Boonsboro finished sixth at the MVAL Antietam championships, then fourth at the Washington County meet and third at the West region championships, before capping the season with a seemingly improbable runner-up finish at the Maryland Class 1A state meet Monday at the Prince George’s Sports & Learning Complex.
“I’m speechless,” Boonsboro coach Becky Walter said. “The girls pulled it out. I don’t know how they did it. They just dug deep and worked their butts off. They amazed me.”
Western Tech outscored Boonsboro 81 to 49 for the title, while Smithsburg edged Williamsport — which entered as the conference, county and region champion — 44.5 to 42 for third place.
Sarah Zielinski led the Warriors. The sophomore won the 1,600-meter run in a personal-best time of 5:33.31 and then came back and won the 3,200 in 12:06.68, lapping all but runner-up Lauren Johnson of Smithsburg (12:30.18) in the 16-lap race.
“I didn’t expect to win the 1,600,” Zielinski said. “I thought (Western Tech’s Niema Eaves, who finished second in 5:36.64) was going to win. But then I passed her on the fifth lap was like, ‘All right, I need to keep going. If she outkicks me, at least I know I did my best.’”
Washington County girls prevailed in three other events. North Hagerstown’s Beth Wagner won the 2A girls high jump, while Williamsport got 1A wins from Lauren Johnson in the 300 and Kaelii Stout, Regan Stout, Emily Snyder and Renee Barnes in the 4x800 relay.
Wagner’s winning jump of 5 feet, 6 inches was 4 inches higher than she’d soared all season.
“I was shocked,” Wagner said. “I hadn’t been jumping that well this year. I was probably the most surprised person in the gym. I was shaking after, I was so excited. It’s just so unexpected.”
Johnson, a sophomore, blazed to her 300 title with a personal-best time of 41.18 seconds for the Wildcats.
“I was really nervous because I knew I was going up against people who could really work that race,” she said. “The whole time I was just thinking, ‘Win this for my team because we need the points.’
“Coming around that last turn, I saw everybody lined up against the fence, and I just knew I had to win. You can’t get as many people cheering as we get.”
Williamsport’s victory in the 4x800 was one of the day’s most dramatic.
Barnes, the anchor leg, received the baton in second place, a few strides behind Western Tech’s Monika Dawson, whom she finally passed in the last few strides of the race. The Wildcats’ time was 10:11.88, less than two-tenths of a second superior to Western Tech’s.
“I didn’t think I was going to catch her,” said Barnes, who ran her leg in 2:26. “She was five steps ahead of me the whole race. And then on the last straightaway, it was just whatever we had left. Her legs gave out right before the finish, and I just dipped, praying that it would be enough to win it.”
County girls had top-three finishes Monday in five other events.
North’s Charlotte Anderson and Clear Spring’s Tessa Wiles were both runners-up in the shot put — Anderson in 2A with a throw of 32-6 and Wiles in 1A with a toss of 31-2.
Smithsburg’s Jonelle Jerwick cleared 10-6 in the pole vault, placing second in the event for the second straight year.
Boonsboro got third-place finishes from Megan Deckert in the pole vault (8-6) and Katie Rickerds, Rachel Doane, Amy Moore and Savannah Mower in the 4x800 (10:32.09).