07 November 2010
A person under 20 years old won the Run Through the Grapevine 8k for the first time in the race’s 17 year history. On the notoriously hilly cross country course at Linganore Winery, Kyle Phillips took the lead after the first mile and was not challenged thereafter. Phil Diven tried to catch up, but couldn’t get closer than about 20 meters throughout the remainder of the race. “I was on a bungey cord,” Phil said. “Behind by 20m, then 30m, then 10m at the finish.” That big hill at 2 1/4 miles slowed all the front runners except Phillips, who merely pulled away. “Those were among the toughest hills I’ve ever run,” he confessed. Born in the same year that the Grapevine was first run, Kyle runs for Waynesboro High School and had run the Pennsylvania State Cross Country Championship (a 5k) the day before. “I didn’t win there,” he noted. Because of his age and educational status, Phillips could accept the neither the prize bottle of wine nor the award check, which was instead donated to Waynesboro High.
As she has several times before, Westminster’s Sherry Stick dominated the women’s competition and won the race. Although the well-known Denise Knickman was on her heels throughout the race, Sherry’s greatest danger proved to be a recording glitch that had an unknown woman finishing fourth overall in 29 minutes. Once this error was corrected, Sherry became the uncontested winner. “No, I never saw her [Knickman]”, Stick said. Sherry previously won the Grapevine race in 2008, and in 2009 she placed.
Phil Devin may not have won the race, but his “Old Dragons” team won the men’s open team competition. The team was composed of alumni and former runners from Howard Community College. Their old coach, Steve Musselman, even accompanied them to the race. They felt it quite a triumph to beat the Waynesboro High School team!
To no one’s surprise, Sherry Stick’s team from Westminster, BWAC (for Baltimore-Washington Athletic Club), easily won the open women’s team competition. BWAC overcame a cursory challenge from Howard County’s Run-4-Chocolate women and won for the seventh time in a row. Or maybe longer, the records don’t go further back. They have been winning the women’s team race since young Kyle Phillips was in diapers.
A truly epic team competition arose in the Family Team competition, as the Gesslers’ Whinery faced off against the McIntyre’s Mac Attack (“Mc” attack– get it?). Both teams were lead by their respective fathers, and both featured seasoned high school cross county runners. The Mc’s won this round, possibly because Becky Gessler was running on a sprained ankle. “Yeah, it hurt,” Becky said.
This year’s Run Through the Grapevine followed the same difficult course as usual through the grapevines of the Wineberry Plantation of the Linganore Winery, which is technically in Carroll County not Howard County. Nevertheless, the Howard County Striders staged the event. Jason Tripp directed the event, and had the assistance of the Winery and its owner Anthony Aellen. For the first time, the Grapevine employed chip-timing using the Chronotrack Timing system. This may be also the first time any timing chips were ever employed in a cross country race in Carroll County.
Post-race refreshments included four dozen loaves of nut bread, which has been a signature of the event since its inception. In the old days, former race directory Gerry Clapper baked all the loaves himself, but in the modern era the baking task has been shared by ten Strider women, most of them members of the notorious Run4Chocolate teams. Indeed, the chocolate nut bread was particularly good. Award winners also received gift certificates for the wine, which they immediately redeemed after the race. Because of the fine autumn weather, many runners lingered after the competition to enjoy wine and condiments on the lush grass of the winery.
by Jim Carbary