Pioneers men make big strides from last year

November 03, 1992|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,Staff Writer

Doug Murphy can see the improvement of his cross country teammates at Anne Arundel Community College.

Directly over his right shoulder.

"I like the fact that if I look back, I can see at least one of our guys right behind me," said Murphy, a 1990 Broadneck High graduate who will lead the Pioneers men's team in the district championships Saturday at Hagerstown.

"It makes me run harder."

He rarely spotted a familiar face last season, when the program at Anne Arundel hit the comeback trail after disbanding for five years. While the Pioneers women's team placed second in the Region XX meet and took four runners to the nationals, Murphy was the ray of light on the men's side.

But one year has brought a sunnier outlook. The Pioneers are expected to battle Essex -- a team they went 1-1 against this season -- for the District II title. They are ranked third in the state behind Hagerstown -- "which is head and shoulders above everyone else," said Anne Arundel coach Jim Fontaine -- and Montgomery-Rockville.

"It's great to go to meets and you see other coaches looking out for our team," Murphy said.

They have a wide variety of runners to account for, each having made remarkable strides since the beginning of the year.

Murphy is one of five Pioneers men to have completed an 8-kilometer race in under 30 minutes at Salisbury State Park last month. Seven Anne Arundel males recorded personal-best times, led by Murphy's 27 minutes, 20 seconds.

"That's pretty good for little old Anne Arundel," Fontaine said. "It's nice when they peak at this time of year."

Only 70 seconds separate the top four Anne Arundel men -- a sign of depth that was evident only on the women's team last fall.

"Last year was Doug, and that was about it," said Rob

Parkhurst, 26, who attended high school in Iowa.

"I'm just really glad that we're beating teams. If we're going to do this, I want to be competitive. I don't want to go out there and just show up -- kind of like what happened last year."

What happened last year continues to serve as motivation for Janine Macmillan. Her senior season at Chesapeake was ruined by illness, and she's making up for lost time as an Anne Arundel freshman.

Macmillan, who will join Severna Park graduate Ann Heiser as the only Pioneers female runners this weekend, set a school record in a 5-kilometer race with a time of 19:28 at Salisbury. She has placed first among junior college female runners in all seven meets.

"The middle of the season could have gone a little better," said Macmillan, still her harshest critic. "I was not happy with my times. I knew I could do better. Each time I finished, I was disappointed in myself. But I got over that."

Like the rest of her teammates, Macmillan wants to qualify for the nationals by finishing among the top 25 to 30 percent of the runners at Hagerstown. And the odds are in her favor.

"Doug will definitely qualify. And Janine, unless she breaks a leg, will qualify," Fontaine said. "We're hoping we can get all four guys to qualify."

"We finally have arrived as a team," he added. "Last year, it was like, 'Anne Arundel's got a team again and they've got one good runner.' But now, schools are looking at us. We're getting much more respect.

"We have arrived."

Cross country championships

AACC cross country runners at District Championships:

Runner .. .. .. .. School .. .. .. .. .. Best

Doug Murphy.. .. .. Broadneck .. .. .. .. 27:20

Marc Mallonee .. .. Broadneck .. .. .. .. 27:54

Neil Gilligan .. .. Northeast .. .. .. .. 28:01

Rob Parkhurst .. .. West High (Iowa) .. ..28:34

Joe Dugan .. .. .. .. Broadneck .. .. .. 29:45

Dave Taylor .. .. .. Broadneck .. .. .. ..30:51

Matt Stevens .. .. .. Spalding .. .. .. ..38:12

Janine Macmillan .. ..Chesapeake .. .. .. 19:28

Ann Heiser .. .. .. ..Severna Park .. .. ..23:09

Note: Mandy Shiplette of Annapolis will miss the meet with stress fractures in both feet. Her best time this season was 24:01.

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