West Penn Breaks Six Records, Establishes Two
at Pittsylvania Mile Run; Rogus, Nemeth Win Event

BY JOHN HARWICK

PITTSBURGH, PA--Participation climbed to a record 72--one more than in 2001--and the runners and racewalkers broke a dozen of the existing 31 records and established five more in the fifth annual Pittsylvania Mile Run on June 5 at Carnegie Mellon University.

Two college athletes won the featured Jerry Richey Miles named for the former North Allegheny High and Pitt great. Richey’s brilliant schoolboy career saw him win six PIAA titles in XC and track from 1965-67. He won the 1970 NCAA indoor 2-mile title.

Duquesne University’s Brent Rogus--Atlantic 10 medalist in the 10,000 this year as a freshman--won the men’s Richey Mile in 4:37 and just missed the 4:36.7 record set by Steve Gonzales of Westmont-Hilltop High in 2002. Gonzales now runs for Pitt.

Providence College swimmer Annie Nemeth won the women’s Richey Mile in 6:00.7. Earlier in the meet, Nemeth--second in the Richey Mile in 2002 as a schoolgirl--won the mile racewalk in 7:57.3 to become the first double winner in the meet’s history.

Three repeat winners--George Dieffenbach (2), Joyce Geroux (3), and Carmella Salem (2)--led the way as the host West Penn Track Club claimed wins in 12 of the 26 races (six of 15 for men and six of 11 for women), broke six records and established two.

Six men broke or established records: Seamus Love of St. Bede (6-7), George Kelly of West Penn (8-9), Rich Crowley (25-29) and repeat winner Dan Holland of the Pharaoh Hounds (35-39), and Gehrett Smith (70-74) and Sam Madia of West Penn (80-84).

Eight women claimed records: Marissa Cooper of Butler (8-9), Brighid Kelly of West Penn (12-13), Diana Filtz of Penn-Trafford High (14-15), Carmen Blissit of Wheeling Jesuit (20-14), and West Penners Salem (30-34), Karen Mizikar (40-44), and Geroux (60-64).

Three racewalkers posted records: Annie Nemeth of Providence College established a 16-19 record, Arthur Androkites of Greensburg established a 40-44 record, and repeat winner BK Kosmach of the South Park Runners broke her own record.

FINISH LINES

Runners from a dozen high schools ran in either the 14-15 or 16-19 races: Butler, Central Catholic, Franklin Regional, Gateway, Indiana, Kiski Area, Moon, North Allegheny, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Penn-Trafford, Pine-Richland, and Somerset.

Four sets of siblings ran: Chelsea and Marissa Cooper; Brighid, Dighan, and George Kelly; Deirde and Seamus Love; and Annie, Eleanor, and John Nemeth. And three other siblings--Katie, Mary Carolyn, and Mike Harwick--worked as volunteers.

Drew Dershimer, women’s XC coach at Carnegie Mellon University, started the races, and Mark Schwartz, long-time USATF national official, served as the referee.

West Penn’s George Dieffenbach--for the third year in a row--won the consistency award. George ran 5:28.8 in 2001, 5:28.2 in 2002, 5:26.2 in 2003, and 5:24.9 this year. Pitt’s tennis coach improves every year.

Two runners have competed in each of the five meets (2000-2004): West Penn’s Elmer Gasper and Dan Holland of the Pharaoh Hounds. West Penn’s Lee Zelkowicz missed for the first time, but the highly successful Penn Hills coach worked the finish line.

Fourteen runners or walkers competed in both 2003 and 2004. Seven of them improved the second time around: West Penn’s Elmer Gasper (55.7 seconds) and Carmella Salem (13.3 seconds), BK Kosmach (9.6 seconds) of the South Park Runners, Duquesne University’s Brent Rogus (7.5 seconds), Indiana High’s Rachel Umbel (2.9 seconds), West Penn’s George Dieffenbach (1.3 seconds), and consistent Dan Holland of the Pharaoh Hounds (0.3 seconds).

West Penn had three parent/child duos in action: John and Bob Harwick, Karen Mizikar and Amanda Rubis (St. Vincent), and Richard and Brent Rogus (Duquesne University).

Runners ranged in age from 6-year-old Dighan Kelly to 80-year-old Sam Madia, both of whom are West Penners.

Participation jumped from 58 in 2002 and 63 in 2003 to a record 72. That just topped the 71 in 2001. Forty-six participated the first year. Twenty-five of the 72 participants (35%) represented West Penn, but--as usual--the men outnumbered the women 19-6 (21-5 in 2002 and 22-11 in 2003).