PROUD AWARD WINNERS

Skwierz 3 for 3 at Run for the Cannoli;
Helen Evans Repeats

BY DINO OBERTO

HAZLETON, PA--In last year's St. Mauro's Festival 5K "Run for the Cannoli," held at Our Lady of Grace Church, Jeff Skwierz was dubbed the "Cannoli King" after taking his second straight overall victory.

It was another shining moment in the great career of the 25-year-old Skwierz who hails from Treskow.

Throughout most of 2007, however, Skwierz had not been seen at many starting lines as he had taken a hiatus from running. That break ended on Sunday afternoon, August 19 when he walked up to registration and signed up for the 4th annual running of the race.

As it turned out, Skwierz opted to make the Run for the Cannoli his return to competitive racing and he did so in a big way by smashing his own course record with an impressive 16:14. The previous mark was 16:36 set back in 2005.

After Memorial Day of this year Skwierz got himself into a solid training routine that enabled him to get back the same form which led him to continuous PRs which he was accomplishing two years ago.

Weather conditions were also conducive to the speedy run as very cool low 70-degree temperatures greeted runners. There was a light rain throughout the race.

Skwierz was in a zone all his own. By the time he crossed the finish line he had an untouchable lead of 1:28 over runner-up Mark Larello who checked in with a 17:42.

Skwierz noted that when he reached the two-mile mark at 10:08 he felt an overwhelming surge of confidence for the first time in a long time.

The always steady Jer Darowish was third at 18:42. John Guth was seven seconds back at 18:49 while Rob Gould rounded out the top five males with 19:20.

Helen Evans, 47, of Drums seems to be following the same trend as Skwierz as for the second year in a row the popular northeast PA runner scored her second straight trophy as the top female finisher.

Evans ran a 21:15, besting her time from last year by
37 seconds. The overall female record is held by Patty Fulton set in 2005.

The next three spots went to up-and-coming teenage cross-country stars as 14-year-old Alexandra Petsock, who is a member of the Hazleton Area High School team notched third in the female category with a 22:12.

Nicole Montecalvo, 15, and her sister, Gina Montecalvo, 13, were third and fourth, respectively with times of 23:19 and 23:21. Both run for Bill Bull's Berwick Bulldogs.

Rounding out the top five was Sara Leskosky at 23:43.

Both Skwierz and Evans each received very handsome two-foot-tall trophies for their well-earned efforts while medals went to the top three in age groups.

Thanks to Nancy Lee Harmon from Paramount Health and Fitness of Berwick who donated all of the medals.

Seventy-eight runners participated in the event. There were five no-shows.

Of course each runner received a sweet Italian treat in the form of a delicious Cannoli that was generously donated by Alta Pizzeria of Hazleton.

After the race everyone took to the festival for great food and fun.

Race Director Dino Oberto would like to extend a special thank you to all the participants, volunteers, and sponsors who made the 2007 "Run for the Cannoli" a great success and looks forward to seeing everyone next year on the third Sunday in August.

Results:

1. Jeff Skwierz 25 M
16:14 ** new course record

2. Mark Lorello 45 M
17:42

3. Jer Darowish 35 M
18:42

4. John Guth 32 M
18:49

5. Rob Gould 36 M
19:20

6. Bill Palsgrove 31 M
20:10

7. Gurvinder Singh 21 M
20:20

8. Rob Gronski 27 M
20:50

9. Dan ODonnell 38 M
20:57

10. Matt Mazur 17 M
21:04

11. Josh Salvisburg 15 M
21:12

12. Helen Evans 47 F
21:15

13. Joe Skwierz 51 M
21:17

14. Jeff Walsa 41 M
21:47

15. Brian Searfass 28 M
22:09

16. Alexandra Petsuck 14 F
22:12

17. Mike Palermo 46 M
22:16

18. Bernie Shea 26 M
22:21

19. Jason Ritz 34 M
22:23

20. Tom Underwood 22:30

21. Nicole Montecalvo 23:19

22. Gina Montecalvo 13 F
23:21

23. Damian Joy 33 M
23:40

24. Sara Leskosky 26 F
23:43

25. Jonathon Susko 15 M
23:44

26. Robert McGill 47 M
23:45

27. Charlene Caffray 47 M
23:49

28. Christine Cabell 35 F
23:50

29. Matt Cullen 13 M
24:07

30. Craig Lukatch 29 M
24:16

31. Jeff Miller 39 M
24:27

32. Jennifer Sloot 52 F
24:47

33. Rick Hueholt 55 M
24:53

34. Nancy Harmon 48 F
24:55

35. Dave Gould 34 M
24:56