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Wilson defends Leopards' home turf

October 12, 2008|By CHRIS CARTER

SMITHSBURG - Smithsburg senior David Wilson knew all the runners at the Don Stoner Invitational on Saturday.

Now, he has beaten them all.

Wilson smoked the field in 16:53 - more than a half-minute better than second-place finisher Stephen Keith of Walkersville - to become the third straight Smithsburg champion of the 19th annual event.

"I had a lot of confidence running on my own course," Wilson said. "Plus, there was no one that I didn't know was coming."

Wilson helped Smithsburg to the small schools title after he and the Leopards got a pre-race pep talk from Corey Centofonti, who graduated last spring after winning the event in 2006 and 2007.

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"(A third straight Smithsburg champion) was in Corey's head," said Leopards coach Ray Shriver. "He went up to David and said, 'You have to keep the tradition going.'"

Wilson separated himself from the field at the midway point and continued to gain ground. His time was a personal-best on the hilly 3.04-mile course.

"I think I could have done better if there was someone with me or ahead of me. I just sort of cruised the last mile," Wilson said. "I like to visualize my races. I visualize when I'm going to speed up and it helps on the hills and I think that gives me an advantage."

Teammate Zach Cross was 10th overall - second among small schools runners - in 17:50.4.

Keith finished in 17:23.7 to win the large schools individual title. He was followed by Brian Chado of Thomas Johnson, which won the large schools team title.

Thomas Johnson swept the large schools competition after the girls won comfortably. The Patriots were led by Stephanie Bryan, Kristen Luttrell, Savanna Plombon and Kelsey Ogo, who finished in order behind overall champion Sara Fisher of Brunswick.

Fisher won in 19:45.8, but Brunswick finished second in the small schools team race to the Leopards.

"All in all it was a good day. The kids ran hard, ran well, ran smart," Shriver said. "There was some really good competition and that always brings out the best in our runners."

North Hagerstown's Taryn Shank was the area's top girls finisher in 21:03.7, good for sixth overall.

"It was about what I wanted to do," said Shank, who admitted being a step slower than the Thomas Johnson runners. "They're just really good. Their girls are really fast."

Shank finished 22.3 seconds faster than teammate Alison Harrell as the Hubs finished third among large schools.

Evan Moser and Katie Marshall were the top finishers for Boonsboro, whose boys placed second and girls placed third among small schools.

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