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'They just keep coming back'

Williamsport aiming for team titles at state track championships

Williamsport aiming for team titles at state track championships

May 21, 2008|By ANDREW MASON

The Williamsport boys and girls track and field teams always seem to have bigger fish to fry.

"I tell them to be happy, but not to be satisfied," said Williamsport coach John Bailey, as his Wildcats were in the process of winning both team titles at last week's Maryland Class 1A West region meet. "Hopefully they can be satisfied the Sunday after the state meet.

"But a lot of them won't be, and that's what I like about them. They just keep coming back and working hard."

The outdoor state championships at Morgan State University in Baltimore begin Thursday for classes 1A and 2A. Classes 3A and 4A get under way Friday, and the meet concludes Saturday for all four classes.

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The Williamsport girls will try for their second state title in three seasons -- they won it all in 2006 -- while the boys will aim to be crowned champions for the first time since 1999.

"We want to take the title," said Williamsport junior Jesse Buchman, the top seed in the boys 800-meter run. "We have a chance to win everything from the 800 up and the 3,200 relay."

Williamsport junior Michael Lilley, the reigning state champ in the 1,600 outdoors and 3,200 indoors, is very confident that he can win at both distances, as well as helping the Wildcats win the 4x800.

"I'm really looking forward to states," Lilley said. "I'm looking to (run personal-best times) in all three of my events and win three state titles.

"I do so much that I'm really confident. Everyone thinks I don't have a kick, but at states I'm going to show them. I think I'm going to be able to put them away."

He finished a close second to Catoctin's Ceth Parker in both the 1,600 and 3,200 at the region meet, but that doesn't seem to concern him.

"(Parker) looks really strong, but I think he ran his hardest (at the region meet)," Lilley said. "I don't think he'll be much faster at states, and I know I'll be a lot faster."

Cayla Broadwater is a title contender in the girls high jump, triple jump and long jump. The Williamsport junior -- who won last year's state high jump at 5 feet, 2 inches -- jumped a personal-best 5-6 to win last week's region title and claim the top seed.

"I hope to break the school record of 5-7," she said. "I'm pretty sure I can do that."

Broadwater also is the top seed in the triple jump and leads the Tri-State in the event at 35-9 1/4.

"I'm hoping for two or three state titles," she said. "I want to push for that."

Washington County's other returning individual state champ is Paige Shirk in the 1A girls shot put. But the Clear Spring sophomore won't catch anyone off guard this time.

Shirk entered last year's state meet with a personal-best throw of 28-9 and then won it at 33-11 1/4. Her best this season is 35-5 1/2.

It almost seems to be a foregone conclusion that Boonsboro junior Scott Rice will win the 1A boys pole vault. The question is: How high will he go?

Rice, who won the state indoor title in the event earlier this year in a meet-record 13-2, equaled the all-time Washington County mark at 14-0 at the region meet last week. The 1A record for the outdoor state meet is 13-9 1/2, and Rice said his goal is to shatter it with a 14-6.

North Hagerstown sophomore Katie Ritter enters the Class 2A girls competition as the West region champ in the 100 and 400. She placed third at states in the 100 last year, but never ran the 400 until earlier this month. She's won conference, county and region titles in the 400 and leads the Tri-State this season at 58.60.

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