Three county athletes golden at Md. state indoor track meet

February 21, 2006|by ANDREW MASON


While North Hagerstown's Hemu Arumugam and Boonsboro's Sarah Johnson lived up to their seedings Monday at the Maryland Class 2A-1A State Indoor Track Championships, Clear Spring's Katherine McCormick didn't come close to living down to hers.

All three Washington County athletes left Prince George's Sports & Learning Complex with gold medals.

"I don't go by seedings because everybody has off days and everybody has good days," said McCormick, a junior, who was seeded sixth in the girls high jump at 4 feet, 9 inches, but won it with a leap of 5 feet. "I had a good day."

Arumugam's day was splendid. The North senior, seeded first in the boys 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs, won both, increasing his state-title count to five for his career.


Johnson, a junior, wasted little time and energy showing the rest of the girls shot put field why she was seeded first. Her first attempt of the competition was the winning one at 32 feet, 5 3/4 inches - 2 1/2 inches farther than the best mark by Digital Harbor's Stephanie Johnson, the runner-up.

"My best throws are usually in the beginning because I get tired easily," Johnson said. "Usually I do five or six warm-up throws, but today I only did one."

It was a big improvement from her seventh-place finish last year.

"I'm stronger. I've been lifting weights and just working harder," Johnson said. "My goal was 40 feet. I didn't get that, but I'm happy with this."

Four of Arumugam's state titles have come in the 3,200 - two indoors and two from outdoors. His recent speedwork put him in contention for his first 1,600 title.

"I'm really happy with the 1,600 because it came down to a kick," Arumugam said. "And it seems like, for the first time in my career, I finally had one."

With 150 meters left in the 1,600, Arumugam blew past Fort Hill's Brian Jefferies, the defending state champ in the event, and never looked back, winning in 4:33.40. Forestville's Christopher Anderson also had a kick left. He passed Jefferies but couldn't catch Arumugam, settling for second in 4:34.41.

"I have a lot more confidence in my kick this year," Arumugam said. "I just let it go."

He passed Francis Scott Key's Jared Welsh on lap 8 of 16 in the 3,200.

"I was just thinking, 'Hold on,'" said Arumugam, who never relinquished the lead. "And with about six laps to go, I started pushing it."

He crossed the line in 9:53.57 - 2.59 seconds ahead of Welsh.

"It's my senior year," he said. "I really wanted to win both of them."

McCormick said she wasn't overly concerned with winning the high jump Monday.

"I just wanted to come out and do my best. That's all I was looking for," she said. "I just wanted to tie my PR (personal record)."

She equaled that on her first attempt at 5 feet, reaching that height without any misses in the competition.

Frederick teammates Krysten Marchigianni - who was seeded first at 5-3 - and Tess Flanagan also cleared 5 feet. But since each had one miss, they tied for second.

"I'm surprised," McCormick said. "Definitely."

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