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Hubs' Ritter steals show

May 23, 2009|By ANDREW MASON

BALTIMORE -- On a day the Williamsport girls won their second straight team title and Clear Spring's Paige Shirk once again showcased her power, North Hagerstown's Katie Ritter ran a lap for the ages at the Maryland State Track & Field Championships.

Ritter, a junior, won the Class 2A girls 400-meter dash in 57.08 seconds Saturday at Morgan State University, breaking the 18-year-old Tri-State record and 10-year-old Washington County record in the event.

The previous Tri-State mark was 57.34, set in 1991 by Chambersburg's Becki Davis. Heather Jenkins set the previous county record at 57.49 for Smithsburg in 1999.

More importantly, it was the first state title of Ritter's career.

"I just wanted it so bad and pushed so hard," said Ritter, who also placed second in the 100 (12.57) and third in the 200 (25.95) Saturday. "I can't even express what the feeling is. I'm so overwhelmed and exhausted. All I can do is smile. I'm too tired to celebrate."

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The Williamsport girls outscored runner-up Digital Harbor 108-80 to win their second straight Class 1A team title and third in the last four seasons.

"It's good to go out with a win," Williamsport senior Cayla Broadwater said.

Or, in her case, wins.

Broadwater, who won her second straight title in the triple jump in Thursday's opening action, won her third straight title in the high jump (5 feet, 2 inches) and second straight title in the long jump (17-6) Saturday.

"Being a senior, it's completely different this year," Broadwater said. "I'm just taking it all in and enjoying it."

Senior Amy Taylor won the 300 hurdles (47.31), placed second in the 100 hurdles (15.58) and anchored the second-place 4x400 relay (4:06.17) for the Wildcats.

"I couldn't ask for anything more," Taylor said. "It's the same group of girls I've been with since my freshman year. We get it because we work hard and we want it. Stuff like this doesn't just happen."

Williamsport's top performance of the meet came from senior Morgan Keplinger in the 800, as she held off defending champ Amanda Twigg of Fort Hill by a fraction of a second to win in 2:17.19. Her time was a 1A-meet and Washington County record.

"I was ready to go," Keplinger said. "I got out there and it was just so fast. The last 250 meters, (Twigg) was right with me and then I just went for it.

"I'm just in shock. I can't believe it. This is like the best thing that's ever happened."

Shirk, a junior, won the shot put with a throw of 39-9 3/4, breaking the previous 1A meet record of 38-11, set in 1983 by Clear Spring's Mary Rowe. Williamsport's Jordie Lord finished second (36-2 1/2) and Boonsboro's Danielle Brown was third (36-2).

However, Shirk, who also won the discus Thursday, was in no mood to celebrate. After setting the Tri-State record at 43-8 1/2 a week ago at regionals, she had hoped for so much more at states.

"Like everyone else, I wanted (a personal record)," Shirk said. "I'm still glad I won. I just wish I would have done better personally. Today, I felt like it was me against myself."

For the South Hagerstown girls, Sarah England placed third in the 2A pole vault (8-0) and La Kesa McClain was third in the shot put (35-6 3/4).

Renee Phillips placed third in the 2A 100 (12.70) for North, and teamed with Ritter, Amber Elliott and Corie Anderson to place fifth in the 4x100 in a county-record time of 50.24.

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