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Washington County indoor track preview

Wildcats have full litter of champs back

Wildcats have full litter of champs back

December 02, 2008|By ANDREW MASON

Six of the eight Washington County athletes who left the Maryland State Indoor Track & Field Championships with gold medals last season will be back for more this winter.

Five of them -- seniors Michael Lilley, Jesse Buchman, Justin Gardenhour and Jordie Lord and junior Mark Oliver -- compete for perennial power Williamsport.

Lilley was the Class 1A champ in the 3,200-meter run and teamed with Buchman, Gardenhour and Oliver to win the 3,200 relay. Lord won a state title in the girls shot put.

"We have some great performers, but you have to have a lot of point scorers in track," Williamsport coach John Bailey said.

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The Wildcats, who swept last season's boys and girls county team titles, should have a lot of those again as well.

Also back for the girls team are Morgan Keplinger (sprints), Tracey Forsythe (distance) and Amy Taylor (hurdles, sprints) -- all first-team all-county selections last winter -- as well as second-teamers Samantha Ebersole (pole vault), Rehema Emanuel (sprints) and Carlee Myers (shot put).

Williamsport's returning boys also include first-team hurdlers Justin Bowie and Stephen Ingraham, second-teamer Danny Quinn (distance) and distance standout Naseem Haje, whose indoor season was cut short last winter.

"We're in for some good times ahead," Bailey said. "I have high expectations for the kids, but a lot of things still have to come together."

Missing for the Wildcats is Cindy Mease, last season's county coach of the year, who is now living in Savannah, Ga.

Bailey, one of Mease's longtime assistants, should be up for the task. He's been Williamsport's head outdoor track coach for seven years.

"Cindy told me I had to do it to keep the continuity in the program," Bailey said. "It just made sense for me to do it.

"But I still have a lot to learn."

He has 25 seniors to help him.

"This is the most seniors I've ever had on a team. Hopefully we can put it together and vie for a state title," Bailey said. "We're going to have to rebuild after this."

Boonsboro



The other returning state champ from last season is Warriors senior Scott Rice, who will try to soar to even greater heights in the pole vault.

Rice set two Class 1A state-meet records as a junior, winning the indoor title at 13 feet, 2 inches and the outdoor title at 13-10. His personal-best jump of 14-3 1/4 is the all-time county record.

The state-meet record for all classifications, both indoors and outdoors, is 15-1.

"By the end of the summer, (Rice) was clearing 15 feet by a foot in practice," coach Becky Walter said. "Once you get it into your head that you can do it in practice, you can do it at a meet.

"I think he'll get over 16 feet this year. It probably won't happen until outdoor, but he's surprised me before."

Drew Lowery (shot put) and Jackson Phillipson (hurdles), both all-county first-team selections last season, also are returning for the Boonsboro boys, as are second-teamers Jordan Acton (distance), Kenny Kopp (hurdles, high jump), Steve Kopp (sprints) and Eddie Seabright (shot put, pole vault). Jordan Garver, the defending West region champ in the 55, also is back.

Girls returnees include all-county first-teamers Morgan Holmes (high jump) and Jessica Nicolao (middle distance) and second-teamers Molly Fahey (sprints) and Julia Robertson (high jump). Two key newcomers are Anna Olszewski, a standout hurdler outdoors who gave up basketball, and sprinter Shalana Kadin, whom Walter said transferred from St. Maria Goretti to run track.

Clear Spring



The Blazers are rebuilding.

"We graduated a ton of kids, almost all of our state qualifiers," coach Jaime Mason said. "We have a lot of new faces, a lot of freshmen and sophomores, and we're really just going to be growing these next two years."

Newcomer Paige Shirk already is a familiar face. The junior, who owns Class 1A outdoor state titles in the shot put and discus, has given up basketball to throw indoors.

"Basketball is her first love," Mason said. "But she wants to use indoor to get ready for outdoor."

Beth Andrews (girls high jump), who is currently injured, and Cory Horton (boys distance) are Clear Spring's only returning all-county selections from last season. Both were on the second team.

Mason said she is excited to finally see freshman sprinter Miranda Kearney in action.

"I've been hearing about her for a long time," she said.

Hancock



The Panthers can only do so much with the smallest team in the county.

"We only have 13 kids -- four girls and nine boys -- but eight or nine are back from last year," assistant coach Jeff Spielman said. "It's tough for us to go into any meet thinking we're going to win. It's just not going to happen. But that's what we have to deal with.

"We just have goals for individuals to improve and get better."

Senior Brandon VanOrsdale placed eighth in the 1A West region in both the boys 55 and 300 last winter.

North Hagerstown



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