GCHS GIRLS SOCCER COACH KATE
ORMSBY, WOMEN'S ROSS KUPCH
WINNER WITH GCHS PRINCIPAL ED BECKETT.

Unique Ross Kupcha Run Captures
Spirit of Browning Ross

BY JACK HEATH

NATIONAL PARK, NJ--The ninth annual Browning Ross Bob Kupcha 5K run and one-mile run/walk held October 24, 2015 was easily one of the most unique events in Gloucester Catholic High School’s 88-year history.

The race is named after two-time Olympian Browning Ross, Gloucester Catholic’s track and cross-country coach for over 17 years, and Dr. Bob Kupcha an Orthopedic Surgeon, Iraq War Veteran, and an excellent javelin thrower for Browning’s Gloucester Catholic track teams in the 1970s.

The pre-race festivities started with the Geator, Philadelphia’s own renowned D. J. Jerry Blavat, stirring up excitement for the race the night before by donning the “Blues Brothers ram” themed Ross Kupcha race T-shirt given to all runners and walkers at a fundraiser dance at the Gloucester Catholic Gymnasium.

Race morning luckily featured perfect 50-degree running weather (the race has been held in freezing cold and in the middle of northeasters on occasion) as Bishop Dennis Sullivan, the Bishop of the Diocese of Camden, blessed the 200 participants, and invoked St. Sebastian the patron Saint of athletes at the start.

The runners and walkers were also serenaded by a disc jockey, a bag piper from the United States Marines Giordano Detachment, and South Jersey’s own Bonsal Blues Band.

There were 30 different classes of Gloucester Catholic represented at the Ross Kupcha run from the late 1950s to the class of 2019. The men’s race was won by Gloucester Catholic’s freshman cross-country runner Travis Finley and the women’s race was won by GCHS girls soccer coach Kate Ormsby.

 

WILLIAMS AWARD WINNER AND OVERALL
WINNER TRAVIS FINLEY WITH GCHS PRINCIPAL
ED BECKETT.
The Dave Williams award for first Gloucester Catholic male and female finishers went to Travis Finley and senior Jess Fronkowiak of the GCHS cross-country team.

Dave Williams was a graduate of Gloucester Catholic’s class of 1937--before Gloucester Catholic had a track team. He was a World War II veteran with the Army Rangers, a friend of Browning Ross, and one of the best runners in the country in the 1940s and '50s. Williams ran with his father in the 1930s and earned a track scholarship to Georgetown before the war. He teamed with Browning Ross at Villanova after returning from the war.

Members of the Williams (Alexandra) and Ross family (Bonnie and Barb) were on hand to present the awards.

Besides age-group awards, and finishing medals to every runner and walker in the mile, the race featured “Browning Ross style prizes” for every participant, consisting of merchandise, running clothes, gift baskets, and the biggest hit with young runners—pumpkins.

The Ross Kupcha long-sleeve race “Blues Brothers ram” T-shirts were designed by GCHS art teacher Dave Sipple, an award winning artist. Why a blues brothers race theme? Because race proceeds were designated for Camilla Hall, the retirement home for Immaculate Heart of Mary Sisters in Immaculata, PA. Race proceeds also went to Gloucester Catholic scholarships in Dr. Bob Kupcha’s name.

Browning Ross directed thousands of races in his career. In a twist that would have amused Browning, the runners ran slightly off course not too long after the races start adding a tenth of a mile to the race distance. Long-time Browning race veterans, Walt Pierson, Tom Campo, Ken Kling, and Margie Morris, could be heard after the race saying “Well it wouldn’t have been a Browning race if it was exactly 5K!”

A video of the race can be found at up https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvR47ULgQ_Y

 

 

PHILLY'S OWN DJ LEGEND JERRY
BLAVAT, “THE GEATOR WITH THE HEATER,”
PROUDLY HOLDING HIS VERY OWN ROSS
KUPCHA 5K T-SHIRT.
MIKE KAIN PHOTO

Top 20

 

1. Travis Finley 23:08.19
2. Sean Ward 23:09.88
3. Kate Ormsby 23:32.73
4. Michael Silvanio 23:46.37
5. Jim Knoblock 23:50.60
6. Eric Gendron 23:51.08
7. Jessica Fronkowiak 23:56.87
8. Megan Heeder 23:57.47
9. Donald Gomish 24:00.70
10. Frankie Tassi 24:18.02
11. Louis Rodriguez III 24:21.06
12. Sean Simila 24:26.89
13. Bailey Wethman 25:13.81
14. Taylor Hughes 25:27.29
15. Morgan Burman 26:12.35
16. Thomas Camper 26:13.69
17. Melissa Ernharth. 26:16.43
18. Bill Simila 26:28.92
19. Mike Walton 26:34.10
20. Lauren Young 26:40.77