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'Cats bury their competition

January 18, 2004|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

If there's one thing every track and field coach dreams of, it's talented depth. And right now, Cindy Mease and the rest of the Williamsport coaching staff is living the dream.

Fifteen girls and 10 boys scored points for the Wildcats on Friday evening as Williamsport swept the team titles in the Monocacy Valley Athletic League Antietam Conference Championships at the Hagerstown Community College athletic complex.

"(The depth) has been the one thing that's really been a blessing," Mease said. "Everything runs in a cycle, and these last two years we've hit it. Winning is the icing on the cake, and it's nice to have a little of the icing for a change."

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Williamsport's boys title was punctuated late in the evening by Devin Hewitt's record performance in the 800-meter run. Showing no ill effects from the flu which had sidelined him for two days this week, Hewitt became the first prep county athlete to break two minutes in the HCC athletic complex, running a sizzling 1:59.9.

"Devin's just so strong, and when you stop to think he was out two days with the flu and then to come back and run a time like that, it's amazing," Mease said. "I don't think he knows how strong he is."

Williamsport won all but three of the 10 track events. Rhet Troxell - who also battled the flu this week - won the 500 (1:10.4), while other winners were Neil Forsythe in the 300 (37.2), Aaron Buchman in the 1,600 (4:51.4), Matt Oliver in the 3,200 (11:01.0) and the 1,600 and 3,200 relay teams.

As an added bonus, Chris Cornwell tied Brunswick's Tom Czeh for first in the pole vault (10 feet, 6 inches) with Curtis Babbie finishing third, while Matt Wallace and Matt Daveler finished third and fourth in the high jump for the Wildcats.

"One thing we needed to do as a team was improve our field events, and we've made a conscious effort to do that and we've had success," Mease said.

Smithsburg finished second to Williamsport in the team standings, boosted by a 1-2-3 finish in the 55 dash from Chad Brown (6.6), Justin Thompson (6.7) and Josh Talbert (6.9).

North Hagerstown finished third, getting a 1-2 finish from Neville Pierre and Darail Porter in the high jump. Pierre cleared 5-10 for the win and Porter cleared 5-8.

Williamsport's girls scored at least eight points in every running event and finished with a staggering 112 points on the track. The winners included Catie Witman in the 55 dash (7.4), Jess Clingan in the 300 (43.1), Theresa Ruland in the 3,200 (12:27.5) and all three relay teams.

Clear Spring's Ashley Lockard continued her development into one of the area's most dominant distance runners, squeaking out the 800 title in a photo finish with Boonsboro's Kara Wastler in 2:27.7 and decisively pulling away from Wastler in the 1,600 in 5:26.5.

Boonsboro finished second to Williamsport in the team standings, led by Sarah Hensley, who won the 55 hurdles easily in 8.5 seconds and took second in the 55 dash. Eileen Stump won the pole vault by clearing 8-6.

Jessica Yu's easy victory in the high jump (she cleared 5 feet), combined with Brittany White's second and Katie Seifarth's fifth, gave Smithsburg 20 points in the event, helping the Leopards finish third in the team race.

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