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Lockard, Williamsport girls win region cross country titles

November 01, 2003|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

CLEAR SPRING - Just Dewitt, Hewitt.

Williamsport senior Devin Hewitt said Beall junior Dan Dewitt might be the only one standing in the way of him and the Maryland Class 1A state cross country title on Nov. 8 at Hereford High School.

Dewitt was the only thing standing in the way of Hewitt on Friday at the West region championships.

Dewitt took the lead from Hewitt shortly before the 2-mile mark on Clear Spring's hilly 3-mile course and kept it, breaking the tape in 16 minutes, 57 seconds.

"He and I are picked to go 1-2 in the state," said Hewitt, the runner-up in 17:11. "And the guys who finished third and fourth (Beall's Chris Negley, 17:20, and Scott Bonnette, 17:23) are picked to be in the top five, too, by the guys on mdrunning.net. That's my competition for next week."

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Needless to say, Beall, which claimed four of the top eight places, cruised to the team title with 40 points. Williamsport (70) was second, Smithsburg (132) fourth and Catoctin (145) fifth in the 12-team field. The top six teams advanced to states.

Business was usual in the girls race. And there might not be anything out there standing in the way of its winners.

Defending state and region champ Williamsport placed five in the top 12 to cruise to the win with 32 points - 55 fewer than runner-up Poolesville - while Clear Spring junior Ashley Lockard, the MVAL Antietam and Washington County champ, won the race in 19:32 - 18 seconds ahead of runner-up and defending champ Jennifer Patton of Westmar.

"I took the lead right before the second mile and tried to keep it as much as I could," Lockard said. "I felt pretty good. I felt excellent."

Williamsport coach Randy Buchman was less excited about the team win.

"We didn't have a good day. I'm not sure why," he said. "Obviously, we're calibrated to a different standard than we used to be. I was hoping for five of the top nine, but there were a lot of strong runners out there.

"I'm just thankful to get off the course alive and get them out of here all in one piece. We have some work to do for next week."

Theresa Ruland placed third in 20:18 to lead the Wildcats, while Boonsboro (93) and Clear Spring (96) went 3-4 in the team standings. The top four girls teams advanced.

The top 15 girls automatically qualified for states. They included: Catoctin's Jamie Wright (fifth, 20:27); Williamsport's Laura Forsythe (sixth, 20:39), Makenna Hardy (seventh, 20:59), Amanda Breeden (eighth, 21:36) and Kristin Berry (12th, 22:03); Boonsboro's Kara Wastler (10th, 21:38); and Clear Spring's Lindsey Banister (11th, 21:40).

In the boys race, the top 20 made the cut for states. They included: Clear Spring's Jimmy Atkins (fifth, 17:32); Williamsport's Aaron Buchman (seventh, 17:51), Justin Cole (13th, 18:13) and James Fiorita (14th, 18:16); Catoctin's Michael Topper (ninth, 17:59); Smithsburg's Eric Hutchison (11th, 18:05), Lance Poffenberger (17th, 18:20) and Ben Cooper (18th, 18:22); and Boonsboro's Brian Smith (19th, 18:23).

One thing's for sure, the Hereford course, infamous for its hills, will be unlike any course most runners have seen all season.

Hewitt, a state silver medalist in wrestling last winter, hopes to work that to his advantage.

"I think next week's course will favor me. (Dewitt) is a real strong finisher, so I'm going to focus on taking him out hard," Hewitt said. "From wrestling, I'm a lot stronger than most of these guys, so I'm pretty good on the hills with my leg drive and my arms."

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