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Cut out to be a runner

Wood, Lockard, Williamsport girls team lead the area

Wood, Lockard, Williamsport girls team lead the area

November 05, 2004|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

CLEAR SPRING - Matt Wood isn't one to sit around and sulk when things don't go his way.

When the Boonsboro senior was cut from the Warriors boys soccer team in August, he simply switched sports.

"I played soccer for three years, but we had a tryout on the first day of practice and I got cut," Wood said. "It was pretty bad. I was broken up over it, but right away I knew what I was going to do. I went out for cross country."

As the cross country season has progressed, so has Wood.

Thursday, Wood was the area's top finisher in the boys race at the Maryland Class 1A West championships. He placed fourth overall on an especially wet and sloppy 3-mile course in 17 minutes, 4 seconds.

"Coming here and being able to do this is just very special for me," Wood said, "because it gives me something else to do and I succeeded in it."

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He also earned his ticket to the big show - the Nov. 13 state meet at Hereford.

Qualifying for states was the top priority for most teams and runners Thursday. In order to qualify, teams had to place in the top four in the girls race and top six in the boys. Individually, the top 15 girls and top 20 boys automatically advanced.

The drill has become fairly routine for the Williamsport girls team, which is aiming for a third straight state title.

"It was basically just run to win, but not kill yourself, just qualify for states," said Theresa Ruland, who placed fourth (19:58) to lead Williamsport, "because we'd rather win states than regionals."

The Wildcats still easily won the region. Williamsport finished with 36 points. Boonsboro was second (90), Tuscarora third (99) and Southern Garrett fourth (105).

"The key was qualifying and not getting hurt," Williamsport coach Randy Buchman said, "because this is dangerous course on a good day, and today was not a good day."

Thursday's steady rain made the course better suited for mud wrestling.

"It was nasty," Clear Spring senior Ashley Lockard said. "Oh my gosh was it disgusting, so muddy and everything, slipping everywhere."

Lockard kept her balance and her region crown, defending her title in 19:26. Her only real challenger was Allegany's Lauryn McFawn.

"That girl from Allegany, wow, I never saw her coming," said Lockard, who will defend her state next weekend.

But after a tightly contested first mile, McFawn saw Lockard leaving. McFawn finished second in 19:45, while Catoctin's Jamie Wright was third (19:51).

Beall grabbed the top three places in the boys race, led by champion Dan DeWitt (16:36), to run away with the team title with 36 points.

Clear Spring, the Washington County champion, placed second with 82 points, led by Jimmy Atkins' fifth-place finish (17:11).

"We put together another strong team effort, but Beall is just way out there," Clear Spring coach Jaime Mason said. "We came in today hoping to get second to Beall. Our goal was just to let them run away and try to be as close behind them as possible."

Catoctin (125), Southern Garrett (131), Smithsburg (142) and Williamsport (162) rounded out the top six boys teams.

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