'Meet of champions' to be held at North High

June 08, 2011|By ANDREW MASON |

The second annual Jack Griffin Mid-Atlantic Prep Track & Field Classic will provide windows of opportunity this weekend in Hagerstown, as several of the region’s top athletes come together for the USA Track & Field-sanctioned meet.

The event will be held Friday through Sunday at North Hagerstown’s Mike Callas Stadium.

“We want to provide a chance to compete against the best,” said meet director Wayne Kretzer Jr., “almost like a meet of champions, where the Maryland Class 1A champ can go up against the 4A champ and private-school champ and champs from other states.

“We also want to provide another chance for some athletes to qualify for nationals, and maybe provide another chance for some athletes who might have had a bad state meet to end the season on a high note. It also will give some athletes a chance to show colleges what they can do. The meet will be covered nationally by”

As of Wednesday morning, roughly 120 athletes from more than a half-dozen states had registered to compete. Online registration ends Thursday at 5 p.m., but athletes will still be able to show up and register this weekend.

At last year’s inaugural meet at North Hagerstown, Jermaine Brown, of New York, won the 200-meter dash a week before winning the event at New Balance Nationals in North Carolina.

“We’ve got a lot of top talent again. I’m excited,” Kretzer said. “It’s looking to be a good meet, not as deep as I would like it to be, but there’ll be some good competition. It’s getting to the level we want it to be.”

Among this year’s entrants are local stars J.R. Lowery and Sarah Zielinski of Boonsboro, Dante Price of Jefferson, Sarah Firestone of Mercersburg Academy and Nicole Deneseus of Faith Christian.

Lowery (throws) and Zielinski (distance) are both two-time Maryland 1A state champs, while Price won West Virginia Class AAA state titles in the 100, 200 and 4x400 last month, and Firestone is the reigning Pennsylvania Independent Schools state champ in the javelin. Deneseus won high-point honors at the Association of Christian Schools International Northeast Region Championships last month, capturing titles in the high jump and javelin.

“It’s great that we’ve got local champions who’ve decided to step up,” Kretzer said. “There’s going to be some great competition. People should come out and watch. ... This is a great event for the community, and it will only continue to grow.”

Awards will be presented by Jack Griffin, of Frederick, Md., the three-time U.S. Olympic coach for whom the meet is named.

The competition will be held in the evening hours on Friday (8-10 p.m.) and Saturday (6-10 p.m.) and in the morning on Sunday (9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.).

Friday will also feature the “Fastest Kid in Hagerstown” 100-meter dashes, open to all Washington County boys and girls in grades one through eight.

For a complete schedule of events or more information, visit the event’s website at or contact Kretzer at or 301-739-1366.

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