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Gaels add outdoor track teams

February 07, 2013|By ANDREW MASON | andrewm@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — For the first time in decades, St. Maria Goretti will have a varsity outdoor track and field program this spring.

“The interest level of our students to add a track program has been significant,” said David Blenckstone, Goretti’s athletic director. “With the recent success of our cross country program, both in student participation and in competition, adding a track team in the spring is a natural for our students and school community.”

The Gaels will be coached by Mike Spinnler, who also coaches Goretti’s boys and girls cross country teams.

Goretti started its cross country program in 2010, fielding a boys team for the first time since the early 1970s and a girls team for the first time ever.

The Goretti boys have taken off in cross country, winning both Independent-Parochial School League and Hagerstown city championship titles each of the last two falls.

“It’s going to be a similar approach as cross country — to focus on our elite athletes and let them explore their abilities,” Spinnler said of the track program. “But we’re not going to turn anyone away. We want to encourage kids to come in and test the waters.

“I think we’ll primarily have middle distance and distance runners who want to do a spring sport. But we’d love to get some sprinters, hurdlers and jumpers out there. We’ll see who shows up.”

The Gaels have seven meets on their schedule this spring. Spinnler said the “focus meet” will be the IPSL championships May 4 at Mercersburg Academy.

“In track, as small as our student population is, it’s going to be tough to be a force like we’ve been in cross country. We just want to get kids ready for the next level,” Spinnler said. “We’re not trying to hang banners in the gym as much as we’re trying to get kids, who want to run in college, more guidance and experience.”

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