Brent Ayer is one of the top runners in Frederick history, and he has used that success as a runner to establish a solid foundation for Hood's men's and women's cross country and track and field programs.
After starting with just six athletes in 2003, the programs have grown to more than 60 athletes due to Ayer's relentless drive and determination. On Sept. 9, 2010, Hood added men's and women's indoor track and field to its sport offerings, bringing Ayer's head coaching responsibilities at Hood to six. Under Ayer's direction, Hood's track and field and cross country programs have earned 30 all-Capital Athletic Conference acknowledgements.
During the 2011-12 season, 59 new school records were set in cross, indoor and outdoor track. Two Blazers were named "Rookie of the Year" by the CAC and nine performances were recognized as all-conference. Chris DiGangi '12 became the first vaulter in conference history to win four titles.
Ayer and the Blazer cross country teams served as host of the 2009 Capital Athletic Conference championship at Heritage Farm Park in Walkersville.
The Blazer women's squad was named an NCAA Division III
all-academic team by the USTFCCA five years in a row (2007-11) and
the men's team earned its first selection in 2006.
Ayer's commitment to the sport extends beyond Hood College. He recently stepped down as president of the Road Runners Club of America. In May 2008, Ayer was elected President of the RRCA, an association of 1,600 running clubs and events from around the nation. He was re-elected to a second two-year term in April 2010.
He was twice honored with the President's Award at the RRCA National Awards Banquet. The President's Award is a prestigious honor that acknowledges service to the RRCA and the sport of running by a dedicated individual.
Ayer, who holds USATF Level II Endurance and Throws Coaches Certification, as well as certification as a Sprint, Hurdle, and Relay Event Specialist from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
He won numerous awards and honors during his collegiate running
career and held the records for every distance from one mile to the
marathon competitions at Frederick Community College. His career
bests include a 31:23 6-mile; a 2:36:38 marathon; and a 6:19:10
50-mile. Ayer has finished 17 marathons and three ultra-marathons.
He was named a Masters All-America for the 3000-meter steeplechase
in 1999 and the 3000-meter run in 2001 and Runner of the Year by
Frederick's Steeplechasers Running Club in 1994.
As distance coach of the Frederick Striders Track and Field Club for a decade, Ayer guided athletes to two national championships at the Amateur Athletic Union Junior Olympics. Of the athletes he's coached, 15 have been national qualifiers, 30 regional qualifiers and 12 state champions.
Ayer is a graduate of Lewis University, where he briefly held the record for the 3,000-meter steeplechase. He holds a master's degree from Frostburg State University and concluded a 30-year career as a staff member for the United States House of Representatives on Jan. 3, 2011.
In May 2010, Ayer was inducted as an honorary member of the Ionic Society for exemplary service to Hood College.
Ayer is married to Mary Catherine Keegan and they, and their three children, reside in Frederick, Md. His son, Alex, competes on the Hood track & field team and his daughter, Brigid, is a member of the Blazers' women's lacrosse team.
Jack Griffin joined Hood's track and field staff in the spring of 2008 as a volunteer assistant coach. Griffin has worked with runners at all levels, as a coach and an official. In 1964, Griffin coached his first Olympic games in Tokyo, Japan. He then went onto to coach in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, and the 1984 games in Los Angeles. The founder of the Frederick Track and Field Club, Griffin helped bring National Championship meets to Frederick, including the 1970 World Cross Country Championship and the 1972 Olympic Trials. He also started the Western Maryland Track Officials Association, which started with 27 officials in 1985 and reached 112 in the 1990s.
Longtime Boonsboro High School coach Dwight Scott joined the Hood track and field coaching staff for the 2011-12 season.
Scott mentored the Warriors for 52 years in various sports including track and field, cross country and football. He guided the Boonsboro’s girls to five state championships and coached 38 individual state champions in hurdles (10 boys, 20 girls) and seven more in the pole vault (six boys, one girls). In 19 years with the cross country program, his squads captured five Maryland state titles and crowned three individual champions.
Scott was named Maryland Coach of the Year in 1985 and was inducted into the Washington County Hall of the Fame in 1989.
A 1953 graduate of Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College), Scott ran track for one year and played football for four. He went on to earn a master’s degree in physical education from the University of Maryland in 1965. Originally from Washington, D.C., he also lettered in track and field and football at Washington & Lee High School in Arlington, Va.