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Outdoor Track & Field: Rebels girls in charge on home track

April 12, 2013|By ANDREW MASON | andrewm@herald-mail.com
  • South Hagerstown's Hayley Freeman, left, running the anchor leg of the girls 4x200 relay, heads to the finish line for the victory on Friday.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — While it was monumental when South Hagerstown won the girls team title at its Rebel Relays for the first time last year, the South girls took an even bigger step by winning it again Friday night.

This year’s girls field had nine teams — five more than last year — and for the first time included Maryland Class 4A powers Northwest and Clarksburg.

“It’s definitely really exciting having teams like Northwest here,” said South senior Hayley Freeman, a standout sprinter and hurdler. “Just to be able to compete with them is awesome.”

The South girls racked up 88 points in the 34th edition of the Rebel Relays at School Stadium. Northwest was second (75) and Clarksburg was third (69).

“It was a much bigger field than last year, but coming in, I knew we had a chance,” South coach Dwayne Freeman said. “I’m proud of the girls for coming through. It’s special to win your own meet, and to win back-to-back is just a really good feeling.

“Each year our program sets higher standards,” he added. “You have to crawl before you can walk. I’d like to think we’re walking right now. Hopefully someday we can run — win a state championship. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

The South girls took first place in four of the 14 events — the 4x100 (51.47), 4x200 (1:44.94), 800 sprint medley (1:53.42) and 4x100 shuttle hurdles (1:09.99). Sophomore Milan Fields had the unique distinction of being on all four of those winning squads.

“Oh, yeah, (Fields) is coming along,” Dwayne Freeman said. “I wouldn’t say she’s a surprise, but she’s the most improved.”

One of the most thrilling finishes of the night came in the Dr. James Banks 800-meter run — the only non-relay event of the meet. In the girls race, North Hagerstown’s Emily Ward went from first to third with 200 meters left, getting passed by Northwest’s Naomi Sheppard and Williamsport’s Meggan Grams. Ward then retook the lead for good in the final 100, winning in a meet- and personal-record time of 2:23.35. Sheppard finished second (2:23.64) and Grams was third (2:24.27).

“I started doubting myself a little and thought, ‘They got me,’” said Ward, who won a Maryland 3A indoor state title in the 800 this year. “But then with 100 to go, I got competitive. It was instinctive. The crowd was cheering, and it woke me up. It was like, ‘I got to go.’ I’m happy. It was a good day.”

The Williamsport girls, who finished fourth in the team standings, won the pole vault and long jump relays.

Northwest won the boys team title with 108 points. Williamsport was second (81) and Clarksburg was third (77.5) in the field of 10 boys teams.

“We were pretty tired. We went pretty hard Wednesday at Brunswick (in a quad meet),” Williamsport coach Teresa Weaver said. “It was a good meet tonight, though. A lot of kids stepped up. For the most part, I’m pretty happy with it.

“Northwest is Northwest. They’re a big school, and they’re a big team. To get second to them is pretty good.”

The Williamsport boys showed their strength in the jumps, winning the long jump and pole vault relays and tying for first in the high jump relay.

The South boys, who finished fourth in the team standings, won the 4x100 (45.12) and set meet records in the two-man shot put (90-5 1/4) and discus (252-11) relays.

Dan Stokes contributed to all three of those victories for the Rebels. He teamed with Andrew Volz to sweep the throws.

“(Volz) and I have just been trying to beat each other in practice, trying to get better,” Stokes said. “We make each other better.”

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