Injuries underscore conference championship

Owls' Craig wins 2 golds despite ankle sprain

Panthers' Lawson ailing

Indoor track

High Schools

January 23, 2000|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

For Westminster's Jared Craig, it was a day of triumph. For North Carroll's Colleen Lawson, it was a day of disappointment.

The two Carroll County track standouts came to Hagerstown Community College Friday night with hopes of brushing aside nagging injuries to compete at the Central Maryland Conference championships. In the end, Craig, the county's top sprinter, had two gold medals; Lawson, The Sun's 1999 County Cross Country Runner of the Year, had taken a seat for the remainder of the season.

For Westminster, the combination led to a sweep of the girls and boys team competitions.

Led by Craig (first in 55 hurdles and high jump, second in the 55 dash) and teammate Jesse O'Connell (first in the 500 and 800), the Owls scored 122 points to hold off Frederick (81) and Thomas Johnson (72.5). Liberty was sixth, South Carroll seventh and North Carroll eighth.

On the girls' side, the Owls got golds from Kiara Adams (shot put), Tara Callegary (3,200), Mandy Komar (800) and the 4x800 relay team to hold off Frederick, 90-73. North Carroll, led by sophomore sprinter Katie Riley who posted personal bests in winning the 55 dash and hurdles, took fourth (57). Liberty was seventh and South Carroll, eighth.

Craig sprained his right ankle at last week's National Guard meet at the 5th Regiment Armory and missed practice all week.

"We were a little worried about Jared," said Westminster coach Jim Shank. "Tonight was the first night he was over a hurdle, and he didn't miss a beat."

Though at times wincing in pain, the senior barely missed out on winning three gold medals, losing in the 55 dash finals by .2 of a second.

"It hurt a lot more than usual, especially going around the curves," said Craig, who thought the injury probably cost him a perfect day.

His performances inspired others, including O'Connell.

"Seeing Jared Craig do something like that, and knowing he's hurt, makes me want to work harder," said O'Connell. "It's really inspirational to watch a guy with that kind of guts. That swelling was really bad Monday, so I'm amazed he came this far."

O'Connell, running in four events for the first time since last spring, and competing in the 500 for the first time this season, had a day to remember himself, shaving three seconds off his winning time of a year ago in the 500 and nearly two off the 800.

The meet was different for Lawson. The junior, injured last month after falling in a post-season cross country meet in New York, was forced to the realization that her indoor season was over after running through pain to take fourth in the 1,600.

"I got an MRI, and it wasn't a cartilage or ligament tear," said a disappointed Lawson, who decided after the race to let the unknown injury heal for the rest of the winter in preparation for the outdoor season.

The blow will be huge for the defending regional champion Panthers, though not necessarily crippling, said coach Jim McDonald.

"Of course, losing Colleen is a blow to the team, but we've got a lot of really high-quality athletes on this team," said McDonald.

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