Leopards stalk 1A field

May 28, 2004|by ANDREW MASON

BALTIMORE - Tara Knable said she's fueled by failure.

It's surprising the Smithsburg senior still has anything left in her tank.

Knable captured her third straight Class 1A girls discus title with a winning throw of 122 feet, 7 inches Thursday, when the Maryland State Track & Field Championships kicked off at Morgan State University.

"My freshman year, I didn't even make it to states," Knable said. "I still look back at that, and that's what pushes me. I knew then that I'd have to work hard."

These days, Knable practices every day, some days even twice.

"Basically, you go out and stretch and warm up and then you spin until your arms get tired," she said.

With her high school career spinning behind her, Knable is preparing for one final heave Saturday, when she defends her title in the shot put.


"I'm just going to come in with the same attitude. Hopefully, I'll get the win," Knable said. "But I know that nothing's a gimme. Anybody can step up on any given day."

After six of 18 scored events, the eight-time defending state champ Smithsburg girls are in third place with 28 points - 10 behind leader Poolesville and three behind Boonsboro.

Classes 1A and 2A began Thursday, 3A and 4A begin today and all schools compete Saturday when the meet concludes.

"The meet's going pretty much as expected," Smithsburg coach Buddy Orndorff said. "We'll see what happens Saturday. Saturday will be the track meet. ... I'm just enjoying the meet. We're prepared. There's nothing I can do about anything right now."

Smithsburg and Boonsboro went head-to-head in the girls 800-meter relay, with the Leopards edging the Warriors by a fraction of a second in a school-record 1:45.0.

"That's the fastest I've ever raced in my entire life," said Smithsburg's Courtney Brown, who anchored the relay. "We knew it was going to be hard. Boonsboro and us have been really close the past few races, and we know they're our competition for the whole thing."

Smithsburg also received a second-place finish from Kristen Poffenberger in the triple jump.

The Boonsboro girls also received a second-place finish from Eileen Stump (pole vault) and third-place finishes from Kristie Johnson (triple jump) and Sarah Murto (pole vault).

Behind wins from Nevelle Pierre (high jump) and Hemu Arumugam (3,200), North Hagerstown leads the boys 2A team standings with 25 points, one point ahead of Southern-Anne Arundel. Defending champ Middletown is tied for ninth with nine points.

The Williamsport boys lead the 1A team race with 28 points. Havre de Grace is second with 25 1/2.

The Wildcats got a win from Rhet Troxell, Curtis Babbie, Matt Oliver and Aaron Buchman in the 3,200 relay and silver medals from Chris Cornwell (pole vault) and Devin Hewitt (3,200).

However, they may be down a man. Hewitt, scheduled to run the 1,600 and 800 Saturday, collapsed at the end of the 3,200 and was taken by ambulance to Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore. His father, Darren Hewitt, said he was suffering from heat exhaustion.

The area's other medal winners (top-three finishers) included:

  • Girls 1A - Clear Spring's Ashley Lockard (first, 3,200); Williamsport's Lacie Johnson (first, pole vault) and 3,200 relay (first); and Brunswick's Leah McCallum (third, discus) Greta Wengenroth (tied for third, pole vault) and Cassie Shortz (tied for third, pole vault).

  • Girls 2A - North's Jessica Hanlin (third, 3,200) and Middletown's Amanda Spickler (third, triple jump).

  • Boys 1A - Smithsburg's 800 relay (second) and Brunswick's Tom Czeh (third, pole vault).

  • Boys 2A - Middletown's 3,200 relay (second).
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