Hawks' Horning digs deep, qualifies for NJCAA nationals

January 28, 2012|By ANDREW MASON |

HAGERSTOWN — Just past the finish line, Brandon Horning was reduced to a lifeless heap.

The Hagerstown Community College freshman had left it all on the track during the men’s 1,000-meter run at the HCC Indoor Track & Field Invitational on Saturday at the ARCC.

“That was rough, the hardest race I’ve ever run,” said Horning, a 2011 South Hagerstown graduate. “It was all arms, I couldn’t feel my legs at all. When I was finished, my legs were so dead I couldn’t walk.”

But it sure was worth the effort.

Horning led from start to finish and won by a whopping 15 seconds. More importantly, his time of 2 minutes, 37.53 seconds qualified him for the NJCAA national championships in March.

In his last 1,000 three weeks ago at a meet at Bucknell University, Horning ran 2:40.26, just missing the qualifying mark of 2:40.08.

Saturday at HCC, he had the crowd behind him.

“It felt better to do it on our own turf in Hagerstown,” he said, “in front of family and friends.”

Saturday’s meet was the first college invitational HCC had hosted in a decade. It’s no coincidence that it happened in Nick Snyder’s first season as the Hawks’ coach.

“If you have a facility, use it. That’s part of being a program,” Snyder said. “Every kid likes to be able to run at home and have family and friends and teachers come out and cheer for them, someone else besides just their own teammates. ... This is something I want to keep going and see it grow.”

Six colleges competed Saturday, as did a club team from Penn State and several “unattached” individuals.

Hood edged HCC 128-126 for the men’s team title. Hood also topped the women’s team standings, while HCC was fifth.

Sprinter Prince Dawkins led the HCC men, placing first among all college competitors in the 200 (23.28) and 400 (52.66) and taking second in the 55 (6.72). The HCC men also won the 4x400 relay (3:40.10), while the Hawks’ Rodney Flora led all college runners in the 300 (38.64).

The HCC women were led by Whitney Murphy, who placed second in the 55 (7.77), third in the 200 (29.14) and third in the 400 (1:06.59).

In the 3,000 (the meet’s longest event), Hagerstown resident Amy Blanco relived some glory days, running in her first indoor meet since graduating from Mount St. Mary’s in 1998.

Competing unattached, Blanco, a 35-year-old mother of two, lapped each of the other 10 runners in the women’s race at least once to win convincingly in 10:45.67.

“It was a lot of fun,” she said. “I got to talk to all the girls.”

She added, laughing, “I could almost be their mother.”

In the men’s 3,000, Cameron Hanlin (9:12.80) held off Justin Cole (9:14.48) for second place in the field of 14. The two standout Washington County road racers competed unattached.

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