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New challenges await Indian girls, boys at regional
By Greg Talkington
Both the Bridgeport girls and boys track teams have enjoyed successful seasons thus far in 1998.
But that success has come mainly against competition from the immediate area.
That changes Thursday when the Indians participate in the Class AAA regional at Buckhannon-Upshur High School.
Other schools participating are: Robert C. Byrd, Hampshire, Hedgesville, Jefferson, Martinsburg, Philip Barbour, Preston, Lewis County, Elkins, Keyser and Musselman.
Bridgeport boys coach Jon Griffith and girls coach Jim Dawson say it isn't disturbing that they don't know much about some of the teams in the region.
"The teams from the Eastern Panhandle always bring real good athletes to the regional," Griffith said. "I'd have to think that Jefferson and Martinsburg would be favored, although Hedgesville and Buckhannon-Upshur could also make some noise.
"I know most of those schools are twice our size."
Added Dawson, "There will be six teams that I really don't have any idea what kind of athletes they'll bring."
Fortunately for both, they will be bringing some pretty good athletes of their own.
Zach Brewer leads the boys team. The senior is strong in both the 100- and 300-meter hurdles while also performing well in the long jump and shuttle hurdle relays.
He scored 28 points in the recent Big 10 meet and 32 in the Doddridge Hosts Harrison meet.
"He's definitely one of our strongest candidates to make it to the states," Griffith said. "He's worked extremely hard and is a great all-around kid.
"Plus he's been a real leader for us. He doesn't jump up-and-down and carry on, but he leads by performance."
Other Indians with a good chance to qualify for the state meet include pole vaulter Ed Brandt, discus thrower Stephen Reed, 800-meter specialist Drew Formica and hurdler James Richard.
"Drew is closing in on the school mark in the 800 and Reed has already broken the school mark and then set it again," Griffith said.
Griffith also believes his shuttle hurdle relay team and 4x400 relay team could qualify for the state meet.
Dawson is confident several of his girls could earn slots in the state meet.
Swift junior Amy Miller leads his team with a combination of talent in sprinting, hurdling, long jumping and pole vaulting.
"Amy has run a 12.5 in the 100 this year, and that is the fastest clocking in the state," Dawson said. "But because she's in so many events, by the time the finals come around, she's down in the 12.8 to 13.3 range.
"But she's not going to run the hurdles this week so I think she'll be fresher for the 100."
Sophomore Maria DeFazio has also excelled in sprints and the long jump. DeFazio, who had to overcome knee surgery, is beginning to round back into form.
"Everybody forgets that before Maria blew out her knee, she was faster than Amy," Dawson said. "She's kind of gone unnoticed this year, but she was our second leading scorer."
DeFazio has won several 200-meter races this spring and has finished second or third in the 100 meters and long jump several times.
Miller and DeFazio will team to give the Indians some punch in the 4x100 meter relays. Christa Romesburg is the third member of the team with the fourth spot coming from either Lori Paul or Melissa Riffee.
Brandy Sypolt and Allison Starkey both have shots at qualifying in the high jump while Paul and Miller could qualify in the pole vault.
The Indians' top distance runner, Rachel Burns, hopes to qualify in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs. Her understudy, Ginny Mugnano, also could be a surprise, according to Dawson.
Robert C. Byrd's boys team is led by middle distance runner Robbie Mitchell, hurdler Tony Shade and its relay teams.
The girls team features distance runner Alecia Stickel, hurdler Sara Zinn, high jumper/sprinter Shonna Hill and also has strong relay teams.
Other top competitors at the meet will include Nathan Fields of Elkins, who jumped 7 feet on May 12 to set the North Central Athletic Conference meet record. Also, Buckhannon-Upshur's David Conley won the 110-meter and 300-meter hurdles that day, plus was on the winning shuttle hurdles relay team.
And Lewis County's 4x100 and 4x200 relay teams blitzed to victory at that meet.
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