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The Baltimore Sun

Bits & Pieces: National Championship in men's track a breakthrough for HCC

When one enters the Athletic and Fitness Center on the campus of Howard Community College (HCC), you are struck by the number of Maryland JUCO All-Conference, All-Regional XX and All-American certificates that are on display for everyone to see. Those certificates attest to the number of great athletes who have competed at HCC over the years.

That list of accomplishments grew in a big way this past weekend.

On display in the HCC Athletic Center is the National Junior College Athletic Association's Outdoor Track and Field Championship trophy that the Dragons' men's team earned with a dominating performance. It is the first ever National title won by the school.

In recent years, HCC has turned out some nationally ranked teams in women's volleyball, men's basketball and cross country, but never a national champion. The school hosted the championship meet under some threatening weather conditions and had to come up with some creative maneuvering to get the event in before the rain finally hit.

Ultimately, the team won with a total of 172 points, well ahead of second-place finisher Harper College (126) from Palatine, Illinois.

The Dragons' took three major awards.

Freshman Jahlil Petgrave was named Male Track Athlete of the Meet, Darius Bell received the Male Field Athlete Award, and HCC's co-head coach Steve Musselman was named Coach of the Year along with Errick Henlon.

In keeping with that school's vision of "A place to discover greatness in yourself and others." Athletic Director Diane Schumacher further added that "we discovered men's track greatness."

My congratulations to the team's head coaches Errick Henlon and Musselman, along with the staff at HCC, for working above and beyond the call of duty to bring home a winner.

Recognizing Rip It Events

I want to redirect my attention to those organizations that are relatively new and might need some fresh ink. One such organization is Rip It Events, under the direction of Danny Serpico.

This organization is starting to have an impact on road running in a short period of time, especially when it comes to duathlons. Rip It Events has a full slate of upcoming events, including 5K and 10K races on June 30 in Ellicott City/Oella presented by MedStar NRH Rehab Network with proceeds earmarked for Adventures for the Cure.

There's also a Maryland Duathlon set for July 14, a Maryland Women's Sprint Duathlon on Aug. 4 and the Columbia Turkey Chase 10K and Relay on Nov. 17 in Columbia. You can register for any of these events on

I had never seen a duathlon before last year when I attended one of these events. It's geared for those who like running and biking, but not swimming. From what I hear, Rip It Events is beginning to pick up new clients so it's an organization that appears to be here for the long haul.

Jim Carlan retirement

A large turnout is expected to attend Jim Carlan's retirement after his many years with the Soccer Association of Columbia on May 27 at Union Jacks. Jim, a member of the Howard County Community Sports Hall of Fame, spent nearly four decades in a number of roles with SAC. He most recently served as its Chief Operating Officer.

We have applauded the many individuals in the past who have built SAC into a nationally recognized soccer powerhouse and Jim must be included in that illustrious group. We wish him good luck and especially good health in his retirement. Time to take a rest, Jim. You earned it.

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