Stick Wins at Winfield for Eighth Straight Year

BY DAVID HERLOCKER

WINFIELD, MD--Victor Cretella won his first Winfield Mile and Sherry Stick won her eighth straight on January 1, in a race sponsored by the Westminster Road Runners.

On a sunny but very windy day, a field of sixty-two runners, four dogs, and one stroller assembled at the end of Old Liberty Road in beautiful downtown Winfield. After race director Alan Pobletts gave pre-race instructions, mainly to run straight ahead for one mile on the paved road, the field was allowed to run back to their cars in the South Carroll High School parking lot.

As the runners came into sight at the finish line, Cretella and Taylor Smith, a junior at nearby Liberty High School, were seen straining to finish ahead of each other. Cretella's finishing surge gained him the victory, five places and ten seconds better than his effort last year.

Finishing in a clump were Century High School sophomore Trevor Etheridge, Adam Leathers, and Noah Wood, approximately twenty seconds behind the leaders. John Way was the first Masters runner, with Eric Gyaki, who drives from the Annapolis area every year to run this race, finishing as the top fifties runner. Jack Klein finished as the first sixty-and-over runner, and six-year-old Jordan Ryan, who not only ran faster than last year but benefited from the fact that the runners who beat him in his age group last year moved to a new age group this year, finished as the first ten-and-under runner.

State police trooper Jon Hill and his posse of three hundred pounds of three very friendly and furry dogs finished fourteenth overall and eleventh in the male category, even though not all the dogs are male. Jon had no trouble being noticed by runners as he passed them, and fortunately his entourage finished by itself, since they filled the entire width of the chute at the finish line.

As she has every year since 2001, Stick started fast and finished strong to capture the female division. While she missed breaking her own course record by a few seconds, she finished third overall, her best finish ever. Becky Rhodes captured second, eighth overall, with Century High School freshman Maura Linde, who finished second in the class IIA state cross-country meet in November, grabbing third.

Katie and Rachel Griffith, who are currently on the McDaniel College indoor track team, finished fourth and fifth, with Amy Morrow Funk finishing sixth as the first female Masters runner. Dee Nelson, running her second race in a few hours, finished as the first sixty-and-over runner, Chris Reese finished as the first fifties runner, and Brianna Chop, benefiting from pacing by her mother, finished as the first ten-and-under runner.

Someone who did not benefit from parental pacing was three-year-old Genevieve Cretella. After being pushed for three-quarters of the course by her mother, Cathy, her father, Victor--the overall winner of the race--assumed the pushing duties, while her mother finished the race. Unfortunately, Victor pushed the stroller into the parking lot before the finish line, thus causing Genevieve to be disqualified by heartless finish-line officials. Someday when she is old enough to realize what happened to her, Genevieve is liable to protest mightily to her errant father.

MALE

1. Victor Cretella 4:48
2. Taylor Smith 4:50
3. Trevor Etheridge .5:10
4. Adam Leather 5:10
5. Noah Wood 5:11
6. John Way 5:24
11. Jon Hill. 6:29
12. Eric Gyaki 6:37
24. Jack Klein 7:53
27. Jordan Ryan. 8:20

FEMALE

1. Sherry Stick 5:04
2. Becky Rhode 5:28
3. Maura Linde 5:38
4. Katie Griffith 6:32
5. Rachel Griffith 6:33
6. Amy Morrow Funk 6:51
12. Dee Nelson 7:42
17. Chris Reese 8:09
21. Brianna Chop. 8:36