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Getting their kicks

Wagoner, Graham-Gray defend 10K titles

Wagoner, Graham-Gray defend 10K titles

June 06, 2005|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

SHARPSBURG - Winning the Run Through History 10K Road Race at Antietam National Battlefield must be a pretty good time.

The champions continue to come back - and back and back.

"It was a fun race last year, and I decided it'd be good to come down here again and give it another run," said Matt Wagoner, 27, of New Cumberland, Pa.

Wagoner covered the hilly and heat-slowed 6.2-mile course in 32 minutes, 40.1 seconds to win his second straight men's title in the 26th annual edition of the race Sunday. Susan Graham-Gray, 37, of Greencastle, Pa., won her third straight women's title in 38:12.0.

Wagoner was one of four former men's champions in the top five Sunday. Mark Stickley, 42, of Winchester, Va., the runner-up and first master in 33:47.0, won the race in 1982. Jim Hage, 47, of Kensington, Md., the champ in 1986 and 2003, took fourth in 34:46.2. And Dennis Mickey, 40, of Ridgeley, W.Va., the 2001 winner, was fifth in 34:55.9.

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Justin Gindlesperger, 26, of Chambersburg, Pa., who took third Sunday in 33:53.7, is still looking for his first title. After Wagoner made his decisive move at 2 1/2 miles, Gindlesperger could only hope for second.

"With the hot temperatures and the hills, I figured I'd just stick with the leaders until I got into a groove," Wagoner said. "I found a rhythm just before halfway and just went with it. I had to keep pushing because Gindy and Mark are both good runners, and I didn't want to have it come down to a kick. I wanted to keep a little distance on them."

Graham-Gray kept a lot of distance on her competition. Five-time champion Laura Nelson, 39, of Woodstock, Va., was the runner-up in 40:53.1, more than 2 1/2 minutes behind Graham-Gray. Johanna Biola, 26, of Charles Town, W.Va., was third in 41:58.7. Maria Spinnler, 43, of Hagerstown, also a five-time champ, was the first master in 44:24.4.

"I did what I expected to do, starting the summer racing season," Graham-Gray said. "But I didn't remember this course being that hard. Today, it seemed to get me a little more. You really had to respect the weather conditions."

Cash prizes were awarded to the top three men's and women's finishers - $300 for first, $200 for second and $100 for third. The top masters each won $150.

Twenty-three years after winning in a course-record time, Stickley was the race's biggest cash winner, taking home $350.

"I was beginning to think I could win it again, when we went through the mile in 5:20 and it felt comfortable," Stickley said. "Oh, well. As long as I finish as first master, that's the main thing. But I was very pleased to be second overall, absolutely. I didn't expect that at all."

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