All-Area Girls Track & Field -- Blazers' Shirk has the drive

June 10, 2009|By ANDREW MASON

The tears Paige Shirk shed on a sunny Saturday afternoon in Baltimore last month revealed a lot about the Clear Spring junior.

She had just captured her second title of the 2009 Maryland State Track & Field Championships, winning the shot put with a Class 1A meet-record throw of 39 feet, 9 3/4 inches.

But Shirk's tears weren't those of joy.

She entered the competition knowing she only had herself to beat. And, in her mind, she had just lost.

"She wasn't happy because she wanted to throw much better than she did," Clear Spring coach Doug McBurney said. "That just shows her drive."

Shirk, who won her second straight state title in the discus before completing her undefeated season in the shot put, is The Herald-Mail's Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year.


"This season was a good season to motivate myself to do even better next year," she said. "I always want to outdo myself and am never completely satisfied. It just gives me the goal of breaking my own records next year."

In early April at a small meet at Brunswick, Shirk won the shot put with a monstrous heave of 43-7, breaking a 10-year-old Tri-State record in the event by 4 inches. Former North Hagerstown star Meagan Verdeyen set the previous mark of 43-3 in 1999.

On May 15, a week before states, Shirk broke her own record at the West region championships with a winning throw of 43-8 1/2.

While she then hoped to shatter that mark at states, she now has a good reason for falling short.

"I actually found out later that I sprained my shoulder in practice the day before states," Shirk said. "But I didn't go to the doctor until after states. So that explains a few things."

She said she hopes to be at full strength when she competes in the shot put at Nike Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, N.C., on June 19. The qualifying standard for that meet was 42-3 1/4, and the top six finishers earn All-American honors. The sixth-place finisher last year threw 44-9.

"I can only hope for a personal record," Shirk said.

She capped her first indoor season this past winter by winning the Maryland 1A shot put title in a meet-record 41-4 1/2 and then placing eighth at Nike Indoor Nationals in Boston at 39-11 1/4.

Her decision to quit playing basketball proved to be a good one.

"I'm really glad that I decided to do indoor because it got me prepared for outdoor," Shirk said. "By the time outdoor came, my technique was flowing."

Her goal is to become equally dominant in the discus.

"I definitely have a lot more in me in the discus," said Shirk, whose personal best in that event is 114-9. "If I work on it this summer and fall, I think I'll get more of the technique down."

And don't be fooled. Shirk does work hard.

"Pretty much every night, I'm either at the gym or just working on technique and throwing," she said. "A lot of kids don't realize how much work I put in. They think I just have all this natural talent. But it takes a lot of work to get where you need to be."

Joining Shirk on the All-Area First Team are:

Anyssa Barbour, Chambersburg, Sprints

The senior ranked first in the area in the 200 (25.24), second in the 400 (58.14) and fourth in the 100 (12.34).

Alyssa Boucher, Jefferson, Distance

The junior ranked first in the area in the 3,200 (11:16.54) and second in the 1,600 (5:23.14).

Cayla Broadwater, Williamsport, Jumps

The senior won Maryland 1A state titles in the long, triple and high jumps for the second straight year. She was the area leader in the triple jump (37-7) and tied for the area lead in the high jump (5-6).

Taylor Brown, Jefferson, Hurdles

The junior was the West Virginia Class AAA state champ and area leader in the 100 hurdles (15.04) and 300 hurdles (44.34). She also won a state title in the 4x100 relay (Tri-State record 48.58).

Jasmyn Hosby, Washington, Sprints

The freshman was the West Virginia Class AAA state champ in the 200 and runner-up in the 100.

Jonelle Jerwick, Smithsburg, Jumps

The sophomore was the Maryland 1A state runner-up and co-area leader in the pole vault (10 feet).

Morgan Keplinger, Williamsport, Mid. distance

The senior won the Maryland 1A state 800 in an area-best 2:17.19, setting a 1A-meet and Washington County record. She also won state gold in the 4x800 and silver in the 4x400.

Andrea Nickerson, Jefferson, Distance

The junior won West Virginia Class AAA state bronze in the 1,600 in an area-best 5:11.56.

Katie Ritter, North Hagerstown, Sprints

The junior set a Tri-State record in the 400 (57.08) with her Maryland 2A state victory. She also placed second in the 100 and third in the 200 at states.

Amy Taylor, Williamsport, Hurdles

The senior won Maryland 1A state gold in the 300 hurdles and silver in the 100 hurdles and 4x400 relay.

Beth Wagner, N. Hagerstown, Jumps/hurdles

The sophomore tied for the area lead in the high jump (5-6) and was among the leaders in the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles.

Jessica Whitmore, Chambersburg, Sprints

The freshman was the area leader (12.16) and PIAA Class AAA state bronze medalist in the 100. She ranked third in the area in the 200 (25.66).

Katrina Wright, Greencastle, Throws

The junior won PIAA Class AAA state medals in the shot put and discus, and was the area leader in the discus (130-2).

All-Area Second Team

Brittany Carr, Sr., Jefferson, Sprints

Libby Cooper, Jr., Chambersburg, Pole vault

McKenzie Doyle, So., Chambersburg, Distance

Bekah Elbel, Fr., Chambersburg, Mid. distance

Lena Finucane, Sr., Mercersburg, Distance

Tracey Forsythe, Sr., Williamsport, Distance

Whitney Garvin, Sr., N. Hagerstown, Jumps

Miranda Hicks, Sr., Martinsburg, Throws

Katrina Lamar, Sr., Waynesboro, Jumps

Jordie Lord, Sr., Williamsport, Throws

La'Kesa McClain, Jr., S. Hagerstown, Throws

Renee Phillips, Jr., North Hagerstown, Sprints

Harlie Stotler, Fr., Berkeley Springs, Throws

Asia Walker, Sr., Mercersburg, Jumps/sprints

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