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Broadwater's jumps spring Williamsport to 1A girls team title

May 25, 2008|By Andrew Mason

BALTIMORE - Cayla Broadwater put the Williamsport girls track and field team on her back at the Maryland state meet, and she jumped.

When she and the Wildcats finally returned to the ground, they were champions.

Broadwater, who won the triple jump when the meet began Thursday, added titles in the long jump and high jump Saturday, leading Williamsport to the Class 1A team title.

"I exceeded all my goals for this season in one weekend," she said.

The Wildcats trailed Western Tech 64-56 with only one event left - the high jump. Without any Western Tech competitors in the event, Broadwater needed to place second to give the Wildcats a share of the team title and first for them to win it outright.

"I love the pressure," said Broadwater, who responded with a school-record leap of 5 feet, 7 1/4 inches as the Wildcats prevailed, 66-64.

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Broadwater, a junior, also set a school record in the long jump at 17-7 1/2, moving from second place to first on the final jump of the competition.

"I had great competition today, and that pushed me to do even better," she said.

Also for the Wildcats, Jess Palmer, Morgan Keplinger, Brittany Weaver and Amy Taylor teamed to win the 4x400-meter relay - the next-to-last event - in 4:05.19.

"We needed that race," Palmer said. "Oh, my gosh, I'm in so much shock right now. We're state champions!"

The 4x400 team also broke Williamsport's four-year-old school record by more than two seconds.

"This is what we've been working on forever, to get the school record," Taylor said. "We knew if we got it, everything else would fall into place."

Taylor also won a medal in the 100 hurdles, placing third in 15.59, while Tonya Campbell placed second in the shot put (33-9 3/4) for the Wildcats.

North Hagerstown sophomore Katie Ritter continued to make big gains in Class 2A. She placed third in the 100 (12.32), second in the 400 (57.68) and third in the 200 (25.14) - in that order Saturday - running personal-best times in all three.

"I'm pretty excited," said Ritter, who carried the Hubs to a fourth-place team finish. "I got three medals. I couldn't ask for much more."

Her performance in the 400 was phenomenal, especially considering that she ran the event for the first time earlier this month.

"I'm ecstatic about the 400. I PR'd by a full second," Ritter said. "I need to keep working on that next season."

It seems like only a matter of time before the state titles come her way.

"I hope and pray," she said.

Freshman Beth Wagner finished second in the high jump at 5-2 for North.

Western Tech's Kelly Yarn won the 1A shot put with a throw of 34-4 1/4, while Clear Spring's Paige Shirk was third at 33-5.

Shirk, whose personal best is 35-5 1/2, entered as the top seed and reigning state champ.

"I don't know what happened," said Shirk, who won the discus on Thursday. "I had a really good throw in warmups, probably one of my best ever. I guess I just choked.

"I'm still happy about discus, so I have no reason to be mad. I didn't throw horrible or anything."

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