MPSSAA can't keep this reporter from finish line

June 03, 2004|by ANDY MASON

According to the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association meet officials, the finish-line area was no place for newspaper reporters to be at the state track and field championships at Morgan State University on Saturday.

It seemed almost like they were guarding the Super Bowl sidelines from autograph seekers disguised as sportswriters. And it seemed just like mall security guards squeezing out every last ounce of badge power on a skateboarding bust.

Maybe someone needs to remind the MPSSAA that its state track meet isn't the Super Bowl and that if it wants it to be treated like a major event, it needs media coverage about as much as shopping malls need teen shoppers.


However - fully knowing that any blame for lack of coverage would be pointed directly at me, and being the swashbuckler that I am - I still managed to be at the finish line for nearly every race Saturday as our area athletes continually crossed it ahead of the pack.

Here are my awards:

  • Freshman of the year: Boonsboro ninth-grader Hayley Harnett won the 400- and 800-meter runs as the Warriors edged eight-time defending champ Smithsburg 97-96 for the Class 1A girls team title.

  • Top golden effort: Boonsboro senior Dan Robinson won his second straight title in the 110 hurdles in a Class 1A meet-record 14.50, also the all-time Washington County record.

  • Top no-gold efforts: Thomas Johnson junior Chelsea Powell turned in a pair of season-best area times in Class 4A, placing second in the 1,600 in 5:04.17 and third in the 800 in 2:16.07.

  • Most guts: Williamsport senior Devin Hewitt probably had no business being on the starting line for the Class 1A 1,600, after spending most of Thursday night in the hospital due to heat exhaustion and dehydration following his second-place performance in the 3,200.

While he never made it to the finish line, Hewitt showed what he's all about - guts. He ended his prep sports career with state medals in four sports - wrestling, cross country, indoor track and outdoor track.

  • Best strategist: Clear Spring junior Ashley Lockard swept the Class 1A 1,600 and 3,200 titles. She didn't lead either race until the final lap.

  • Best photo finish/smokeless tobacco ad slogan: "That was the dip of my life," said Smithsburg senior Corina Campbell after dipping her upper torso across the finish line to nip Boonsboro junior Sarah Hensley, the defending champ, by one-hundredth of a second in the Class 1A 100 hurdles.

  • Vengeance honor: Hensley came back to beat Campbell to defend her title in the 300 hurdles.

Hensley vs. Campbell definitely was the top rivalry on the track this spring.

  • Alchemy achievement: The Middletown boys, who didn't win an event all weekend, successfully turned all their silver and bronze into Class 2A team gold.

Note: We probably should keep these awards to ourselves. The MPSSAA might try to take them away.

Andy Mason is assistant sports editor of The Morning Herald. His column appears every other Thursday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2334, or by e-mail at

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