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Ritter races to four wins

May 03, 2008|By CHRIS CARTER

WALKERSVILLE, Md. -- North Hagerstown's Katie Ritter tried to intimidate the field as she prepared to run her first-ever 400-meter dash Friday at the MVAL Piedmont Track and Field Championships.

Ritter was the only runner to use starting blocks in the event, launching forward for the early lead and the sophomore never looked back to win in a meet-record 59.27 seconds.

"A lot of people told me it might get in the other runners' heads if I used the blocks," said Ritter, who went 4-for-4 on the day with wins in the 100, 200 and the 4x100 relay. "You're supposed to sprint the first part anyway."

By the time Ritter crossed the finish line she had separated herself by 2.44 seconds from second-place finisher Emma Nichols of Middletown.

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"My parents have been telling me I need to run the 400," Ritter said. "They told me it would benefit my sprints."

Making Ritter a better sprinter could be scary. She won the 100 in 12.84, the 200 in 25.83 and she ran the third leg of the 4x100, which the Hubs won in 51.21.

The events also tested Ritter's stamina. Moments after finishing the 200, first call was announced for the 4x100 -- her final event of the day.

"I told her she didn't have to run the 4x100. She wanted to do it," said North coach Curtis Graff. "She's strong, probably stronger than she thinks she is."

By running the 400, Ritter had to sit out the 4x200. She is the first girl in the area to post a 400 time in less than a minute this season.

"This was a good meet for her to be able to do this because there's no consequences," Graff said. "If she did good in the 400, that's great. But if she did bad, she wouldn't have lost anything. This was to find out if she could do it at regions and states."

Shuntia Hamilton, Renee Phillips, Ritter and Whitney Garvin made up the winning 4x100 team. The Hubs scored 87 points and trailed only Middletown, which finished with 157.

South Hagerstown freshman Lexi Turano was the only other champion from Washington County after finishing the 3,200 in 13:14.17. The South girls rounded out the five-team field with 21 points.

"I just pretty much kept pace with the North and Middletown runners," Turano said. "Coming around the last lap, at about 200 meters, I pushed ahead."

Turano finished 4.78 better than second-place Alison Harrell, of North Hagerstown.

"We usually run together. The first time I ever ran the 3,200 was at the Clear Spring Invitational (March 26) and it came down to me and her in the final."Turano finished 4.78 better than second-place Alison Harrell, of North Hagerstown.

"We usually run together. The first time I ever ran the 3,200 was at the Clear Spring Invitational (March 26) and it came down to me and her in the final."

The Rebels boys made history in the 4x100. The team of Jamal Kirby, Eric Phillips, Chris Callahan and Ian Anderson finished in a school-record 44.56, but it was only good enough for third place in the event. Walkersville won in 43.55 and Middletown was second in 43.60.

The same four Rebels set the previous school record (44.69) last year.

"I'm happy for those guys," said South coach Dwayne Freeman. "I told them I was going to split up the team to try and put a faster one out there and they begged me to let them run one more time. This is what happened."

Middletown edged the Lions 157-152 in the team results, followed by South in third with 46 points. North came in last with just five points.

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