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County track teams aiming high at states

February 17, 2008|By Andrew Mason

Now that the MPSSAA has divided indoor track into four classifications - 1A, 2A, 3A and 4A - the chances of success for most Washington County schools have never seemed greater.

Boonsboro, Clear Spring, Smithsburg and Williamsport will compete in Class 1A at the Maryland state championships Monday at the Prince

George's Sports Complex in Landover. The previous 10 years, indoor track was divided into classes of 2A-1A, 3A-2A and 4A-3A in Maryland

"Now that we don't have to compete against those small 2A schools, it's helpful," Williamsport coach Cindy Mease said. "But it's never easy.

"It will just be interesting to see how all this plays out with everyone on equal footing, being all 1A. We've been after this for a while. For the kids, it's much more fair."

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While county schools have combined to capture 29 boys and girls team titles at states in outdoor track, no county team has ever won a state title indoors.

The Williamsport boys have the best chance to change that Monday. They've won team titles at the MVAL Antietam, Washington County and West region championships this winter.

"Our kids are right in the mix," Mease said. "If everyone does what they're supposed to do, who knows what will happen? It just comes down to getting down on that track with a set of spikes on."

State seedings are based on regional results.

The Williamsport boys have the top two times in the 800-meter run - Jesse Buchman (2:09.71) and Justin Gardenhour (2:09.81) - while Jordie

Lord is the top seed in the shot put (33 feet, 3 1/4 inches) for the Williamsport girls.

The Boonsboro boys, dark horses Monday, have the top two performers in the pole vault - Scott Rice and Travis Reaux, each at 12-6 - and the top seed in the high jump with Robert Kornides at 5-9 1/2.

Williamsport junior Tracey Forsythe is the county's lone returning champ. She won the 3,200 last year and enters Monday with the No. 3 time in the event.

Forsythe edged Poolesville's Jenny Reid by a half-second for the state victory last year. At the recent West region meet, Reid edged Forsythe by four-hundredths of a second, winning in 12:34.50. South Carroll's Rachel Sykes is the top seed after winning the Central race in 12:20.83.

"Tracey's a tough kid. She won't quit," Mease said. "She gets that game face on, and she would run until she drops. It's just going to be a war out there."

While Michael Lilley is No. 2 in the boys 3,200 at 10:24.83, the Williamsport junior should still be considered the class of the field.

Lilley, who ran a meet-record 9:46.65 at the county championships last month, finished second to Catoctin's Ceth Parker (10:13.23) at the region meet. The 1A state-meet record is 9:49.50.

"The big thing for Mike (at the region meet) was just to qualify, but I know (finishing second) bothered him," Mease said. "I'm sure he'll be coming out with a vengeance. He knows what he has to do."

North Hagerstown and South Hagerstown both will compete in Class 2A on Monday.

Hubs senior Justin Donaldson, who has the No. 3 time in the 55 dash at 6.58 seconds, is undefeated in the event this season.

North Point's Arlando Scott is the top seed at 6.47. The 2A state-meet record is 6.50.

"I'll be ready," Donaldson said.

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