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Track stardom or JV hoops?

Duncan, Boonsboro's state champ sprinter, chose basketball

January 27, 2011|By ANDREW MASON | andrewm@herald-mail.com
  • Boonsboro's Abby Duncan, one of the fastest sprinters in Tri-State area history, is playing JV basketball this winter instead of competing on the Warriors' indoor track team.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

BOONSBORO — One can only guess how successful Boonsboro sophomore Abby Duncan would be this winter had she chosen to run indoor track.

“I think she’d probably have the top times in the state right now in the (55- and 300-meter dashes),” Warriors track coach Becky Walter said.

That’s hardly a stretch of the imagination.

After all, last spring in her first season of outdoor track, Duncan won Maryland Class 1A state titles in the 100 and 200, before turning in her most spectacular performance at New Balance Nationals in Greensboro, N.C. There, she placed second in the freshman girls 400 in 56.86 seconds, setting an all-time Tri-State area record in the event.

“She came in as a freshman with no expectations and no experience at all in track, pretty much clueless as to what her potential was,” Walter said. “For her to finish up her season as a state champion in two events and a national runner-up in another puts into perspective just how talented she is.”

So why in the world did Duncan decide not to chase more titles and records on the track this winter?

The answer might seem simple enough: She’s a standout point guard on her basketball team at Boonsboro.

But if you want to watch Duncan play, you’d better arrive early.

She’s on the Warriors’ JV team.

“I’m glad I’m on JV because all my friends are there,” Duncan said. “All my teammates on JV are the friends I’ve grown up with since elementary school.”

After becoming a track superstar last spring, she upped her game in soccer this past fall, helping to lead Boonsboro to Washington County and MVAL Antietam Conference titles while earning all-county first-team honors as a forward.

As autumn turned into winter, Duncan decided to stick with the sport she’s played since fourth grade, even if it meant sacrificing some glory.

“I was on the fence this year, but I decided to play basketball. ... I just wanted to keep this going,” she said. “Basketball has always been fun for me. It’s nice to not be so intense about a sport as in soccer and track.

“I got a lot of questions about it, and I’d just say it’s because of my friends. I can get away and laugh.”

But don’t get her wrong. “(JV basketball) is not just a free-for-all social hour,” she said.

Duncan only competes one way — at full speed.

“She’s probably my leading scorer, averaging about eight or nine points a game, and she’s definitely my most valuable player,” said Boonsboro JV basketball coach Sam Connelly. “She works very hard at both ends of the court, and she works just as hard in practice. She’s just a tremendous leader.

“I’m glad to have her. She probably could have played at the varsity level this year, but she would have had to split time because there are so many guards.”

Walter, obviously, will be glad to have Duncan back on her outdoor track team this spring.

“She has the potential to win a lot more state titles and run some pretty incredible times,” Walter said. “She has the potential to be one of the best ever in Washington County.”

Duncan is fully aware of her potential as well.

Even though Connelly said that “she would be an outstanding high school basketball player with the ability to play at the next level after high school,” Duncan knows her future in track likely is brighter.

“I’m still on the fence, but I’m leaning toward indoor track next year,” she said. “My junior year, I’ll need to get more focused about my sports and the sports I might want to play in college. It’ll be time to get serious.”

She said she has no regrets about her decision this winter.

“I’m glad I played basketball,” she said. “But I’m very excited to race again.”

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