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Prep soccer notes - 'Dogs' Dodson races from sport to sport

October 04, 2002|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

Brad Dodson isn't the typical cross country runner.

The Martinsburg senior says he doesn't really care for distance running, he never goes to practice, and he even skips races from time to time.

But the Bulldogs are probably more than happy that Dodson, a first-year harrier, is just willing to fit cross country into his schedule at all.

Not only is Dodson Martinsburg's top runner, he's also a co-captain and standout midfielder on the Bulldogs' No. 3 boys soccer team. That's where his real priority lies.

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"My main interest is soccer," said Dodson, who's tied for second on his team in scoring with 22 points (seven goals and eight assists). "I don't go to any cross country practices and train just on Sundays. I don't really like it. It's hard to be good at something you don't like. Soccer keeps me in shape, but not in the shape I need to be in for cross country."

Of course, shape is all relative. In his very first cross country race - a five-team meet at Jefferson - Dodson topped the field in a course-record 16 minutes, 8 seconds. Since then, he's been a consistent top-five finisher at the races he's managed to squeeze in between soccer games.

Yet, performing well on the running circuit is nothing new to the Bulldog. Last spring, Dodson placed third at the state track meet in the 1,600-meter run and seventh in the 800 - prompting him to give cross country a try.

"I have high expectations for track this year," he said. "I thought running cross country might help."

Martinsburg soccer coach Jason DeBaugh said he doesn't mind Dodson's split interests this fall.

"It's not a big deal to me," he said. "My job isn't to say, 'You're going to do this.' High school is about experience. I think it's good."

Of course, DeBaugh also knows soccer is Dodson's first priority.

"It's selfish for me to say, but that's a good thing," said DeBaugh. "He's a very well-skilled player. He moves off the ball and around the ball very well."

Dodson's running background certainly doesn't hurt his level of play, either.

"He's in good condition sprinting-wise, and just being able to go most of the game - that's a big factor," said DeBaugh. "If you can go the whole game, and being the quality player that he is, that's key."

At 9-1-2, the Bulldogs are rolling and seemingly peaking perfectly, having won their last four games by a combined score of 11-0.

The torrid pace could, however, cause a dilemma.

"Right now, I think I'm ranked 10th in the state (in cross country)," said Dodson. "But if our soccer team makes it to regionals, it falls on the same day as states."

If so, don't look for Dodson at the finish line.

What's in the North water?

The girls and boys soccer teams at North Hagerstown are doing their best to keep the autumn air hot.

Through Wednesday, the Hubs girls were 7-1, while the boys were 10-1 and on a 10-game win streak, possibly a school record.

The mercury really rose last Saturday when North won both Washing County Tournament titles, maybe another first for the school.

"We're still trying to figure all that out," said Hubs first-year boys coach Glen Singer.

But no one needs to look at the past to figure out what's going on these days.

"We've got some good things going on," said Singer. "Everybody's excited."

"(The girls') first goal was to win the county championship, and their next goal is to win the region," he said. "My goal is just to take it one game at a time. This being my first year, I'm not sure what's out there."

But Singer isn't new to the sport. He spent four seasons (1997-'00) coaching the men's team at Hagerstown Community College, leading the Hawks to regionals in 1999.

"We had some pretty good years up there," he said. "I'm still using the same strategy. I have a certain way I want my teams to play regardless of what level it's at."

The Hubs are certainly looking mature. Striker Mikael Tigrett and midfielder Ben McAbee are the top two scorers in the area, while goalies Brian Williamson and Ryne Powell have only allowed four goals combined all season.

The Hubs girls have been paced by the high-scoring trio of Michelle Fickes, Corrie Jones and Brenna Bacon. Meanwhile, Kerri Snyder, who took over starting goalkeeping duties midway through the season, is beginning to find her groove.

Since surrendering three goals to Middletown in her first varsity start (North's only loss), Snyder has put the clamps on, allowing only three goals since as the Hubs have won three straight.

"We're just trying to keep them focused," said Singer. "Hopefully it will continue and good things will happen."

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