EIGHT RUNNERS PREPARE TO CHASE THEIR SHADOWS AT THE
START OF THE JERRY RICHEY MILE.
JOYCE GEROUX PHOTO

Sobol Decimates 50-54 Record
at Pittsylvania Mile

BY JOHN HARWICK

PITTSBURGH, PA--West Penn's Steve Gonzalez and Katelyn Fleishman swept the Jerry Richey Mile races at the Pittsylvania Mile Run on June 29 at Carnegie Mellon University.

Steve--third in 9:29.85 in the PIAA 3200 for Westmont-Hilltop¾shattered the 4:53.9 record set last year by Brian Buechel, of New York University, with his quick 4:36.7.

Katelyn--eighth in 11:44.51 in the WPIAL 3200 for Gateway--moved up from last year's second-place finish to post a convincing 5:43.1 win.

Runners broke seven of the existing 15 men's records and established three men's records and one women's record on a sunny morning on the eight-lane Surpan track:

o Tim Gillingham, of Northgate Elementary, ran 5:54.8 to break the 10-11 6:03.8 record set by John Boss, of Carmel, IN, in 2001.

o Dallas Frey, of West Penn, ran 5:27 to break the 12-13 5:38.7 record set by Matt Sobocinski, of Trinity High, in 2001.

o John Nemeth, of Wings, ran 4:58.3 to break the 14-15 5:16 record set by Justin Busko, of the South Park Track Club, in 2000.

o Todd Kletter, of the Pittsburgh Pharoah Hounds, ran 4:33.1 to break the 30-34 4:35.3 record set by Hans Rottmann, of Emsworth, in 2001.

o Dave Sobal, of West Penn, ran 5:08.4 to break the 50-54 5:34.8 record set by teammate Dale Dix in 2001.

o George Carroll, of West Penn, ran 5:34.3 to break the 55-59 5:35 record he set in 2000.

New records went to West Penn's Joyce Geroux (7:53.4 in 55-59) and Elmer Gasper (9:25.9 in 70-74), Mercer's Jim Waldorf (5:59.3 in 60-64), and Mt. Lebanon's Stuart Kaufman (10:24.3 in 80-84).

West Penn runners dominated the meet for the third straight year by winning 10 of 21 races, breaking four of seven records, and establishing two of four records.

 

WEST PENN'S DAVE SOBAL (CENTER) AFTER SHATTERING
THE 50-54 5:34.8 RECORD WITH HIS QUICK 5:08.4.
LEFT TO RIGHT: MONROEVILLE'S DON SLUSSER (2ND),
AND WEST PENN'S JOE SILVERIO.
JOYCE GEROUX PHOTO
FINISH LINE

West Penn's Matt Apesos, 2001 West Virginia 800m gold medallist for Weir High, ran the 16-19 race. Matt now runs for West Virginia University.

Consistent George Carroll seemed to have stopped the aging clock. West Penn's 55-59 ace ran 5:35 in 2000, 5:36.2 in 2001, and 5:34.3 this year.

Runners from 11 high schools ran in either the 14-15 or 16-19 races: Central Catholic, Columbiana (OH), Gateway, Greensburg-Salem, Northgate, Oakland Catholic, Penn Hills, Trinity, United, West Allegheny, and Westmont-Hilltop.

Dario Donatelli, men's XC and track coach at Carnegie Mellon University, started the races, and Mark Schwartz, long-time USATF National official, served as referee.

Dick Firsching--1945 PIAA 220y gold medallist for Mt. Lebanon High--presented the awards.

Endurance faced speed in the men's Jerry Richey Mile. West Penn's Steve Gonzalez (4:36.7) beat Jeff Denove, of Penn Hills High (4:48.2), as both runners beat the 4:53.9 record set last year by Brian Buechel, of New York University. Steve took third in 9:29.85 in the PIAA 3200 for Westmont-Hilltop High, and Kent State recruit Jeff took second in 1:55.35 in the WPIAL 800.

West Penn's versatile Joyce Geroux served as the meet photographer and--without a warm-up--set a record in the 55-59 race.

Todd Kletter, of the Pittsburgh Pharaoh Hounds, broke the 30-34 record by two seconds with his 4:33.1, and the former Penn State star just missed the 4:32.5 fastest time in any age group set last year by Chad Buechel, of Brown University (20-24). Both runners own PIAA gold medals. Todd ran a leg on the first-place 1990 4x800 relay team for Mt. Lebanon High, and Chad won the 1998 1600 for Central Catholic High.

Jerry Richey served as honorary chair. Jerry won six PIAA distance running titles from 1965-67 for North Allegheny High and the 1970 NCAA indoor 2-mile title for Pitt.

Don Slusser, an NAIA All-American marathoner in 1972-73 for Indiana University of PA, took second in the 50-54 race.

Thirteen runners ran in both 2001 and 2002. Eight of them ran faster the second time around. Matt Sobocinski, of Trinity High (33.1 seconds), and West Penn's Katelyn Fleishman (24.3 seconds) improved the most. West Penn's George Dieffenbach won the consistency award with his 5:28.8 in 2001 and 5:28.2 in 2002.

West Penn's Larry Van Dyke (40-44) and Jim Wilhelm, of the Summit Athletic Club, (45-49) staged the meet's closest race in the 40-plus heat. Larry's 4:54.8 edged Jim's 4:57.9 by 3.1 seconds.

Chris Walliser, one of the top distance runners in the Butler County Special Olympics, ran the 30-34 race.

Runners ranged in age from 8-year-old Dave Zimak, of the Washington County Road Runners Club, to 80-year-old Stuart Kaufman, of Mt. Lebanon, and came from four states: Ohio, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

Men outnumbered women 50 to 8. Statistics from American Sports Data show that women's participation in running in the U.S. has doubled from 20% of the total number of runners in 1985 to 40% in 2000. Yet women represented only 14% of the entries in the Pittsylvania Mile Run.