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Leopards boys, 'Cats girls out to clean up with sweep

May 24, 2007|by ANDREW MASON

Last Memorial Day weekend, the Williamsport girls track and field team won its first Maryland Class 1A state title, while the Smithsburg boys were Class 1A state champions for the first time since 1978.

"It'd be nice if we could sweep the state again with Williamsport," Smithsburg coach Ray Shriver said. "That would be fun."

But it won't be easy for either Washington County team when the 2007 state championships begin today for classes 1A and 2A at Morgan State University in Baltimore. Classes 3A and 4A begin Friday, and the meet concludes Saturday for all four classes.

"There's a lot of good competition out there - four or five teams that could win the state title. We can't take anything for granted," said Williamsport coach John Bailey, whose girls, like the Smithsburg boys, are undefeated this month, sweeping the titles at the MVAL Antietam, Washington County and West region championships.

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"We're taking 12 girls, that's it. But most are multiple-event kids," said Bailey, who will have girls in 16 of the 18 events. "We have to do well in the field as well as on the track, and we have to step up our performances from regionals."

While the Williamsport girls edged New Town 78-75 for last year's title, the Smithsburg boys ran away from runner-up Brunswick, outscoring the Railroaders 116-56.

"All told, I don't think we're as good as we were last year, which was just one of those magical years. But we're still very, very good," said Shriver, who will have 17 boys, covering 17 events. "I think it's going to take 70 to 80 points to win this thing. Our chances are pretty good as long as the kids stay focused.

"The kids seem to thrive when it comes to big meets, especially Chad (Brown) and Jamal (Campbell)."

Brown, a senior, is the defending champ in the 200-meter dash, the two-time defending champ in the 100 and in the running for his first 400 title. Campbell, who placed third in the long jump, triple jump, 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles as a junior last year, is 12-0 in those events this month.

Derek Martin and Tyler King, who combined for four state titles last year for Smithsburg, have both graduated.

"But we can pick up points in the throws this year that we didn't get last year, with Clayton Rohrer, Chris Davis and Tyler Barnhart," Shriver said. "They've really improved."

The lone returning champion for the Williamsport girls is senior Jordan Atha in the 1,600. Their only other title last year came from then-senior Lacie Johnson in the pole vault.

"We're going to miss those pole vault points and things here and there, but we'll be OK," Bailey said. "We're just going to go down there and do the best we can and see how things turn out.

"I don't think we're seeded first in anything, but you can't run it on paper. You have to go down there and compete."

The county's only other returning champ is South Hagerstown senior Trey Jones in the 2A boys shot put.

North Hagerstown senior Jarell Hasan, who set a 2A-1A meet record in the 300 in his first indoor state meet in February, should be in the hunt in the 2A 100 and 200 in his first outdoor state meet.

"I want to bring two titles back to Hagerstown," Hasan said.

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