11:01 PM EDT, October 4, 2012
Twenty schools are set to compete Saturday morning at the 23rd annual Don Stoner Invitational at Smithsburg, including six from Washington County — Boonsboro, Clear Spring, North Hagerstown, South Hagerstown, Williamsport and host Smithsburg.
Other area schools competing include Greencastle-Antrim, Waynesboro and Martinsburg.
The girls race starts at 9 a.m. and the boys race begins at 9:40. Following the JV races (girls at 10:15, boys at 10:55), the first Alumni Challenge will be held at 11:30 on the same 3.04-mile course.
Smithsburg coach Ray Shriver, the race director, said the Alumni Challenge “seems to be piquing a lot of interest.”
“Anyone who has ever run cross country, or has a child who has run cross country, or coaches cross country, or who never ran cross country but is an alumni from a school in the area, can come run the event,” he said.
Each runner in the Alumni Challenge must list the school he or she will represent. The top three finishers for each school will count for scoring. The men’s and women’s team champs will then have 50 percent of their entire team’s entry fees donated to the school’s program. The entry fee is $20 per runner, and runners must register by 10:30 a.m. Saturday.
“I thought it would be a way to change things up around here,” Shriver said of the Alumni Challenge. “I’m hoping it takes off and is a good time. I think the kids are really going to get into it when they see their coaches running.”
For information, contact Shriver at 301-964-0022 or email@example.com.
* North Hagerstown, South Hagerstown and St. Maria Goretti will compete in the third annual Hagerstown City Championship on Monday at Hagerstown Community College.
The boys race starts at 4 p.m. and the girls race begins at 4:45, both starting and ending on HCC’s outdoor track.
While the MVAL Antietam volleyball picture has taken shape through a little more than half the regular season, by no means has anything been settled.
North Hagerstown (7-1, 3-0) is the lone unbeaten team in conference play, but Smithsburg (9-1, 4-1), Williamsport (8-1, 3-1) and Boonsboro (4-3, 2-1) are still very much in the title race.
* The Hubs have won seven straight after opening their season with a five-set loss at Francis Scott Key. That streak includes a five-set victory over Williamsport on Sept. 24, the Wildcats’ only loss.
Peyton Wallech has been on fire for North, averaging 5.38 kills per set to lead all Washington County Public Schools players. She’s averaging 6.29 kills per set over the Hubs’ last six matches.
Zoe Schreiber has emerged as North’s No. 2 attacking option, with double-figure kills in four of the Hubs’ last six matches — including 20 in a four-set win over Oakdale. Sarah Bentley leads all county players with 9.55 assists per set and dished up 56 in the victory against Williamsport.
* North’s next test will come when the Hubs host Boonsboro on Monday. The Warriors have won four of their last five matches since opening the season with tough five-set losses to Smithsburg and Thomas Johnson.
Boonsboro’s success is very much a team effort. Taylor Williams (2.60 kills, 1.00 block per set), Sarah Anderson (1.80 kills) and Meredith Craig (1.43 kills, 0.61 blocks) are the main weapons up front, Shelby Griffith (3.80 assists, 0.73 aces) and Shelby Wallace (3.53 assists) direct the offense, and Natalie Reeder (4.07 digs) anchors the defense, with Wallace (2.57 digs), Griffith (2.17 digs) and Skyler Casto (1.86 digs) contributing.
* Smithsburg (9-1, 4-1) is on a seven-match winning streak since suffering its only loss in a sweep at home against Williamsport on Sept. 11.
As expected, Amanda Snowden (4.15 kills, 2.26 digs, 0.68 aces per set) and Haley Caudell (2.53 kills, 0.59 blocks) are leading the way for the three-time defending Maryland Class 1A state champions. Hollee Winders (1.61 kills) has emerged as a third attacking weapon, with Payton Belella (7.82 assists, 0.65 aces) directing the offense and Marissa Dangler (3.94 digs) anchoring the defense.
The Leopards’ next big conference test comes on Oct. 16 when they host the Hubs in a pivotal match.
* Williamsport (8-1, 3-1) won its first six matches comfortably — dropping just one set — but has been tested in its last three matches. After the five-set loss to North, the Wildcats rallied from down two sets Monday to stun Greencastle-Antrim in five, then overcame dropping the first set to Liberty on Tuesday to steamroll the Lions in the next three sets, winning 75 of 110 points.
Like last year, Stacey Christy (3.97 kills, 1.58 blocks per set) has been the Wildcats’ go-to attacker. Lindsey Mowbray (2.20 kills, 0.50 blocks) has emerged as the second option, with Haley Wolff and Courtney Malott contributing on an offense directed by Emily Taylor (7.59 assists). Malott (4.73 digs) and Andrea Nunnally (3.29 digs) have led the defense.
When the Maryland Class 2A/1A District 1 tournament was held at Black Rock on Sept. 25, a familiar face was in attendance but in an unofficial role.
Dan Neff had been the Smithsburg coach for the past 10 years. For district play, Neff was on hand to aid in any rules interpretations and in scoring.
“I called some of my students over the weekend to wish them luck,” said Neff, now a teacher at Maugansville Elementary.
Neff was caught between a semester change at Smithsburg High School, where he’d taught and coached.
“Smithsburg went to a six-period day and that meant less (physical education) classes, so there was a reassignment involved,” said Neff.
When the first day of practice rolled around, something was amiss.
“(Not) coaching the golf team became a void,” said Neff. “Something didn’t feel right when Aug. 15 came.”
Following the completion of the district tournament, Neff said he found himself missing the closeness with players, congratulating and consoling them.
Neff said he’s grown into liking teaching at Maugansville. He still stays involved with the PGA Tour and statewide events serving as official scorer at tournaments.
Washington’s Patriots finished fifth in the West Virginia Class AAA state tournament.
Robert Fleming finished 10th individually with a two-day total of 156, and Ryan Mumaw finished 11th with a 157.
* Pennsylvania golfers will compete in the District 3 tournament today and Saturday at Briarwood Golf Course in York.
Teeing it up at 10 a.m. in the boys tournament will be Chambersburg’s Max Bell and Carter Rajtik, Waynesboro’s Tyler Bricker, Nick Franki and Jesse Helman, and James Buchanan’s Grant Strawoet.
In girls action, Waynesboro’s Erika Caufman and Greencastle-Antrim’s Ellie Kotrady are on the tee sheet.
Dust off the cobwebs, Wildcats.
Williamsport will finally get back into MVAL Antietam play Monday for the first time since Sept. 25.
Williamsport will have a chance to make some noise in the Antietam when it travels to Brunswick, the current leader with a 4-0 conference record, while the Wildcats are 3-1.
Brunswick (8-1-1) suffered its first loss at the hands of Middletown, 2-1, on Sept. 29. In four Antietam games, the Railroaders have yet to allow a goal while scoring 18 times.
It’s a tall order for the Wildcats (5-2), who have not played a league game since a 3-1 victory over Boonsboro.
Thursday won’t get any easier for the Wildcats when they host Clear Spring (7-2-1).
* Martinsburg’s unbeaten streak was snapped at 14 games (10-0-4) on Saturday in a 3-2 loss to Century. The Bulldogs rebounded with a 1-0 win over Jefferson and boast one of the leading goal scorers in the Tri-State in Tristen Reid, who has 24.
* Through Oct. 1, Class AAA Chambersburg and Class AA Greencastle-Antrim would qualify for the PIAA District 3 playoffs. The playoffs begin Oct. 20-22.
— Assistant sports editor Andrew Mason and staff writers Daniel Kauffman and Tim Koelble contributed to this week’s notebook.
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