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Hawks win first national title

June 02, 2000

LANSING, Mich. - While some of the best-laid plans go to waste, Alex McAbee's worked to absolute perfection Friday afternoon.

"Coach (Mike Spinnler) gave me a complete plan. I thought I went out too fast, but he said everyone would fall back," the Hagerstown Community College freshman said. "And they did. They fell back like flies."

McAbee then flew past them, winning the individual crown in 2 hours, 36 minutes, 5 seconds at the NJCAA Marathon Championships, and leading the Hawks to their first-ever national crown.

The Hawks won in near-perfect fashion, winning with just seven points. Tim Mason (2:40:07), who led 14 miles in the middle of the race, finished second, and Doug Oates was fourth at 2:51:28.

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"None of them had ever run a marathon before," Spinnler said. "And it was hot here today. They handled the weather extremely well."

McAbee is the second HCC athlete to win the title, but the first since Terry Baker won the inaugural event in 1974.

"I was really relaxed," McAbee said. "I came in and ran the last 10K really hard. It wasn't as hard as I expected; I guess I just had a good day."

That seemed to sum up the whole team's day. Homestanding Lansing Community College finished second with 21 points, far behind the Hawks.

"We thought two in top five and another in the top 10 and we had a shot at winning," Spinnler said. " We wanted to go in real low-key because we had expectations, but we just wanted to see what would happen."

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