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MVAL decided in injury time

October 18, 1998

MVAL raceBy RON SOMERS / Sports Editor

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer




Just one look. That's all it took.

Middletown's Randy Buzzell was headed for the finish line Saturday in the Monocacy Valley Athletic League cross country championships at South Hagerstown High. She was first, but she knew she was not alone.

North Hagerstown's Kari McCarty was a few strides behind her, making a move.

"I knew she was trying to catch me, but for some reason I didn't have the adrenaline flow to kick,'' Buzzell said. "I looked over my left shoulder, and she was on my right. That scared me.''

That produced a rush of adrenaline, and Buzzell outkicked McCarty in the last 50 yards to win in 18 minutes, 46 seconds, one second ahead of McCarty.

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Both girls have been plagued with hip injuries this season. Buzzell has been using orthotics in her shoes and doing special stretching exercises, but had no complaints of pain Saturday.

Just days ago, McCarty got clearance from her doctor to run after having two weeks of hip pain. McCarty said her hip "started to bug me'' the last mile.

The Middletown girls were favored, but coach Sharon Boyer said this past week several of her girls had the flu and several were "doubled up with stomach cramps,'' so she came into the meet only "cautiously optimistic.'' Boyer said Molly Imming was so sick at one point during a workout that she "laid on the track and moaned.''

But Buzzell's first-place finish, combined with Laura Pumphrey's fourth, Kathy Harrigan's fifth, Imming's seventh and Jessica Bisnett's 15th gave the Knights the girls title with 32 points. North was second with 81.

Early this season, Walkersville's Doug Allen battled tendinitis in his left knee after a strenuous summer of running, but then had no one to battle in the boys MVAL race Saturday.

Allen led at the mile, was briefly challenged by North's Alex McAbee at a mile and a half, then had the race to himself. He won in 15:54.20, seven seconds faster than Boonsboro's Chuck Wade.

Allen said his strategy was to follow the lead pack.

"But everybody didn't go out fast like they usually do,'' he said. "I ended up leading at 800 (meters.)

"I thought somebody would come up alongside, but they never did.''

McAbee finished fourth, followed by teammates Chris Pereschuk in fifth, Brad Mentzer in sixth, Erik Lenhart in 11th and Johnavin McKinley in 18th to give North the boys team title. The Hubs had 44 points to 48 for runner-up Middletown, which was led by Ryan Moore's third-place finish.

North coach Frank McAdoo projected his boys to finish higher individually, but he was pleased with the title nonetheless.

"We'll take four, five, six, 11 and 18,'' he said.

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