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On the fast track

February 17, 2004|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

They probably could have saved Boonsboro's Dan Robinson the trip to Prince George's Sports & Learning Complex and just mailed him his gold medal.

Washington County athletes won eight Class 2A-1A events Monday at the Maryland State Indoor Track & Field Championships, including Robinson's third straight state victory in the boys 55-meter hurdles.

"A lot of people told me I could do it," said Robinson, who won easily in 7.72 seconds. "I didn't believe them, though. It's always a possibility that I could lose."

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The Boonsboro senior didn't taste defeat in the hurdles all season, one that he capped by becoming the county's first athlete to win three consecutive boys indoor state titles in the same event.

"I ran as hard as I could possibly run," Robinson said. "I just got my blood boiling before the race so that I could feel it in all of my veins and muscles and then the gun went off.

"I'm still shaking from the adrenaline."

Williamsport accounted for the county's other boys champions. Chris Cornwell won the pole vault, Devin Hewitt took the 3,200, Aaron Buchman captured the 1,600 and Matt Oliver, Curtis Babbie, Rhet Troxell and Hewitt combined legs to win the 3,200 relay, leading the Wildcats to a third-place team finish.

Sarah Hensley won the 55 hurdles for the Boonsboro girls, the state runners-up to Poolesville, while the Smithsburg girls, who finished a close third, got wins from Jessica Yu in the high jump and Samantha Schweinhart in the pole vault.

The Warriors' and Leopards' team finishes were directly related to the hurdles race, in which Hensley avenged her only season loss at the West region championships last week, edging Smithsburg's Corina Campbell at the line by an eyelash. Hensley won in 8.66, while Campbell was second in 8.69.

"I wasn't expecting her at regionals," Hensley said. "I knew she was fast, but she kind of snuck up on me."

She was ready for Campbell on Monday.

"I figured it would come down to us again," Hensley said. "I just had to get out hard."

Schweinhart's title was not without its disappointment.

"I'm very excited that I won, but I didn't PR," said Schweinhart, who equaled her personal record with her winning vault of 8 feet, 6 inches. "But I guess you can't have everything."

She was quick to put things in perspective, though.

"The thing about a PR is that everyone can get that at any meet," Schweinhart said. "But not everyone can be a state champion."

Yu's winning jump of 5-4 came on her third and final try at the height. Had she missed, she would have finished behind Parkside's Jessica Carey, even though both were even at 5-2.

"I had misses and she didn't have any misses," Yu said of their jumps leading to 5-2. "It was a lot of pressure."

Cornwell faced the same situation against Brunswick's Tom Czeh in their vaulting duel. Czeh beat Cornwell to 11-6, but the Wildcat was the only one to clear 12-0, which came on his final attempt for a personal record.

"I had to go a height above him because he was there on less attempts," Cornwell said. "It was either miss it and come home second or make it and be state champion. It was gutsy."

Seniors Buchman and Hewitt took a different approach, both leading their events from start to finish.

"I knew I was going to take the lead from the beginning," said Buchman, who won the 1,600 in 4:36.07, holding off South Carroll's late-charging Phil Diven by 2.48 seconds. "It's harder running from the front, but I wanted to control the race.

"The 1,600, that's always been my race. I've been wanting my own individual state championship for four years."

In the 3,200, Hewitt shook off Glenelg's Garret Maxson midway through the race and was never bothered again, winning by half a lap in 10:18.92.

The Wildcats distance men began the day by defending their title in the 3,200 relay. Oliver and Babbie kept the baton in the front pack through the first two legs, before Troxell captured the lead for good and Hewitt carried it home in 8:35.2, nearly 5 seconds ahead of runner-up Oakland Mills.

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