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Spinnler named Goretti's first cross country coach

May 10, 2010|By ANDREW MASON
  • Mike Spinnler
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HAGERSTOWN -- St. Maria Goretti will have a boys and girls varsity cross country program for the first time this fall.

"Cross country is a unique sport, and it takes a unique kid to excel at it," said David Blenckstone, the school's athletic director. "We have had a number of kids who've already said they're excited."

The first head coach of the Gaels also seems to be uniquely qualified. Goretti announced Monday that distance-running guru Mike Spinnler, 51, of Hagerstown, has been named to that position.

"You can tell just by talking to him how much he loves the sport and how much he wants to share that passion with the kids," Blenckstone said. "We got lucky."

Spinnler, who was the head cross country coach at Saint James the last three seasons, has coached running at nearly every level -- from Eastern Kentucky University to Hagerstown Junior College to six USA Track & Field national teams. In 1997, he was honored as the NJCAA National Coach of the Year for his work at HJC.

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Spinnler could not be reached for comment Monday because he was in France, working as a team leader for USA at the 2010 IAU 24-Hour Run World Championship, which begins Thursday.

"It is truly an honor to be selected as Saint Maria Goretti's first Cross Country Coach," Spinnler wrote in an e-mail to Blenckstone on Friday. "I greatly look forward to working with the student/athletes of this most prestigious institution."

Spinnler, who was inducted into the Washington County Sports Hall of Fame last summer, also is a former standout runner. He competed at North Hagerstown High School, HJC, King College in Tennessee and Frostburg State. Among his highlights as a post-collegiate runner was winning the JFK 50 Mile ultramarathon back-to-back years in 1982-83.

Spinnler, the president of Hagerstown's Cumberland Valley Athletic Club, has been the JFK 50 Mile director since 1993.

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