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Hampshire in it for long run

June 04, 2007|by ANDREW MASON

SHARPSBURG - Jefferson High School sophomore Cory Hampshire said he's aiming to win the West Virginia Class AAA state title in cross country this fall.

So far, so good.

Hampshire, 16, of Kearneysville, W.Va., capped the first week of his summer training by winning the 28th annual Run Through History 10K at Antietam National Battlefield on Sunday morning. He covered the hilly 6.2-mile course in 35 minutes and 14 seconds, winning by more than two minutes in the longest race of his career.

"This was my getting-back-into-shape week," said Hampshire, the youngest runner to ever win the race. "It was tough - my first 10K and it was real hilly."

Susan Graham-Gray, 39, of Greencastle, Pa., coasted to her fourth Run Through History women's title in five years, winning by more than six minutes in 38:32.

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Hampshire's chances of winning greatly increased when marathon standout Mark Cucuzzella, 40, of Shepherdstown, W.Va., dropped out of the race at 2 miles due to hamstring issues. The pair had shared the lead until then.

"I just wanted to try to hang with (Cucuzzella)," said Hampshire, who placed fourth at last fall's state cross country championships. "I thought I had a chance. When he dropped out, I was sure I could win."

Brad Rippey, 41, of Bunker Hill, W.Va., finished second overall and was the men's Masters (40-and-over) champion in 37:36. Tim Snyder, 20, of Frederick, Md., was third in 38:02.

While Graham-Gray never had any challengers in the women's race, she said she was prepared to deal with any.

"I never take anything for granted because you never know what the competition will be," she said. "You have to show up ready to roll."

Dani Mason, 34, of Hagerstown was the runner-up in 44:39, and Johanna Biola, 28, of Charles Town, W.Va., finished third in 45:18. Tonya Stotler, 40, of Leesburg, Va., was the women's Masters winner in 48:04.

Graham-Gray's victory came four weeks after the most monumental win of her career at the Pocono Run for the Red Marathon, where she ran a personal-best 2:45:32 to qualify for the 2008 U.S. Olympic marathon trials in Boston in April.

Now she's shifting her focus to races of shorter distances for the next few months.

"I'm ready to start my summer season, and I always use this as my kickoff for it," Graham-Gray said. "I always look forward to doing well here because it sets the tone for everything else."

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