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Indians' Buser keeps her cool to win in the heat

August 26, 2007|By JOHN O'BRIEN

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - In the absence of a creek to relax in Saturday, Rachel Buser was looking forward to a bathtub filled with cool water.

The first race of her senior cross country season hadn't gone the way she'd hoped - except for the winning part.

Buser dominated the Musselman Invitational, crossing the finish line nearly a minute faster than anyone else as the Berkeley Springs girls took first out of three complete teams.

But Buser, a three-time state champion, collapsed while standing in the shade after the race. She certainly wasn't the only one to struggle with the intense morning heat, but it still provided a scary scene for those around her.

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"I just got real dizzy and closed my eyes for a second," Buser said.

While running mountains in North Carolina, she was taught to handle post-race exhaustion by relaxing her muscles in the local creeks. Back home, Buser said she usually intends to do the same in her bathtub after meets, but gets distracted and forgets.

"I always want to, but I never do," she said. "But today I will."

Buser blamed herself for not drinking enough water before the race, which she had hoped to use to break the course record at Poor House Farm Park. She came up 20 seconds short, finishing in 21:14.

"We've definitely run courses way harder than this one - ours, Elkins," Buser said. "But the heat just killed us today.

"Toward the end, I was getting a little dizzy," she said. "I was trying to push through it. I had to finish."

Teammate Kari Mundey came in behind Buser, finishing fourth in 23:36, as the Indians, the Class AA-A state champions two years ago and runners-up last year, scored 28 points. Martinsburg was second with 41, Musselman third with 51 and Hampshire was incomplete.

Martinsburg's top performer was Jen Emmert, whose 23:54 was good for fifth. Musselman was led by Whitney Lewis, who took seventh in 24:41.

Berkeley Springs' Leonard Roach won the boys race in 17:40 - 42 seconds ahead of runnner-up John Paul Binotto of Hampshire.

Hampshire placed six runners in the top 10 and won with 28 points. Berkeley Springs was second with 42, Musselman third with 68 and Martinsburg fourth with 106.

Also posting top-10 finishes for Berkeley Springs were John Mundey (sixth, 19:42) and Jake Wise (seventh, 19:42).

Musselman senior Louie Talbott was the third-place finisher in 18:40. Martinsburg's top runner was Ryan Bellfied (14th, 20:42).

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