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Buser, Indians set to defend W.Va. state titles

October 26, 2006|by ANDREW MASON

As the two-time defending West Virginia Class AA-A cross country champ, Berkeley Springs junior Rachel Buser will have a target on her back as she tries to make it three straight at states Saturday at Cabell Midland.

However, Buser's competition can't even take aim if she's out of sight.

"I'm going to get out quick," said Buser, who won last year's state race by more than a minute. "I want to pull away from the competition in the beginning. I'm really excited."

If there's any pressure, it's mostly on her teammates. The Berkeley Springs girls are the reigning team champions and ranked No. 1 in the state by runwv.com.

"We've been running well. Our team is pumped up," Buser said. "We're ranked No. 1, but rankings don't mean anything."

If the rankings mean something, the Indians have earned their top spot. They beat No. 2 Charleston Catholic, No. 4 Grafton and No. 5 Winfield when they won the GEICO Classic on the state course at Cabell Midland last month, and they edged No. 3 Doddridge last week for the Region II title.

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"We've beaten them all so far," Buser said.

Buser suffered her only defeat of the season - and first in more than two years - when she finished sixth in the elite division of the Bull Run Invitational in Parkton, Md., on Sept. 30.

"I just felt horrible that race," Buser said. "I was having back problems. My spine was out of line, which made my one leg half an inch longer than the other. But I've been going to a chiropractor in Morgantown every Friday, and it's been getting a lot better. I'm feeling 100 percent better."

· Chambersburg senior Sarah Morrison - who missed nearly the entire track season last spring with mononucleosis and part of this cross country season due to illness - also said she's feeling better.

"She's happy right now, and that's key," Chambersburg coach Chris Monheim said.

Morrison will be racing for her third straight PIAA District 3 Class AAA title Saturday at Milton Hershey.

However, she won't be the favorite after placing only sixth at last week's Mid-Penn championships. Morrison finished a minute behind champion Neely Spence of Shippensburg, who's expected to set the pace again Saturday.

"It'll be interesting to see how it all unfolds," Morrison said. "If I don't win, I'm not going to be totally bummed out."

· For the second straight year, Jefferson's Cory Hampshire and Brooke Boening enter the West Virginia Class AAA state meet as the Region II champions.

Both will be looking to improve on their finishes from last year, when Boening placed sixth in the girls race and Hampshire staggered home in 85th place in the boys race.

Hampshire is ranked fourth in Class AAA by runwv.com, while Boening is ranked ninth.

· Washington County runners will race for their Maryland state berths next Thursday.

The Class 1A West championships begin at 3:15 p.m. at Clear Spring, while the 2A West meet begins at 2 p.m. at Middletown.

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