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Girls Track & Field: Warriors out to take bows with outdoor encore

March 18, 2013|By ANDREW MASON | andrewm@herald-mail.com
  • Washington County Preps Previews
Washington County Preps Previews

Fresh off their second straight Maryland Class 1A indoor track and field state title, the Boonsboro girls have their sights set on a third straight outdoor state title this spring.

“We go into each season with pretty high expectations,” Warriors coach Becky Walter said. “We know what we want, and the only way to keep improving is to work toward that goal.

“Just about everybody who competed for us at states indoors is back this spring,” she added. “And we have a few other new bodies who have some potential.”

Boonsboro managed to prevail indoors without star sprinter Abby Duncan, who suffered a torn ACL in her right knee during soccer season early last fall.

Duncan, a senior, is the three-time defending outdoor state champion in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes and the all-time Washington County record holder in the 100 (12.09 seconds) and 400 (56.86).

Duncan’s status for the spring is uncertain, Walter said.

“She’s back running in practice, but I just don’t know whether she’ll compete or not,” the coach said. “But we’re looking into some options that she still might be able to help out. We’re teaching her to do shot put.”

The Warriors always seem to find a way to fill holes. They won last year’s outdoor state title without star hurdler Maggie Sullivan, who was sidelined with a foot injury. Sullivan returned to top form indoors this winter and will be back on the track this spring.

“We won it last year without Maggie, so even if we don’t have Abby, we’ll have Maggie,” Walter said.

Boonsboro also still has the top distance crew in Maryland 1A, led by Sarah Zielinski, Kortney Cunningham and Ella Hawkins. Other standouts include Courtney Rose (jumps) and Emily Cronise (middle distance).

“If we can keep everyone healthy, I think we can do it,” Walter said.

South Hagerstown

The South girls are ready to contend.

“I don’t want to put a lot of pressure on them,” Rebels coach Dwayne Freeman said. “But this might be the best girls team ever in South history.”

While their second-place team finish at the 3A West indoor meet this winter might have come as a surprise, their goal of winning the region outdoor title now doesn’t seem far-fetched.

“I think we have a better shot for outdoor. I really think we have a chance,” Freeman said. “I’ve already put it out there for the girls. Day 1, that’s one of the goals that we set.”

His daughter, senior Hayley Freeman, will be counted on to lead the way. Last spring, she was the top performer in the Tri-State area in both hurdles events (100 and 300) as well as a key contributor to the Rebels’ county-best 4x100 and 4x200 relays.

Elizsha Streeter, Kiona Mency and Paige Flemings are all standout sprinters who can keep the baton moving quickly as well as shining individuallly. Other standouts include Whitney Jarrett in the jumps and Bryhanna Masser and Diane Branham in the throws.

“We’re probably seven or eight deep in sprinting, so we can do some things,” Dwayne Freeman said. “But the sprinting events alone don’t win trophies. We want to be complete, and we still have some things to work on.”

Williamsport

The Wildcats finished ahead of mighty Boonsboro at the MVAL Antietam indoor championships this winter, but then finished a distant second to the Warriors at the county meet, where more bragging rights were at stake.

“Boonsboro is going to be tough to beat again,” Williamsport coach Teresa Weaver said. “They’re absolutely a juggernaut right now.

“We’re hoping to put up a showing similar to what we did indoor. We’re hoping to at least maintain, if not improve.”

While standout jumper Stacey Christy, who did not compete indoors, is back, senior Lauren Johnson, who was the top 400-meter runner in the county last spring and the team’s lone 2A indoor state medalist this winter, is not. Weaver said Johnson is playing club soccer instead.

“That hurts, but it is what it is and we just have to look for more,” Weaver said. “We have some soccer girls who are out for the first time and showing promise.”

The Wildcats have returning outdoor county champs in Morgan Oyster (shot put), Meggan Grams (800) and Christy (high jump). Lizzy Willis, who will compete outdoors for the first time, is the reigning indoor county champ in the 500.

North Hagerstown

The Hubs’ potential is unknown.

“We have so many new faces, we really don’t know what we have yet,” coach Robert Waugh said.

But he knows they have a star in junior Emily Ward, who was the county’s top performer in the 800 and 1,600 last spring and a 3A indoor state champ in the 800 this winter.

“She works so hard, and she doesn’t hold anything back,” Waugh said. “She absolutely deserves everything she gets.”

North has a couple of standout sprinters in Jessica Hunt and Christine Randall. The Hubs also have lots of holes to fill.

“It seems like every year there are some big shoes to fill,” Waugh said. “We’re just going to keep looking for girls to fill them.

“Track’s a funny sport,” he added. “You never know how it’s going to work out. You can’t really predict what’s going to happen. But I’m never going to count my team out.”

Smithsburg

The Leopards also are a work in progress.

“Probably at least half of the girls on the team are brand new to Smithsburg track — three or four volleyball players, about seven soccer players, a couple of cheerleaders — just a lot of girls who’ve never done it before,” coach T.J. Hood said. “But when they’re good athletes in other sports, it usually translates to the track. It’s going to be interesting to see.”

It also will be interesting to see just how high Emma Gerhold soars. Indoors this winter, the junior won a 1A indoor state title in the pole vault and recorded a personal-best mark of 11 feet — an indoor county record.

Gerhold also excels in the long jump, triple jump and hurdles.

“She’s probably our best shot putter too, and she could be in every single relay, no doubt in my mind,” Hood said.

Other standouts include Dominique Dilandro (hurdles) and Gabby Reason (sprints).

“We lost a lot to graduation, but the group we have is hard-working,” Hood said. “There’s a lot of promise.”

Hancock

Of the 16 girls on the Panthers’ roster, two have scored points in 1A state meets. Ally Childers placed eighth in the 300 hurdles last spring, while Sydniy Mabey placed fourth in the indoor high jump in 2012.

“Hopefully we can finally get (Mabey) on the outdoor podium,” coach Dave Mahaffey said. “We’re looking for her to do big things in the high jump, and she’s also going to do some triple jumping. I’ve convinced her that this could be her ticket.”

He also said he has high expectations for throwers Elizabeth Teeter and Maddie Hixon, as well as Sarah Mann (middle distance) and Lexi Foreman (distance).

“With only 16 girls, we don’t have real team aspirations, but we have a lot of individual goals,” Mahaffey said. “We have to be realistic. We’re not going to compete with Smithsburg or Boonsboro, but we have enough decent kids to at least make a little bit of noise.

“That’s the best thing about track. You can find something for everybody, and they can all have some fun.”

Clear Spring

Craig Bathgate, the Blazers’ football coach, also is now their track coach, taking over for Doug McBurney. Bathgate coached track at North Hagerstown from 1999 to 2007.

“A lot of it’s come back. I haven’t felt too lost,” he said. “But once I put my first lineup in with this small of a team, I might be a little lost.”

He said there are only about 10 girls on his roster.

Sarah Elwood and Tori Albert, who also are on Clear Spring’s softball team this spring, are both coming off successful indoor seasons. Elwood was the 1A state champ in the high jump and state runner-up in the shot put, while Albert placed fourth at states in the shot put.

“We have four or five girls running distance, so we’ll at least have a group to work with there,” Bathgate said. “And we have two freshman sprinters out to work with. Hopefully we won’t scare them off, and they’ll stick around for a few years and bring some friends.”

St. Maria Goretti

The Gaels have 13 girls on their roster as the school begins its first varsity track season in decades.

“I have three girls leading the way from cross country last fall — Keeley Scott, Anne-Marie Sullivan and Emma Whalen,” said coach Mike Spinnler, who also oversees Goretti’s cross country program. “We have 10 other girls, mostly freshmen, and some of them have never even been to a track meet. But they’re working hard.

“One of our goals is to be able to field teams in all four relays, and we think we can do that.”

The Gaels, who don’t have their own track and field facility, work out at Hagerstown Community College.

“We’ll do the best that we can,” Spinnler said. “Our primary goal is to develop kids for the next level in college and to give other kids a taste of the sport of track and field.”

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