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Roach, Buser give Indians 1-1 punch

September 13, 2007|By ANDREW MASON

If senior Rachel Buser has put Berkeley Springs on the cross country map, junior Lenny Roach might make it the capital of West Virginia.

The pair of Indians swept the individual Class AA-A titles last Saturday at the GEICO Classic - billed as the West Virginia Pre-State Invitational - at Cabell Midland High School, site of the Oct. 27 state meet.

"Just about everybody big was there," Berkeley Springs coach John Rowland said.

As expected, Buser, the three-time reigning state champion, dominated in the girls race, winning by almost a full minute in 20:17 on the 3.1-mile course.

Perhaps somewhat unexpectedly, Roach beat Doddridge County senior Levi Grandt, the defending state champ, by 11 seconds in the boys race, winning in 16:32.

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"It was thrilling to see Lenny win down there. He's running very well," Rowland said. "Lenny had a very good track season and trained well over the summer. Last year at this time, he was brand new to cross country."

Roach, who played football as a freshman, placed sixth at the cross country state meet last fall and then was the state runner-up in both the 1,600 (4:31.41) and 3,200 (9:46.94) on the track last spring.

Rowland said that beating Grandt again on Oct. 27 will be a much more difficult task.

"(Grandt) hurt himself in track and is coming along slowly," Rowland said. "We're going to have to get a lot better to hold him off because he is going to be significantly better."

If the Berkeley Springs boys continue to improve as a team, Ravenswood's streak of seven straight state titles might also be in jeopardy. The Indians finished a close second to Ravenswood on Saturday, falling 61-75.

"I'm really delighted with my boys team," Rowland said. "And we're young. We only have one senior."

Jefferson junior Cory Hampshire, last fall's Herald-Mail Boys Runner of the Year, also had a splendid day in the GEICO Classic Class AAA race, placing second in 16:30. Cabell Midland's David Bias won in 16:23.

Hampshire finished fourth in the state last fall.

Leopards 'still working'

While the Smithsburg girls are aiming to win their second straight Maryland Class 1A state title in November, it wasn't overly surprising that they didn't have any runners in the top 20 of Saturday's Keyser Invitational at Boonsboro.

The Leopards, who return nearly everyone, didn't win any state medals (awarded to the top 15) last fall.

"Pack running is going to be our strength again," said Smithsburg coach Ray Shriver, whose girls finished sixth Saturday. "We're going to be OK. We're still working, still getting in shape. We're not there yet."

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