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McCormick spices up high jump

January 17, 1999

MVAL indoor trackBy RON SOMERS / Sports Editor

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer




The phone call came to an abrupt halt.

A college track and field coach was on the line not too long ago to Middletown High high jumper Greg McCormick.

"He asked me what I got on my SATs,'' McCormick said Saturday after winning the high jump in the Monocacy Valley Athletic League indoor championships in a meet record 6 feet, 6 inches.

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"I said, ' I haven't taken it yet,''' McCormick said. "Then he said, 'What grade might you be in?'''

McCormick told him he was a sophomore, and the coach beat a hasty retreat.

"I'm not supposed to be talking to you right now,'' McCormick quoted the coach as saying.

Coaches aren't allowed to recruit sophomores, but this one simply figured that McCormick had to be an upperclassman based on his credentials. McCormick jumped 6-6 to win the state Class 2A outdoor title last spring, then cleared 6-6 3/4 last summer in Norfolk, Va., and won the AAU national title for 15- and 16-year-olds in the decathlon with 5,497 points.

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His leap of 6-6 Saturday at the Hagerstown Community College athletic complex broke the record of 6-4 set last year by Middletown's Derek Dye, now a high jumper at UMBC.

The height, and beauty, of his jumps are indeed impressive. After McCormick sailed over 5-10 Saturday by what appeared to be about a foot, his teammate Steve Hanson, who finished second at 6-2, turned to no one in particular and said, "Oh, my god.''

Middletown coach Don Boyer has high praise for McCormick.

"He's a very technical person; he understands his event,'' Boyer said. "He has as much ability as anyone we've ever had.''

His father, Bill McCormick, a former sprinter and swimmer at Western Maryland College, videotapes all his jumps for later study. The elder McCormick said his son watches his form, spots something, then calls out, "Look at that, Dad.''

Boyer's praise is not limited to McCormick's track and field performances, where he also excels at the pole vault (13 feet in practice) and high hurdles (third Saturday to Hanson).

"He's a tremendous kid,'' Boyer said, adding that he gets straight As and is a superb musician. McCormick plays the euphonium.

He might not be headed back to the AAU nationals this summer, though. McCormick, a Life Scout working to become an Eagle Scout, is off to scout camp on New Mexico for hiking, camping and rock climbing.

His high jump win helped the Middletown boys win the team title with 112 1/2 points. Middletown won the girls title with 96 points. The Smithsburg girls were second with 78 points, and the North Hagerstown boys were second with 76.

North's Alex McAbee set two meet records. He won the 1,600 in 4:38.8, breaking the mark of 4:40.8 set two years ago, and the 3,200 in 10:16.7, breaking the mark of 10:21.0 set in 1990.

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