Affection for cross country runs in family for Westminster's Bullock

October 26, 1992|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Staff Writer

Joy Bullock loves the roar of the crowd and the thrill of victory.

But the slender Westminster High junior didn't exactly choose a sport where either one of those loves is at a high level.

She runs cross country for the Owls' girls team, and people don't usually pack the golf courses or fill the woods and hills to see her run.

However, the thrill of victory is still there for Bullock because she enjoys running so much.

"I think all I can do is run. I never played team sports. I'm so uncoordinated," said Bullock. "I started running when I was 8 because my parents thought it would be good for me. They took me to all these meets, and when I was in the seventh grade I started to love running."

Those weekend meets replaced recreation sports for Bullock, and she has no regrets.

"Running is in my blood," said Westminster's top girls runner. "My mom and dad ran in the New York Marathon in 1988 and they've competed in a lot of smaller races over the years."

Her father, Jim, is the cross country coach at Francis Scott Key, the school that figures to give Westminster its toughest opposition Friday in the county girls meet at Western Maryland College.

So, naturally, the conversations at the Bullock dinner table have heated up a little recently.

"I'll never live it down if we lose," said Joy Bullock. "Running against Scott Key makes me want to win even more. At the Westminster Invitational this year, I really wanted to beat Key's top runner, Shannon Hugg. I passed her on the last 400 meters."

Westminster coach Jim Gilford believes Bullock has a good chance to finish first in the county meet.

"Joy is running with more confidence and more aggressively now than she did as a freshman and sophomore," said Gilford. "She's been our No. 1 runner in every meet this year but one."

Gilford said his star runner and six other girls already have qualified for the state regional meet.

Bullock seems focused as she winds up preparations for the county meet.

"I have always wanted to be the best," she said. "I think we'll beat Key if both teams run strong."

Bullock said Gilford has been giving his team some strategies to use against FSK in the county meet.

When Gilford was finished, he looked at his top runner and said without hesitation, "Remember, this [strategy] stays at school."

Bullock said she will have no problem following her coach's advice.

It's all part of the fun this fall as the Bullocks head for a showdown.

"I believe in my dad. He taught me never to give up," said Bullock. "That's been a great help for me. But Gil [Gilford] is my coach now and we both want to beat FSK."

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