Four-year run in Howard is ending: Ripken center to close this month

March 04, 2002|By TaNoah Morgan | TaNoah Morgan,SUN STAFF

After nearly four years of training athletes to run faster and jump higher, the Cal Ripken Jr. Sports Acceleration Center will close this month, a spokesman for Ripken and the center said.

Ripken, who owns the center, likely will redeploy elsewhere, possibly in the baseball complex he is building in Aberdeen, the spokesman said.

"We made the decision to pull in the concept," John C. Maroon said. "We wanted to do it so we can apply certain aspects of it down the road. Cal very much liked the acceleration program and how it worked with kids, and how it fit in with our youth focus."

The Columbia center, which employs two trainers full time and a few part-time, seasonal workers, is scheduled to close March 15.

The company will refund money to customers who paid for springtime training programs, Maroon said.

The sports acceleration center provides specialized fitness training programs for young athletes, which focus on helping them run faster, jump higher, improve coordination and become more agile.

The center offers personal training during six- and seven-week programs tailored to specific sports.

The $500-to-$600 programs train athletes three times a week in two-hour sessions on specialized equipment.

According to trainer Mark Shropshire, about 1,500 athletes have worked out at the center, and the program has been popular.

Several students from Howard High School have gone through the acceleration program and a summer program conducted at the school, said athletic director Vincent Parnell.

He said he was surprised the business was closing, and that it would be missed because the program has made "a tremendous difference" in his athletes.

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