Purcell Sets New 2K Women’s Standard;
Page Claims All 50-59 Records at Saucony XC Series

BY JOHN HARWICK

PITTSBURGH, PA--Maryland junior Katie Purcell claimed a 2K course record in the first leg of the sixth annual Saucony XC Series on a beautiful June 26 at scenic Frick Park.

Purcell’s quick 7:21 on the flat out-and-back 2K course shaved 29 seconds off the 7:50 record set by Greensburg-Salem High’s Suzy Bossart in 2002. Bossart now runs for Pitt.

Purcell--PIAA 3200 gold-medalist for Our Lady of the Sacred Heart High in 2002--ranks as one of the top cross-country runners in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Runners from the host Western Pennsylvania Track Club won three of the six races with Lisa Falenski winning the 8K and Larry Lenhart and Rachel Umbel sweeping the 4Ks.

Pittsburgh’s Asaf Hanish (8K) and Keith Swadlo of the Maelstrom AC (2K) each claimed a win. Swadlo’s quick 6:16 just missed the 6:14 record set by Ethen Coffey of CMU in 2002.

Eleven talented runners--five of them West Penners--took advantage of good weather and a fast track to break 11 age-group records and establish one.

West Penn’s Debi Page, breaking the 50-59 2K record with her 8:53, now owns all the 50-59 records. She set the 4K record (18:52) in 2001 and the 8K record (39:47) in 2003.

2K MEN

6-7: Leo Hildebrandt of West Penn ran 11:09 to break the 11:22 record set by Michael Pompa of Plum in 2001.

20-29: Keith Swadlo of the Maelstrom AC ran 6:16 to break the 6:21 record set by Matt Mewer of Carnegie Mellon University in 2002.

2K WOMEN

10-11: Gina Cunningham of Munhall ran 8:45 to break the 8:47 record set by Emily Eby of Bellevue in 2001.

12-13: Brighid Kelly of St. Rosalia ran 8:02 to break the 8:07 record set by Molly Goldcamp of St. Bede in 2002.

20-29: Katie Purcell of the University of Maryland ran 7:21 to break the 9:45 record set by Deb Weaver of Pittsburgh in 2001.

30-39: Sharon Parrish of Oakmont ran 11:16 to break the 11:26 record set by April George of Lower Burrell in 2003.

40-49: Palma Ostrowski of Oakmont ran 8:18 to break the 9:42 record set by Paula Bossart of West Penn in 2002.

50-59: Debi Page of West Penn ran 8:53 to break the 11:55 record set by Kathy Jackson of North Versailles in 2002.

4K WOMEN

14-15: Rachel Umbel of West Penn ran 17:06 to break the 17:16 record set by Lauren Kelley-Chews of the Ellis School in 2002.

40-49: Palma Ostrowski of Oakmont ran 18:04 to break the 18:48 record set by Suzanne Swan of West Penn in 2003.

8K MEN

60-69: George Carroll of West Penn ran 34:08 to break the 40:21 record set by teammate Dick Monheim in 2003.

8K WOMEN

60-69: Joyce Geroux of West Penn ran 49:28 to establish a record.

FINISH LINES

Four families tied for the most runners with three each: Keith, Molly, and Rosemary Boyce; Bob, Katie, and Mike Harwick; Brighid, Dibhan, and George Kelly; and Lesli, Marissa, and Rachel Umbel.

Pine-Richland High XC coach Brian Devinney covered running form in the pre-race clinic.

Norwin High’s Larry Lenhart and Indiana High’s Rachel Umbel rank as two of the WPIAL’s most promising distance runners. Both of them--as freshmen last year--competed in the WPIAL championships in both XC and track.

Runners ranged in age from 62-year-olds Dighan Kelly of St. Rosalia and Donovan McNelis of Plum to 71-year-old John Harwick of West Penn.

Participation jumped from 75 last year to 83. Thirty-four (26 men and eight women) represented West Penn.

West Penn’s low-key corps of volunteers staged another flawless meet despite park renovations that meant clearing the start/finish area of debris.