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4 Hawks head to nationals

May 20, 2009|By ANDREW MASON

Sophmore Jordan Atha has had quite a run at Hagerstown Community College.

She hopes her final run for the Hawks will be a fitting end.

Atha is one of four HCC athletes who will compete at the NJCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, which begin today in Hutchinson, Kan.

Atha, a Williamsport graduate, has earned NJCAA Coaches' All-American honors in cross country, indoor track (mile) and outdoor track (1,500 meters). She'll be looking to become a four-time All-American when she races in the women's 5,000-meter run Saturday.

Atha is ranked 14th on the Division I performance list this spring with her season-best time of 18:37.98.

"I know I can run faster," said Atha, who will compete for California University of Pennsylvania next school year. "I'm just going to see how it feels and go with it. I'm hoping to run really well."

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The top six U.S. citizens in each event earn Coaches' All-American honors -- something that has eluded HCC sophomore Justin Cole so far.

"I really haven't even been close. I haven't stepped up," said Cole, another Williamsport graduate, who will compete Friday in the men's 3,000 steeplechase, in which he's ranked 19th at 9:49.24. "This time, I hope it happens. You just have to go out and run aggressively and be confident."

Freshman Corey Centofonti, a Smithsburg graduate, will be the first Hawk on the track when he competes in the men's 10,000 today. He has only run that event once -- in 32:43.64, a time that ranks him 15th.

"I'm just trying to go sub-32, and I should be able to get top 10," Centofonti said. "A whole bunch of Kenyans are going to be up there, but there should also be a whole bunch of people around me. I'm going to have a good pack to run with. I just need to get into a rhythm."

HCC freshman Liz Ross, a Chambersburg (Pa.) graduate, is ranked ninth in the women's shot put at 42 feet, 5 1/2 inches. She said her goal is 46 feet -- something only two women in the competition have reached this spring.

"I'm going to do it," Ross said. "I'm not nervous. I'm just excited."

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