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County wins six titles

5 individuals, relay team earn championships

5 individuals, relay team earn championships

May 22, 2003|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

The first day of the Maryland Track & Field State Championships at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County on Thursday could have been mistaken for the Washington County Invitational.

That's how well the area held its own.

County athletes won five individual titles and a relay crown in Class 1A, and captured top three medals in 11 other events in 2A and 1A.

Classes 4A and 3A begin today, while the meet resumes Saturday for all four classes.

"Our region's really looking good right now. We're having a ball," said Smithsburg coach Buddy Orndorff, whose boys are tied for first with Loch Raven and whose girls are second behind Poolesville. "It's been a good day, but Saturday's the real showcase. Hopefully it will carry over to Saturday for everybody."

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The seven-time defending state champion Smithsburg girls got an opening-day win from junior Tara Knable, who easily defended her discus title with a throw of 114 feet, while senior Corey Brown defended his high jump title with his season-best leap of 6-4 for the Leopards boys.

Boonsboro senior Brett Morrell - the 2002 Herald-Mail Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year - won his third straight long jump title in dramatic fashion, edging Brown for the win on his very last jump in a school-record 23-0. Brown finished second in a school-record 22-81/2.

"I had one last shot," Morrell said. "So I gave it everything."

The Williamsport boys 3,200-meter relay team picked up where it left off indoors. Rhet Troxell, Mike Barnes, Matt Rouse and Aaron Buchman - who teamed to win the 3,200 relay in a Class 2A-1A indoor state record in February - added an outdoor championship in the event in a school- and Class 1A state-record 8:07.45.

The previous mark, set by Francis Scott Key in 1981, was 8:10.0.

"We weren't backing off today," said Buchman, who ran the closing leg in 1:59.8. "I came across 400 meters in 58 seconds, and I heard my dad tell me I needed a 2:02 for the record and I just took off.

"We really wanted both records. That was our goal back in October. I can't believe it's finally happened."

Williamsport senior Brittany Kershner was also in disbelief after winning the girls triple jump in a personal-best 34-53/4.

"I wasn't expecting this at all, because I wasn't ranked that high," said Kershner, who was seeded fourth at 32-1. "I knew I'd have to come in here and work for it, which I did. It's a great way to end my high school track career."

South Hagerstown junior James Price never trailed on his way to the boys shot put victory in 49-2. For the second year in a row, the Rebel was the top seed. So after finishing second last year, he was all about the gold Thursday.

"I just tried to clear my head and not think about what happened last year," said Price. "I've been working hard, and I was just trying to win."

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