The lost, the found, the pizza


November 03, 1993|By BILL FREE

The 1993 Carroll County cross country championships were a lot more than another sweep of team honors by the Westminster boys and girls.

A lot of slightly amazing things happened at Western Maryland College Friday.

First of all, the top three girls finishers -- Shannon Hugg, Brooke Hammel and Carrie Braum -- took a wrong turn and ran a good distance out of their way but still finished on top.

Each runner had an explanation.

Hugg, a Francis Scott Key senior, said someone called her name and she turned to see whom it was and inadvertently followed Braum, a freshman, down the wrong hill.

Hammel, a Westminster junior, said she was following Braum.

Braum of South Carroll had the best excuse. She was running the course for the first time.

Another stunning turn of events was Hugg's coming back from a second-place finish by one second to teammate Ali Jones last year in the championship race to beat Jones by 1:51 this year.

Hugg, who lost her No. 1 spot on the team to Jones last year, was a picture of determination all season. She regained the No. 1 position from Jones, a sophomore, in the first meet and outran Jones all season.

Jones slipped to No. 3 on the team, with junior Christine Harner moving up to No. 2.

Harner had a pre-stress fracture condition Friday and could not run in the county championships. That was one of the major reasons Key fell to third in the team standings (76 points) behind surprising South Carroll (47 points).

In fairness to Jones, there wasn't much she could do for an encore after making an incredible splash as a freshman champion.

She was a marked runner everywhere she went this year, and it took its toll.

There were also a couple of nagging injuries, such as fluid on the knee and a pulled muscle in her side. To top it off, Jones ran with a slight fever Friday.

"I had a bad day," she said. "I just couldn't get going. All this year, I haven't been running good. I fell down in the MVAL [Monocacy Valley Athletic Association] meet and finished second to Shannon. My knee and my side bothered me after that. Shannon had a good year. She wants to be No. 1, and she did it."

Hugg said she ran all summer in an attempt to bounce back from a disappointing junior season.

"I didn't want to accept the second position on the team. I figured since this was my senior year I had to run my best," said hTC Hugg. "I'm not happy with my time [20:40 over the 3.1-mile course], but I'm pretty proud of myself. I'm always a slow starter and come on late in a race."

The third surprise in the county girls championships was the strong challenge South Carroll (47 points) gave champion Westminster (33).

South Carroll coach Rob Pennington was so elated over the strong showing that he said jokingly: "Who are these girls? I've never seen them before. They haven't been running for me this season."

Then Pennington turned serious, saying, "Maybe that peaking program I pulled out of Runner's World is really helping us."

However, Braum, a tiny freshman, threw cold water on Pennington's workout program.

When asked how she came out of nowhere to finish third in the race, Braum said: "I ate a lot of pizza after practice yesterday. I love pizza."

Braum said she couldn't quite understand all the fuss over her third-place finish.

"It was not that big," she said. "When I finish first, that will be something to talk about."

In the boys championship race Friday, there were no real surprises.

Liberty's Joe Ledda took first in the race, but Westminster earned its 10th straight county title.

Ledda was a little disappointed because he thought he had broken into the 16-minute-plus category when someone yelled 16:59 when he crossed the finish line.

But the official time was 17:01, prompting Ledda to say, "I wish people wouldn't call out a time unless they know what they're doing."

Liberty coach Dan Jones comforted his top runner, saying, "It [16s] will come for you."

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