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Cougars sweep Hedgesville Invitational

Jefferson slams the competition at the Hedgesville Invitational.

Jefferson slams the competition at the Hedgesville Invitational.

September 12, 2002|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. - Credit it to all those summer miles. Or the intense hill workouts at Sam Michael Farm. Or just sheer determination.

Jefferson cross country coach Bob Rizzo said it was a combination of all three that lifted the Cougars to both the boys' and girls' team titles at the sixth annual Hedgesville Invitational on Wednesday.

On the girls' side, Jefferson slipped past runner-up Hedgesville 35-38, while Martinsburg (74) took third, Hampshire finished fourth (99) and Musselman and Berkeley Springs competed with incomplete teams. In the boys' race it was all Jefferson, which took three of the top four places in easily outdistancing second-place Hampshire, 29-61. They were followed by Hedgesville (64), Martinsburg (111), Musselman (118) and Berkeley Springs (incomplete).

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"We're tickled to win," said Rizzo. "The course was a challenge, especially for Jefferson County. We're all flat down there. But the kids have been working hard. They came ready to run, and they attacked the hills."

Jefferson also took top individual honors on the boys' side, as Cougars senior Darrel Dorsey covered the rugged 3.1-mile course in 17 minutes, 35 seconds for the win. Berkeley Springs freshman Jackie Hadley topped the girls' field in 22:12.

While Hadley took the lead from runner-up Valerie Peer, of Berkeley Springs, near the halfway point en route to a seven-second victory, Dorsey waited until the final quarter-mile to make his decisive surge.

With a mile to go in the boys' race, Hedgesville's Daniel Rodgers, the defending champ, had a 10-second lead on the chase pack of Cougars Dorsey, Andy Franklin and Jake Green and Martinsburg's Brad Dodson. But the Eagles front-runner - who said he slacked off a bit on his summer training - ran out of gas, as he was gobbled up and passed by his four chasers.

Franklin was the first to overtake Rodgers, holding the lead until the final stretch, where Dorsey turned on the burners for the six-second win. Franklin (17:41) finished second, Dodson (17:45) was third, Green (17:48) took fourth, and Rodgers (17:56) held on for fifth.

"It's nice to come out here and win. We just hung back and kept our pace," said Dorsey, who trailed Rodgers by 17 seconds at the mile mark. "We know you don't win the race in the first mile."

Hadley also knew that - especially on her own course. She didn't flinch as Peer opened a 15-yard lead with a 6:24 first mile.

"I just wanted to keep her in eye-sight," said Hadley. "I just went out at my normal pace and kept that pace the whole race."

Hedgesville's Christy Ashley took third to help keep the team race close. But the Jefferson girls packed it in tightly from there, getting their winning total from Joanna Clark (fourth), Kate Atkinson (sixth), Whitney Blume (seventh), Julia Blickenstaff (ninth) and Michelle Hense (13th).

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