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Leopards finish fourth in strong Class 1A field

November 11, 2007|By ANDREW MASON

PARKTON, Md. - The Smithsburg girls were significantly stronger, fitter and faster at Saturday's Maryland State Cross Country Championships than they were last year, when they won the Class 1A team title.

Last year, the Leopards' top five runners had an average time of 24:21 on Hereford High School's grueling 3-mile course.

Saturday, they averaged 23:07 - and finished fourth with 132 points, behind South Carroll (69), Bohemia Manor (95) and Brunswick (113). Williamsport was fifth (137).

"I'm disappointed we finished fourth, but the girls gave it everything they had and left it all on the course," Smithsburg coach Ray Shriver said. "It's just a tougher meet this year, much better competition than last year."

Williamsport junior Tracey Forsythe was Washington County's top female performer for the second straight year. She placed ninth Saturday in 21:35, but was disappointed that she didn't improve on last year's fourth-place finish.

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"I'm glad my time was better, but ..." said Forsythe, who ran a 22:06 last year.

Smithsburg senior Chelsea Connelly, the county's other medal winner Saturday, was delighted with her race. She captured the final medal, placing 15th in 22:08.

"It was an intense race, a very fast pace," said Connelly, who placed 16th last year in 23:45. "Last year, I was really upset that I was one place off. This year, I was really aiming for a medal.

"I'm really excited about how our team did, too. We prepared and ran our best."

Allegany's Lauryn MacFawn won her third straight Class 1A girls title in 19:38, and Katie Harman won the Class 2A girls race in 19:54, leading River Hill to the team title.

Brooke Pettner finished 41st in 23:11, leading North Hagerstown to a ninth-place finish in the 17-team Class 2A girls field.

Last year, Pettner was North's lone runner at states, as the Hubs failed to qualify as a team.

"It was tough coming here by myself. It was rough not having any teammates, running all alone," said Pettner, who finished 56th last year in 23:45. "With teammates here, they push you, because you want to do good for them."

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