Fauquier senior Sarah Bowman, the All-Met athlete of the year for outdoor track last spring, is no longer on the Falcons' cross-country team, she and Falcons Coach Anita Murphy confirmed yesterday.

"She quit," Murphy said. "She felt like it was in her best interests to pursue her individual interests." Bowman said last night that she left the team after a dispute with Murphy.

"I felt like I was being singled out," Bowman said. "There was this negative attitude towards me. At some point I said I can't take all of this anymore."

Bowman, the 2002 state champion, did not run in the AA Northwestern District meet yesterday afternoon, meaning she cannot race in the upcoming Region II or AA state meets. She may still run in the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships, a national meet which holds its regional races at the end of November and allows any runner of high school age to compete.

Bowman's decision to leave the team was first reported in yesterday's editions of the Fauquier Citizen. Bowman had been practicing twice a day, first with Mike Byrnes, director of the Nike Indoor Classic and the Adidas Outdoor Championships, then with her high school team. This arrangement caused some of the problems that led her to quit the team, she said.

Bowman won the Penn Relays mile race last spring, won a national title in the 800 meters in June and is regarded as one of the top young middle distance runners in the country. She is a six-time All Met athlete.

Hornets Are Back

After Herndon suffered a pair of Virginia AAA Concorde District volleyball losses in a span of eight days in September, the Hornets went back to the drawing board. As a result, Herndon (13-2, 8-2 update) has won nine straight matches to move into second place in the district.

As part of its win streak, Herndon avenged its two losses with victories over Westfield (three games to two) and Centreville (3-1). The win against Centreville on Oct. 21 was especially gratifying considering the district-leading Wildcats defeated Herndon in the district semifinals last year and the Northern Region semifinals the past two seasons.

The rematch success can be credited in part to a front-line change that Coach Pat Smith made early this month, inserting senior Karen Wilson, a standout track athlete, at middle blocker. Despite standing only 5 feet 7, small for the position, Wilson's speed and well-timed jumps have made the Hornets stronger on defense, Smith said.

Before the Centreville rematch, Herndon's players spent a Saturday afternoon at Smith's home eating pizza and dissecting video from the Sept. 27 loss. The team, whose eight seniors include middle blocker Diana Jurgielewicz and primary setter Jackie Dolan, discovered patterns in its hitting. As a result, the Hornets mixed up the spots where they hit the ball in the victory last week.

Jurgielewicz leads the team in kills (149) and blocks (42).

"A lot of the girls feel as if this is their last chance," Smith said. "They were willing to spend a Saturday to make a game plan and think about the things that they were doing. . . . The team has really worked on things like making good choices and not just swinging at the ball but placing it."