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Aramugam wants Md. Midas touch

November 12, 2004|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

Hemu Arumugam has done it all this fall.

The North Hagerstown junior won titles at the MVAL Antietam Conference, Washington County and Class 2A West cross country championships.

But he gladly would trade them all for the one jewel missing from his collection - state gold.

"It's all about states. All that other stuff doesn't matter as much," Arumugam said. "States is what the whole season is for."

The whole season boils down to Saturday's Maryland State Cross Country Championships at Hereford High School in Parkton.

Arumugam, who finished seventh at states as a freshman and sixth as a sophomore, is aiming for first place in the Class 2A boys race this time.

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"I definitely want to win this," he said. "I'm feeling pretty good. I think I have a pretty good shot at it. But you never know what's going to happen at states. There'll be a lot of good people there."

If there's a "favorite" tag, Stephen Decatur senior Michael Evans probably wears it. Evans, the East region champ, is the top returner. He was the state runner-up last year.

But Arumugam knows that Evans can be beaten. The pair went 1-2 in the 3,200-meter run at last spring's state track meet, with Arumugam taking top honors.

But track is track and cross country is cross country, especially on Hereford's brutally hilly 3-mile course.

"The hills - that's why state's is not as predictable," Arumugam said. "You put those hills in there, you don't know what's going to happen."

He does know, however, that he won't be as awe-struck by the grueling layout as he's been in the past.

"The hills are definitely not as hard as they looked when I was a freshman," Arumugam said. "Having already run the course a couple of times, I don't think it will be as overwhelming. ... I've trained a little bit more on hills and have gotten a lot better."

· While Arumugam is a contender, Clear Spring senior Ashley Lockard is the defender.

Lockard - the two-time MVAL Antietam, Washington County and Class 1A West champion - will be looking to make it two straight at states.

"I'm so scared, so nervous," Lockard said.

The top challenger to her throne appears to be Allegany's Lauryn McFawn, whom Lockard beat by 19 seconds at last week's region race. So the Blazer should at least be feeling confident.

"Yeah, I feel pretty confident, I guess you could say," Lockard said. "I've gotten better. My times have come down a lot. But you never know who's going to have a good day."

· If Loch Raven has a good day, the Williamsport girls team could be in trouble - or at least challenged - in Class 1A.

The two-time defending state champ Wildcats, who will compete with four of their five scorers from the last two state meets, easily won the West region last week.

Loch Raven, the state runner-up last year, had an even easier time capturing the Central region, taking three of the top four and five of the top nine individual places.

"Lock Raven looks very good. They seem to be running very well right now," Williamsport coach Randy Buchman said. "We'll just have to do our best and hope it's enough."

There's nothing easy about creating a dynasty.

"It's a lot to work for," said junior Theresa Ruland, who placed third at last year's state meet to lead the Wildcats. "It's easier to win it the first time, because now everyone else has something to work for. They want to beat us."

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