Hoag runs into Hall of Fame
(Carroll County Times)

Stephanie Hoag remembers when she first had an inkling she could be a good runner.

"I played a lot of different sports growing up and I was always pretty fast," the former Stephanie Morningstar said. "At one of the field days, eighth grade I think, I won. And I remember my parents saying, 'You might want to try running.'"

That day was the impetus for a standout high school and college career in track and field and cross country, for a serious hobby that she continues to enjoy, and for the honor she will receive Friday, when she, Vic Drechsler, Sue Hooper, Denny Snyder and Ray Wilson will be inducted into the Carroll County Sports Hall of Fame at Carroll Community College.

"I loved it. I still love it," said Hoag, who continues to compete in 5-kilometer races, triathlons and "Tough Mudder" events. "It's part of who I am."

Family will be on her mind at Friday's induction ceremony. Her uncle, Ed Bollinger, is a Carroll County Hall of Famer. And it's a safe bet her mother and father will be mentioned during her speech.

"My parents were so supportive," she said. "They were at every meet through my entire career, just always there cheering for me."

Hoag earned four varsity letters and an all-county nod in basketball, and two letters in soccer before graduating from Westminster High School in 1992, but it was as a runner that she really stood out.

She excelled at pretty much all distances, setting school records at 400 meters, 800, 1,500, 1,600 and 3,200. She set records in the 1,600 and 800 at the county meet, the latter of which still stands. As a sophomore, she became just the second athlete to win the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 at the Maryland state high school meet.

She was a Times Runner of the Year in cross country and Athlete of the Year in track and field and she was WTTR's Athlete of the Year as a senior.

The achievements aren't what she remembers most, however.

"I just remember being on the teams. I remember all the people," she said. "You form such a close bond."

Especially in college. Hoag had a successful run at the University of Virginia, running four years of cross country, four years of indoor track and four years of outdoor track.

"I ended up staying five years, getting my masters degree," said Hoag, team captain in her final year. "I was an amazing experience. My coach ended up being a good friend. I made so many good friends from track and cross country."

One of the on-track moments Hoag does recall came in her sophomore year during outdoor track season. She remembers that she hadn't been running the mile all season and didn't run it at the county meet. But she had to fill in at the regional meet and she won. Then she went to states and won it there, too.

"That awesome feeling of going for something and accomplishing your goals, it's always a part of you," she said.

In addition to still competing herself, Hoag now helps others accomplish their goals. A certified personal trainer, she lives in Lutherville and is Corporate Wellness Director for FX Studios, a fitness and wellness company that boasts clients such as Under Armour.

Hoag cites competitive sports as one of the reasons she has been successful.

"You learn life lessons. You have to work hard to achieve goals," she said. "That translates into work, family and everything in life."