W'minster, N. Carroll defend boys, girls titles

Owls boys cruise, but girls meet is decided late

Indoor track and field

January 23, 2003|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

HAGERSTOWN - Westminster's boys and North Carroll's girls repeated as champions at the Carroll County Indoor Track and Field Championship meet at Hagerstown Community College last night.

The difference between the two winners was that the Panthers girls had a much tougher - and more dramatic - evening than the Owls boys.

Westminster's boys breezed to the title with 110 points, easily outdistancing South Carroll (80) and first-year competitor Winters Mill (61). The Owls have won every indoor county championship since the competition started in the late 1990s.

They captured first-place finishes in five of the 12 events and piled up points in nearly every possible spot throughout the meet, pulling away as the evening went on.

North Carroll's girls had a much tougher time. The Panthers were locked in a tough four-team battle with Westminster, Winters Mill and Century that went down to the final two events.

But then North Carroll's Amy Watson took second in the 800 meters. Her teammates followed that with a big win in the 1,600 relay to finish with 80 points. Westminster and Winters Mill tied for second with 68 points each, and Century was next, with 65.

"We knew on the girls' side that it would be a close meet," North Carroll coach Jim MacDonald said. "They came [through]."

After Watson's key second-place finish, the Panthers' 1,600 relay team came up big. Aislinn Sowash, already a double winner (55 dash and 55 hurdles), ran with Melanie Chenowith, Lisa Engle and Kristin Duling to win the race in 4 minutes, 44.0 seconds. They edged out Century (4:44.3) and Winters Mill (4:46.6) to lock the championship.

Winters Mill freshman Kathleen Hertsch scored 36 of her team's 61 points, carrying it to a second-place tie in just the school's first year in the meet. She pulled off a triple by winning the 500 (1:25.7), 800 (2:32.3) and 1,600 (5:40.9) races, all by good margins and looking more like a senior.

To help her team more, Hertsch also ran on the school's third-place 1,600 relay squad.

"It's kind of surprising," Hertsch said. "I did think I had a shot, but it's great to win all three races."

The Westminster boys stuck to their formula of getting points wherever possible. The Owls actually won only four of the 12 events but did more than enough everywhere else to score the relatively easy win.

Westminster coach Byron Moore said his team received a rude awakening with a sub-par performance a few weeks ago at the Frostbite Invitational. The Owls finished third in that event and looked at this meet as a way to rebound.

"Our goal was not to let that happen again," Moore said. "We got re-focused after that. It's a good push to the Central Maryland Conference championships [Saturday, also at Hagerstown]."

Clint Stone and Kevin Teal were the team's only individual winners. Stone captured first place in the shot put with a toss of 42 feet, 5.5 inches, and Teal edged out Winters Mill's Joe Taylor for first in the 55 dash (6.8-6.9).

Teal's race was the night's most dramatic as he overcame a stumble midway through the race to nip Taylor with a well-timed lean at the finish line.

"I knew I had a lead, and I tried to finish as strong as I could," Teal said. "I turned it on as hard as I could at the end."

The Owls also won the 800- (1:40.7) and the 3,200-meter (8:39.7) relays.

South Carroll came away with an event-best five first-place finishes. The Cavaliers got wins from Darrin Arbaugh (800, 2:09.2), Phil Diven (1,600, 5:00.8), Dan Reedy (3,200, 10:52.9), Brandon Grant (55 hurdles, 8.3) and Jonnie Jenkins (high jump, 5-10).

Reedy has been one of the county's best distance runners in the last few years. He was The Sun's Cross Country Runner of the Year this past fall and ran very strongly outdoors but never won an indoor country crown. Missing last year's meet because of illness, Reedy finally broke through in winning the 3,200.

He nearly pulled off a double, but finished third in the 1,600.

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