Story by Phil Marshall
After last year's 2nd place finish in the Maryland JUCO Region 20 championship in 2018, the Hawks are looking to improve in 2019 under the leadership of Head Coach Mike Spinnler. "I think this team is capable of being in the top 15 nationally, perhaps top 10," he said. "I think this is the best group of athletes we have had since our 2000 National Championship squad."
Spinnler started his career as a runner at HCC from 1976-1978 and became an assistant coach from 1983-1984 and 1993-1995 before starting his first head coaching stint from 1995-2001. His second stint as head coach started in 2015. Spinnler was NJCAA National Coach of the Year in 1997, becoming only the 2nd HCC coach to win the honor. His wife Maria Spinnler, who was a professional runner for 10 years, joined him as an assistant from 1994-2001 and has continued to do so from 2015-current helping with the women's team.
Spinnler is very excited about this year's group of athletes. "We have the top 3 finishers in the Washington County Championships from last year," he said. "That is the first time that has happened since our 2000 National Championship team."
HCC is also happy to welcome the fastest runner from Franklin County Pennsylvania as well a sophomore transfer from Richmond University who was the Hagerstown City One Mile Champion in 2018. "This is the best recruiting class we have had in a long time," Spinnler said.
As for the women's team, Maria Spinnler believes that one of her recruits can achieve an individual All-American. "She has done really well with her condition this summer and has been training with the guys," she said.
On the 2000 National Championship team, HCC had three of the top four finishing positions at Nationals. A top 25 finish in the National Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico on November 9 will make 25 runners honored as All-American. "I believe our top five runners are capable of being All-American this season." Mike Spinnler said. "With hard work and dedication, I believe we can succeed in many ways."
HCC has not cracked the top 10 in national rankings since their championship season 20 years ago. They will look to change that this year.
The season begins at Dickinson College on Friday August 30 at 6:30pm.