A-2A girls 800 in 2:29.8, getting a comfortable lead with a lap left and cruising to the finish.

"The whole thing felt really comfortable, I felt really good," Fox said. "I wanted to stay back the first lap, get in the top (group) the second lap, make my move in the third lap in the turn and in the fourth lap give it everything I had."

McDougal - who finished second in the boys 2A-1A high jump each of the past two years - won the event on his third try, clearing 6 feet, 2 inches.

"This has been my best season so far," McDougal said. "This is the first time I've felt like I was No. 1. It's kinda weird."

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