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Washington County Indoor Track Preview

Boonsboro girls won't sneak up on anyone this winter

December 01, 2011|By ANDREW MASON | andrewm@herald-mail.com
  • Washington County Preps Previews
Washington County Preps Previews

The Boonsboro girls stunned everyone, including themselves, last winter by placing second in the Class 1A team standings at the Maryland state indoor track and field meet.

After all, this was the same team that had just finished third in the West region after placing fourth at the Washington County championships and sixth at the MVAL Antietam meet.

A second-place finish at states this winter, however, might be disappointing for the Boonsboro girls, who won’t surprise anyone this season if they’re successful.

“Obviously it’s pretty early in the season to be making state-meet predictions,” Warriors coach Becky Walter said. “But there’s no reason why we can’t win it.”

The Warriors have nearly all of their top girls back from last winter and then some.

The top returnee is junior Sarah Zielinski, who was The Herald-Mail’s 2010-11 Washington County Girls Indoor Track & Field Athlete of the Year after winning state titles in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs.

The top name on the “and then some” list is junior Abby Duncan, who was The Herald-Mail’s Washington County Girls Outdoor Track & Field Athlete of the Year last spring after successfully defending her state titles in the 100 and 200 dashes while leading Boonsboro to the team title. This will be the first season of indoor track for Duncan, who previously spent her winters playing basketball.

“After the indoor state meet last year, I scored it out with what we potentially would have had with Abby, and we would have won it,” Walter said. “You put her in a few individual races and a few relays, and that’s quite a few points.”

Boonsboro’s roster also includes: Sophomore Maggie Sullivan, who won a pair of state titles in the hurdles last spring; sophomore Kortney Cunningham and freshman Ella Hawkins, who along with Zielinski, led the Warriors to their first county cross country title in 16 years this fall; and juniors Emily Cronise (middle distance) and Samantha Cochran (shot put), who were both all-county second-team selections last indoor season. And the list of standout Warriors doesn’t stop there.

“It’s nice to have a lot of depth for once,” Walter said. “We have so many people to pull from.”

The Boonsboro boys are the two-time defending county champs indoors, and they know three-peating won’t be easy.

“We lost some big points,” Walter said. “It will be tough, but I wouldn’t rule it out completely.”

Four of their five all-county first-team selections from last winter graduated, including superstar Coby Gussio. The top returnee is senior J.R. Lowery, who swept the indoor and outdoor state titles in the shot put last school year.

Williamsport

The Wildcats seemingly never can be counted out in track, and this year is no different, even with a new head coach.

Teresa Weaver has replaced John Bailey at the helm after assisting him the last few years.

“I’ve got very big shoes to fill,” Weaver said. “But we’re hoping to keep things going. We have a lot of the same coaches back.”

The Williamsport boys, who finished a close second to Boonsboro at last winter’s county meet, might be second to none in the county this season.

They clearly have the strongest distance squad, led by senior Evan Hardy and juniors Cody Grams and Cody Bowman. Hardy won 1A state titles in the 1,600 and 3,200 indoors and outdoors as a junior and will attempt to do the same this school year, but now in 2A, as the Wildcats have moved up in class.

Other standout returnees include seniors Collin Linton (sprints) and Cody Gardenhour (middle distance) and junior twins Jesse and Kevin Zeger (hurdles).

“The boys are looking pretty good, but the girls are doing a rebuild,” said Weaver, who takes over a girls team that has won eight of the last nine county titles, including last year’s.

The girls have three state champs back from last winter — junior Lauren Johnson (300), senior Renee Barnes (4x800) and sophomore Regan Stout (4x800) — while standout hurdler Andrea Nunnally, a junior, also returns.

“We have some new kids coming out who are looking strong, so hopefully we can still keep our name in the running,” Weaver said.

North Hagerstown

The Hubs have moved from Class 2A to 3A, but also have dropped in numbers.

“I only have 40 kids on the roster, total, boys and girls,” coach Brian Myers said. “And two-thirds of them are sophomores, so you can pretty much do the math. We’re very, very small and young. It’s a little disappointing, especially after having 70 kids last year. That’s a huge drop.

“But we have some kids who are going to do real well and stand out in their particular events. We still have high hopes and some pretty good potential.”

The girls have several standouts. Senior Charlotte Anderson was an outdoor state champ in the shot put last spring; sophomore Emily Ward had the top 1,600 time in the area last spring (5:20.01) and is coming off an exceptional cross country season; senior Emily Simmons also is a frontrunner in the distance races; and Raven Jackson, whose specialties are the long and triple jumps outdoors, is the defending county champ in the 55 hurdles indoors.

The North boys have a huge void to fill with the loss of superstar Anthony Winter to graduation.

Junior Jordy Hose is the defending county champ in the 55 hurdles, and senior sprinter Matt Toth had a breakout season outdoors last spring.

Smithsburg

The way coach Ray Shriver sees it, the Leopards’ glass is always at least half full.

“We’re optimistic, always optimistic,” he said. “If you don’t think you can do well, you shouldn’t be coaching.”

The Smithsburg boys only return one of their five all-county selections from last winter — senior sprinter Chad Greene, who was a second-teamer.

“Chad has shown a lot of leadership, and I think he’s going to really make some noise,” Shriver said.

The Leopards also have junior Luke Daigneault, the 1A state runner-up in cross country this fall, and senior Nick Porter, the county champ in the pole vault last spring.

“We have a lot of new talent on the boys side,” Shriver said. “If they rise to the occasion, we could be pretty good.”

The top returnee for the girls is senior Lauren Johnson, the 1A state runner-up in the 3,200 last winter. Also back are all-county second-teamers Mia Cardone (sprints) and Taylor Cline (middle distance).

“We’re really young on the girls side,” Shriver said. “But we’ll be competitive. The girls have the hunger and are really pushing each other in practice.”

South Hagerstown

The Rebels have 30 girls and 19 boys on their roster to work with this season.

“We’ll come up with something. We always have kids emerge,” coach Dwayne Freeman said. “We’re just going to have to try some things to see how we’re going to score our points.”

The top returning girls are junior sprinters Hayley Freeman and Elizsha Streeter, who both contributed to the 3A state runner-up 4x200 last winter. The other half of South’s trademark relay will need to be replaced, as Jaid Sandeen graduated and Kiona Mency is not competing.

The boys team has lost nearly all of its big point scorers from last season due to graduation, transfers and ineligibility. However, they did gain senior Aaron Waters (sprints, middle distance), who previously ran for North and seems poised to break out.

Sophomore Isiaha Smith, a standout running back in football, is running track as his secondary sport this winter to basketball.

“For our boys right now, there’s going to be a struggle,” Freeman said. “I just have to do my job as a coach and try to get them ready.”

Clear Spring

Coach Jaime Mason said she’s hoping “the pieces fall together this year.”

Her girls team returns its two biggest pieces from last winter in seniors Valerie Carey (high jump) and Tessa Wiles (shot put), and Mason said she also is expecting big things from senior Sarah Elwood in the field events.

She said senior Quinn Hoover, a first-year track athlete expected to compete in the middle distances, has been a nice surprise, and that sophomore Juan Resendiz (middle distance) has “the heart of a champion and work ethic of a superstar, one of those kids you want other kids to emulate.”

The Blazers’ success this season probably won’t be determined by team scores and standings.

“We just try to make each kid on our team the best that they can be,” Mason said. “And we use other teams to help further them along.”

Hancock

Track and field is a growing sport at Hancock.

“We had 28 boys and girls sign up this year. I was impressed. Last year I think was the biggest team at 19,” coach Paul Norris said. “We have some experience. Eight seniors is the most I’ve ever had, and a lot of the new kids are really surprising me.”

The Panthers have a pair of standouts in seniors Emily Johnson and Tyler Cheng. Johnson is a two-time 1A state placewinner in the 55 hurdles, and Cheng was the county runner-up in the pole vault last spring.

Norris said he also is expecting big things from senior Evan Smith in the shot put.

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