County meet turns into 'Cat walk

January 28, 2008|By ANDREW MASON

The Williamsport girls would have stolen the show Saturday at the 17th annual Washington County Indoor Track Championships at Hagerstown Community College - if they didn't already own it.

The Wildcats won seven of the 13 events and displayed their depth, easily outdistancing runner-up North Hagerstown 168 to 88 1/2 for their sixth straight county team title.

"We've got great distance runners and amazing sprinters," said Williamsport's Amy Taylor, who won the 55-meter hurdles in 9.35 seconds, the 300 dash in 44.07 and ran a leg of the winning 1,600 relay (4:31.14).

While most meets award points to the top six finishers in each event, the county meet is always more generous as it gives points to the top eight.


"This meet was really good for us because we got to show how deep we are in every event," Taylor said.

The Williamsport boys also were well-served, as they outscored runner-up Smithsburg 133-114 to make it a Wildcats sweep. The Leopards were the two-time reigning champions.

"The county meet is something we always gear up for," Williamsport coach Cindy Mease said. "There's a certain amount of pride that goes with this one."

The boys meet went down to the wire as Williamsport and Smithsburg were tied at 100 with only two events left - the 800 and 1,600 relay.

The Wildcats took three of the top four places in the 800 to seal it, and then edged the Leopards for first place in the 1,600 relay for good measure.

"We were just trying to slam the door on them," said Williamsport's Justin Gardenhour, who edged teammate Michael Lilley by a fraction of a second to win the 800 in 2:08.32.

Lilley turned in one of the day's top performances just a couple of events earlier, winning the 3,200 in a personal-best and meet-record 9:46.65. Former North star Hemu Arumugam set the previous mark of 9:47.1 in 2004.

"I was after the record," said Lilley, who finished more than 30 seconds ahead of runner-up David Wilson of Smithsburg. "I just used everybody ahead of me that I was lapping to pull me through."

He even lapped nemesis Corey Centofonti of Smithsburg, the two-time county champ in cross country, who finished third.

"I got everybody but Wilson," said Lilley, who still is chasing more.

"I think 9:15 is the time most Division I schools want," he said. "That's the time I want."

The other meet record set Saturday also went to Williamsport, as Jess Johnson ran away with the 500 in 1:20.39. Taylor, who didn't run the 500 Saturday, set the previous mark of 1:21.7 last year.

"She totally deserves it," Taylor said. "She works just as hard as anybody else on the team. If anyone were going to break it, I am glad it was her."

The boys 500 was much closer, probably the race of the day. Williamsport's Jesse Buchman trailed South Hagerstown's Isaiah Mosley by 20 meters with one lap left in the 2 1/2-lap race. And Buchman won by a fraction of a second in 1:10.89.

Other individual boys winners included: North's Justin Donaldson in the 55 (6.66); Williamsport's Justin Bowie in the 55 hurdles (8.27); Smithsburg's Tyler Craig in the 300 (38.29) and Centofonti in the 1,600 (4:43.74); Clear Spring's Ben Courter in the high jump (5-8); Boonsboro's Scott Rice in the pole vault (13-0); and South's Austin Jones in the shot put (40-6).

Jones, a senior who missed the last two years of track with a knee injury, is the cousin of brothers Tyler and Trey Jones, both former standout throwers for South.

"We've got some big kids in our family," Austin Jones said. "That's the reason I'm doing shot put, because they were so good at it."

Other individual girls winners included: North's Katie Ritter in the 55 (7.74) and Brooke Pettner in the 800 (2:29.66); Williamsport's Jordie Lord in the shot put (32-0 1/2) and Tracey Forsythe in the 1,600 (5:54.63) and 3,200 (12:41.68); and Boonsboro's Morgan Holmes in the high jump (4-10) and Katie Farr in the pole vault (8-0).

Ritter also ran a strong anchor leg to beat Williamsport in the 800 relay.

"Katie Ritter, let me tell you, I don't think she realizes, but she's a diamond," North coach Sarina Hamilton said. "She has the potential to go on to college and beyond to run track. With the right training, there aren't any limits with what she can achieve as a runner."

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