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Payne goes distance to reach main goal

May 28, 2010|By BOB PARASILITI

HAGERSTOWN -- Miranda Payne has logged many miles to get to the next destination.

The odometer clicked with each run she took to improve her mile time. With each dribble leading to a 3-point shot. With each daily trip from Chambersburg, Pa. to Hagerstown Community College. Each step was heading somewhere.

Payne crossed the finish line on Thursday by signing a letter-of-intent to attend Clarion University, going from a non-recruited player out of Cumberland Valley Christian School to statistically become one of the top women's basketball players for HCC.

"I knew coming (to HCC) I would have the chance to go somewhere," Payne said. "A lot of players got college looks by playing here. This is just amazing. It's kind of neat that they all came looking for me."

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Payne's traveling just slowed down by signing with Clarion. It ended a process in which the guard visited eight schools in North Carolina, Florida, West Virginia and Pennsylvania before making her decision.

"It was a lot of mileage," Payne said. "It was boring, driving to all those places. My car just died. I have to look for a new one."

The car gave its life to complete Payne's two huge years at HCC.

She leaves the Hawks as the school's ninth all-time leading scorer (725 points) and fifth all-time assists leader (286). She was named to the Maryland JuCo Conference's and Region XX's first teams while playing on an HCC team that finished eighth in the league.

Payne was nationally ranked in scoring (18.2) and assists (5.6), accounting for 46 percent of HCC's offense.

"She wasn't really recruited at all out of high school," HCC coach Marlys Palmer said. "She was playing in a small private school league, yet we thought she was being overlooked by everyone. We were fortunate to get her.

"In the two years here, she has improved. She did it by embracing her weaknesses and working on them. She improved her mile time by a minute and shot hundreds of 3-pointers to get better."

Clarion became Payne's choice because it was the best fit.

"I didn't feel comfortable in the schools down south," she said. "I felt the best at Clarion. I have improved so much in the last two years. I'm excited to see how much better I'm going to get playing there."

The best thing about it all is the travels ahead.

"I'm going to be going to school four hours away," Payne said. "It's time for me to do this. It's time for me to go out and have a new experience."

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