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Hawks Cross Country Runs Away With Region XX & MDJUCO Awards

Hawks Cross Country Runs Away With Region XX & MDJUCO Awards

Story by Phil Marshall

Hagerstown Community College would like to honor four members of the Cross Country team for achieving Division 1 All Region XX Awards. Khelsa Connolly took first place on the women's side as she was awarded the top runner in all of Region XX. Henry Schmidt also was awarded top runner overall, followed by Nate McKinsey in second and Garrett Kercheval in fourth.  Henry, Nate, Khelsa and India also earned individual team honors in the MDJUCO.

"It was an honor to coach these athletes this season," Head Coach Mike Spinnler said. "We made it all the way to Nationals in New Mexico and I was so proud of their overall effort."

Leading the way was Henry Schmidt who accomplished many feats for the Hawks, recording four overall wins in the Mont Alto Invitational, Freedoms Run in Shepherdstown, Penn State Fayette Invitational and the Region XX race at Hagerstown. Schmidt is a general studies major at Hagerstown CC with a goal to work in the nutrition field. He is expected to return for his sophomore season next year.

"Henry's commitment to excellence is unparalleled and everyone is inspired by his example," Spinnler said. "He has a clear vision of who he wants to be and the sky is the limit for him."

Khelsa Connolly also had a terrific season for the Hawks as she finished as the top runner in Region XX on the women's side. Connolly achieved two overall race victories this season at the Mont Alto Invitation and the Region XX Championships at Hagerstown CC. Connolly is a nursing major with plans to become a nurse in the future and is also expected to return for her sophomore season next year.

"Khelsa has great character and is a true student athlete," Spinnler said. "She is a real champion runner that cares more about her team then herself and leads by example.

Nate McKinsey finished runner-up in the Region XX Awards after a runner-up finish to teammate Henry Schmidt at the Penn State Fayette Invitational and a third at the Region XX Championships. McKinsey is a Business Administration major with future goals of becoming an entrepreneur and is expected to return for his sophomore season.

"Nate was been training with Henry Schmidt and it has elevated his performance," Spinnler said. "Nate has been a consistent runner for us all season and we are proud of him."

Garrett Kercheval also achieved an All Region XX Award for finishing fourth overall. He was consistent all year and finished in tenth place in the Region XX Championship which gave Hagerstown CC the overall team victory.

"Hagerstown CC wouldn't have won without the breakthrough he came up with in that race," Spinnler said. "Kercheval is a natural born leader and his teammates love him."

Kercheval is a general studies major with a goal of becoming a youth minister someday. He is also expected to return for his senior season.

After a successful season achieving the top runner in men's and women's competition in Region XX, the Hawks are excited for next season. All four honorees are expected to return next season, and with the experience that they have endured this season, new goals will be set.