A freshman sensation last year, Abby Duncan experienced anything but a sophomore slump this spring.
The Boonsboro sprinter successfully defended her Class 1A titles in the 100- and 200-meter dashes at the Maryland state championships while leading the Warriors to the team title.
Duncan is The Herald-Mail’s 2011 Washington County Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year.
“Last year was a big surprise for me. I just worked my butt off, and what happened at the end of the season was amazing,” she said. “This year, I had that pressure, but I tried not to let it get to me. I just had fun and ran my races.”
Unlike many of her competitors, Duncan didn’t spend the winter running indoor track. She played basketball instead.
So, admittedly, she was a little unsure of herself heading into Boonsboro’s season opener March 26 at the Patriot Invitational at Thomas Johnson.
“I was so nervous about getting back into it again,” she said. “I hadn’t raced since last year, and there were a lot of fast girls there.”
Duncan showed no signs of rust that day, winning the 100 and 200. She went on to finish the spring unbeaten in both events, with season-best times of 12.19 seconds in the 100 and 25.47 in the 200.
“There was a lot of pressure on her from the beginning of the season after doing so well and turning so many heads as a freshman,” Boonsboro coach Becky Walter said. “There was a target on her back, but she never let it bother her.
“We weren’t sure how long it would take for her to come around after a winter of basketball. But she just jumped back in like she hadn’t missed a day, like she hadn’t skipped a beat. ... She always rises to the challenge.”
At the state meet, Duncan also ran her season-best time of 58.89 seconds in the 400. However, she had to settle for third place — the only individual race of the year she didn’t win.
“It was kind of bittersweet,” she said. “At least I placed and still got points for our team.”
Duncan also anchored the 4x100 relay to a fourth-place finish at states, where the Warriors held off Harford Tech 108-100 for the team title.
“Coming home and taking that victory lap around our track just felt amazing,” she said. “It was surreal.”
As for the future, Duncan said “I just want to keep defending my titles as the years go on.”
She said she also plans to give up basketball for indoor track this winter.
“That will be an extra boost for me, I think,” she said. “I’m excited.”
Joining Duncan on the all-county first team are:
Charlotte Anderson, North Hagerstown
The junior was the 2A state champ in the shot put.
Corie Anderson, North Hagerstown
The senior won 2A state silver in the 4x200, bronze in the 4x100 and also placed in the 400.
Kortney Cunningham, Boonsboro
The freshman was a 1A state placewinner in the 1,600 and 3,200. She was the West region champ in the 1,600.
Raven Jackson, North Hagerstown
The junior had the area’s top mark in the triple jump (37-7). She won 2A state silver in the long jump and bronze in the triple.
Jonelle Jerwick, Smithsburg
The senior was the 1A state runner-up in the pole vault and is still the only girl in Tri-State history to clear 11 feet in the event.
Lauren Johnson, Smithsburg
The junior was a 1A state placewinner in the 1,600 and 3,200.
Kiona Mency, South Hagerstown
The sophomore anchored the 4x100 to 3A state bronze and also placed in the 100.
Sara Rishell, Smithsburg
The senior was a 1A state placewinner in the high jump, triple jump and shot put.
Jaid Sandeen, South Hagerstown
The senior won 3A state gold in the pole vault, bronze in the 4x100 and also placed in the triple jump.
Maggie Sullivan, Boonsboro
The freshman won 1A state titles in the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles.
Beth Wagner, North Hagerstown
The senior was the county champ in the 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles and high jump and placed in all three at states.
Emily Ward, North Hagerstown
The freshman placed second in the 2A state 1,600 with the top time in the Tri-State area this spring (5:20.01). She also was a state placewinner in the 3,200.
Becky Young, Boonsboro
The senior was the 1A state champ in the shot put and runner-up in the discus. She won county titles in both.
Sarah Zielinski, Boonsboro
The sophomore won 1A state bronze in the 3,200 and also placed at states in the 1,600.
ALL-COUNTY SECOND TEAM
Renee Barnes, Mid. distance, Williamsport, Junior
Mia Cardone, Sprints, Smithsburg, Soph.
Imani Carter, Sprints, North Hagerstown, Senior
Stacey Christy, Jumps, Williamsport, Soph.
Emily Cronise, Mid. distance, Boonsboro, Soph.
Rachel Doane, Mid. distance, Boonsboro, Junior
Kayla Freeman, Relays, South Hagerstown, Senior
Lauren Johnson, Sprints, Williamsport, Soph.
Amy Moore, Mid. distance, Boonsboro, Senior
Julia Price, Relays/jumps, Williamsport, Soph.
Christine Randall, Sprints, North Hagerstown, Fresh.
Emily Simmons, Distance, North Hagerstown, Junior
Kaelii Stout, Mid. distance, Williamsport, Senior
Elizsha Streeter, Sprints, South Hagerstown, Soph.
Sarah Wren, Sprints, Smithsburg, Senior