Boonsboro coach Becky Walter knows what her girls team is up against as the Warriors begin their Class 1A title defense Thursday at the Maryland State Track & Field Championships at Morgan State University in Baltimore.
At least on paper she has a pretty good idea.
“I’ve got it scored out, based on region results and predictions, and I have us on top and Northwestern 13 points behind us, followed by Western Tech,” said Walter, whose girls ran away with the West region title last week. “I feel pretty confident. Our kids like to step up when it counts, but it’s still too close to call.”
The three-day meet begins for classes 1A and 2A Thursday and for classes 3A and 4A on Friday, and it concludes Saturday with all four classes in action.
The Boonsboro girls, who also were state champions this year indoors, are led by juniors Abby Duncan and Sarah Zielinski.
Duncan is the two-time defending state champion in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes. She’ll be aiming to three-peat in each of those events and add titles in the 4x100 and 4x200 relays, which she anchors.
Zielinski, who’s won multiple indoor state titles, will try to capture gold for the first time outdoors. She’s seeded first (based on region results) in both the 1,600 and 3,200, and she also will run on the second-seeded 4x800.
“(Duncan) would really like to win four events. That’s been a goal of hers,” Walter said. “She and (Zielinski) both like a challenge and both step up to the challenge. I expect to see good performances from both of them.
“Anything can happen in the relays, but if (Duncan) gets the baton and it’s close, she’s got it. We’ve run our best times in the 4x100 and 4x200 coming from behind.”
The Warriors will be without sophomore Maggie Sullivan, last year’s state champion in both the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles, who’s sidelined with a foot injury.
If you would have told Walter before the season started that she’d be missing Sullivan at states, “I would have said there’s no way of defending,” Walter said. “But we’ve had some new kids step up, like Amber Smith (a title contender in the shot put and discus) and Lashonta Tonsil (relays).
“The girls are excited,” Walter added. “But it’s never a given that you’re going to win. They know they have to work for it and that every point counts. It’s not like we’re head and shoulders above everybody.”
The Smithsburg boys also have Class 1A title aspirations. They were state champs indoors this year and won the West region title last week.
But on paper, things don’t looks as promising for the Leopards as they do for the Boonsboro girls.
“It will be extremely tough for us to win,” said Smithsburg coach T.J. Hood. “By my scoring, I have Perryville winning with 88 1/3 points and us in third with 53 1/3. I have Western Tech second with 67.
“But we’re going into this trying to win the meet. It’s doable. We need to pick up about 18 points that I don’t have us scoring right now and hope that Perryville messes up. The pressure’s on them. Anything can happen at the state meet. It’s not going to be easy, but that’s what makes it so fun. ... The nice thing about track meets is that they aren’t run on paper.”
Williamsport coach Teresa Weaver isn’t concerning herself with what’s on paper as her boys team prepares to make a title run in Class 2A.
“That’s not my deal,” she said. “I like to know, but I don’t like to know. I just like to see how the cards play. We’ll see how everything breaks down as it goes. But I do think it looks promising.”
The Williamsport boys convincingly won the Washington County team title, before finishing second by a point to Century, 88-87, at last week’s West region meet.
“That was tough,” said Weaver of the one-point loss. “But that inspired them to see what they can do now down at the state meet. They’re ready to step up and put on a good show.”
The Wildcats are led by senior Evan Hardy, who’s seeded first in the 1,600 and 3,200 and third in the 800. Hardy, who also will run in the 4x800, already has won six individual state titles in his career.
“He’s going to be our big push,” Weaver said. “If we do what we want to do, we need him to do well.”
Other top seeds include Boonsboro’s J.R. Lowery in the 1A boys discus and shot put, North Hagerstown’s Raven Jackson in the 3A girls triple jump, and Smithsburg’s Nick Porter and Hancock’s Aaron Wagner, who are tied for the top seed in the 1A boys pole vault. Smithsburg also is seeded first in the 1A boys 4x200.