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Smith, Pettner do best to keep Hubs' tradition going

September 27, 2006|by ANDREW MASON

While 2006 North Hagerstown graduates Hemu Arumugam and Anna Lenhart are miles away from home, putting in the miles for their college cross country teams, their tracks are still fresh in Hagerstown.

"He put a lot of weight on our shoulders this year to do well because he left," said North senior Phil Smith of Arumugam, the three-time Herald-Mail Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year who's now at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"Hemu was really inspiring," Smith said. "He was always the best, but he never acted like it. He wasn't cocky about anything he did. He just acted like a normal person."

After crossing the finish line in Tuesday's tri-meet at South Hagerstown, Smith seemed to be acting rather normal himself, despite having won his first varsity cross country race.

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"It's a little different," he said. "It's kind of hard to explain."

Smith covered the 2.91-mile course in 17 minutes, 52 seconds. Teammates Will Brandenburg (18:13) and Travis Bolio (18:28) finished second and third as the Hubs grabbed five of the top seven places for a winning total of 17 points.

"That's exactly what our coach (Frank McAdoo) wanted," Brandenburg said. "He told us we had to get first and second, and we got first, second and third.

"We're trying hard to replace Hemu," he added. "We're doing our best."

South, led by Mike Young's fourth-place finish (18:31), was second with 42. Boonsboro, which got a sixth-place effort from Corey Downing (18:45), had an incomplete team with only four runners.

Lenhart, a student-athlete this fall at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, won Washington County and MVAL Antietam titles last year.

North sophomore Brooke Pettner is trying her hardest this season to follow in Lenhart's footsteps.

"(Lenhart) kept me going. She was always in front of me, and I would chase her," Pettner said. "She told me everything she knew and gave me the strength to go."

Pettner clearly was the strongest in Tuesday's race, winning easily in 21:40 to lead the Hubs to a sweep of the top seven places for a winning total of 15. Susan Brown was the runner-up in 22:57.

"My goal for my team and myself is to win a big meet this season," Pettner said.

Boonsboro, led by Kyle Lefler's eighth-place finish (24:56), had 50 points. South was incomplete with only one runner - Tricia Korrell, who placed 10th (25:28).

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