Harriers: Women try for encore men try to rebound

'92 AACC

September 09, 1992|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,Staff Writer

Janine MacMillan is thinking about revenge, and not against any one individual.

MacMillan's final season of cross country at Chesapeake High School was wiped out by mononucleosis. Her hopes of moving up to first-team All-County status, and the opportunity to race against and defeat Severna Park's Fran Mackney, were ruined.

"Last year would have been my best year," she said.

Her freshman year at Anne Arundel Community College may prove a worthy substitute.

As of last week, MacMillan, 18, and Mandy Shiplette of Annapolis were the only women runners at Anne Arundel. But yesterday, Pioneers coach Jim Fontaine said, "We're picking up new ones as we speak."

What Fontaine already possessed was a determined competitor with some "unfinished business to settle," he said.

"I expect Janine to set a new school record in the 5K. She should qualify for the nationals. Her attitude has been wonderful, very positive."

MacMillan is accustomed to being part of a much larger team -- "We had a ton of girls at Chesapeake," she said -- but she won't let the reduced numbers have an adverse affect on her performance.

"I'll just try to shoot for personal times," she said. "The pressure is there, but it helps build me up. I'll go out and try my best."

The women's side lost an abundance of talent from last season, when the Pioneers placed second in the Region XX meet and took four runners to the nationals in Wichita, Kan., including Yvette Lee (now at Towson State) and Kellie Smith (Salisbury State).

The men's team wasn't as prosperous. Doug Murphy, a 1990 graduate of Broadneck, injured his right knee late in the season and finished in the middle of the pack at the nationals.

"We're really counting on him this year," Fontaine said.

Murphy has been slowed by another injury to the knee, but said, "it's pretty much cleared up."

"I'd be running and my knee would get a little stiff," he said. "Last week, it kind of hurt, but now it's fine.

"Overall, I'd like to finish in the top 20 in the state and qualify for the nationals again. I'm in better shape now than I was last year. I trained harder this summer."

No one has undergone a training regime that compares to the one freshman Neil Gilligan was subjected to during his four years in the Navy.

Gilligan, a 1986 graduate of Northeast, was required to run four miles in 24 minutes in the sand while wearing combat boots and fatigues during his stint at the Naval Special Warfare Center in California.

"It would be 5 in the morning on the beach and you couldn't even see," said Gilligan, 23, who played soccer at Northeast. "At times, we did 10-mile runs. It was so rigorous. There's no other word to describe it.

"This is pretty much, not a walk in the park, but enjoyable," said Gilligan, who served in the Persian Gulf War and now lives in Annapolis.

"Over there, there was a lot of pressure, not just from your instructors, but from your teammates," he said. "Here, it's a lot easier to cope with the stress because I've already been through all the stressful events."

He'll get plenty of support from a group that Fontaine said could be the most talented -- and certainly the deepest -- he has seen in his 14 years at the Arnold college.

"We're much more competitive on the men's side, much more," said Fontaine, whose team opens the season with an invitational meet Saturday at Montgomery-Rockville. "There's no way we're going to beat Hagerstown because they're loaded. They're just an established program. But we'll be neck and neck with everyone else."

The No. 1 position will fall either to Murphy, Gilligan or Rob Parkhurst, while Shaun Black and Marc Mallonee will occupy the fourth and fifth spots, respectively.

Joe Dugan and Dave Taylor provide added depth.

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