Track & Field
With 22 schools set to compete Saturday at the 13th Dwight Scott “Battlefield Blast” Invitational at Boonsboro, there are sure to be some highly competitive events.
It’s hard to imagine, though, that anything will overshadow the girls sprints, as the list of top entrants in the 100- and 200-meter dashes is a virtual “who’s who” of Maryland and West Virginia.
The stars of the show include:
* Junior Abby Duncan, of host Boonsboro, the two-time defending Maryland Class 1A state champion in both the 100 and 200.
* Martinsburg senior Jasmyn Hosby, who owns two West Virginia Class AAA state titles in the 200 and one in the 100, and who just last week set the all-time Tri-State record in the 100 (12.04 seconds).
* Martinsburg sophomore Mykera Days, the defending West Virginia Class AAA state champ in the 100.
* Tuscarora senior Rachel Watkins, who was the Maryland Class 3A indoor state champ in the 55 this year and the 4A state runner-up in the 200 for Magruder last spring.
* Frankfort junior Bria Welker, who was out last season with an inury, but was the Gatorade West Virginia girls track and field athlete of the year in 2010 after scoring 38 points at the Class AA state meet.
But it’s Duncan’s track, and she’s the defending meet champ in both races.
“Abby kind of rises to the level of competition,” said Boonsboro coach Becky Walter. “First, second or third, she’s still going to come away with a very good time for this early in the season.”
But Walter certainly wouldn’t bet against her star.
“No, I definitely would not,” she said. “I’m excited to see what she runs.”
The Boonsboro girls ran away with the team title at last year’s meet, but are set for a battle Saturday.
“I think it’s going to be very close between us, Catoctin, Liberty and Oakdale, but I haven’t really gone through the numbers and looked at all,” Walter said Tuesday night. “It’d be nice to win, just because it’s at home and it’s the Dwight Scott (the former longtime Boonsboro coach). I know he’d like to see us come out on top, but we’re competing against a lot of good schools.”
The meet begins at 10 a.m.
Though only two weeks of the season are in the books, it’s become clear what the marquee matchup in Washington County is.
On Wednesday, Smithsburg (7-0, 5-0 through April 4) travels to Clear Spring (6-0, 5-0 through April 4) for the first of two regular-season meetings between two schools with MVAL Antietam and Maryland Class 1A title aspirations.
The Leopards and Blazers have been more than impressive so far. Smithsburg’s closest game was a 4-0 shutout of North Carroll (4-2), which went 20-2 last season. Clear Spring opened its season with a 1-0 shutout of Antietam foe Catoctin (3-2, 3-1), which won the Class 1A state title in 2011 and will likely have a say in the Antietam race before all is said and done.
The pitching matchup is as good as it gets in the county, with Leopards ace Cara Ferguson (7-0, 0.88 ERA) likely going against the 2011 Herald-Mail Pitcher of the Year in Blazers ace Amber Forrest (3-0, 0.35 ERA, one save). Ferguson has allowed just 22 hits and nine walks while striking out 42 in 40 innings. Forrest has allowed just 12 hits and two walks in 20 innings, striking out 15.
They’ll be facing two lineups that have been red-hot.
Smithsburg’s offensive output is no surprise given the Leopards returned six All-County First Team honorees to their lineup. Smithsburg scored 85 runs (12.1 per game) and its top eight batters are hitting a combined .489 with 16 doubles, four triples and five home runs. Ferguson (.583), Brooke Parks (.565), Kinsey Shifflett (.560, five doubles, two home runs), Shayla Murray (.545) and Sam Gladhill (.500, two doubles, two triples, two home runs) are leading the onslaught.
Clear Spring’s offense was its Achilles’ heel last season, but has rebounded this season. The Blazers have scored 58 runs (9.7 per game) and their top six batters are hitting a combined .481 with 13 doubles, a triple and two home runs. Forrest (.632, six doubles, one triple), Sarah Elwood (.611) and Tori Albert (.538, one home run) are all hitting better than .500.
Waynesboro coach Greg Chandler enjoyed a sunny day at the baseball field on Tuesday coaching his team against Shippensburg.
Through cold days, sunny days, rainy days and probably a few snowy days, Chandler has manned the Waynesboro dugout long enough for the 2012 season to be labeled his Silver Anniversary year.
“I enjoy coaching as much now as before,” said Chandler who has a 372-155 record and is in his 25th year. “I enjoy going to the field, being around the players and the competitiveness of baseball.”
A graduate of Montevideo High School in Virginia and Shepherd University, Chandler has always been an athlete and baseball was his game.
But getting into coaching was not on the planning board.
“Actually my uncle had convinced me to go to the Air Force but I got a call from the (Waynesboro) high school,” said Chandler. “They were looking for physical education and drivers ed teachers.”
There he was, suddenly on the faculty at Waynesboro, two years later taking over a baseball program that has produced the likes of Matt White — who was drafted by San Francisco and eventually signed with Toronto — and Casey Brookens.
Obviously the game has changed during his time.
“The biggest change has been pitching in the last five, six years,” he said. “Just don’t have the studs.”
He also points to the social aspect.
“I think I was always a newspaper guy trying to find out who did what, things like that,” he said. “Just reporting a game now is different. Everything is in front of you online. The demands get a little tougher.”
But through it all Chandler seems to always crack a smile.
— This week’s prep notebook was compiled by assistant sports editor Andrew Mason and staff writers Daniel Kauffman and Tim Koelble.