Track athletes turn heads with 43 state titles

June 05, 2003|by ANDY MASON

From University of Maryland-Baltimore County to Shippensburg University to Laidley Field in Charleston, W.Va., the past two weekends were head-spinning for area track & field fans - and at least one sportswriter.

All told, 318 state-championship events were contested across the nine classifications for boys and girls in Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia combined.

The results were neck-bending for Tri-State athletes, who returned home with countless medals - including 43 golds - draped over them.

The area title count was 28 in Maryland and 15 in West Virginia.

Let's do some recounting:

-- While none of our Pennsylvania athletes reached the top of the podium, the competition was definitely a bit stiffer north of the Mason-Dixon, where the largest of the three states has the least number of classes (two).


Based on the state-meet results, only two of our champs - Boonsboro's Brett Morrell in the Maryland 1A boys long jump (23 feet) and Frederick's Ronnie Beard in the 4A boys 110-meter hurdles (14.33 seconds) - would have won in Pennsylvania.

The biggest discrepancy was in girls distance running. Thirteen girls broke 11 minutes in the 3,200 at Shippensburg, while only one cracked the barrier at UMBC and none came close in Charleston.

Enough of the geek speak.

-- Beard made his competition look like peach fuzz.

The Frederick senior, who topped the Tri-State leaderboard this season in five events (triple jump, 100, 200 and 110 and 300 hurdles), was the area's only individual triple winner on the boys side.

Beard won both hurdles events and the triple jump. Throwing in his fourth-place finish in the long jump, he accounted for 34 of Frederick's 37 points, as the Cadets finished fifth in the 4A boys team standings.

-- Jefferson's Shardal Twyman rose so fast this season we had trouble correctly catching all the letters in her name.

Sorry about that, Shardal Twyman (that is how it's spelled, right?).

The Cougars sophomore was the area's only individual triple winner on the girls side, leaving Laidley Field last weekend with Class AAA golds in the 100, 200 and long jump and the meet's high-point award.

Martinsburg senior Katie Hoeck also claimed three AAA golds, anchoring the Bulldogs' 400, 800 and 1,600 relays to titles.

-- For the first time since 1998, the Maryland 1A boys discus champ next year won't be a Martin, at least not one from the reigning family of Williamsport Martins.

Wildcats senior Ryan Martin won his third-straight title in a 1A state-meet record 166-10. Before his run, his brother, Josh, won the previous two discus titles.

-- Williamsport added another entry into the championship program, as Rhet Troxell, Mike Barnes, Matt Rouse and Aaron Buchman won the 3,200 relay in a 1A record 8:07.45.

The effort was especially pleasing - and redeeming - for Troxell, who turned in the area's top open 800 time (1:57.8) this season but was kept out of the state mix in the event due to a subpar outing at regionals.

The junior also came back and ran a leg of the Wildcats' state-title 1,600 relay.

-- Morrell, who closed out his prep career with seven state golds, kept his name in the 1A 300 hurdles record book. He just changed the time, winning in 39.02 to lower the mark he set in 2002 by .15 seconds.

The Boonsboro senior just missed on some real history, though, falling 1 1/2 inches short of the 1A long jump record set in 1966 - the state's longest standing mark.

-- Depth always prevails. Despite only getting wins from Tara Knable in the shot put and discus, the Smithsburg girls packed in enough other places to win an unparalleled eighth straight 1A team title.

All that should be enough to keep your head spinning.

Andy Mason is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. His column appears every other Thursday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2334, or by e-mail at

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