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North's Donaldson believes in finishing in what he starts

February 09, 2008|By ANDREW MASON

Justin Donaldson has a simple, yet effective approach to the 55-meter dash.

"I just concentrate on the finish," the North Hagerstown senior said, "and get there."

No one has gotten there before him all winter.

Donaldson won the 55 in 6.58 seconds Friday night at the Maryland Class 2A West Indoor Track Championships at Hagerstown Community College to remain undefeated in the event this season. He narrowly edged Clarksburg's Avery Graham, who finished second in 6.60.

"Justin Donaldson, I have to commend him on his diligence," North coach Sarina Hamilton said. "He was actually having problems with a hamstring, but he hung in there.

"It was more of a mental race for him. He does not like to lose."

"It feels good, it feels great," Donaldson said. "I just told the Lord to help me out this year. I give my glory all to God."

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The North and South Hagerstown boys and girls were the only local teams in Friday's meet. While Donaldson was the only local champion, several others earned the right to join him at the state meet Feb. 18 in Landover, Md. The top four in each event automatically qualified.

North sophomore Katie Ritter placed second in the girls 55 in 7.59, suffering her first setback in the event this season. Central's Tierra Collins won the race in 7.52.

"I'm not very good at getting out of the blocks. I'm slow," said Ritter, who won region titles in the 100 and 200 in outdoor track last spring. "In outdoor, in the 100 and 200, I have more time and space to catch up to everybody. I just need to work on my blocks and anticipating the gun."

But that seemed to be the least of her concerns by the end of the night.

Two events after the 55, Ritter anchored the Hubs' 800 relay. With second place seemingly clinched, Ritter fell to the track less than 15 meters from the finish line.

"I guess I just tried too hard and pushed myself too far," she said.

While she quickly got back on her feet and finished in what would have been third place, the Hubs were disqualified because officials said Ritter was on the inside of the track when she finished.

"I let the team down," Ritter said.

South had its greatest success in the 500. Kaitlyn Bosco placed third in 1:28.04 in the girls race, and Isaiah Mosley was fourth in 1:12.01 in the boys. They were the Rebels' only state qualifiers.

The North girls had three fourth-place finishes -- Kellly Tinlin in the high jump (4 feet, 9 inches), Renee Phillips in the 300 (45.03) and their team in the 3,200 relay (11:30.37).

The Hubs' Ben Kelly and Dominic Sink both qualified for states in the boys pole vault. While they finished only sixth and seventh, they each cleared the advancement standard of 10-4.

Middletown swept the boys and girls team titles. North's girls were sixth and its boys 10th. South's boys and girls each finished 11th.

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