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County Hall to open doors to four inductees

July 13, 2009

The 23rd annual Washington County Sports Hall Of Fame banquet will be held Saturday at Elks Lodge No. 378 on Robinwood Drive in Hagerstown. The evening will begin with a social hour at 5:30 p.m. Dinner will be served at about 6:30, with the induction ceremonies to follow.

The Hall of Fame Class of 2009 includes Chris Fox, Rick Knepper, Gwynn (Gordon) Rodemsky and Mike Spinnler.

Fox was an NCAA Division I All-American at Auburn, where he recorded career-best times of 3 minutes, 59.1 seconds in the mile, 13:21.60 in the 5,000 meters, 27:53.0 in the 10,000 and 2:13.43 in the marathon. He was a member of the U.S. National Team in three decades.

A two-time Olympic alternate (1984 and 1988), Fox was a member of the U.S. National Team that won the Gold Medal in the 1977 IAAF World Junior Cross Country Championships. At age 36, he made the U.S. National Team in the 10,000 for the 1995 IAAF World Track & Field Championships in Sweden by finishing second in the USATF National Championships. When he recorded his career-best in the 10,000, he was then the 15th fastest runner at that distance in U.S. history and the oldest man ever to eclipse the 28-minute barrier.

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His best time in the 5,000 ranks him ahead of legendary runner Steve Prefontaine.

Knepper led the 1964 and 1965 National Little League All-Star teams to state titles, batting over .400. Over the next four years, Knepper played on state championship All-Star teams at Hagerstown PONY League (1966-67) and Hagerstown Colt League (1968-69).

Knepper also led the South Hagerstown High School baseball team to a Tri-State League title in 1971 before attending Murray State, where he batted over .300 and lettered as a freshman. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the first round (fourth overall) in 1972 and signed to a five-year contract. His commitment to family and a nagging leg injury cut short his professional career. Since then, he has managed Little League teams, worked as an umpire and participated in clinics for youth leagues and area high schools.

Rodemsky began her swimming career at the Hagerstown YMCA and Northwood Swim Club. By the time she graduated from North Hagerstown High School, Rodemsky held 15 YMCA records, 11 of which still stand. She qualified for the YMCA National Championship in 1981, enjoyed four top-25 rankings that year as an 12-year-old. In 1984, she finished ninth in the 200-yard butterfly at the YMCA National Championship. She won a combined five Maryland State championships in 1985 and 1986 before moving on to Ohio University.

Rodemsky was the Outstanding Meet Swimmer at the 1987 and 1989 Mid-American Conference Championships and became Ohio's school record holder in the 500, 1,000 and 1,650 freestyle and was on the record-holding 400 and 800 relay teams. She won 9 individual MAC titles and led Ohio to three consecutive seasons without a dual-meet loss. She also was part of the 400 freestyle team that qualified for the U.S. National Championships in 1987.

(bullet) Spinnler competed in cross country and track for North Hagerstown High School, Hagerstown Junior College, King College and Frostburg State. He graduated from Frostburg in 1981 with school records in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and the indoor 5,000 meters and a Mason-Dixon Conference title in the indoor two-mile.

Spinnler turned his focus to marathon and ultra-marathon competitions. In 1982, he finished 123rd in the Boston Marathon and won the 20th annual JFK 50-Mile in a course-record 5 hours, 53 minutes, 5 seconds -- a record that stood for 12 years. He successfully defended his JFK win in 1983.

Spinnler earned NJCAA National Coach of the Year honors for Women's Indoor Track & Field while coaching at Hagerstown Community College in 1997 and served on numerous USA National Team coaching staffs.

Tickets must be purchased in advance. For tickets, contact Millie Shank at 301-733-6988, Gregg Delauney at 240-675-1228, Andy Reid at 301-991-8238 or Rick Schultz at 301-790-3399.

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