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Titles there for the taking

Maryland state track meet begins today in Baltimore

May 27, 2010|By ANDREW MASON
  • Smithsburg's David Wilson (1), shown leading South Hagerstown's Sam Jones (2) in the 3,200-meter run at the Washington County championships on May 13, is the top seed in both the Class 1A 1,600 and 3,200 for the Maryland state meet, which begins today at Morgan State University in Baltimore.
By Joe Crocetta, Staff Photographer

The pressure of the track and field season is starting to get to North Hagerstown coach Robert Waugh.

"Aw, man," he said. "I'm going to be gray by 26."

If the North girls win the Maryland Class 2A state title this weekend at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Waugh, who just recently turned 25, will be the youngest coach in the history of the Hubs' track program to claim the crown.

Of course, he also will be the oldest.

"North Hagerstown has never won a state title," said Waugh, whose girls have run away with the MVAL Antietam, Washington County and 2A West region titles this spring. "Boy, do we have our work cut out for us. It's definitely going to be a challenge. Our girls are going to have to come out and perform like they haven't performed all year.

"But we definitely have a chance, and our girls are confident."

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The North girls' best finish at states was in 1992, when they were the 2A runners-up.

"We want the championship really bad," said North senior sprinter Renee Phillips, a quadruple winner at the region meet.

The Smithsburg girls, on the other hand, have one of the most storied programs in Class 1A. They've won 13 team titles, including a run of eight straight from 1996 to 2003.

Leopards coach T.J. Hood likes his girls' chances for No. 14 this weekend. They won the West region title last week.

"I think we can contend," Hood said. "Any time you win the West (one of the state's four regions), you have roughly a 33 percent chance to win the state title because it's such a tough region that we come out of."

The Williamsport girls, who finished third in the region last week, are the two-time defending state champs. Overall, Washington County teams have won 13 of the last 14 Class 1A girls titles.

County boys teams have won 1A state championships three of the last four years. Smithsburg won in 2006 and 2007 and shared the title with Williamsport last year.

After winning the West region title last week, the Williamsport boys are in no mood to share again at states.

"We're looking to go out there and walk away with a clean state title, not a co-title," said Williamsport senior Justin Bowie, the two-time defending state champ in the 110-meter hurdles.

The state championships begin today for classes 1A and 2A and start Friday for 3A and 4A. The meet wraps up Saturday with all four classes in action.

County athletes are seeded first in 10 events, based on the results of all the region meets.

Smithsburg senior David Wilson, the state champ this school year in both cross country and the 3,200 indoors, is seeded first in two 1A boys events -- today's 3,200 and Saturday's 1,600.

"I want to go home with two golds," he said. "I've never won anything in outdoor states, so that would be pretty incredible."

Other top seeds include: Smithsburg in the 1A girls 4x200 relay; Clear Spring's Paige Shirk in the 1A girls shot put; Smithsburg's Colleen Black in the 1A girls discus; Boonsboro's Coby Gussio in the 1A boys long jump; North in the 2A girls 4x200 relay; North's Beth Wagner in the 2A girls high jump and Raven Jackson in the 2A girls long jump (17-7); and South Hagerstown's La'Kesa McClain in the 3A girls discus.

Shirk, who set the 1A meet record in the shot put last year (39 feet, 9 3/4 inches), also is the two-time defending state champ in the discus. She's seeded second in that event, behind Black.

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