SAWTELLE RECORDS 10K AND 5K RECORD
AT 21st MONROEVILLE CLASSIC

BY DON SLUSSER, CO-DIRECTOR,
WITH RICHARD BALDOCK,
CO-DIRECTOR EMERITUS

MONROEVILLE, PA--Mindy Sawtelle ushered in the 21st running of the Monroeville Classic, on June 4, the first of the new millennium, in record fashion by setting course records in both the 10K and 5K races. Her performances were even more impressive when one factors into the equation her race the previous morning, the Women's National Championship 5K in Albany, NY, and the long trek back to Monroeville to toe the line for the 8:30 a.m. start of the 10K event.

Weather conditions were perfect for a shot at Tammy Slusser's 1991 record of 36:00, and Sawtelle was prepared to take advantage of the opportunity. The question to be answered was: Who would prevail, defending champion Sawtelle, or Slusser, who was still on an emotional high after her second Pittsburgh Marathon victory just four weeks earlier? At the starter's pistol Sawtelle, known for her hard early pacing, went out with the lead men's pack. The 5:18 opening mile left all except the four lead men (also 5:18) in her wake. Slusser, noted for her even pacing, could only hope that Sawtelle's early heroics, combined with the effects of the prior day's race and travel, would take some of the life out of her competitor's legs. Sawtelle was unable to maintain the pace that would have netted her a sub-33:00 performance, but did manage to win the women's title easily in 35:31, a course record by 29 seconds, and 1:28 ahead of Slusser.

The men's 10K field featured a battle of strength and experience versus speed. Jim Hommes was attempting an unprecedented fourth straight Classic crown. A recent second place finish at the May 7 Pittsburgh Marathon cemented his role as favorite. Tom Rogozinski, most noted for his ultramarathoning talents, exemplified the strength runner. Rogozinski finished third in the 1992 Run Across America (Los Angeles to New York). He was also the second American finisher the previous week in the Wheeling 20K, which features a hilly course geared to the strength runner. Two-time Classic 5K Champion, Dave Wilt, who had run both Boston and Pittsburgh (fifth place) this spring, was testing the waters with his mix of 5K speed and marathon endurance. Mike Diano, second to Wilt in the 1999 edition of the 5K, was running his first 10K. Diano, a senior at Penn Hills High School, had run 9:33 in the 3200 meters, was sixth at the State AAA 3200, and had won the Penn Hills Red Romp 5K and Gateway Track Mile in the eight days prior to Monroeville. Diano was given advice (strong advice) by the Red Romp Director, Lee Zelkowitz, to let his basic speed work to his advantage.

The group of five (including Sawtelle) was still together as they concluded the lap around Monroeville Mall, but Sawtelle was soon dropped after they exited the Mall complex. Wilt began to lose contact from the remaining trio as the contenders climbed the long, gradual upgrade on Business Rt. 22 in the second mile of the race. Diano tested the other two on the short, steep hill that crests at the Old Stone Church landmark, but Rogozinski responded by pressing the ensuing long downgrade on Monroeville Blvd. As they completed the downhill, and immediately began to ascend the most punishing hill on the course, Hommes began to lose contact and realized that his quest for yet another title would not be realized this year.

At the summit, only Rogozinski and Diano remained in contention as they turned onto Mosside Blvd. Each made minor moves during the two-mile gradual downhill drop leading back to the Mall finish. Rogozinski started a hard, grinding move a half-mile out, but Diano stayed right off Rogozinski's shoulder. At the six-mile mark Diano shifted gears, gears that Rogozinski does not possess. Diano's 33:26 win earned him the distinction of being the youngest winner of the Classic in its two decades of existence. Rogozinski finished six seconds later, followed by Hommes in third, 34:09, and Wilt in fourth, 35:20. Hans Rottman rounded out the top five male runners in 36:00.

In the 10K Masters competition, Art Anderson, 45, returning to serious racing for the first time since 1987, garnered the title with a 37:29 result, sufficient for a four-second victory ahead of Zelkowitz, also 45. Anderson had won the Monroeville's Fastest Man title several times in the early 1980s. Joe Como, 46, claimed the final overall Masters award. Curt Grimm, 51, claimed the top Veterans award with his 40:18 finish. Lou Lodovico, 76, won the top Senior award. Lodovico's 45:25 time converts to an age-graded equivalent performance of 31:02, which led all entrants on the age-graded scale. Monroeville's Fastest awards were captured by Tammy Slusser (again) and by Dan Overby, 28, as a result of his 19th place 39:04 finish.

Senior runner Jack Cagot, 67, received special recognition for winning the 60-69 division. Dennis Donnelly, Tammy Slusser's father, had won this division in 1999. Unfortunately, unknown to all at the time, he already had an advanced case of pancreatic cancer, and died only a few months later in August 1999. Tammy made a special presentation of a large fruit basket to the winner of this division as a memorial to her father, and in honor of the support and inspiration he had provided for her running career over the years.

Center stage abruptly shifted to the 5K race at 9:30 a.m., and featured, as usual, numerous runners who were attempting to complete the "double," a relatively unique opportunity provided by the Classic for the past decade. The women's race provided a rematch between Sawtelle and Slusser, who were the only two competitors returning from last year's top five women. Sawtelle showed little sign of fatigue as she opened the 5K with a 5:19 mile (however, this time she was unable to accompany the lead men). This pace distanced her very early from any and all female contenders. Sawtelle cruised to a 17:16 result, breaking the 17:22 course record of Sonja Friend-Uhl set in 1996. Friend-Uhl is presently on the American top-ten women list for the 1500 meters/mile event. In 1996, Friend-Uhl also prevailed versus Slusser, but both were relatively fresh then because neither had run a challenging 10K as a "warm-up." Sawtelle's margin over Slusser was an impressive 1:10. Sarah Pratte, 21, claimed third in 19:43, and Christine Miller, 16, nabbed the fourth spot with a 20:43 effort.

The men's 5K featured three of the top four 10K finishers attempting the double; specifically, the trio of Diano, Hommes, and Wilt were testing themselves on very short recovery. Bill Westover, Doug Craft (who planned to race both events but missed the 10K start), Chris Spurli, and Masters runner Dominic Wyzomirski also entered as additional contenders, none having run the earlier 10K.

As the race progressed, it became apparent that freshness counted on this day, and by the midpoint Westover and Wyzomirski had separated themselves from the field. Eventually, Wyzomirski ground the last stretch to win in 16:18, earning a two-second victory margin over Westover. Hommes and Wilt fought off the fatigue of the earlier race, working their way up to third (16:39) and fourth (16:54) place finishes, respectively. Craft's 17:07 fifth place and Spurli's 17:14 sixth place were the only other spots garnered ahead of the amazing Sawtelle. Diano finally discovered his current limits as he attempted his fifth quality race in an eight-day span. He made a prudent choice and decided not to finish, demonstrating more maturity than most young runners possess. With a bright running future ahead of him, there is no need for him to risk injury unnecessarily by racing excessively.

Mark Courtney of Runner's High prevented Art Anderson from winning a Masters double at the Classic. Courtney's 18:15 was sufficient for a 40-second victory margin over the returning Masters, Anderson. The women's Masters award was won by Jani Daloisio, ahead of Julie Opalka in 23:40 versus 24:21, respectively.

Monroeville's Fastest awards were won by Tammy Slusser in 18:26 and Lucas Marsak, 21, in 18:47. Of note, Co-Director Don Slusser continued his streak as the only person to run all 21 Monroeville Classic 10K races. Major knee surgeries this past year nearly ended his running career; however, an intense rehabilitation regimen enabled him to enter and complete both races, in 40:44 and 20:39, respectively, earning 10K and 5K runner-up positions in the Monroeville's Fastest Man competitions.

For 21 years, the Classic has been under the direction of the Monroeville Rotary with substantial cooperation and support provided by the Monroeville Mall and the Municipality of Monroeville. The success of the 2000 Classic, in a very large part, must be credited to Marshall Bond (with both Rotary and Municipal contacts) and Rotary President Pete McGinty. Each year the Classic generates funds for various local charities. This year's event will probably raise nearly $10,000 to be allocated to worthy causes.

Special thanks go to the Classic's major sponsors: Allegheny Energy and Adelphia. Representatives of both Allegheny Energy and Adelphia were on hand to start this year's races. Oxford Athletic Club, #1 Cochran, PNC Bank, and Three Rivers Bank & Trust also continued their strong support for the annual event.

A tentative date for the 22nd Monroeville Classic has been set (Sunday, April 23, 2001), so mark your calendars now (at least in pencil)!

MONROEVILLE CLASSIC 10K
June 4, 2000

Open Men
1 Mike Diano, 18 33:26
2 Tom Rogozinski, 32 33:33
3 Jim Hommes, 29 34:09
4 Dave Wilt, 33 35:20
5 Hans Rottmann, 32 36:00
6 Douglas Basinski, 29 36:37
7 Mark Prezioso, 17 37:10
8 Brian Caskey, 23 37:21

Open Women
1 Mindy Sawtelle, 27 35:31
2 Tammy Slusser, 35 36:59

Masters Men (40-49)
1 Art Anderson, 45 37:29
2 Lee Zelkowitz, 45 37:33
3 Joe Como, 46 38:02

Veteran Men (50-59)
1 Curt Grimm, 51 40:18

Senior Men (60+)
1 Lou Lodovico, 76 45:25

MEN
Men 19 & Under
1 Andrew Krieger, 16 39:15

Men 20 - 24
1 John Caskey, 24 38:06
2 Ryan Bock, 23 44:59

Men 25 - 29
1 Jeff Otten, 26 37:59
2 Dan Overby, 28 39:04

Men 30 - 34
1 Stephen Tinker, 34 39:02
2 Mike Marckisotto, 31 39:28
3 Brett Decker, 34 39:43

Men 35 - 39
1 John Shea, 37 39:00
2 Joseph Molinaro, 37 39:57
3 Mitch Radella, 35 40:10

Men 40 - 44
1 Ron Romanoff, 44 38:45
2 David Potsubay, 40 39:39
3 Scott Ferrari, 42 40:23
4 Steve Franze, 41 40:52

Men 45 - 49
1 Fred Jaroudi, 45 40:20
2 Don Slusser, 48 40:33
3 Steve Derosa, 46 43:03

Men 50 - 54
1 Jim Moyer, 51 40:33
2 Jim Lennox, 52 41:04
3 Bob Kress, 52 41:57

Men 55 - 59
1 John Antinossi, 56 43:15
2 Robert Walker, 55 43:57

Men 60 - 69
1 Jack Cagot, 67 46:06

Men 70 & Up
1 Lou Lodovico, 76 45:25

WOMEN
Women 19 & Under
1 Katrina Kozarek, 19 41:27

Women 20 - 29
1 Rebecca Buchheit, 25 42:47

Women 30 - 39
1 Barbara Derenzo, 36 43:16
2 Brenda Kerber, 33 43:30

Women 40 - 49
1 Cindy Grimm, 48 43:13
2 Kathy Willming, 41 48:59

Women 50 - 59
1 Georgia Nakovich, 50 51:49

Women 60 & Up
1 Mary Stubbs, 60 56:56

MONROEVILLE 5K
June 4, 2000

Open Men
1 Dom Wyzomirski, 40 16:18
2 Bill Westover, 24 16:20
3 Jim Hommes, 29 16:39
4 Dave Wilt, 33 16:54
5 Doug Craft, 39 17:07

Open Women
1 Mindy Sawtelle, 27 17:16
2 Tammy Slusser, 35 18:26
3 Sarah Pratte, 21 19:43
4 Christine Miller, 16 20:43
5 Kaitlin Grimm, 11 21:00

Masters Men (40-49)
1 S Mark Courtney, 44 18:15
2 Art Anderson, 45 18:55
3 Bill Fustine, 51 19:38

Masters Women (40-49)
1 Jani Daloisio, 40 23:40
2 Julie Opalka, 42 24:21
3 Joanne Meade, 44 25:54

Veteran Men (50-59)
1 Stephen Szuch, 50 19:57
2 Louis Marsak, 52 20:01

Veteran Women (50-59)
1 Rita Catalano, 51 26:50
2 Linda Mitchell, 50 27:22

Senior Men (60+)
1 Gehrett Shmith, 67 26:59

Senior Women (60+)
1 Floris Van Horn, 60 32:10

MEN
Men 12 & Under
1 Teddy Anderson, 10 23:29
2 Mike Meade, 12 24:09
3 Justin Burdette, 11 28:24

Men 13 - 15
1 Russell Waller, 15 17:49
2 Matt Bluman, 14 18:20
3 Andrew Kloes, 15 18:30
4 Joshua Hutchinson, 14 18:48

Men 16 - 19
1 John Snyder, 18 17:45
2 William Tedder, 16 17:52
3 Aaron Apter, 19 19:12

Men 20 - 29
1 Adam Hapeman, 23 18:43
2 Douglas Basinski, 29 18:45
3 Lucas Marsak, 21 18:47
4 John Caskey, 24 18:50

Men 30 - 39
1 Christopher Spurli, 30 17:14
2 Hans Rottmann, 32 17:38
3 John Mutsavage, 34 18:39
4 John Shea, 37 19:03

Men 40 - 49
1 Rick Etling, 43 19:54
2 Ron Romanoff, 44 20:04
3 Randy Louden, 41 20:26
4 Fred Jaroudi, 45 20:31

Men 50 - 59
1 Art Wiland, 51 21:22
2 Harry Craigo, 54 21:37

Men 60 - 65
1 Lloyd Van Horn, 64 27:56
2 Joe Trichtinger, 60 31:39

Men 66 - 69

Men 70 & Up
1 Bill Klapproth, 79 30:11

WOMEN
Women 24 & Under
1 Susanna Sovek, 20 21:44
2 Leanna Stitt, 14 24:49
3 Rachel Wiesenbach, 13 24:59
4 Cassie Watson, 12 25:51

Women 25 - 29
1 Kristen Krivonick, 25 27:55
2 Julie Marckisotto, 27 31:34

Women 30 - 34
1 Amy Jeffries, 30 29:50
2 Patti Morgan, 33 30:27

Women 35 - 39
1 Beverly Franze, 39 23:37
2 Amy Blodgett, 37 24:04
3 Sue Ruzicka, 37 24:25
4 Maureen List, 38 25:19

Women 40 - 44
1 ? Eldridge, 42 26:35
2 Rebecca Trembath, 43 26:39
3 Ann Bridgham, 43 28:03
4 Debby Racan, 40 31:56

Women 45 - 49
1 Joanne Wiesenbach, 47 27:57
2 Kathleen Slater, 46 30:05
3 Kathy Jackson, 48 33:31

Women 50 - 54
1 Beverly Kilburg, 52 27:42
2 Ann Kozarek, 53 30:19

Women 55 - 59
1 Terry Carskaddan, 59 33:46

Women 60 & Up
1 Mary Ellen McShea, 67 37:05