Rain sloshes 2A West meet to a halt

May 16, 2003|by ANDREW MASON

MIDDLETOWN, Md. - While the rain wasn't exactly a gift, it couldn't wash away the efforts Thursday during the first day of the Maryland Class 2A West Track & Field Championships.

"To give less than your best is to give away the gift. That's what (American distance-running legend Steve) Prefontaine said," said Middletown's Bryce McKinney.

McKinney - who teamed with Chris Green, Kyle Manning and Kyle Eccard in the 3,200-meter relay - dueled with Centennial for 500 meters of the final leg, before dropping the hammer. The Knights senior broke the tape in 8:24.3 - more than two seconds ahead of the runner-up Eagles - with a 2:02 split on his home track.


"He held onto me that first lap," said McKinney. "I just made my move with 300 to go.

"(Middletown coach Don Boyer) told me to go after it and win. I do what I'm told. You have to respect your elders."

The girls 3,200 relay also went down to the wire, as North Hagerstown's quartet of Jenna Line, McKenzie Fox, Helen Barnhart and Jessica Hanlin chased winner Glenelg (10:07.1) to the line in a season-best 10:10.4.

However, most of the excitement on the rain-soaked track stopped there, as the 3,200 relays were the day's only track finals. After the meet was delayed an hour by thunder and lightning, the decision was made to move the remainder of the first-day schedule to Saturday.

Saturday's conclusion at Middletown, which was to begin at 11 a.m. with the high-hurdles finals, will now start at 10 with the remainder of the 200 trials. Those will be followed by the girls and boys 3,200 runs and 800 relays. After an hour break, the second-day events will begin at approximately 12:30 p.m. The girls discus and triple jump, also scheduled for Thursday, will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday.

"Weather was horrible. We tried to finish it, but because of the lightning and thunder, there was no way that we could get it in," said Boyer. "The main thing now is we still want to give all the athletes a chance to qualify (for states) like it's a two-day event."

While North Hagerstown senior Paige O'Flaherty already punched her ticket - winning the high jump in 5-0, two inches better than top-seed Rachel Hammond of Fort Hill - she wants a full plate at states. O'Flaherty will compete in the 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles and 400 relay Saturday.

"I'm hoping to go to states in all four," she said. "That's better than sitting around all day and only doing one there."

While the rain and wind affected all the competitors Thursday, the pole vaulters seemed to feel it the most.

"By far, it's the event that's affected the most," said Middletown vaulter David Chesney. "It makes the approach and plant very difficult."

Yet, that didn't stop Chesney from topping his nearest competitor by a foot in 12-0.

"It was an equal playing field for everyone," said the Knights junior. "You just can't let it intimidate you."

The defending champ Middletown boys also got a first-place effort in the long jump from Boris Roslov, who leaped to a personal-best 21-10 1/4.

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