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Williamsport's title dreams faded with ailing Hewitt

May 30, 2004|By ANDREW MASON

BALTIMORE - Williamsport's Devin Hewitt wasn't going to win the Class 1A boys team title for the Wildcats all by himself at the Maryland State Track & Field Championships.

But given the chance, he might have tried.

"He's the toughest kid I've ever met in my whole life," Williamsport's Aaron Buchman said.

Hewitt collapsed from heat exhaustion and dehydration after finishing second in the 3,200 Thursday, when the state meet began at Morgan State University, and was taken by ambulance to Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore, where he spent several hours receiving medical assistance.

Surprisingly, Hewitt was back on the starting line for the 1,600 Saturday. But he never made the finish line, dropping off the track during the third lap after sharing the lead for much of the race. He didn't come back to compete in the 800 or 1,600 relay.

The Wildcats finished second to Oakland Mills, 99-66, in the team standings.

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"His body just couldn't recover," Williamsport's Rhet Troxell said. "I feel so bad for him. He definitely could have tripled, winning the 3,200, 1,600 and 800."

Troxell and Buchman tried to pick up the slack.

Troxell finished second to Oakland Mills' Karlton McCullough by a fraction of a second in both the 400 and 800, in which McCullough clocked 49.80 and 1:59.59.

"(McCullough) is just so strong. He just powers the whole time," Troxell said. "He's one of the best athletes I've run against all year."

But not the best.

"The 800 was a great race, but the best 800 runner wasn't out there," Troxell said. "I went into the race dedicating it to him, but I just came up a little short."

Buchman finished second in the 1,600 (4:36.33) and teamed with Troxell, Curtis Babbie and Seth Shrader to place second to Oakland Mills in the 1,600 relay.

"If Devin was healthy," Buchman said, "I definitely think we could have given Oakland Mills a run for their money."

-- The Middletown boys appeared to be at full strength this weekend, racking up 60 points for their fifth Class 2A state title in the last six years. Southern-Anne Arundel was second with 49.

The Knights collected enough silver and bronze to make up for their lack of gold.

The Knights received second-place finishes from Kyle Manning in the 800 (2:00.13), Josh Aldana in the 110 hurdles (14.93), Steve Papuchis in the 300 hurdles (40.97) and David Chesney in the pole vault (12-0) and third-place finishes from John Coconis in the 1,600 (4:34.06) and Aldana in the 300 hurdles (41.14).

"You have to score where you can and not let down, and that's what the boys did," Middletown coach Don Boyer said. "We proved we're a team of many."

-- Boonsboro's Dan Robinson won his second straight title in the 1A 110 hurdles in a 1A meet-record 14.50, but he came up short in his attempt to sweep the hurdles for the first time.

Robinson, who was seeded first in the 300 hurdles at 39.3, finished fourth in 41.44. Havre de Grace's Lamar Clayton won the race in 40.54.

"My steps were terrible. I usually get them real easy, but this time I wasn't getting the right spacing," Robinson said. "I'm disappointed in myself. I haven't run that bad all year."

-- Hancock senior Jordan Sterner, who finished fifth in the 110 hurdles, came back to take third in the 300 hurdles in 41.06. He probably owes some of that bronze - or maybe at least some money for his new spikes - to his father, Bill Sterner.

"He blew out the whole side of his spikes in the 110s and finished fifth," Bill Sterner said. "He thought he was done after that. He looked at me with tears on his face and I said, 'Sit down.' Then I drove 25 miles one way to buy a new pair of spikes. I got back about 40 minutes before the race."

-- In Class 3A, Frederick junior Quenton Beard captured more gold for his family's chest. Beard shot out of the blocks in the 300 hurdles, leading start to finish (39.27) after finishing second in the 110 hurdles (15.03) earlier in the day. Last year, his older brother, Ronnie, capped his standout prep career by winning both state hurdles titles and capturing the 2003 Herald-Mail Track & Field Boys Athlete of the Year honor.

Ronnie was on hand Saturday to cheer on Quenton - and offer some advice.

"Basically, I had to come back," Quenton said. "My brother told me after the 110s that I had to get out to a fast start."

-- The area's other medal winners Saturday were North Hagerstown's Nevelle Pierre (first, triple jump) and South Hagerstown's Antwan Jones (third, triple jump) in 2A and Boonsboro's Brian Smith (third, 400), Smithsburg's 400 relay (second) and Lucas Howard (second, triple jump) in 1A.

Washington County's other placewinners Saturday were South Hagerstown's Mardel Hensley (fifth, 1,600) and North's Pierre (sixth, 200) in 2A and Clear Spring's Alex Shifler (fifth, triple jump), Boonsboro's Smith (fourth, 800) and Smithsburg's Chad Brown (fourth, 1A 100) and Derek Martin (sixth, 300 hurdles) in 1A.

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