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Boys Track & Field: Wildcats won't give up county without a fight

March 19, 2013|By ANDREW MASON | andrewm@herald-mail.com
  • Washington County Preps Previews
Washington County Preps Previews

Williamsport seemingly is the team to beat again in boys track and field in Washington County this spring.

And the Wildcats know what it’s like to be beat, as Boonsboro stunned them with a narrow victory at the county indoor championships this year.

“They’re looking at that. That’s kind of their talk. They want to get counties back,” Williamsport coach Teresa Weaver said. “But (Boonsboro coach Becky Walter) is not going to give it back without a fight.”

In outdoor track, at least, the county is still Williamsport’s. The Wildcats have won three of the last four county titles, including last year’s.

“I definitely put them at the top in the county outdoors,” Walter said. “I think they’re going to be out to redeem themselves from the indoor county meet. I think they’re going to mean business.”

Of the 15 boys on last year’s Herald-Mail All-County First Team, six came from Williamsport. And five of them are back — Nick Berchock (pole vault), Cody Grams (distance), Nick Johnson (jumps, sprints), Jesse Zeger (hurdles, jumps) and Kevin Zeger (hurdles, jumps).

The Wildcats also have a couple of key athletes on their team who didn’t compete last spring — Cody Bowman, the county cross country champ this past fall, and Gabe Auldridge, the county indoor champ in the 300 this year.

“It’s a nice nucleus, it really is,” Weaver said.

She said her boys team has goals beyond the county. The Wildcats want to contend in Class 2A, both in the West region and state.

“Class 2A is tough for a smaller school. But that’s where we’re at, and we have to do with what we’ve got,” Weaver said. “If we keep everyone healthy and focussed, we can make some noise. It’s just a matter of getting there.”

Boonsboro

Walter’s boys teams have experienced all the highs and lows of close finishes at 1A state meets this school year.

After slipping by Bohemia Manor 69-70 for the state title in cross country, the Warriors were edged 110-103 by Pikesville for the indoor state crown last month.

Boonsboro already is preparing for another tight battle in late May.

“They’re determined and are working hard for it,” Walter said. “Pikesville is going to be tough, and Perryville, which won it last year, is going to be tough. I think it’s going to be a three-way battle, and you can’t count out Smithsburg either.”

The Warriors are led by Gerick Allen (throws), Ethan Allnutt (middle distance), Nick Seabright (jumps, hurdles), Sean Snyder (distance) and Josh Testa (middle distance).

Smithsburg

The Leopards, the defending 1A West region outdoor champs, are going to take a different approach this spring.

“I think this year, our top boys are going to fare better in individual events than they did last year,” coach T.J. Hood said. “Looking at last year, we put a lot of emphasis on relay teams. This year is going to be a different approach.”

Zane Gardenhour — the defending county champ in the long and triple jumps who also excels in the sprints and hurdles — will be counted on to score big points individually. The same will be true for Caleb Cardone (sprints, jumps), who will be running outdoor track for the first time after a breakout indoor season.

Smithsburg still has plenty of fast guys to handle the baton, such as Brandon Athey, Nate Craig and Steven Rishell.

South Hagerstown

Rebels coach Dwayne Freeman can’t seem to say enough good things about senior Daniel Stokes.

After winning county and 3A West region titles in the shot put indoors this year, Stokes is poised to become an even bigger contributor.

“He’s going to do it all,” Freeman said. “He’s probably our most versatile athlete at this point. He ran an 11.9 100 in the time trials, and he high jumps and has been practicing hurdles, and we’re talking about him even doing pole vault.

“He’s just an overall athlete, and we’re going to use his strengths to help our team. He’s a true team player and is willing to do whatever it takes to help our team. He’s a role-model student-athlete for us.”

Other standouts include Daniel Hockensmith (middle distance), Isiaha Smith (sprints, shot put) and Andrew Volz (throws).

“We’ve got some new kids out who I think are going to help us, but it’s still a work in progress,” Freeman said.

North Hagerstown

“We have lots of new faces,” coach Robert Waugh said. “We definitely don’t have too many household names, but we have talent.”

The big names include Jason White and Reggie Moody. White was the Class 3A indoor state champ in the pole vault this year, while Moody was the No. 1 performer in the Tri-State area last spring in the triple jump and No. 4 in the long jump.

North also has a standout thrower in Trey King.

“We’ve been trying to get some football guys out to help bolster our sprints, but I don’t know how that’s going to go,” Waugh said.

Newcomer Matt Ritter, an all-county first-team defensive lineman in football, should at least help bolster the throws.

Clear Spring

Craig Bathgate has roughly 20 boys on his roster for his first season as the Blazers’ track coach. And Bathgate, who also coaches football at Clear Spring, already is quite familiar with about half of them.

“I have about a dozen football players out, and about 10 of them are throwing the shot put,” he said.

The Blazers also have Glendon Mills, who was a 1A indoor state placewinner in the high jump this year, and a solid distance runner in Juan Resendiz.

“We have a lot of first-timers, Bathgate said. “We’re starting at the basic level.”

Hancock

“We’re not big in numbers, but I’m happy with what we have,” said coach Dave Mahaffey, who has 15 boys on his team. “We have a pretty nice group of returning people, not world beaters, but we’re going to be improved.”

The top returnee is Liam Faith, who placed fifth in the 1A state triple jump last spring.

“He really wants to have that medal around his neck this year after getting a taste last year and getting close,” Mahaffey said. “He’s real motivated and has been working hard.”

The coach said he also is looking for good things from Jordan Keefer (hurdles, sprints), throwers Harrison Layman and Alex Ayers and do-it-all guys Austin Edgerton and Noah Teeter.

St. Maria Goretti

While the Gaels will be fielding their first varsity track team in ages, they already have some experienced runners.

Senior Luke Daigneault was the 1A state champ in the 3,200 last spring for Smithsburg.

“He ran 9:58 last year, and we just want to see how much he progresses from there,” coach Mike Spinnler said.

Goretti’s roster of 11 boys also includes junior Patrick Jones, who finished last cross country season as the Gaels’ No. 2 runner behind Daigneault, and freshman Patrick Sacchet, who was their No. 5 man.

The focus meet will be the Independent-Parochial School League championships on May 4 at Mercersburg Academy.

“It’s going to be a skeleton crew. We’ll just see what we can do,” Spinnler said. “We don’t have a burden on us to try to defend a title or win a championship. We just want to get kids ready for the next level in college. And for those who are brand new, we just want to make sure it’s a fun and positive experience.”

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