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North runners dominate Piedmont

October 18, 2008|By Andrew Mason

WOODSBORO, Md. -- The Piedmont Conference girls race almost could have been mistaken for a North Hagerstown time trial Friday morning at the MVAL Cross Country Championships.

The Hubs ran all by themselves, sweeping the top five spots to post a perfect 15-point score. Middletown was second with 47.

"I am ecstatic. It was just amazing," North coach Lindsay Zerance said. "Everyone was into it, and they just fed off each other's energy.

"They looked great out there. I saw tiredness, but I saw toughness."

Alison Harrell won the hilly 3-mile race at Woodsboro Park in 21 minutes, 13.9 seconds, and was immediately followed by teammates Taryn Shank (21:17.4), Brooke Pettner (22:03.1), Amanda Martin (22:14.3) and Josie Smith (22:21.6).

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"Last year, I never could have even dreamed about being first in the conference," said Harrell, who last season placed fourth for the runner-up Hubs. "I never thought that would happen.

"We're just all improving. We're all really determined and have been working really hard. We have a lot of talent, and we've been pushing each other."

Zerance said it's all about building to the Nov. 1 state meet. The county and region meets are next.

"It's time to get down to business," she said. "Our eyes are on states. We want a banner (top-two team finish). That's our ultimate goal."

The Antietam Conference belonged to Williamsport, which swept the boys and girls team titles for the first time since 2003.

The Williamsport boys captured five of the top 10 places - highlighted by a 1-2 finish from seniors Michael Lilley (16:36.3) and Naseem Haje (16:57.4) - to turn back runner-up Smithsburg, 25-64.

But MVAL Antietam races never seem to run smoothly for Lilley. Last year, he had a sizable lead late in the race, which was held at Liberty, before taking a wrong turn and dropping out.

"Last night I was worried about it, and this morning we talked about it," Lilley said.

But a half-mile into Friday's race, he went the wrong way again. Smithsburg's David Wilson followed Lilley, allowing Haje, who stayed on course, to take the lead.

"I looked back and said, 'All crap,' and turned back," said Lilley, who went about 20 meters the wrong way. "Fortunately, I didn't go too far off today. Last year I went about 10 or 15 seconds totally the wrong way, and I just wasn't strong enough mentally to come back from something like that."

He had little trouble rebounding Friday, as he caught and passed Haje around the 1-mile mark and ran the rest of the way uncontested. Wilson also got back on track and finished third in 17:11.8.

Clear Spring's Cory Horton (17:18.9) and Williamsport's Rio Ferrario (17:21.3) rounded out the top five.

The Williamsport girls got top-10 finishes from Tracey Forsythe (second, 21:33.3), Kellie Quinn (fifth, 22:12.8) and Kassie Lawrence (seventh, 22:46.9) and held off runner-up Smithsburg, 48-67.

Stephanie Breen was fourth (22:08.1) and Braden Grosh was 10th (23:16.4) for the Leopards.

Williamsport coach Randy Buchman said Amy Whitcraft, his No. 4 girl, was the key. She passed four Smithsburg runners over the final two miles and placed 14th (23:36.4).

"I'm really happy for the girls," Buchman said. "We have nobody left from those really great teams (which won state titles in 2002, 2003 and 2005), so it's nice for another team to come along and do well."

Brunswick's Sara Fisher showed her strength in the Antietam girls race, winning by 42.6 seconds in 20:50.7, after taking a wrong turn early and falling way behind the leaders.

Stephen Keith won the Piedmont boys race in 17:19.2 for Walkersville, which edged Middletown 27-28 for the team title. Nathan Ober was the top local finisher, placing 12th in 18:19.0 for third-place North.

MVAL Championships

at Woodsboro Park (3 miles)

Antietam Conference Boys

Teams: 1. Williamsport 25; 2. Smithsburg 64; 3. Clear Spring 81; 4. Boonsboro 94; 5. Brunswick 104; 6. Catoctin 151.

Medal winners: 1. Michael Lilley (Wi) 16:36.3; 2. Naseem Haje (Wi) 16:57.4; 3. David Wilson (Sm) 17:11.8; 4. Cory Horton (CS) 17:18.9; 5. Rio Ferrario (Wi) 17:21.3; 6. Evan Moser (Bo) 17:52.4; 7. Jesse Buchman (Wi) 18:03.1; 8. Jordan Acton (Bo) 18:03.7; 9. Jacob Shriver (Sm) 18:12.1; 10. Nathaniel Clark (Wi) 18:19.2; 11. Brandon Schildtknecht (CS) 18:39.4; 12. Zach Cross (Sm) 18:58.1; 13. Jacob Birkholz (Br) 19:03.2; 14. Graylon Wright (Wi) 19:06.8; 15. Evan Clark (Wi) 19:11.9.

Antietam Conference Girls

Teams: 1. Williamsport 48; 2. Smithsburg 67; 3. Catoctin 84; 4. Brunswick 91; 5. Clear Spring 98; 6. Boonsboro 107.

Medal winners: 1. Sara Fisher (Br) 20:50.7; 2. Tracey Forsythe (Wi) 21:33.5; 3. Becky Kaler (Br) 21:33.6; 4. Stephanie Breen (Sm) 22:08.1; 5. Kellie Quinn (Wi) 22:12.8; 6. Kristi Steiner (Ca) 22:33.2; 7. Kassie Lawrence (Wi) 22:46.9; 8. Leah Stone (Ca) 22:59.4; 9. Hillary Jardine (CS) 23:10.7; 10. Braden Grosh (Sm) 23:16.4; 11. Katie Marshall (Bo) 23:17.4; 12. Kathleen Neibecker (Ca) 23:24.4; 13. Morgan Holmes (Bo) 23:26.5; 14. Amy Whitcraft (Wi) 23:36.4; 15. Taylor Reid (CS) 23:41.0.

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