Defilippis and Kelly Capture Spring Lake Five
BY WAYNE BAKER
SPRING LAKE, NJ-The Jersey Shore running community's annual kickoff of the summer running season was notable both for the quality performances and the strong presence of local athletes. Limited to 9000 entrants, entries closed out during March, a quality field toed the line early Saturday morning of Memorial Day Weekend.
Appearing to run comfortably throughout the race, Scott Defilippis, of Tinton Falls, established himself as a force in the regional racing scene. A pack of three runners opened up a small gap on the rest of the leaders shortly after the one-mile mark. About two miles in, Defilippis began to break away, quickly putting twenty yards on the other racers and gradually building his lead to about 200 yards by his finish in 24:50. Second was earned by Patrick Hennigan, of San Diego, in 25:33, the only non-regional runner among the leaders. Rob Zand, of Belmar, took third in 25:46.
On the women's side, Alicia Kelly, of Spring Lake, again captured first, this time in 29:08. Tiny, eleven year-old Briana Jackucewicz, of Allaire, captured second in 29:30. Third was taken by Dorian Meyer, of Locust, in 29:33.
Weather at race time, though cooler than usual, was a bit warm for the runners¾in the upper 60s, with a strong breeze from the north. This meant that the first mile and the finish were into the wind. The course had been slightly modified this year, adding Spring Lake's third lake to the course beyond the 4-mile point. As usual, local fire companies were spraying water to cool the passing field.
Nearly 4200 men and 3200 women completed the course. One young man who did not finish the race had other things on his mind. Howard Lesnik, of Livingston, left the race shortly after it began. His plan was to meet his girlfriend, Keri Dennis, of Manhattan, at the finish to propose. With flowers and ring in hand, Howard met Keri just after she picked up her finisher's medal. An astonished Keri accepted the proposal.
Scott Defilippis is not the first in his family to make a mark on the local running scene. His older brother, Rob, took fifth place in 25:58, and his sister-in law (Rob's wife) Christy, took sixteenth in 31:38.
Men's Top 25 Finishers
1.Scott Defilippis 24:50
Women's Top 25 Finishers
1.Alicia Kelly 29:08