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Kingdom comes to HCC

December 18, 2006|by ANDREW MASON

"Trail leg!" Roger Kingdom yelled to a young hurdler on the indoor track. "You're bringing your heel around first and not your knee."

"You're doing this, as opposed to that," he said, demonstrating.

"Get your torso up," he said to another runner in the next lane. "Now you're over too far."

The roughly 100 athletes and coaches who attended the first Hagerstown Community College Track & Field Clinic got more than their money's worth Sunday afternoon at the HCC athletic complex.

Receiving hands-on instruction from some of the best in business - highlighted by Kingdom, the two-time Olympic champion and former world-record holder in the 110-meter high hurdles - was invaluable.

"I just wanted to give them tips, give them some drills and show them some of the things that helped me to get better, and let them take those things and put them to use," said Kingdom, who won gold medals at the 1984 and 1988 Summer Olympics.

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"It was intimidating to meet an Olympian and have him coach you, but it was definitely a great help," Williamsport sophomore hurdler Amy Taylor said. "There's a lot that we learned today.

"Our coaches taught us a certain way, but things that were pointed out here definitely made a lot more sense."

The 44-year-old Kingdom works as the head men's and women's track coach at California University of Pennsylvania.

Like the roughly dozen other clinic instructors - who were assembled by former Hagerstown Junior College and American high jump star Mike Pascuzzo - Kingdom volunteered his services Sunday.

Clinics help Kingdom and other college coaches recruit athletes to their schools.

"You see this talent, you'd like to get this talent at your school to work with them," Kingdom said.

He and Smithsburg senior Jamal Campbell, Washington County's top hurdler, showed a mutual interest in each other.

"It's cool to meet the best of the best, someone you can learn from and try to emulate," said Campbell, who won four bronze medals at the Maryland Class 1A state meet last spring. "He told me I should try to apply to his school, and I might look into it. He could help me get better."

"(Campbell) could do much better," Kingdom said. "I'm looking at him now, and he can improve on a lot of things. That's the kind of stuff coaches want to see. That's the beauty of it."

Even Middletown (Md.) High School's Don Boyer, who's been coaching track for more than 40 years, said he learned a lot Sunday.

"You never know everything," said Boyer, who brought 10 of his athletes with him. "We came here to try to get better.

"You had the best in the world here. What else could you ask for?"

All of the proceeds from the event went to the HCC track program.

"We raised $5,000, and we he hope to double it next year," said Bo Myers, HCC's athletic director. "We're committed to doing this every year."

After the clinic ended, several athletes remained on the track, practicing what they'd just been taught.

"They remind me so much of myself," Kingdom said. "Back in the day, I wanted it so bad. Instead of hanging out and playing video games or later, when I got older, going to the clubs, I was on the track, running and training.

"Obviously, it all paid off for me. I won Olympic gold. It was worth it."

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