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Switch pays off in long run for versatile Lawson; Track: North Carroll's Colleen Lawson gave up soccer for cross country and excelled. Now she's hoping to match that success in indoor track.


When Colleen Lawson decided to go out for cross country at North Carroll instead of soccer, she was taking on a new sport. In fact, she and North Carroll cross country coach Tom Davidson readily admitted that she still had a lot to learn.

The North Carroll opponents probably thought Lawson learned rather well, as she won the Carroll County, Central Maryland Conference, region and Class 3A state championships and was named The Sun's All-Metro Runner of the Year.

Now with a new season comes a new challenge. Lawson has dedicated herself to running, and while trying to get ready for the upcoming outdoor track season this spring, joined the new North Carroll indoor track program. The sophomore spent the first several weeks adjusting to a different type of running, but Lawson also has found success there quickly.

This is the first year that the county has done indoor track since the early 1980s -- although Westminster did it last year. Lawson joined the North Carroll program and is running the 1,600 and 3,200 meters and is helping with the 3,200 relay.

Lawson did well in outdoor track last spring, but indoor is different, mainly because of what running indoors entails.

"It's been a big adjustment," said Lawson. "I've had to get used to the tight turns and [extra] laps. I did indoor because it was something fun to do, and it would help me stay in shape and it would help me develop my skills."

The indoor skills look fine so far. In yesterday's Central Maryland Conference championship meet in Hagerstown, Lawson won the 3,200 meters in 12: 10.7 and finished fourth in the 1,600 meters in 5: 34.4.

Lawson also ran well in the team's first two meets. She finished second in the 3,200 meters in the first meet at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania, falling to fellow All-Metro team member Katie Sloan of Glen Burnie.

In that race, Lawson ran in 11: 51, which would qualify her for the state meet if done in a region championship. She led for a good part of the race, using her cross-country strategy of jumping out to an early lead, but Sloan overtook her near the end -- something Lawson said she will remember if the two ever meet again.

She also clocked a 5: 31 in the 1,600 in that meet. That time also, if run in the region meet, would have qualified her for the state championship.

North Carroll then had a meet with Westminster, South Carroll, Liberty and St. John's at Prospect Hall, and Lawson fared even better. She won both the 1,600 and 3,200 meters and ran a leg in the team's victorious 3,200 relay.

North Carroll coach Jim MacDonald said he wasn't worried about how Lawson would adjust to indoor track and thinks she's right on schedule.

"She's a good runner," said MacDonald. "I think she will be real successful [indoors] because she's a good runner."

Lawson said running cross country has helped her, especially with the indoor distance races.

"I have some concept of running the [3,200 meters] because in cross country, you run the three miles and it helps me pace myself a little more," said Lawson.

Lawson said she now feels comfortable indoors but keeps trying to learn.

The question now is how much she can win this season.

"My goal basically is to uphold my reputation as a good runner and try to do well and prepare for outdoor track," said Lawson. "Indoor has been what I expected."

Pub Date: 1/24/99

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