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Boy with cerebral palsy finishes race

October 13, 2004|by Arnold S. Platou

Until about a month ago, Dustin Carr, a member of the cross country team at South Hagerstown High School, had never run farther than perhaps a few hundred yards.

But at Monday night's cross country meet between South and Smithsburg High School, Dustin, a junior who has cerebral palsy, did the incredible.

Dustin, who uses a cane to keep his balance, ran/walked the entire 3-mile course. He did it with a cadre of fans, some of whom accompanied him.

About 60 others, including the Smithsburg and South teams and South's cheerleaders, waited the 1 hour, 59 minutes and 49 seconds it took Dustin to cross the finish line.

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Meet winner Ben Cooper, of Smithsburg, finished the course in 17 minutes and 5 seconds, but it was Dustin's arrival that thrilled the crowd.

"I think it's amazing that he's actually done this," said South track coach Wayne Kretzer Jr.

"I think it's incredible," said former South coach Brian Ferrari, through whom Dustin joined the team little more than a year ago.

For Dustin, it was his second major feat on the team - several months ago, he began throwing the shot put. Since this year's cross country season began, Kretzer said Dustin has been timing runners and helping in other ways on the sidelines.

Several weeks ago, the two began talking about Dustin trying to do more. And so, at a meet in Boonsboro a month ago, Dustin went a half-mile. And at a home meet two weeks ago, he finished 1 mile in 40 minutes.

"And then last week," Kretzer said, "I had him do one more lap each day.

By Thursday, he was up to seven laps (1.75 miles), and I knew then that he could probably do the three miles."

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