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Washington County girls track & field preview

Big 3 back to lead Warriors

March 14, 2012|By ANDREW MASON | andrewm@herald-mail.com
  • Washington County Preps Previews
Washington County Preps Previews

Watch out! The Boonsboro girls track and field team’s Big Three are back for more.

Junior sprinter Abby Duncan, sophomore hurdler Maggie Sullivan and junior distance runner Sarah Zielinski have combined to win 11 individual Maryland Class 1A state titles on the track in their careers. Together, they’ve led the Warriors to back-to-back team titles at states, outdoors last May and indoors last month.

More of the same is expected this spring.

“It’s great to have them, not just the points you get out of them, but the leadership they bring,” Boonsboro coach Becky Walter said. “And we have others that will contribute a lot as well.”

Quite simply, the Warriors, who also are the reigning Washington County champions, are loaded.

They have Kortney Cunningham, a state placewinner in both the 1,600 and 3,200 last spring, as well as standout middle distance runners Rachel Doane, Katie Rickerds and Emily Cronise. Then there’s Samantha Cochran, who captured state bronze in the shot put last month, as well as Emily Moats and Courtney Rose, who both scored in the pole vault. And senior Amber Smith, a sprinter who hasn’t competed since her promising freshman year, is back to try to make up for lost time.

Boonsboro’s list of talented athletes seemingly goes on and on, much to the envy of opponents.

“They’re really something,” Williamsport coach Teresa Weaver said. “They were tough last year, and they’re still rolling.”

“If we can keep everybody healthy and get everybody where they need to be, then I like our chances (to win states again),” Walter said. “But it’s always going to be competitive.”

North Hagerstown

While Boonsboro made a lot of noise in winning the Class 1A team title last spring, the North girls quietly placed a close second in the Class 2A team standings at states — a year after finishing first.

But now the Hubs are in 3A.

“Sprints are usually our strongest part of the team, but going up to 3A is going to be pretty difficult,” coach Robert Waugh said. “The 3A teams, especially down near the city, are pretty stacked with sprinters.”

North is stacked with distance runners as Emily Ward, Emily Simmons and Michey Moody all return. Ward is a two-time state runner-up in the 1,600 — in 2A outdoors last spring and in 3A indoors this winter.

“Hopefully we’ll be getting quite a few points from them,” Waugh said. “Emily Ward is incredible. The pain she’s willing to put her body through to succeed is amazing.”

The Hubs also have Charlotte Anderson, the 2A state champ in the shot put last spring, and Raven Jackson, who picked up state silver in the long jump and bronze in the triple jump last year.

However, Jackson, who also is a standout hurdler, is currently sidelined with an injury.

“Raven alone could be anywhere between 20 and 30 points at any meet,” Waugh said. “We need her healthy in May.”

Christine Randall and Jessica Hunt will try to keep the Hubs competitive in the sprints, while Emily Smith will try to do the same in the pole vault.

Smithsburg

The Leopards are learning to share as several of their standouts also are on the school’s lacrosse team this spring, including Emma Gerhold (pole vault), Taylor Cline (sprints/jumps), Dominique Dilandro (hurdles/sprints) and Sarah Thompson (sprints).

“They’re definitely a solid group of girls,” said coach T.J. Hood. “But we have a great arrangement, and they’ll still have a very active role on the team.”

He said the team might experience some growing pains this spring.

“We have a lot of girls, about 35, but we’re pretty darn young,” Hood said. “We have a lot of individual girls who will do well, but as a team, we don’t have the depth we’ve had in past years.”

Top individuals include Lauren Johnson (distance), Mia Cardone (sprints) and Kayla Hott (throws). Hott gave up softball this spring after placing second in the 1A state shot put indoors last month.

Hood said he also is expecting big things from freshman Brianna Black, who reached 5 feet in the high jump in middle school.

Williamsport

By the end of the indoor season last month, the Wildcats were down to a pair of freshmen to represent them at the 2A state meet. And they represented well, as Meggan Grams was a placewinner in the 800 and 1,600 and Morgan Oyster placed in the shot put.

That’s something to build on this spring.

“We’re definitely rebuilding,” coach Teresa Weaver said. “But we have some kids who are coming up and some kids who are trying different things. We have a lot of freshmen who are showing promise, and I do have some experience to lead the way a little bit.”

She said Erin Gaines (hurdles) has shown great senior leadership, and they have a pair of standout juniors in Lauren Johnson (sprints) and Stacey Christy (jumps), neither of whom competed indoors. Johnson was an indoor state champ in the 300 as a sophomore.

The Wildcats, however, will be without Renee Barnes, Julia Price and Andrea Nunnally, who all decided not to compete this spring.

John Bailey also is gone, as Weaver has replaced him at the helm, as she also did indoors this winter.

“There’s always something new to learn,” Weaver said. “Fortunately my assistant coaches (Mike Taylor, Curtis Graff and Meghann Weaver) do very well, and I’ve got some great volunteer coaches (Taylor Oliver and Carrie Johnson). I don’t think I can go wrong with that kind of help.”

Hancock

The Panthers also have a new head coach, as Dave Mahaffey has replaced Jeff Spielman, who started the program in 1972. Mahaffey also is Hancock’s football coach.

“Football is my passion, but I really enjoy track,” said Mahaffey, who was the head track coach at Northern Bedford High School in the early 1990s. “This program has done very well for the size of the school over the years. I just want to try to maintain and hopefully move forward.”

He has nearly 20 girls on his roster.

“I’m very happy with the girls,” he said. “They’ve come out and really bought into doing some different things — being active in the weight room and being versatile and trying new events. We don’t have big numbers, so our kids have to be versatile.”

Sydniy Mabey leads the way. The junior became Hancock’s first indoor county champ this year, winning the high jump.

Mahaffey said he also has high hopes for Sarah Mann in sprints and middle distance. But he’ll be without hurdler Emily Johnson, a three-time state placewinner indoors, who decided not to compete this spring.

“We’ll go with what we have,” Mahaffey said. “We’re not going to be real deep, but I’m real happy with the kids we have out.”

South Hagerstown

Hayley Freeman is more than just the daughter of South coach Dwayne Freeman. The junior sprinter also is his leader.

At the indoor 3A state meet last month, Hayley was a placewinner in two events.

“I don’t know if it’s because she’s the coach’s daughter,” Dwayne Freeman said, “but she’s been working hard and really wants to do well.”

He said junior sprinter Elizsha Streeter is helping Hayley set the pace.

“They expect to make it to states in the 4x100 and 4x200, and they want to come home with a medal,” the coach said. “Having those two girls on the team, they’re leaders. They’re working with the young kids and motivating them.”

Coach Freeman said he also has high hopes for sprinters Whitney Jarrett and LaTraya Landsdowne, who teamed with Streeter and his daughter to score in the state 4x200 last month, as well as Patricia Holmes and Kendra Day in the distance events and Mary Teunis in the pole vault.

He said a key newcomer is senior Lexi Small, a basketball player, who is set to give the hurdles and sprints a try for the first time this spring.

“It’s a work in progress,” the coach said. “But we have several kids with potential.”

Clear Spring

The Blazers are small, but coach Doug McBurney hopes they prove to be mighty. The goal is to be represented at states.

“When you only have 20 girls, you’re just looking to improve as individuals,” he said. “We’re not going to compete with Boonsboro or Williamsport or anything. We just hope to keep improving through Memorial Day weekend and get some kids to states. We didn’t have any girls at states last year.”

He said Valerie Carey is the team leader. The senior jumper, who participated in both indoor track and basketball over the winter, has only one sport to focus on this spring. And McBurney hopes that fresher legs lead to bigger results.

He also has high hopes for senior Mikaela Shelton, who has switched from distance to hurdles.

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