Amanda Pagon

Amanda Pagon runs with her sons, from left, Chase, 8, Max, 4, Reese, 8 months, and Blake, 11. She was a two-time Baltimore Sun Female Athlete of the Year at Dulaney. (Photo courtesy of Ingrid Kaslik / November 19, 2009)

Running has a whole new meaning for Amanda Pagon these days.

As a Dulaney senior, Pagon - then Amanda White - won three national cross country and track titles in 1992-93. She went on to run and swim on three NCAA championship teams at Stanford and later win races on the professional triathlon circuit.

Now, she runs a few local races a year and gets quite a workout just running after her four boys, ages 8 months to 11 years.


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After racing on every continent except Africa and aiming for the Olympic triathlon, Pagon, 34, stopped competing professionally five years ago when she was expecting her third child.

She said it was not difficult to let go of her Olympic dream.

"I'd reached a level where I had competed in World Cups and gotten Top 10 finishes and I had gone to the Olympic trials. The only way I was going to be able to make the Olympics was to leave my family and join some kind of training program. I was never going to get to that next level unless I sacrificed my family, and I wasn't willing to do that."

She also felt that her husband, Garrett Pagon, whom she met at Stanford where he was playing basketball, had shouldered the child care for her travels long enough.

Now instead of racing in Australia, Germany, South Korea or Brazil, she competes in local events. Last weekend, she ran a half marathon in Richmond, Va., finishing 21st in 1 hour, 33.43 minutes, an effort that pleased her after giving birth to son Reese eight months ago.

Living in northern Virginia, Pagon competes in a marathon and a triathlon each year, but she no longer trains like the elite athlete once ranked as high as 40th in the world among female triathletes. She runs four times a week and swims once to stay fit and feel good. Before a triathlon - she plans to compete in Columbia in May - she rides her bike once a week.

Pagon, the first two-time Baltimore Sun Female Athlete of the Year in 1992 and 1993, has probably the most impressive high school resume of any local athlete, capped by the Dial National High School Female Athlete of the Year award in 1993.

As a senior, she won the Kinney National Cross Country Championship in San Diego in December, won the mile and two mile and was the Outstanding Female Performer at the Scholastic Indoor Track and Field Championships in Syracuse, N.Y., in March and won the 3,000 meters at the Penn Relays in April, becoming the first Baltimore high school runner to win an individual title at the prestigious Philadelphia meet.

Also a nationally ranked swimmer with the North Baltimore Aquatic Club, Pagon did not run as a freshman but caught the attention of Dulaney coach Bob Dean in phys ed class. She said she ran a 5-minute, 13-second timed mile and Dean told her she should come out for cross country.

"She just had that flow about her," said Dean, who coached Lions runners for 26 years and retired in 1998. "I had seen enough good cross country runners to know when you see them, they just stick in your mind. The first time you ever saw them, you thought, 'Boy, they can run.' It wasn't anything I did. It was just natural ability. And her work ethic. She was a tireless worker, always in great shape, never backed off a bit from competition or from training."

Pagon won 19 state cross country and track titles and was The Sun's All-Metro Runner of the Year all nine seasons she ran.

While she excelled here, her husband also stood out in three sports and was The Seattle Times' north region Male Athlete of the Year. Their boys hit the athletic gene jackpot, and they love sports.

The older two have tried swimming, basketball, soccer and lacrosse. Blake, 11, also plays football, to the delight of his grandfather, former Baltimore Colt Stan White. Chase, 8, recently ran his first 5K and finished in 24 minutes with no training. Max, 4, plays soccer.

With a soccer net in the backyard and a basketball hoop out front, there are lots of family competitions.

"First of all, it gives her husband, I guess you would say, a sense of humility," said Garrett Pagon, with a laugh, "because the boys always say she's a better athlete than me, except for basketball. They give me basketball. But she can really get out there and roughhouse with them."

Pagon has begun her own photography business and finds time to coach a neighborhood adult track club that meets a couple of times a week.

When it comes to guiding her sons, she tries to be helpful but not pushy. Garrett Pagon said his wife recently gave Chase tips about his swimming stroke that lowered his time.

"I think the only pitfall that we've seen as parents is that my husband and I were both very successful in sports, so with our children, we know they can be very successful, as well, so it's a matter of holding ourselves back so we're not too hard on them. We're trying not to be sucked into being psycho parents," she said with a laugh, "and just try to let our children enjoy the sports. Whatever they're out there doing, we just want them to do their best."

Alumni Report
Each Friday, The Baltimore Sun will catch up with a former area high school sports figure. In the spotlight today is former Dulaney runner Amanda White. To suggest former athletes or coaches to be considered for Alumni Report, please e-mail sports@baltsun.com.