Sprinter Riggins wins North America 100-meter dash title


Christina Riggins, a sprinter from Bel Air, stands atop the podium after winning the North America 100-meter dash in Hershey, Pa., on Saturday. (Photo courtesy Hayman Studio / August 9, 2012)


August 9, 2012 | 9:49 a.m.

Christina Riggins, of Bel Air, captured her second title in the North America finals of the Hershey Track and Field Championships Saturday. The 13-year-old gymnast-turned-sprinter won the age 13-14 girls 100-meter dash in Hershey, Pa.

She pulled away from seven other finalists midway through the race and finished two meters ahead of runner-up, Cortney Dowling, of Pierre, S.D., in 12.69 seconds.

In this meet three years ago, Riggins won the 50-meter dash in the 9-10 age group. She earned a return trip to Hershey last year as a 12-year-old, but competed instead in the National AAU meet on the same date. She competes as a member of the Aberdeen Soaring Eagles track club.

The North American meet annually brings about 400 young athletes to Hershey, at least five from each state and the Canadian provinces, to compete in three age groups: 9-10, 11-12 and 13-14. Riggins, who qualified in the Harford and Maryland state meets, was one of two Marylanders to win individual titles.

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Harford Senior Olympics Track

While junior Olympians were competing in their season-ending meets, local runners were competing in the Harford Senior Olympics track meet Aug. 2 in Bel Air.

Three athletes bettered meet records. Donna Lewis set a record of 3:23 in the 800 in women's 55-59 age group. Huseyin Kara set a mark of 8:13 in the men's 50-54 1-mile race walk. Gus Jacobs was also a record-setter in the 75-79 men's 1500. His time of 7:46, bettered the qualifying standard for the 2013 National Senior Games.

Competing in his first seniors competition, Ralph Pirozzi won five events in the 55-59 age group: the 100 in 17.4, the 1500 in 6:28, the 400 in 70.9, the 200 in 33.4, and the 800 in 3:07.

Other winners were Phil Anderson in 65-69, 11:51 in the race walk and 23.2 in the 100 dash; Brad Roberts in 60-64, 6:48 in the 1500 and 3:26 in the 800; Paul Novak, 55-59, in the 200, 33.9, and 400 in 75.1; and Janice Stevenson, 60-64, 14:09 in the race walk and 25.0 in the 100.

Competing in the 30-34 age group, Zach Zander set meet age-group records in the 400 at 1:03.5; 800 at 2:26.3, and 1500 at 4:37.0. Joe Dragunas set a meet age-group mark of 2:27.6 in the 800 for age 45-49. He also ran 5:08 in the 1500.

In races elsewhere

Hunter Kothenbeutel, 17, of Bel Air, placed third in his age group at Loveland Classic 10K in Loveland, Colo., July 21. He ran 50:24 in the race, which was held at 6,000 feet elevation.

Jen Bower, of Bel Air, a student at Frostburg State, placed fifth in the 20-29 age group in the Moonshine Classic 10K in Swanton Aug. 4. She ran 50:53 to finish 51st among 98 runners.

Madison Whitehurst, of Aberdeen Proving Ground, competed in three events at the AAU National Junior Olympic Games in Houston last week. Racing in the 8-and-under age group, she ran 15.77 seconds in the 100-meter dash, 32.62 in the 200 and 1:18.0 in the 400.

Hidden Valley 5K is Aug. 18

The Camp Hidden Valley Trail Race in White Hall on Aug. 18 will benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of Harford County. The 5K race will start at 8 a.m. at the camp, located at 4722 Mellow Road north of Jarrettsville. Post-race activities include swimming, music, breakfast and volleyball. For more information, visit http://www.rasac.com.