2017-08-09 / School News

Shaun Spielman runs his way into the Berkeley Springs High School Athletic Hall of Fame

by Jamie Harris

In the fall of 1999 the members of the Berkeley Springs High School Boys Cross Country Team did not have enough members to be considered a full team. However, there was one member who set a goal for 1999 cross country campaign to dominate the competition on the courses.

That individual was Shaun Spielman and his 1999 cross country season was one that will be remembered for a long time by the Berkeley Springs running community.

Spielman’s historic run his senior season ended with the first ever individual boy’s state cross country championship in Berkeley Springs High School history. That run is also what has helped Spielman run his way to the Berkeley Springs High School Athletic Hall of Fame.

In 1999 Spielman entered his senior season with a mission to be the best in the state of West Virginia. Before entering the 1999 Class AA WV State Cross Country Championships Spielman brought an undefeated streak to the state finale.

One of those impressive wins came in September early in the season at the St. Mary’s Autumn Classic. From there Spielman captured both the Potomac Valley Conference

Championship and the WV Class AA Region II Championship as well.

At the Class AA State Championships Spielman set his sights on the state title. Discussions leading up to the state championships were predicting that Doddridge’s Dusty Miller or Gilmer County’s Dusty Dent would be the odds on favorite to win the state championship. Spielman put an end to the Berkeley Springs drought and any discussions who the best runner was dominating the field from the start despite not being the favorite to win the race.

When the race started five runners who tapped as contenders for the state title, Denny Hayes, Ryan Parsons (Williamstown), Shaun Spielman, Dusty Dentmand Adam Cross, were breaking away from the pack.

After the first mile was complete, Hayes held a slight edge over Spielman. In the second mile, Spielman took over the lead as he and Parsons opened up the gap on the field. In the final mile Spielman opened up his lead and cruised down the home stretch and across the finish line with an impressive 10 second victory (16:35) over Parsons (16:45) to take the state championship home to Berkeley Springs.

“Shaun was the number one runner for the boys cross country team all four years of high school. Not many runners can say they have done that. He had a remarkable career. I remember Shaun being the first Berkeley Springs runner to run across Sleepy Creek Mountain and up North Mountain a grueling 16 mile run. He was able to do that twice,” stated Berkeley Springs High School Hall of Fame Cross Country Coach John Rowland.

“Shaun was one of the most intellectual and analytical athletes that I have ever seen. It was very impressive to watch him work every day. He definitely put the Berkeley Springs boys cross country program on the map after winning the state title,” stated Coach Rowland.

Spielman was not done running after the state championships. He made the decision to go run in the Foot Locker Cross Country Southeast Regional Championships that were held in Charlotte, NC. The FLCCC’s are a series of annual cross country running races held in various regions of the United States to determine the premier cross country runner in various age groups, but mainly serves to find the best prep (high school) cross country athlete in the country. The FLCCC’s were previously known as the Kinney Cross Country Championships, which was started by Woolworth's Kinney Shoes division in 1979 in Balboa Park, San Diego, Calif.

Finally, in 1993, this elite series of cross country races became known as the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships, as it still is today, for Woolworth's sporting goods company. For most people associated with the sport, the name is just shortened to Foot Locker. The event is the longest-running national cross country race for high school students.

The Southeast Region is made up of states in the southern and southeastern United States including: FL, TX, KY, SC, NC, AL, GA, OK, TN, VA, AR, WV and LA. The Southeast Region event is held at McAlpine Greenway Park in Charlotte, NC annually.

Spielman became the first WV runner to win the senior event as he ran a 16:09 to capture the prestigious Foot Locker championships.

After graduating from Berkeley Springs High School as a Salutatorian, Spielman went to Dickinson College and graduated with a BS in Biology and magna cum laude with honors in Biology in 2004.

Spielman also continued his running career at Dickenson running all four years. From there, Spielman attended West Virginia University School of Medicine where he graduated in 2009 with a MD degree. Spielman also completed a family medicine residency and Sports Medicine Fellowship at WVU.

Today, Spielman and his wife Claire live in Shreveport, LA where he is the Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at Louisiana State University Shreveport School of Medicine.

The Berkeley Springs High School Athletic Hall of Fame will have their induction ceremony on Saturday, September 9 at 5:30 p.m. at the high school Auditorium. The Class of 2017 Hall of Fame members will be introduced at half time of the Indians and Francis Scott Key football game on Friday, September 8, 7:45 p.m.

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