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Track meet masters

February 22, 2005|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

LANDOVER, MD. - Even without wearing capes, Boonsboro's Sarah Hensley, Clear Spring's Ashley Lockard and North Hagerstown's Sharnay Burnett and Hemu Arumugam acted like superheroes Monday.

Burnett brought the strength, Lockard and Arumugam had the endurance and Hensley added the speed and athleticism as the high school athletes became Washington County's golden foursome at the Maryland State Indoor Track Championships at Prince George's County Sports & Learning Complex.

Burnett won the Class 3A-2A girls shot put with a mark of 35 feet, 111/2 inches; Arumugam took the 3A-2A boys 3,200-meter run in 10 minutes, 1.74 seconds; Lockard captured the 2A-1A girls 3,200 in 11:43.63; and Hensley won the 2A-1A girls 55-meter hurdles in 8.64 seconds.

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It was Hensley's second straight title in the 55 hurdles and her fifth state title overall. The senior is a three-time state champion in the outdoor hurdles.

Hensley didn't take anything for granted Monday.

"In the semis, there were about three other girls with my same time, so I was wondering," she said.

In the finals, the only guessing was who would finish second as Hensley led start to finish, winning by a comfortable .21 seconds.

"Every race is a new race," said Hensley, who also won silver in the high jump and bronze in the 800- and 1,600-meter relays to finish the meet as one of its most decorated performers. "You just have to keep trying for personal records. ... Just drive hard until the end."

The finish line couldn't come soon enough for Arumugam, the reigning 2A outdoor state champ in the 3,200. The North junior, who ran a personal-best 9:47.1 in the 3,200 at the Washington County indoor championships earlier this season, stayed with the lead pack for the first half of the race Monday, going through the first mile in 5:09.

"We went out too slow. I was supposed to go through in 4:52," said Arumugam, who placed third in the 1,600 earlier in the meet in 4:30.8. "I knew then that I had to go."

Stephen Decatur's Michael Evans - who passed Arumugam late in the 1,600 to finish second - went with him as the pair duked it out over the final mile. With 500 meters remaining, Arumugam had at least a 15-meter lead, into which Evans began to rapidly eat over the final 200 meters. But Evans ran out of real estate, finishing just more than one second behind in 10:02.90.

"It was disappointing how I did in the mile. I'm just glad I had enough left that time," said Arumugam, who was the top seed in both events. "It wasn't exactly the time I wanted to run, but the win is the most important thing, so I guess it's OK."

Lockard, a senior, had little trouble winning her 3,200, crossing the finish line 21.09 seconds ahead of runner-up Jessica Hibbert of Glenelg.

"I was really trying to go for the 1A state record (11:31.1), but I missed it," said Lockard, who began the day by placing second in the 1,600 in 5:19.99. "It's a little disappointing because it's my last high school indoor meet. But there wasn't anyone pushing me, and I PR'd (set a personal record) in the mile before that so that kind of tired me out."

Overall, Lockard owns six state titles - two from indoor, two from outdoor and two from cross country.

"It's been a fun four years, I must say," she said.

Burnett won her first state title Monday and, somewhat surprisingly, was not soaking up the moment. That's the kind of achiever the North senior is.

"It wasn't my PR. If I got my PR (38-11), I'd feel better," said Burnett, who finished about 2 feet ahead of second place but about 3 feet short of her personal best. "It's not about winning. It's about getting my personal best.

"When I was a freshman, it was all about winning. Now, it's just about colleges and distances so you can get accepted into colleges."

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