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Second to none, first overall

'Cats girls show fight from start to win county's 1st title

'Cats girls show fight from start to win county's 1st title

February 17, 2009|By ANDREW MASON

LANDOVER, Md. -- It was clear in the very first event that the Williamsport girls were not going to settle for second at the Maryland Class 1A Indoor Track State Championships on Monday.

Kaelii Stout, Ashley Goge, Tracey Forsythe and Morgan Keplinger combined to win the 4x800-meter relay for the Wildcats in 10:13.13, storming all the way back from fifth place in the second half of the race.

"We weren't going to let anybody keep us from getting our goal," Keplinger said.

Twelve events later, Williamsport became the first school in Washington County history to win a state team title in indoor track.

Keplinger could hardly believe it.

"Sweet! Oh, my gosh!" Keplinger said. "It was so close, coming right down to the end. It's just the greatest feeling."

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The Wildcats finished with 78 1/2 points - 5 1/2 more than runner-up Digital Harbor. Poolesville, which edged Williamsport 53-51 for last year's title, was third with 53.

"It's great for these seniors," Williamsport coach John Bailey said. "They came up two points short last year and have had their sights set on it since then."

The Wildcats also got titles from Amy Taylor in the 500 (1:19.92) and Keplinger in the 800 (2:24.58), and a runner-up finish from Forsythe in the 3,200 (12:09.86).

"Everybody did well today," said Taylor, who also placed third in the 55 hurdles (9.12) and ran legs of the second-place 4x200 (1:51.03) and third-place 4x400 (4:15.52). "We all peaked at the same time. The team came together and won as a team."

The county's greatest feat of strength was performed by Paige Shirk. The Clear Spring junior broke a 25-year-old Class 1A meet record in the shot put with her winning throw of 41 feet, 4 1/2 inches. The previous record was 39-5 3/4, set by another Blazer, Mary Rowe, in 1984.

"It's awesome. I'm really, really excited," said Shirk, whose previous personal best was 39-10 3/4. "I've wanted to throw over 40 feet for a long time. And this isn't even 40. It's 41, which is major."

Williamsport's Jordie Lord, last year's shot put champ, finished third at 33-4.

In the pole vault, Smithsburg's Erika Gerhold took second (9-0) and Boonsboro's Megan Deckert was third (8-6).

In Class 2A, Katie Ritter was left still looking for her first state gold.

The North Hagerstown junior, who has a stash of silver and bronze from indoors and outdoors, finished second in the 300 (42.08) and fourth in the 55 (7.47).

"I want that state title so bad," Ritter said. "I thought it was going to happen today, but ... I'm still working. I still have to get my form. I can't wait for outdoors."

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