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Lockard takes top spot in state meet

November 14, 2004|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

PARKTON, MD. - Ashley Lockard has no problem leading the pack to the finish line.

Leading it from the starting line, however, can be a bit uncomfortable for the Clear Spring senior.

Saturday's Maryland State Cross Country Championships at Hereford High School was all about leaving the comfort zone.

"I just wanted to sit in second or third for the first mile," said Lockard of the girls Class 1A race. "But since no one would take it out, I had to take the lead."

She never relinquished it, defending her state title on Hereford's notoriously hilly three-mile course in 20 minutes, 35 seconds. Allegany's Lauryn McFawn finished second in 20:45, Williamsport's Theresa Ruland took third in 20:49 and Catoctin's Jamie Wright was fourth in 20:53.

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Lockard, who came from behind to win state titles in both the 3,200- and 1,600-meter runs in track last spring, made her decisive move from the front Saturday, shortly before the leaders reached two miles.

"I started picking it up a little and no one went with me," she said. "But I could feel that Lauryn girl from Allegany behind me."

McFawn never was able to get back into serious contention.

"(Lockard) ran the race perfectly," McFawn said. "I knew she was probably going to win. She's just too good."

At states, she's perfect. Lockard, who didn't join the Blazers cross country team until her junior year, has two titles in two seasons.

"I think this is even better than last year," she said. "This is the greatest moment in the world. I'm a senior and this is it."

It's doubtful, however, that Saturday marked the end of her cross country career.

"She has plenty of options for next year," Clear Spring coach Jaime Mason said. "College coaches have been coming up to me all day.

"She's such a phenomenal kid. It's really cool to see her succeed. She just rolls through and makes it look easy."

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