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McDuff gets kicks from cross country

September 06, 1998|By RON SOMERS / Sports Editor

CLEAR SPRING - Before the cross country season is over, a lot of girls are going to be wishing that River Hill sophomore Lee McDuff was doing what she did last fall - playing soccer.

"I've been playing soccer forever. I got tired of it,'' McDuff said Saturday after winning the girls big schools race at the Interstate Classic Invitational at Clear Spring High School.

"I just wanted to try something new,'' she said.

McDuff is not new to running; she won the 2A state track title at 3,200 meters last spring in 10 minutes, 59 seconds. She is new to cross country, although she didn't look like it. She covered the 3-mile layout in 19:43.2, outkicking defending state cross country and meet champion Randy Buzzell of Middletown and North Hagerstown's Kari McCarty.

Buzzell, nursing a sore hip, clocked 19:50.2, and McCarty ran 20:01.8.

The three ran together for most of the race. With about a half-mile to go, Buzzell and McDuff were swapping the lead with McCarty a couple of strides behind.

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"I didn't think I had anything left,'' McDuff said.

But she did. On the last turn before the race finished on the track, McDuff made her move, leaving Buzzell and McCarty behind.

"My stride felt smooth and really big,'' she said.

She had her doubts beforehand, though, contemplating racing Buzzell and McCarty.

"It kind of makes me nervous,'' McDuff said. "But I feel a lot better after this race.''

Buzzell had an ice pack on her hip after the race.

"It's OK,'' she said, explaining that she has an "imbalance'' that she hopes will be helped with an orthotic, an insert in her shoe.

Buzzell said she "figured this would be a kicker's race. She (McDuff) has more speed at this point.''

For the second straight year, Michael Prada of River Hill won the boys big schools race. He clocked 16:30.2, five seconds faster than Thomas Johnson's Shawn Day.

Urbana's Liz Lowrie won the girls small schools race in 20:07.1, a minute and two seconds faster than runner-up Erin Davis of Allegany.

Zach Bittinger of Westmar won the boys small schools race in 17:12.4.

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