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Rebels: 'We expect to win now'

March 20, 2009|By ANDREW MASON

Winning can do wonders for a program, as the South Hagerstown boys track and field team is learning.

"Things start to change. More and more people want to get involved, and things keep moving in positive directions," said coach Dwayne Freeman, who last year guided the South boys to their first Washington County title since 1970.

"The overall attitude and expectations have changed. We went from 'Can we win now?' to 'We expect to win now.' We actually believe we can achieve something. It's not arrogance but confidence."

The Rebels return several of their top performers from last year, including seniors Jason Chase (sprints), Kyle Toms (throws), Ian Anderson (sprints), Devaun Bowie (jumps) and Shane Santell (middle distance), who all were all-county selections last spring.

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"It's important to have strong leadership to set examples," Freeman said. "They're setting the tone for the newcomers, and we have a lot of newcomers."

He said sophomore Jordan Alston, this year's indoor county champ in the 300, has been the biggest surprise.

"He's put in a lot of work and shown a lot of improvement," Freeman said. "I'm anxious to see how he does when we run our first couple of meets."

He said junior Xavier Richardson (jumps), an all-county pick last year who has been sidelined with a knee injury, hopefully will be back by the end of the season to help contribute.

"We definitely have big expectations," Freeman said. "I hope we can fulfill them."

Boonsboro



"We have a very strong team," Warriors coach Becky Walter said. "This might be the best guys team we've ever had here."

The star is senior Scott Rice, the 1A state champion pole vaulter who last year set the county record at 14 feet, 3 1/4 inches.

"He really has his sights set on the state record (15-1)," Walter said.

Other all-county returnees include Jordan Acton (distance), Jackson Phillipson (hurdles) and Eddie Seabright (pole vault). Standouts Jordan Garver (sprints) and Shane Lowery (hurdles/jumps) also are back, while football star Branden McLean (sprints) is running track for the first time.

"If they do what I think they can do and everything falls into place, I really think they can place in the top three in the state," Walter said.

Clear Spring



"We're still building," Blazers first-year head coach Doug McBurney said. "But we have some kids who are going to do some good things."

Senior Cory Horton is the most accomplished. The three-time state medalist in cross country was the 1A indoor state runner-up in the 1,600 last month. Other notables include Elliott Reed (sprints), Devin Repp (middle distance) and Brandon Schildtknecht (distance).

"We're expecting some younger kids to mature and the senior kids to lead the way," McBurney said. "This is my first year being the man in charge, and I'm hoping to be competitive."

Hancock



The Panthers have 15 boys on their team, including three seniors and five juniors.

"We look to have about as solid a team as we've had in a while," coach Jeff Spielman said. "There are only a couple events (distance races) where we won't be able to compete."

He said sophomore Mike Weller "should be a 20-feet long jumper." Senior Branden Vanorsdale (sprints) has scored at the county championships.

North Hagerstown



The Hubs finished fifth in the county last year, and Cory Forsyth was the their only all-county pick -- and he graduated.

"It will be different this year. We are going to be much improved," said first-year coach Robert Waugh. "I'm not too worried about the past. I'm a new coach with a new philosophy.

"We have been working pretty hard. I've been pushing and they've been responding. ... Don't count our boys out."

Indoors this winter, Dominic Sink was the 2A state runner-up in the pole vault, and Frederic Owusu-Ayim won a county title in the 55 dash.

Smithsburg



T.J. Hood probably couldn't have asked for a better nucleus of guys to begin his first season as the Leopards' head coach.

Tyler Barnhart (throws), David Wilson (distance), Billy Lawrence (jumps/sprints) and Mr. Everything Tyler Craig are all-county returnees, while Michael Jewell (hurdles) and Zach Cross (middle distance) are coming off breakout indoor seasons.

"And we have even more who will be stepping up," Hood said.

"The guys have said they would like to win the state meet. A lot of these seniors were around to see those state-title teams in 2006 and 2007. And they saw what it was like not to win last year. That should keep them motivated."

Williamsport



Senior distance runner Michael Lilley, a six-time 1A state champ, has his sights set on the one track victory that's eluded him.

"I want a team title before I graduate," he said.

The Wildcats, who finished fourth in the state last spring and third indoors this winter, have 67 boys on their roster, including 16 seniors.

Justin Bowie (hurdles), Jesse Buchman (middle distance), Cortez Boyce (sprints), Naseem Haje (distance) and Stephen Ingraham (hurdles) join Lilley as all-county returnees.

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