Raymond’s Carrillo, 11, tops among women; Phillips repeats

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 10, 2001

[Left] Ashley Carrillo, 11, of Raymond crosses the finish line way ahead of the pack. [Right] Kevin Phillips, 30, of Greenville is in the lead early and held it until the end of the race.(The Vicksburg Post/C> TODD SHERMAN)

[9/09/01] Kevin Phillips continued his dominance of the Over The River Run on Saturday, while Ashley Carrillo may have started hers.

Phillips, a 30-year old from Greenville, won his third straight overall title in the 5-mile run, crossing the finish line in 28 minutes, 3 seconds. Carrillo, an 11-year-old from Raymond, came across just under 9 minutes later to win the women’s title in 36:35.

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“I’ve won before, but I’ve never won this one,” said Carrillo, who finished second in last year’s OTR.

It was Carrillo’s first overall women’s win in a race in the Mississippi Track Club’s Grand Prix series. The Club awards points for top finishers in certain races and crowns a champion at the end of each year.

“We are proud, proud, proud,” Carrillo’s mother, Jackie, said as she hugged her daughter.

The 5-mile race walk also saw an end to an era of dominance. Richland’s Barbara Duplichain, who won 11 straight OTR titles, had her streak stopped by Vicksburg walkers Mike Renfroe and Debbie Cheney, as well as a sore nerve.

Renfroe won the overall title with a time of 45:34, while Chaney won the women’s title and finished second overall in 45:50.

“She has been having a problem with her sciatica nerve and she had a problem on the course,” Cheney said of Duplichain, who finished third overall.

Most of the walk was a three-way battle between Renfroe, Chaney and Duplichain. Renfroe, the runner-up last year and the winner of the Run Thru History in March, finally gained a lead in mile 3, however, and went on to win.

“I finished second last year. I was determined to win this year, though,” Renfroe said. “I was on a 40-minute pace for a while. I actually thought I was going to beat that pace today, but those hills got me coming back.”

Chaney said all three walkers were pushing each other to go faster.

“Barbara caught me at the mile marker and we walked together until the third mile,” Chaney said. “We’re friends, we’re buddies, and we talked the whole way.”

For Phillips, it wasn’t a great run but it was good enough to win.

His time was about 90 seconds slower than last year’s winning time of 26:31, and he struggled to pull away from the pack. He said a brief sprint at the turnaround on the Louisiana side of the Mississippi River got him just enough distance on runner-up Jeff Hathorn to make it a comfortable 27-second win.

“At the turnaround I made a move and he didn’t go. That was the difference, because I didn’t gain any more distance on him,” Phillips said, adding that he was exhausted by the final 200 uphill yards of the race.

Phillips also said he was looking forward to defending his title again next year.

“It feels good. That’s three in a row. Next year I’m going to try to make it four,” he said.

The racers were able to dodge most of the rain from Saturday morning’s storms, which moved through Vicksburg as the runners were on the Louisiana side of the river. By the time they returned to Mississippi, they only had to deal with wet pavement which presented its own problems.

One runner, Vicksburg resident Barbara Webster, slipped and fell less than 100 feet from the finish line. She appeared to have several cuts on her face and was taken to Parkview Regional Medical Center for treatment.

Mississippi Track Club president Jack Ward reported several other slips and falls on the last stretch of the route, and the starting line for the 1-mile fun run was moved further onto the bridge to avoid a treacherous path over wet stone.

Other walkers reported seeing lightning on the way back to Mississippi, and a train also crossed the bridge during the race.

“Usually it’s slippery when it rains. That’s the worst part about that bridge. You can’t get too good of traction,” said Vicksburg’s Willie Powers, who finished fourth overall and won the men’s 45-49 year-olds’ division with a time of 30:29.