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Track stars - Work now, pay later

May 22, 1998|By RON SOMERS / Morning Herald Sports Editor

Flipping burgers or flipping the shot?

Those are the choices some high school kids must make when trying to decide what to do with their after-school time.

Clear Spring High boys track coach Scott Horning spends considerable time trying to recruit kids to his program. Tuesday, for example, he spent time working with middle school kids, hoping some of them would lead Clear Spring to another region track title like the one they won last Friday. In that meet, 10 Blazers qualified for the state track championships today and Saturday at UMBC. He'd like to see that continue.

"The biggest competition I have now is jobs,'' he said. "It's not just juniors and seniors. There are ninth and 10th graders working 10-15 hours a week. They want a couple dollars in their pockets. They have good work ethics.

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"I try to work around their job schedules. I say, 'Let's work out a deal.'''

Does it work?

"If they want to make it work,'' Horning said. "If I don't do that, I wouldn't have enough kids.''

As it was, Clear Spring had only 12 kids in the 1A West Region meet at Williamsport High. But among the 10 who qualified for states is distance runner Tim Mason, who is seeded No. 1 in Class 1A at 1,600 meters (4:37.30) and 3,200 meters (10:30.2).

A number of area athletes are top seeded. The South Hagerstown girls 800 relay is No. 1 in Class 1A with a 1:48.70 clocking. Smithsburg's Lisa Holsinger is No. 1 with a 47.5 in the 300 hurdles.

Jessica McGough of Smithsburg is tops in the shot at 36 feet, 5 inches, and Williamsport's Tom Laws is first in the high jump at 6-3.

In the 2A meet, North Hagerstown's Kari McCarty is top seeded with an 11:22.60 clocking at 3,200. Middletown's Randy Buzzell is No. 1 in the 1,600 with a time of 5:07.8.

North's Meagan Verdeyen is top ranked in the shot (40-5 1/2) and the discus (124-0). Middletown high jumper Greg McCormick is tied for the top spot at 6-5, and Middletown pole vaulter Natalie Dye is No. 1 with a leap of 10-0.

Urbana's girls 3,200 relay team leads with a 9:46.8 clocking, while FSK's boys are No. 1 in the 3,200 relay in 8:14.8.

Urbana's Tom Miller is the top-ranked shot-putter at 54 feet, and FSK's Charles Poole is No. 1 in the discus with 148-1. Brunswick pole vaulter Steve Ferrel is tied for No. 1 at 12-0, and the Brunswick girls 400 relay is tops at 52.10.

Horning said the region crown was Clear Spring's first ever in track. Despite the small numbers and the lure of jobs and other distractions, he tries to build success by creating a sense of togetherness.

"We have team dinners together,'' he said. "My wife makes special spaghetti and lasagna.''

Another approach he uses is to have everyone - from distance runners to shot-putters - work out together at least a half hour before going off to specialize in their individual events.

Horning said he knew the right tone had been established when the team was on the bus headed home from the region victory: "Tim (Mason) was holding the region plaque, and he said, 'I've won five (individual) state titles, but this means more to me.'''

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