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Stroup makes stretch run

Florida distance runner Shane Stroup has injected a lot of excitement into his running style just in time for his first trip to the NCAA track and field championships next week in Sacramento, Calif.

The 2002 Sun Athlete of the Year from River Hill made New Yorkers sit up and take notice last weekend in the East Regionals when the junior passed 10 runners over the final 325 meters of the 1,500-meter event.

The stretch run from last place to second, just 0.22 of a second behind the winner, was part of a new kick-at-end style suggested by Florida assistant coach Jeff Pigg.

Stroup said: "He wanted me not to go out in front, he wanted me to start out slower and just stay relaxed, and stay farther back, and make my move at the end."

Stroup charged first to the outside and went by seven runners over the next 225 meters, before passing three more competitors in the final 100 meters. He finished in 3 minutes, 49.25 seconds.

The close second even surprised Stroup, who had projected a fifth-place finish at best.

As he awaits the NCAAs, Stroup said, "I'm just trying to stay healthy, stay fresh, and take it easy. I think the NCAAs will be a very tactical race. For me to win, I would have to be in a good position and just have enough space to catch them [leaders] at the end."

Senior Gators sprinter Kyle Farmer (Oakland Mills) qualified for the NCAA championships in two events last weekend, running the third leg of the winning 400-meter relay team in New York and finishing second in the 200 meters with a season best of 20.65 seconds.

Headd, Cavs make history

Senior catcher Scott Headd (Dulaney) and his Virginia teammates have become the first baseball team in school history to make back-to-back appearances in the NCAA tournament.

The Cavaliers (41-18) received an at-large bid to the 64-team field after making a run for the ACC tournament championship before losing the title game to top-seeded Georgia Tech, 4-3, Sunday.

Headd was one of six Virginia players to make the ACC all-tournament team, as he played a major role in the team's 5-4 upset victory over second-seeded Clemson last Saturday, propelling the seventh-seeded Cavaliers into the championship game.

Headd blooped a fly ball down the right-field line for a bases-loaded single in the third inning, driving in two runs for a 3-0 lead.

The Cavs are seeded second in the four-team Corvallis, Ore., double-elimination regional and will meet third-seeded St. John's (39-16) at 3 p.m. Friday.

Express mail

Senior Washington and Lee midfielder Kristen Brown (Catonsville) was selected women's lacrosse Player of the Year in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, and junior teammate Rachel Wallick (Notre Dame Prep) was a first-team All-ODAC choice.

Allison Borchers (Fallston) was chosen Colonial Athletic Association softball Rookie of the Year after the freshman second baseman led Delaware in every major offensive category this season.

Ryan Frankel (Park) had a 4-0 pitching record and a 2.81 ERA in 25 2/3 innings for Haverford this season, and the junior also hit .299.

Senior Crystal Gibson (Randallstown) closed out her four-year athletic career at Lebanon Valley by tying for 11th place in the high jump at the NCAA Division III women's track and field championships. Gibson, slowed by a pulled hamstring since May 7, leaped 5 feet 3 inches last weekend after establishing a school-record 5-8 as a freshman.

Second-year freshman Joe Lake (Long Reach) started 21 games this season as an infielder/outfielder for the James Madison baseball team, hitting .250.

Freshman shortstop Ali Silver (Kenwood) started all 40 games for the Division III Denison softball team (21-19), hitting .302, stealing nine bases and hitting a home run.

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