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Williamsport finds a way

Wildcats sweep county indoor meet

Wildcats sweep county indoor meet

January 24, 2009|By ANDREW MASON

The great champions always seem to find a way to win.

At the 18th annual Washington County Indoor Track Championships at Hagerstown Community College on Saturday, the Williamsport girls came from behind to stun North Hagerstown 161-159 to capture the team title for the seventh straight year. Smithsburg was a distant third with 65 points.

"I thought we had it," North coach Sarina Hamilton said.

It did appear that way for most of the meet.

The Hubs won the first event, the 4x800-meter relay, and led the entire way until the 13th and final event, the 4x400.

Williamsport, which had trailed by as many as 17 points at 133-116, narrowed its deficit to 154-151 heading into that final race.

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While Brittany Weaver, Rehema Emanuel, Amy Taylor and Morgan Keplinger easily won the 4x400 in 4:23.34 for the Wildcats, the final outcome was still out of their control.

"It was all we could do," Keplinger said.

They also needed North to finish no better than third.

"We were just praying they weren't going to get second in the 4x4," Taylor said.

Clear Spring answered their prayers, taking second in 4:45.77, while Smithsburg was third in 4:49.91 and North finished fourth in 4:50.10.

"We came with our 'A' game. We just had a few mishaps," Hamilton said. "But the kids pulled together, and we gave it our all. I wouldn't say I'm disappointed but, of course, I would have liked to have won the championship."

For the second straight year, Williamsport left with both titles as its boys held off runner-up Smithsburg, 142-109 1/2.

"Big kids step up in big meets," Williamsport coach John Bailey said. "And we had some kids step up -- Amy Taylor, Tracey Forsythe and Morgan Keplinger for the girls and Mike Lilley and Justin Bowie for the boys.

"It was a great team effort, but you have to have those kids."

Taylor pulled off a remarkable feat, winning the 500 dash (1:22.83) and 55 hurdles (9.64) in back-to-back races.

"That double Amy did is almost unheard of," Bailey said.

"Once you get in the race, you get focused and the pain goes away," said Taylor, who beat North superstar Katie Ritter in the 500. "And then you're just extra tired at the end."

Forsythe came out on top of a pair of tight races against North's Alison Harrell, winning the 1,600 (5:44.15) and 3,200 (12:35.11). Keplinger easily won the 800 in 2:29.52.

Ritter won the 55 (7.66) and 300 (42.59) and anchored the winning 4x200 (1:52.88). The Hubs also got a win from Beth Wagner in the high jump (4-10).

The other girls champs were Smithsburg's Erika Gerhold in the pole vault (8-7) and Clear Spring's Paige Shirk in the shot put (39-4).

Lilley turned in the day's most dominant performance, lapping every runner in the field at least once as he won the 3,200 in 9:48.28. He also ran legs of the winning 4x800 (9:05.09) and 4x400 (3:45.21).

"I'm a little disappointed I didn't get the meet record I set last year (9:46.65)," Lilley said. "But it wasn't about times today. It was about winning for the team.

"This is the strongest team we've had. I think we can win states -- girls, too."

Bowie won the 55 hurdles (7.97), placed second in the 300 (38.49) and anchored the winning 4x400 for the Williamsport boys, who also got a win from Naseem Haje in the 1,600 (4:41.67).

Tyler Craig led the Smithsburg boys, winning the high jump (5-8) and 500 (1:14.58) and anchoring the winning 4x200 (1:39.26). Zach Cross won the 800 in 2:07.25 for the Leopards.

The North boys had two champs -- Frederic Owusu-Ayim in the 55 (7.00) and Dominic Sink in the pole vault (12-0).

The South boys also had a pair of winners -- Jordan Alston in the 300 (37.39) and Kyle Toms in the shot put (47-2).

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