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Leopards, 'Cats are qualifying success

May 22, 2004|By ANDREW MASON

SMITHSBURG - Winning the team title at the Maryland Class 1A West Track & Field Championships wasn't the No. 1 goal for either the Smithsburg girls or the Williamsport boys Friday.

Their victories just worked out that way. Smithsburg, the eight-time defending state champ, beat Poolesville, which shared the state title with the Leopards last year, 134-108 for the girls crown, while Williamsport edged Poolesville 97 1/2-97 for the boys title.

"It's nice," Smithsburg coach Buddy Orndorff said. "But the bottom line is that you want to qualify your people who are going to get points for you next week, and we did that."

Next week, of course, is the state meet at Morgan State University in Baltimore. The top four in each event Friday automatically advanced.

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"Today was a qualifying heat," said Williamsport assistant coach Taylor Oliver, who guides the Wildcats' extremely deep and talented distance squad, which clearly was just out to qualify Friday. "We're not trying to win. Finishing fourth is as good as a win."

The Wildcats received wins from Rhet Troxell in the 400-meter dash (50.4 seconds), Chris Cornwell in the pole vault (12 feet, 2 1/2 inches) and their 1,600-relay team (3:30.9).

Tara Knable, the defending state champ in the shot put and discus, won both events Friday in personal records - 39-6 in the shot and 131-2 in the discus - to pace the Leopards.

"Wow, I'm just beside myself. My goal all year was to throw 130 feet," Knable said. "It just feels good to help the team. This is an important meet. You want to have momentum going into the state meet."

The Smithsburg girls, who won the 400, 800 and 1,600 relays, also got victories from Samantha Schweinhart in the pole vault (8-10), Kristen Poffenberger in the long jump (15-10) and Corina Campbell in the 100 hurdles (15.3).

"We're really proud of our kids," Orndorff said. "They've had a lot of big meets the last few weeks and they've really risen to the occasion."

For the Boonsboro girls, who finished third with 102 1/2 points, Kara Wastler won the 1,600 (5:23.6), Sarah Hensley took the 300 hurdles (45.8) and freshman sensation Hayley Harnett won the 400 (59.4) and 800 (2:24.6).

Harnett credited her wins to Wastler's senior leadership.

"Kara just pushes me so much. At practices, she's always ahead of me," she said. "She's awesome. It's all because of her."

The Smithsburg boys, who finished third with 86 1/2 points, got wins from their 400 and 800 relays (44.0 and 1:32.1) and Lucas Howard in the triple jump (43-4 1/2).

"We had a real nice day. We tied the school record in the 4x2," said Smithsburg's Dustin Aaron, who anchored both winning relays. "We wanted to win the meet, but states is what's really important to us."

Other double-winners included Boonsboro's Dan Robinson in the boys 110 hurdles (14.5) and 300 hurdles (39.3) and Brunswick's Rachel McCallum in the girls 100 (12.6) and 200 (25.9).

Other winners included Clear Spring's Ashley Lockard in the girls 3,200 (12:08.9) and Boonsboro's Brian Smith in the boys 800 (2:01.3). Smith spoiled Williamsport's attempt at a three-way tie for first, sneaking past Wildcats Aaron Buchman, Devin Hewitt and Troxell right at the finish line.

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