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Getting a jump start

Lawrence's leap sets pace for county

Lawrence's leap sets pace for county

May 22, 2009|By ANDREW MASON

BALTIMORE -- Standing still, Billy Lawrence is merely 5 feet, 10 inches tall and 150 pounds.

When the Smithsburg senior jumps, he is a giant.

Lawrence won the Class 1A boys high jump with a monstrous leap of 6 feet, 8 inches during the first day of action at the Maryland State Track & Field Championships at Morgan State University on Thursday.

Washington County athletes won four other Class 1A events, including three by Williamsport -- Michael Lilley in the boys 3,200-meter run, Cayla Broadwater in the girls triple jump and Kaelii Stout, Casey Arnone, Tracey Forsythe and Morgan Keplinger in the girls 4x800 relay. Clear Spring's Paige Shirk won the girls discus.

County athletes will be back in action Saturday, when the meet concludes.

Lawrence equaled the 1A meet record in the high jump set in 1975 by Gwynn Park's Mike Savoy, while breaking the Washington County record by 2 inches and his personal record by 4 inches.

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"I wasn't expecting it. I was hoping for maybe 6-6," said Lawrence, who won by 2 inches. "It was the competition. Better competition helps you stay focused."

The previous county record of 6-6 was set in 1979 by Williamsport's Steve Milburn and then equaled by Smithsburg's Elmer Sewell in 1995 and Smithsburg's Corey Brown in 2002.

"I'm gone," said Milburn, now an assistant coach at Clear Spring, with a laugh. "I'm surprised it lasted that long."

Lawrence, however, wasn't ready to celebrate anything yet.

"I just have to move on to the next event and try to get more points for my team," he said.

Lawrence went on to place second in the long jump Thursday at 20-11 1/2, and he'll compete in the triple jump and 4x400 on Saturday.

Through six events, Smithsburg is in first place in the 1A boys team standings with 29 points -- one more than Western Tech and 10 more than fourth-place Williamsport.

The Williamsport girls, the defending Class 1A team champions, wasted no time stamping their authority at this year's state meet.

In the first track event Thursday, they dominated, winning the 4x800 in 9:48.49. No other team broke 10 minutes.

"Right off the bat, we wanted to let them know Williamsport's here," said Keplinger, who ran the anchor leg.

Broadwater -- who won the long, triple and high jumps last year at states -- is 1-for-1 so far this year. She won the triple jump at 37-1.

"A win's a win," said Broadwater, who was 9 inches off her personal best. "I might not be completely satisfied with it, but it feels great to repeat. I know I did the best I could out there today."

She'll compete in the other two jumps Saturday.

"I'm definitely looking forward to it," she said.

The Williamsport girls lead with 40 points, while Smithsburg is in second with 20.

Lilley, who is aiming for his third straight title in the 1,600 Saturday, captured his first outdoor title in the 3,200 in 9:44.12, holding off runner-up David Wilson of Smithsburg by 2.8 seconds.

Lilley began the day by running the leadoff leg of the Wildcats' 4x800 relay, which finished a disappointing fifth.

"I wasn't going to lose this race," said Lilley of the 3,200. "After the 4x8, (Williamsport distance coach Taylor Oliver) came up to me and said, 'Don't worry about it, stick to the game plan and get 10 points for the team.' And that's what I did.

"I'm really happy about it. That last lap I was praying, 'Please, please let me get through this.'"

The Blazers' Shirk won the 1A girls discus for the second straight year, leading a county sweep of the medals (top-three places) in the event with a throw of 107-6. Williamsport's Jordie Lord took second (106-2) and Smithsburg's Colleen Black was third (97-9).

"My goal was to win and I came out on top, so I'm proud of myself," said Shirk, who is seeded first in the shot put Saturday with her Tri-State-record and national-class throw of 43-8 1/2 from last week's West region meet. "I'm really excited about Saturday."

In the 1A girls pole vault, Smithsburg's Jonelle Jerwick placed second at 10-0, breaking her own school record by 3 inches, while teammate Erika Gerhold took third at 9-0.

"My goal was just 9-6 because I had only done that 9-9 once," Jerwick said. "I just wanted to get a medal."

In Class 2A, North Hagerstown's Dominic Sink placed second in the boys pole vault (13-6), while South Hagerstown got third-place finishes from Kyle Toms in the boys shot put (48-11) and La Kesa McClain in the girls discus (105-8).

Prep Track & Field

Maryland State Championships

at BALTIMORE

Winners and Washington County results

Girls Class 1A

3,200 -- 1. Jennifer Cleary (Bohemia Manor) 11:19.97; 6. Tracey Forsythe (Williamsport) 12:15.25; 9. Kellie Quinn (Williamsport) 13:06.07.

4x200 relay -- 1. Digital Harbor 1:45.97; 9. Williamsport 1:51.49.

4x800 -- 1. Williamsport 9:48.49; 7. Clear Spring 10:30.60.

Triple jump -- 1. Cayla Broadwater (Williamsport) 37-1; 4. Amy Taylor (Williamsport) 32-2 1/4; 5. Katie McMurray (Clear Spring) 31-7 1/2; 6. Heather Hilliard (Williamsport) 31-2.

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