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North's Cross takes high road to states

February 18, 1997

North's Cross takes high road to states

By KEVIN SPRADLIN

Staff Correspondent

There's a lot that could be said about Hunter Cross, but little of it would be by Cross himself.

The North Hagerstown junior is not a man of many words. He speaks with actions.

After taking the 55-meter hurdles title at last week's Class 3A-2A West regional and setting meet records in the Monocacy Valley Athletic League and Washington County championshps, Cross says those feats would prove fruitless unless he reaches his "golden ring."

The golden ring is the Maryland Class 3A-2A High School Indoor state championships on Thursday at the 5th Regiment Armory in Baltimore. The past accomplishments will mean nothing without the addition of the state championship.

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"I hate losing," said Cross, who also qualified for states in the high jump. "Losing to me is an absolute hatred. I want to make a point that I can win."

After that, there isn't much left to say.

Cross doesn't have much time to talk, especially if he plans to make up for last year's performance at the state meet.

"I did horrible," Cross said.

That, according to North coach Ray Shriver, can be attributed to Cross' lack of experience because Cross was overwhelmed by the entire state championship atmosphere.

"I think he was just intimidated by the whole experience," Shriver said. "He didn't run poorly. Anytime it's your first time to the state meet, it can be intimidating. This year, he's not letting anything intimidate him. He's more confident. His intensity level is the biggest difference. But for Hunter, that's hard to imagine."

Cross uses his desire to show his versatility as part of his drive to a state title. A broken collarbone sustained in the preseason hampered Cross' chances to show his ability on the football field. Track has become his way to redeem himself.

"The collarbone injury in football has not helped at all," Cross said. " I can show colleges I'm not (just) a fluke in football. I'm an athlete. If coaches can see I'm an athlete, it'll help me a lot."

Although Cross came back from the injury in time to play in the last month of the football season, the injury forced him to re-evaluate his training, both on the football field and on the track.

Part of that training includes teamwork. Cross is getting help in his try for the state title from senior teammate Tanner Bayer, who missed qualifying in the 55 by time by just six-tenths of a second.

Although Bayer's season is over, he still runs with Cross in the hallways of North High.

"I'm here to help Hunter," Bayer said. "He should work on speed some ... that's what he needs to be No. 1."

There's not much time to prepare. It all comes down to Cross.

"Basically, we're just trying to work on speed," Shriver said. "We're not trying to teach him anything new. He's ready."

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