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Ex-Boston Marathon winner in Flatlander's

A former Boston Marathon winner highlights the field of early entrants for the 11th annual Flatlander's Challenge, a 10-kilometer race through the streets of Brooksville. Ron Hill, 51, won the Boston race in 1970 with what was then a course-record time of 2 hours, 10 minutes, 30 seconds. A three-time Olympian from England, his Boston time was then the world's third-fastest marathon.

"He's running through the area, competing in races throughout Florida, and decided to come here," race director Ernie Chatman said. "He's really a name competitor."

Other notable entrants in the March

3 race are former Flatlander's champion Bill Fisher of Jacksonville and ex-University of Florida runner Jeff Pigg.

Chatman said Fisher won the Brooksville race in 1984 and recently captured the Gator Bowl 10K. Pigg, as assistant track coach at UF, placed third in the '88 Flatlander's Challenge. Recently, he has won a string of Tampa Bay area races, including the Run for Panther 5K at Hillsborough River State Park and the Lansbrook Lakefront Classic 10K in Pinellas last month.

Steve Kogo of Kenya claimed $900 for winning last year's Flatlander's in 29 minutes, 35 seconds, a course record. Sylvia Ruegger, an '84 Olympian from Canada, won the race's women's division in 34:37.

A field of 275 runners, including international and local entrants, participated in 1989. About 300 entrants are expected this year and about 150 have pre-registered, Chatman said.

The 10K is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m., followed by a 2-mile fun at 10 a.m. Pre-race entry fees are $8 for the 10K and $6 for a 2-mile fun run. Early registration ends Monday.

Race-day registration, which begins at 7 the morning of the race, costs $10 for the 10K and $8 for the fun run. A prize purse of $1,275 is at stake, including $500 to the winner and a $400 course-record bonus.

Awards also will be presented to males and females in each of 11 age groups, and T-shirts will be distributed.

To enter, call Chatman at (904) 796-2132.

Pingley takes charge of PHCC programs

BROOKSVILLE _ When Norm Pingley went to work at Pasco-Hernando Community College 14 years ago, he did so with the vision of possibly overseeing the school's eventual transition to intercollegiate athletics.

Fourteen years later, that very task has been handed to Pingley.

The former Hernando High coach this week was named director of physical education/athletic director for PHCC's three branch campuses _ in New Port Richey, Brooksville and Dade City.

Pingley's first priority will be organization of the junior college's physical education program. He will turn his attention to a complete intercollegiate sports program when funds for one are approved by the school's board of trustees.

"To start an athletic program is not cheap," Pingley said. "That's the big thing holding us back. There are simply other budgeting priorities."

PHCC's branches field men's and women's basketball, baseball and softball teams. They compete mainly on an intramural basis, with some teams playing a limited number of games against other community colleges. Grants-in-aid are annually awarded to 20 athletes on each campus.

Pingley, 47, has worked as an admissions counselor at PHCC in addition to serving as its Brooksville campus athletic director. He coached the north campus men's basketball team for seven seasons, winning more than 70-percent of its intra-campus games.

A former varsity boys head basketball coach from 1974-76 at Hernando High, Pingley also coached golf and cross country at the school before going to work at PHCC.

Crystal River's Hampton opens strong

BROOKSVILLE _ The Crystal River Pirates started the baseball season with a stellar performance from senior Michael Hampton. He struck out 13 and allowed one hit in a 3-2 win over Hernando High Tuesday in the opening game of the Hernando Invitational.

Hampton, a senior, displayed his talents for several major-league scouts on hand. His fast ball was clocked at 88 mph.

The Pirates fell 2-0 on Wednesday to Tampa Jesuit, the state's second-ranked Class 3A team. The loss dropped them into the losers bracket of the double-elimination tournament. They were scheduled to meet Hernando again on Thursday.

The winner faces Jesuit on Friday for the championship but must beat the Tigers twice to win the title.