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Wildcats' girls come out on top again

April 19, 2008|By CHRIS CARTER

The way things started Friday afternoon at the Harrison Lanham Rebel Relays didn't bode well for the Williamsport girls track and field team.

But six hours later, it was just another first-place finish for the Wildcats.

Williamsport was disqualified in the opening running event but made up for it as the sun set on School Stadium, winning the most events to take top honors ahead of second-place North Hagerstown.

The Wildcats are 2-for-2 since the event was named for former South Hagerstown coach and athletic director Harrison Lanham.

"We have a tradition for Willliamsport girls track and field at this event," said Wildcats junior Cayla Broadwater, who measured top distances in each of the jumping events. "When we come here we always want to come away with the win."

Broadwater teamed with Brittany Malott to win the high and long jump relay events, and with Amy Taylor to win the triple jump. Broadwater was the only athlete to top 5 feet, 2 inches in the high jump, she leapt 15-9 in the long jump and got to 33-7 3/4 in the triple jump.

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"In having a relay-type of thing, I want to do the best I can to help the team," said Broadwater, who has verbally committed to the University of Pittsburgh. "We're all very competitive. I push them to do better and they push me."

Williamsport also won the shuttle hurdles and the Lanham 4x400 relay to put some distance between itself and North, which could challenge the Wildcats at the county meet. Taylor, Morgan Keplinger and Jess Palmer were each a part of both winning teams.

"It's kind of a fun event for us," said Wildcats coach John Bailey. "I thought we did OK, but we still have a lot of improving to do."

One area of improvement could be the relay exchange. Williamsport was disqualified in the distance medley -- the first event of the day -- after it was ruled that the first handoff occurred outside of the exchange zone.

If not for the DQ, the Wildcats would have won the event by 18.2 seconds.

"Those things happen in track meets," Bailey said. "That's what we have to work on. If we make a better handoff we don't have to worry about it. But it's better to happen here than down the road."

Instead, Smithsburg won the event after Natalie Mancini passed ahead of North's Taryn Shank in the third leg of the event, and Chelsea Connelly pulled away as the Leopards finished in 14:24.1.

Mancini, who also won the Dr. James Banks 800 run, swapped positions with Connelly as the Leopards won the 4x800 in 11:01.7.

"We tried to keep the traditional relays together and have fun with the other ones," said Smithsburg coach Ray Shriver, whose team finished third overall. "We treat this meet like it's our last chance to come out and have a lot of fun before the big meets down the stretch."

North posted season bests in the 4x100 (51.0) and 4x200 (1:48.7) to win both events. The Hubs also won the sprint medley relay going away in 1:55.1.

Greencastle-Antrim -- the only team from outside Maryland -- swept the girls throwing events, winning the discus and shot put by a combined margin of 40-5.

Frederick County teams led the way in the boys meet, as defending champion Middletown finished with 96 points, followed by Walkersville with 88. Williamsport took third with 65 points.

Jesse Buchman won the Banks 800 run and ran the first leg of the Wildcats' winning distance medley team. Michael Lilley anchored the team, finished in a meet-record time of 11:00.4. The Wildcats also won the 4x800 and the shuttle hurdles relay.

Boonsboro's Scott Rice came up short in his attempt to match the Washington County record in the pole vault as he could not clear 14 feet. Still, his height of 13-6 was the best of the day, and he and teammate Travis Reaux set a meet record at 26-6.

"I was kicking myself because in (Rice's) first two attempts he was there and barely hit the bar, so I told him to move the standard back," said Boonsboro coach Becky Walter of the record-tying tries. "If it weren't for that, he would have cleared on the third attempt."

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