Panthers enter state meet with unfinished business
— Last spring, the Perryville girls’ track and field team won the region championships in lopsided fashion, topping runner-up Cambridge-South Dorchester by more than 100 points to enter the 1A State Meet as one of the heavy favorites to win it all.
But a disqualification in the 4x200-meter relay and a mistake in the 4x100-meter relay cost the squad valuable points and resulted in a third-place finish. They ended the weekend just 11 points shy of the first team state crown in program history.
One year later, the Panthers once again enter the state meet in a similar situation. The team will travel to Morgan State University in Baltimore on Thursday for the two-day tournament hoping to cash in on a triumphant 1A North Region Championship in which it defeated runner-up Patterson Mill by 102.5 points.
“The girls made some
mistakes last year and I think they know what it is they need to do to win this year,” Perryville coach Raissa Moore said. “They just need to go out there and be as competitive as they have been all season.”
At the North Region Meet this past weekend, the Panthers captured first place in both the 100-and 200-meter relays. They produced five individual champions in eight different events. They also added a second-place result in the 4x100-meter relay and registered second place finishes in six other individual events.
The result was the team’s fifth-straight region crown and third North championship.
“It’s pretty awesome. It feels great and I’m proud of all of us. We worked hard for it,” said Perryville’s Brooke Doane, who placed first in both the triple jump and the long jump and added a thirdplace result in the 300-meter hurdles. “It payed off.”
In addition to Doane, the Panthers were led by wins from Autumn Estep (100-meter- and 300-meter hurdles), Jarah Cevis (shot put and discus), Alysa Conway (400-meter dash) and Paiton Kelly (pole vault).
Now the team will turn its attention to its final task of the season: Taking care of unfinished business at the state meet.
“We have to literally just give it everything,” Doane said. “We can’t mess up our handoffs like last year. We have to just to do everything right.”
After a successful showing at the 2A East Region Meet over the weekend, the Elkton boys’ team will also attempt to maintain their momentum at Thursday’s state meet similar to the Perryville girls.
Behind a win in the 4x100meter relay, individual victories from Zyphere Ruffin (400-meter dash) and Raiquon Estep (triple jump) and second-place results in five other individual competitions, the Golden Elks captured second place overall at regionals. An impressive display at the state meet will put an exclamation mark on the Elks’ strong regular season that featured triumphs in both the Cecil County Invitational and the Susquehanna Division Championships and the county’s top finish in the UCBAC Meet.
“We overachieved in terms of what we have to work with. In the beginning of the year, I talked about just getting into regionals and seeing what we could do,” Elkton coach Paul Riggio said. “We lost a lot of people along the way but that core that was strong at the beginning of the year is still strong at the end of the year. I’m excited to see what they can do at the end. It’s amazing that we were able to send a few people to individual events [at States] as well [as the relay teams].”
In other 1A action, Bohemia Manor’s Tara McDonald (1,600-meter run) and Gillian Criddle (high jump) will attempt to win state titles after placing first at the region meet. On the boys’ side, Perryville’s Ben Kuhn (discus), Joe Rinehart (shot put) and Cage Jones (pole vault) and the Eagles’ 4x800meter relay team and Justin Pritchett (high jump) will look to cash in at the state meet after they also earned top scores at regionals.
In 2A competition, North East’s Sarah Kubat will travel to Morgan State hoping to win a state title after placing first in the region meet. Her teammate, Kobie Matthews, will compete for a state title on the boys’ side after he placed first in the 100-meter dash.
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The Perryville girls’ track and field team will aim to capture the program’s first-ever state crown when it competes at the 1A State Championships at Morgan State in Baltimore this weekend.