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Lilley repeats as state champion in 1A boys 1,600

May 25, 2008|By Andrew Mason

BALTIMORE - Michael Lilley was not about to settle for another second-place finish at the Maryland State Track & Field Championships on Saturday.

"There was no messing around today," the Williamsport junior said.

Lilley pulled away from Western Tech's Chris Mills in the final 200 meters to win the Class 1A boys 1,600 for the second straight year.

His time of 4 minutes, 26.33 seconds was a personal best by more than 3 seconds. Mills was second in 4:28.98.

"We got to the final 200 and I knew everyone was praying for me, and I couldn't let my team down," said Lilley, who finished second to Mills in the 3,200 and ran a leg of the Wildcats' second-place 4x800 relay on Thursday, when the meet began. "Mills won the 3,200, and I was like, 'I can't let him get me today.'

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"To defend my title is just an amazing feeling. It's really special that God allows me to compete at a high level."

The Williamsport boys, who finished fourth in the team standings, also got a victory from Justin Bowie in the 110 hurdles.

Scott Rice was Washington County's only other boys champion Saturday. The Boonsboro junior cleared 13 feet, 10 inches in the pole vault to set a Class 1A meet record. Steve Ferrel set the previous mark of 13-9 1/2 for Brunswick in 1999.

Rice - who equaled the all-time Washington County mark of 14-0 at last week's West region meet - cleared 13-10 on his second attempt at the height, but then missed his next three jumps at 14-1.

"I really wish I would have gotten 14-1," he said. "But it's still sweet."

Rice, who set the Class 1A indoor state record at 13-2 earlier this year, has come a long away since last spring, when he placed third at states at 11-6, a personal best for him at the time.

"Last year, I never would have thought this," he said. "I was hoping for it, but I never would have expected it."

Rice gives all the credit to Boonsboro coach Becky Walter, the former NJCAA All-American pole vaulter for Hagerstown Community College.

"She knows what she's talking about," he said.

Walter also guided Boonsboro's Eddie Seabright to a third-place finish in the pole vault at 12-0 - his personal best by 9 inches.

Bowie won the 110 hurdles in a personal-best time of 15.36 seconds. Boonsboro's Jackson Phillipson was the runner-up in 15.76.

Bowie more than made up for last year, when he failed to even qualify for states in the event.

"At regions last year, I hit a hurdle and fell. It was disappointing," he said. "But I had a chance to change that now. I really wanted to go out and show everybody what I can do."

There likely will be much more to see from the sophomore.

"I'm just going to keep on improving my race. I want to make it cleaner, make it smoother and lower my times," he said. "I want to go to a good college, a good track school."

The Smithsburg boys finished sixth in the team standings, ending their two-year reign as 1A champions. Tyler Barnhart placed third in the discus (126-4) for the Leopards, and their 4x400 team also finished third (3:33.93).

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