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Personal Top 10 list highlighted with goals, golds

January 02, 2004|by ANDREW MASON

Before we get ourselves too caught up in the new calendar, let's take a quick peak back at the last 12 months of area prep sports.

The following are my top 10 plays that I watched from my front-row press seat in 2003. While, unfortunately, I never got the chance to witness any Brandon Barrett touchdowns, David Miner dunks or Nick Adenhart fastballs last year, this list still isn't a bad one.

-- 10. Making his first career start in the North Hagerstown football team's backfield Sept. 12 against Hedgesville, senior tailback Bryan Slater carried the ball 11 yards up the middle for his second touchdown run of the first half and a 12-6 North lead.

The Hubs never looked back on their way to a 25-6 victory and their first 2-0 season start since 1987.

"Coach put me in, the line was blocking and the team was pumped up," said Slater, who ran his way onto The Herald-Mail All-Area First Team as North went 11-0 before falling in the Maryland Class 2A West title game. "I'm just trying to help out as much as I can."

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-- 9. In no way was it even close to the most important cross country meet of the year, but the Hedgesville Invitational Sept. 9 did lend us a hand determining our All-Area Girls Runner of the Year.

In the only matchup between Berekely Springs sophomore Valerie Peer, who won her second straight West Virginia Class AA-A state title two months later, and Clear Spring junior Ashley Lockard, who won the Maryland Class 1A state crown, Peer pulled away from Lockard on a long downhill in the final mile and held on for a 15-second win.

"We were going neck-and-neck," Peer said. "The last mile, that's when you have to give it your all."

-- 8. Williamsport's Rhet Troxell and Martinsburg's Brad Dodson were two of the area's premiere middle distance runners on the track last spring, capturing two state golds apiece - Troxell in the Maryland Class 1A 3,200- and 1,600-meter relays and Dodson in the West Virginia Class AAA 1,600 run and 3,200 relay.

When they went head-to-head in the featured Dr. James Banks 800 - the only individual event of the 24th annual Rebel Relays - under the lights at School Stadium April 25, it was showtime.

While the winning time - 2:02.3 - wasn't close to either athlete's personal best, Troxell was more than delighted to post it after using a ferocious kick down the final straightaway to nip Dodson at the line.

"I definitely wanted it," Troxell said. "It was the only open event and I wanted to do everything I could to win it. That was my No. 1 goal coming into the meet."

-- 7. In front of an estimated crowd of 2,500 at Beall High School Nov. 4, Smithsburg's Sarah Shinham shot the soccer ball between Beall goalkeeper Kacey Kahl and the right post for a walkoff penalty kick.

The Leopards won the shootout 4-3, following 100 minutes of scoreless play, for their third straight Maryland Class 1A West title.

"I wasn't nervous at all," Shinham said. "I told Coach, 'Write me down, it's going in.'"

-- 6. "It was destiny," Walkersville's Ed Asbill said, "God's will."

Considering that had Asbill's family's new house in Virginia been built on time he wasn't even going to wrestle last season, it sure seemed that way March 8 at the Maryland state tournament at McDaniel College.

Facing Bethesda-Chevy Chase's Eric Jeronimo in the Class 2A-1A 130-pound title bout, Asbill scored the only takedown of the match in the second period on his way to a 3-1 win.

-- 5. Wearing black bands on their singlets, the Chambersburg girls kicked off their track season the same way they began countless meets under the guidance of Tim Cook, winning the 3,200 relay - one of Cook's specialties - at home against James Buchanan March 21.

It was the Trojans' first competition without their longtime coach, who was killed in an automobile accident in December 2002.

"When I was running ... I was thinking of him," said Kylee Schuler, who anchored the 3,200 relay. "I told the girls in the 4x8, 'We have to win the first event for Mr. Cook.'"

-- 4. A few hours after Shinham's kick lifted the Smithsburg girls to the region title, the Jordan brothers, Ben and Phil, hooked up to keep the Williamsport boys soccer team's season alive against Beall on the same field.

With the Wildcats trailing 1-0 in the hosts' packed house, Phil went to the air to head Ben's throw-in pass into the back of the net to tie the game with 3:29 left. It was especially dramatic because, just minutes earlier, a similar game-tying goal scored off one of Ben's throw-ins was disallowed.

"My brother just puts it in there," Phil said, "and I finally got one to go."

After two scoreless overtime periods, Williamsport won the region title in a shootout.

-- 3. North Hagerstown senior Jessica Hanlin made her move early, grabbing the lead around the one-mile mark in the Class 2A girls race at the Maryland state cross country championships Nov. 8 at Hereford High School.

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