'Cats' state title hopes tumble with ill-timed fall

February 17, 2004|by ANDREW MASON

LANDOVER, Md. - When Rhet Troxell crashed knee-first to the track with 200 meters left in the Class 2A-1A 500-meter run during Monday's Maryland State Indoor Track & Field Championships, the title hopes of Williamsport's boys team cracked with the eggs Troxell was carrying in his basket.

"Like they say, anything can happen at a state meet," said coach Cindy Mease, whose Wildcats finished third with 56 points, eight points behind winner Oakland Mills. "That's why you can't put all of your eggs in one basket."

While Williamsport received wins from Chris Cornwell in the pole vault (12 feet), Aaron Buchman in the 1,600 (4:36.07), Devin Hewitt in the 3,200 (10:18.92) and its 3,200 relay (8:35.2), the eggs Troxell carried proved to be Fabergs.


Troxell, who hadn't lost a 500 or 800 race all season, picked himself off the track - after being cut off and tripped while competing for at least third place - and jogged to the line, finishing in last place for zero points. He was seeded second in the race.

"I was starting to make my kick on the last lap to gain some ground and possibly even win the race," Troxell said. "... I just got up and finished the race and then it was all I could do to bend my knee."

Troxell's swelled, stiff knee sidelined him for the 800, where he was seeded first. Buchman stepped up and finished a strong second (2:00.39) to Glenelg's Drew Graybeal (1:59.49), as both runners went under the 1A meet record.

"Troxell was the favorite to win that," Buchman said. "I wanted to go out there and win it for him, but I just came up a little short."

Still, the Wildcats needed more than a win.

"That's what hurt the most," Troxell said, "sitting there watching the race not being able to help the team."

At states, wins are worth 10 points, seconds eight, thirds six, fourths four, fifths two and sixths one.

Any combination from Troxell in the 500 or 800, who likely would have added up to big numbers, probably would have equaled a state title for Williamsport.

"We worked so hard to get here and then something like that happens," Troxell said. "It's just disappointing."

Troxell returned to team with Seth Shrader, Neil Forsythe and Hewitt to take second place in the 1,600 relay (4:19.94).

"Willpower ... guts," Troxell said. "I couldn't go out my senior year and not be able to finish the meet."

Knights leap to second

The Middletown boys, last year's Class 2A-1A champ, finished second in 3A-2A Monday with 39 points, 20 points behind winner Mergenthaler.

The Knights were led by Boris Roslov's win in the high jump (6-6), a 1-3 finish in the pole vault by David Chesney (12-6) and Barry Gibbons (11-6) and a second-place finish from their 3,200 relay (8:34.65).

"I was seeded first on paper," Chesney said. "It was supposed to happen, but people lay their hearts out at the state championships."

Chesney dug even deeper.

"I felt like I spilled my guts," he said. "I don't know how much more I could have given to keep making those heights."

Competing on the rubberized, tartan track at Prince George's Sports & Learning Complex, Roslov was disappointed he didn't match or better the 6-9 personal best he set earlier this season at Hagerstown Community College.

"I jumped 6-9 on a basketball court," Roslov said. "I just wanted to do something good on a floor like this, but I couldn't do it."

For the Middletown girls, who placed seventh, Allison Jarkey and Lena Kotani took first (10-0) and second (8-6) in the pole vault.

Lockard settles for second

Maybe Clear Spring's Ashley Lockard is mortal after all.

The Blazers junior, who was unbeaten in the 1,600 and 3,200 all season and the defending 2A-1A 1,600 state champ, led both races Monday before falling victim to Poolesville's Janelle Thompson's torrid kick.

Lockard faded to fifth in the 1,600 (5:27.90) after Thompson (5:22.43) broke up the race in the final 400, and then cruised home in second (11:54.02) in the 3,200 after Thompson (11:49.68) dropped a 32-second final lap.

"She has a killer kick," Lockard said. "But they were still good races. Everybody has to lose at least once."

Cats take third in record

In the meet-opening 2A-1A girls 3,200 relay, Theresa Ruland, Laura Scuffins, Laura Forsythe and Kristin Berry combined for a school-record 9:59.1 for the defending-champ Wildcats.

The time was also 5.2 seconds faster than the decade-old 1A record.

But Glenelg clocked a 9:45.7 to win, and Poolesville went 9:48.9 for second.

"Three teams under 10 minutes, that's just awesome," Mease said. "You can't ask for more than that."

Medals roundup

The area's other top-three finishers were:

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