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All-County Girls Indoor Track & Field: Ward keeps pact, captures gold

March 27, 2013|By ANDREW MASON | andrewm@herald-mail.com
  • North Hagerstown junior Emily Ward is The Herald-Mail's 2012-13 Washington County Girls Indoor Track & Field Athlete of the Year.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

Emily Ward spread her arms out high over her head and smiled gloriously as she reached the finish line a safe distance ahead of those pursuing her.

The North Hagerstown junior finally was a state champion, and she couldn’t have been more thrilled — or more relieved.

After finishing a disappointing third at the Maryland Class 3A state meet on Feb. 19 in the 1,600-meter run — in a race in which she tripped, crashed to the track and had to fight her way back for bronze — Ward returned to the track later that evening for the 800-meter run. And she wasn’t about to be denied this time, as she blasted away from the field in the second half of the race to capture her first state title in a personal-best time of 2:23.51.

“I worked so hard for it,” she said. “I trained so hard, and I wanted it so badly. I’d been dreaming about it for months. For it to happen is just amazing. Even though I wanted it so badly, I couldn’t believe it. Even now, I can’t really believe it.”

Ward is The Herald-Mail’s 2012-13 Washington County Girls Indoor Track & Field Athlete of the Year.

“She made a pact with herself,” North distance coach Lindsay Zerance said. “And she did everything she had to do to get that gold medal around her neck.”

Ward, who was the indoor state runner-up in the 1,600 last year, entered this year’s state meet undefeated for the season in the 1,600, figuring that event was her best shot for gold.

“In the 800, I just wanted to get a medal,” she said.

But after the 1,600 didn’t go as planned, she didn’t want just any medal.

“I was frustrated, but I just had to put the 1,600 behind me and try to take advantage of the opportunity in the 800,” she said. “I was disappointed and upset, and I turned all that negative emotion into something good.”

Ward made it clear a month before the state meet that she meant business this season. At the 22nd annual county championships, she set meet records in both the 800 (2:24.78) and 1,600 (5:13.25).

“I was so excited,” she said. “I really didn’t think I could run those types of times at that point in time. I didn’t think I was that in shape yet. During those races, I didn’t even realize I was running that fast.”

Ward now has her sights set on the spring outdoor season. Her one taste of gold probably won’t be enough to keep her satisfied.

“I definitely am hoping for more, and I’m going to work hard for it,” she said.

Ward said she still believes the 1,600 is her best event. Her personal-best time of 5:09.87 from last spring was just a fraction of a second off the all-time county record (5:09.24), set in 1988 by North’s Lynn Ziegler.

“It was great to come that close, but also agonizing,” Ward said. “When it’s right there in front of you and you don’t get it, it’s tough.”

But as Ward has shown, obstacles don’t tend to stay in front of her for very long.

Joining Ward on the all-county first team are:

Emily Cronise, Boonsboro

The senior was a 1A state placewinner in three events — 800, 4x400 and 4x800.

Kortney Cunningham, Boonsboro

The junior won 1A state silver in the 1,600 and 4x800 and also was a state placewinner in the 3,200.

Sarah Elwood, Clear Spring

The senior was a 1A state champ in the high jump and state runner-up in the shot put.

Hayley Freeman, South Hagerstown

The senior set a county-meet record in the 300, also won county titles in the 55 and 4x200 and was a 3A state placewinner in the 55 hurdles, 300 and 4x200.

Emma Gerhold, Smithsburg

The junior was a 1A state champ in the pole vault and state placewinner in the 55 hurdles.

Meggan Grams, Williamsport

The sophomore was the MVAL Antietam champ in the 800 and 1,600 and a 2A state placewinner in the 1,600.

Ella Hawkins, Boonsboro

The sophomore was a 1A state placewinner in the 800 and 1,600.

Lauren Johnson, Williamsport

The senior won 2A West region titles in the 55 and 300 and earned 2A state bronze in the 300.

Morgan Oyster, Williamsport

The sophomore was the county champ and a 2A state placewinner in the shot put.

Courtney Rose, Boonsboro

The senior won 1A state silver in the pole vault and 4x200 and also was a state placewinner in the high jump.

Elizsha Streeter, South Hagerstown

The senior was a 3A state placewinner in the 55, 300 and 4x200.

Maggie Sullivan, Boonsboro

The junior won 1A state gold in the 55 hurdles and state silver in the high jump and 4x200.

Lizzy Willis, Williamsport

The sophomore was a county champ in the 500 and a 2A state placewinner in the 800.

Sarah Zielinski, Boonsboro

The senior was a 1A state champ in the 1,600 and state runner-up in the 3,200 and 4x800.

ALL-COUNTY SECOND TEAM

Diane Branham, Shot put, South Hagerstown, Senior

Leah Cadigan, Sprints/relays, Boonsboro, Sophomore

Mia Cardone, Sprints, Smithsburg, Senior

Dominique Dilandro, Hurdles/sprints, Smithsburg, Senior

Jessica Hunt, Sprints, North Hagerstown, Junior

Whitney Jarrett, High jump/relays, South Hagerstown, Junior

Alexis Kastelein, Middle distance, Williamsport, Sophomore

Sydniy Mabey, High jump, Hancock, Senior

Bryhanna Masser, Shot put, South Hagerstown, Sophomore

Kiona Mency, Sprints/relays, South Hagerstown, Senior

Andrea Nunnally, Hurdles/high jump, Williamsport, Senior

Emily Moats, Pole vault, Boonsboro, Senior

Jenny Moore, Distance, Boonsboro, Senior

Sam Smith, Distance, Boonsboro, Senior

Lashanta Tonsil, Relays/sprints, Boonsboro, Junior

Haley Wright, Middle distance, Boonsboro, Freshman

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