Carter, McCubbin Win 18th Annual Frozen Finger Run

BY DAVE HERLOCKER

WESTMINSTER, MD--Over the years the Frozen Finger Run, usually held at the end of November or the early part of December, has been run in a variety of moderately obnoxious conditions--cold, rainy, snowy, and especially windy.

In 1998, however, on November 29, it was hot in Westminster, not in the August sense of hot, but hot nonetheless. Thus as Dan Carter and Mike Merker--former Westminster High School cross-country runners, now running for Shepherd College and Mary Washington College respectively--staggered across the finish line ahead of everyone else, their first cries were for water.

Carter's winning effort of 23:07 was a tribute to his strong effort throughout the race. While his winning time was slowed by the heat, he passed the first mile with a fifteen-second lead over Merker, which he increased during the tough hills in the second and third miles.

Merker held onto second place in 24:42, only ten seconds in front of Masters runner Earl Schwartzendruber of Baltimore, with Dave Cox, the coach of the 1998 Westminster High School boy's cross-country team, which won its third straight (and Cox's second straight) state championship, finishing fourth in 25:42. Alan Pobletts finished fifth in 26:04.

Cristine McCubbin, the women's winner in 28:24, had the female division all to herself, as her seven minute pace buried the competition. Heath Acuff was second in 33:07, and Masters runner Caroline Babylon blew her chance for immortality by finishing the four-mile run in 44:48, not bad for a 44-year-old, but showing her lack of pacing skills.

As is usually the case, the prizes were frozen foods, which on this warm day were on the endangered list. While McCubbin grabbed one of the frozen turkey breasts, Carter opted for a half-gallon of Breyer's Ice Cream, which he and Merker proceeded to eat Viking style. It is obvious that Carter was in fact affected by the heat, for not only did Merker joyously attack the ice cream, but kept his own frozen pie out of the food fest.