Connor, Jackucewicz Sweep 11th Annual
Don Smith Memorial Scholarship Run

BY BILL SMALLWOOD

PORT REPUBLIC, NJ--There were dual winners in the 11th Annual Don Smith Memorial Scholarship Run held Saturday, May 13, as Blake Connor and Briana Jackucewicz each carried home a pair of trophies.

Port Republic's own Connor, former Absegami High School cross-country and track standout, claimed the first place overall mile run trophy, with a very respectable 4:56. He then sped to a 17:51 time in the 5K race to add a second first place trophy to his collection. Blake attends Rutgers University.

Dolph Hoch finished a close second overall in the mile with a time of 4:59, followed by Joe Iullucci at 5:01.

The top female mile finisher was 9-year-old Briana Jackucewicz who clocked in at 5:44. Astin Barber (6:18) and Jennifer Rosas (6:19) were her closest competitors.

Jackucewicz, like Connor, carried home a second first-place award, beating Lauren Rhatigan by four seconds (18:22 to 18:26) to take the 5K female honors. She finished third overall in that race. Cathie Gottlieb was the third female finisher.

There were well over 300 participants total in both events, an outstanding turnout considering the many races throughout South Jersey on the same day.

2000 Scholarship Awards Announced

At the presentation of the race awards, the Don Smith Memorial Scholarship Committee announced that Absegami Seniors Lisa Klima and Colette Connor were each awarded $1000 scholarships to assist them with next year's college costs.

Klima will attend the College of New Jersey and Connor will be heading south to the University of Richmond.

Also, Katie Smith, the daughter of the late Don Smith, and his widow, Kathleen, will be receiving a $1500 scholarship for the next four years to assist them with college expenses.

Katie, also an Absegami senior, recently was accepted at Princeton University and plans to attend that prestigious New Jersey institution next fall.

Her older brother, Michael, also will be receiving a similar scholarship.

A feature of the race was the presence and participation of the United States Coast Guard's Regimental Runners from the Cape May Training Base. Over 80 members of Fox Trot 157 Company were involved.

The scholarship and race committee also expressed their appreciation to the Atlantic County Division of Roads and Bridges for their help in road preparations prior to the race and wished to thank the New Jersey State Police (West Creek Barracks) for their help in traffic control on race day.


MALE

5K

Overall

1. Blake Connor 17:51
2. Ken Blahut 18:21
3. Norb Vonora 18:53

Masters

1. Warren Walker 19:24

Fireman

1. Dan Tamburilla 20:30
2. Joseph Calahan 21:06
3. Bob Soifer 21:12

14 and Under

1. Tim Crotchfelt 19:47
2. Nick Lampe 22:55
3. Brandon Weiner 25:47

15-19

1. Chad Skinner 20:34
2. Kevin Costa 22:08

20-29

1. Pete Winberg 19:00
2. Michael Cormier 19:45
3. Bob Hageman 23:28

30-39

1. Dolph Hoch 19:16
2. Tim McLaughlin 21:28
3. Joe Weinert 22:55

40-49

1. Bernie Dessoye 20:46
2. Brig Seaver 20:51
3. Bill Dornan 21:14

50-59

1. Tom Campo 20:56
2. Philip Tell 21:09
3. Ron Pagliaro 22:30

60-69

1. Steve Bogardo 22:17
2. Phil Steele 22:45
3. Vincenzo Tronu 23:03

70 and Over

1. John Rhatigan 26:11

Mile

1. Blake Connor 4:56
2. Dolph Hoch 4:59
3. Joe Iullucci 5:01

6 and Under

1. D.J. Garman 8:17
2. James Olson 9:09
3. Jeff Weinert 9:45

7-9

1. Dave Foulke 6:57
2. Collin Evans 7:24
3. Ken Stubblefield 7:34

10-12

1. Ronnie Rosas 6:11
2. Alex Nelson 6:26
3. Correy Pierce 6:28

13-15

1. Davin Devlin 5:29
2. Eric Isralsky 5:36
3. Ryan Marshall 5:41

16-19

1. Andy Mynes 5:41
2. Justin Benson 6:23
3. Marty Halldorson 7:17

20-29

1. Murry Brek 5:25
2. Michael Smith 6:42
3. Fred Schwenger 8:52

30-39

1. Joe Weinert 6:23
2. Thomas Young 8:23
3. David Hover 13:48

40-49

1. Pete Nelson 6:08
2. Michael Crosson 6:29
3. Richard Huenke 8:08

50-59

1. John Errickson 6:46
2. Floyd Back 6:54
3. Peter Himchak 8:25

60-69

1. Vincenzo Tronu 6:46
2. Phil Steel 7:04
3. Bob Longo 16:24

70 and Over

1. James Higber 8:20
2. Stanley Escourt 17:14
3. George Brennan 17:15

FEMALE

5K

Overall

1. Briana Jackucewicz 18:22
2. Lauren Rhatigan 18:26
3. Cathie Gottlieb 19:58

Masters

1. Deborah Weiner 21:15

14 and Under

1. Amanda Weber 21:57
2. Eriwn Wescoat 24:51
3. Teal Connor 25:07

15-19

1. Kristen Story 26:03

20-29

1. Lisa Pemberton 22:03
2. Michelle Gibson 23:04
3. Megan Hageman 23:36

30-39

1. Jocelyn Weinert 20:26
2. Patricia Librizzi 22:37
3. Kimberly McIlvaine 22:51

40-49

1. Kathryn Tell 22:08
2. Eileen Pangoras 23:37
3. Cynthia Smallwood 23:59

50-59

1. Susan Connelly 24:32
2. Geri Pagliaro 33:21
3. Patricia Goldstine 35:57

Mile

1. Briana Jackucewicz 5:44
2. Astin Barber 6:18
3. Jennifer Rosas 6:19

6 and Under

1. Katie Weinert 9:56
2. Caitlyn Evans 10:37
3. Nicole Martin 14:46

7-9

1. Danielle Wessler 7:18
2. Katie Spirit 7:25
3. Susan Biahut 7:35

10-12

1. Milissa Crosson 6:27
2. Johanna Brady 6:46
3. Jennifer Hokworth 11:16

13-15

1. Ashley Pierce 6:41
2. Tiffany Laielli 6:58
3. Becky Crema 7:03

16-19

1. K.A. Howard 7:16
2. Jessica Dyer 7:23
3. Jennifer Wills 7:33

20-29

1. Brook Kennedy 8:48
2. Shannon Geese 12:25
3. Amie Leeds 16:07

30-39

1. Brenda Wessler 9:36
2. Eile Owen 10:14
3. Patti Wythe 11:55

40-49

1. B.J. Kinade 7:05
2. Christine Jones 7:48
3. Lori Sevler 8:17

50-59

1. Janet Longo 11:27
2. Kathleen Smith 13:42
3. Karen Small 14:05

60-69

1. Mary Jane Robinson 14:46
2. Virginia Brannigan 16:23
3. Eleanor Logue 21:36

70 and Over

1. Catherine Seifreid 14:45
2. Betty Leeds 15:54
3. Carol Leary 16:11


Community Spirit Shines Through

[Editor's Note: Katie Smith, the late Don Smith's daughter, wrote a noncompetitive essay. She did not compete for the scholarship in memory of her dad.]

BY KATIE SMITH

The skies were black and clouds threatened to unleash an angry torrent of rain, but nothing could dampen the spirits of the hundreds of people crammed into the tiny multi-purpose room of the Port Republic Elementary School as they awaited the beginning of the 10th annual Don Smith Memorial Scholarship Run. Excited greetings exchanged between friends and family members, who had long been apart, echoed throughout the room as lines of people anxiously waited for their T-shirts and numbers, the signs of a successful registration. A wide range of people were assembled in the room, spilling into the parking lot outside. Experienced runners jogged gracefully in the cool air outside, energetic youngsters raced around the gym, and elderly grandparents talked proudly about their grandchildren. Each prepared for the upcoming race in their own way, completely unconcerned about the dismal weather outside.

Fast forward approximately one hour to the same multi-purpose room, where the same people gathered excitedly. This time, however, each was soaking wet as a result of running through the rainstorm that deluged the town outside, yet each face radiated joy. How can this be? How can so many people be so exhilarated after pushing their bodies to physical extremes through a torrential downpour? It seems like an unlikely situation, yet such was the case Mother's Day weekend 1999 at the 10th annual Don Smith Memorial Scholarship Run--a community-sponsored event held each year in memory of my father.

This ten-year-old tradition holds a special place in the hearts of my mom, brother, and me as it is a thread that brings both sides of our extended family together. Members of my family live in areas of the country spreading from here in New Jersey all the way across the United States to Seattle, Washington. It often seems impossible for all of us to get together as a family, but the Don Smith (as it is affectionately called) does just that. On the Saturday before Mother's Day, the traditional day of this beloved event, members of the Smith, Harper, and Leeds families flock to Port Republic to gather as one kindred and celebrate the life of my dad. Each race day is an emotionally challenging time as long-buried emotions are evoked and memories flood through our minds, but the nearness of so many family members is a comfort that cannot be measured. Each family member is an invaluable source of strength to every person there, a support group that makes the Don Smith the great tradition that it is today.

People in the community also experience a great sense of kindred and bond together in order to make this weekend a success. It never ceases to amaze me the amount of work and dedication that the Port Republic community commits to see this event flow successfully. Not only is there a small group of individuals who begin to prepare for the race immediately following its predecessor, working day in and day out to get sponsors, order T-shirts, hire official timers, process applications, and many other tedious tasks, but there is a high level of involvement throughout the rest of the community. Many friends and neighbors volunteer their time to help out at registration, to bake goods for the bake sale, to work at the water stop, or to simply participate in the race. It is a truly incredible experience to see all of these people gathered together to honor the life of someone so close to me, someone that I love so dearly.

Not even the storm that soaked the earth during last year's race could ever wash away the feeling of warmth and love that I get as I watch all of the people that I love the most celebrate my father's life in this awesome tradition that combines both my family and community into one entity of love and support. All of these people go to such great efforts to help make this annual event something incredibly special for my mom, my brother, and me.