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HCC track team prepared to do battle

March 27, 1999|By KRIS GILLASPY / Staff Correspondent

How appropriate that Hagerstown Community College's track and field team opens its outdoor season at the Battleground Relays this weekend.

The men's 4 x 800-meter relay is the team's strongest link, and it may place the HCC men's distance runners neck and neck with Division I teams, according to coach Mike Spinnler.

The 4 x 800 team started out with a win at the 25-team relay meet hosted by Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, Va., on Friday night. Alex Young, a Thomas Johnson graduate, ran the first leg. James Eagler, a James Buchanan graduate, followed with the relay's fastest split of 1 minute and 56.3 seconds. Freshman All-American, Corey McClinton, ran the third leg, followed by Justin Ward who hung on for the victory in 7:59.7. Ward replaced All-American Kenny Stanley, who was ill.

"This relay team is capable of running 7:40 and competing in the elite arena of Division 1 schools," said Spinnler. However, Friday's weather - a cold and windy 42 degrees - was not ideal for such a time.

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Spinnler said another strength for the men's team is freshman All-American Tim Mason, a Clear Spring graduate. Mason finished sixth in the 5,000 at the indoor nationals. This spring, he will experiment with the 10,000 and the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

Co-captain Dawn Shatzer a James Buchanan graduate, placed sixth in the women's 5,000 Friday. Shatzer, a national championships qualifier in the heptathalon, has chosen to concentrate on distance races this spring. She broke her career best of 20:31 with a time of 19:25.9. Shatzer hopes to compete in the 10,000 later this season.

Pole vaulters Becky Walter and Jessica Bracken, who will be competing today in the Battleground Relays, are expected to be strong competitors, according to Spinnler. Walter, a freshman from Middletown, placed second in the national championships, earning All-American status with a vault of 10 feet, 6 inches. Co-captain Bracken, a Boonsboro graduate, placed fifth in the nationals with 8-4, also is a 400 intermediate hurdler.

The season will continue for HCC next weekend with the Colonial Relays in Williamsburg, Va. After that, HCC will compete in the Penn Relays in Philadelphia.

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