DALLAS — Kyle Suponcic scored a wire-to-wire victory and Jen Stec successfully defended her crown in the second annual Catholic Youth Back Mountain Fall 5K Run at the Gate of Heaven parish on a cold Saturday morning.
Suponcic broke the tape in 17 minutes, 54 seconds. The 22-year-old from Shavertown outran second-place finisher Tony Korch, 52, of Nanticoke, by 1:23. Andy Levandoski, 16, of Dallas, finished third, 1:11 behind Korch.
Suponcic fell three seconds shy of the course record, 17:51, set by King's College runner Robert Moulton, of Mountain Top, in the inaugural race last year.
"I was trying for the course record – but the weather just wouldn't allow it," said Suponcic, who graduated in May from Misericordia University, where he ran track and cross country. "It went well. I wanted to run better. But, it was just too cold."
Suponcic led right from the start. He began to pull away from the rest of the field just after the first hill, early in the race.
"Once I increased my lead, no one challenged me the rest of the way," he said.
Stec won the female division of the race with an eighth-place overall finish in 23:08. The 37-year-old from Mocanaqua, outran second-place finisher Sherri Yelan, 40, of Kingston, by 21 seconds. Diane Levandoski, 53, of Dallas, finished third in 24:51.
Stec's winning-time was shy of her own course record, 22:37, established last year.
"I moved in front and took control about a half mile into the race going up a hill," Stec said. "I continued to run hard – I wanted to make sure I would successfully defend my title."
Stec wasn't 100 percent and found it difficult tracking down her own course record.
"I ran a trail marathon in Lock Haven two weeks ago," Stec said. "And my legs are still fatigued as a result of that race."
Stec had good things to say about race director, John Martino.
"He does a great job with this race," she said. "It's a fun race and well-organized."
Proceeds from the race go to the Back Mountain Youth Group to help fund a trip (Urban Challenge Retreat) to Camden, N.J. to the Romero Center, an outreach community organization that helps the poor.
Jayne Moore and Daniel Toomey are coordinators of the youth group.
The youth learn about helping the poor and about social justice. Then they bring what they've learned back home and spread what they've learned to others.
2nd annual Catholic Youth Back Mountain Fall 5K Run Results
Top 3 males
Kyle Suponcic, 22, Shavertown, 17:54
Tony Korch, 52, Nanticoke, 19:17
Andy Levandoski, 16, Dallas, 20:28
Age group winners: 14 & under: 1. Sean McMonagle, Shavertown, 26:48; 2. T.J. Gernhart, Glen Lyon, 28:35; 3. Mike Rockefeller, Plymouth, 34:22. 15-19: 1. Mike Stachnik, Dallas, 21:15; 2. Alex Clark, Monroe Twp., 30:21; 3. Kyle Magda, Dupont, 44:26. 20-29: 1. Joey Stubinger, Winchester, 28:46. 30-39: 1. Len Van Orden, Covington, 21:53; 2. Carl Gydosh, King of Prussia, 24:35. Masters division: 40-49: 1. Mark Wright, Shavertown, 20:46; 2. Steve Kaminski, Trucksville, 24:57; 3. Joe Hall, Auego, 27:44. 50-59: 1. Jerry Levandoski, Dallas, 21:59; 2. Reginald Thomas, Bear Creek Twp., 23:56; 3. Kevin Moran, Harveys Lake, 24:45. 60 & over: None.
Top 3 females
Jen Stec, 37, Mocanaqua, 23:08
Sherry Yelen, 40, Kingston, 23:29
Diane Levandoski, 53, Dallas, 24:51
Age group winners: 14 & under: 1. Andrea Rockefeller, Friendsville, 28:08; 2. Michelle Leonard, Dallas, 52:43; 3. Michael Rockefeller, Plymouth, 34:22. 15-19: 1. Kasidi Unger, Wilkes-Barre, 28:14. 20-29: 1. Keisty Rockefeller, Plymouth, 27:56; 2. Emily Mihalick, Brooklyn, NYC, 30:47. 30-39: 1. Krista Gydosh, King of Prussia, 31:52; 2. Shannon Myers, Dallas, 32:55; 3. Mary Smee, Larksville, 34:52. Masters division: 40-49: Annet Kaminski, Trucksville, 25:51; 2. Tammy Velenoski, Mountain Top, 54:00; 3. Gerri Vickers, Mountain Top, 58:07. 50-59: 1. Terri Janosik, Randolph, N.J., 47:00; 2. Jo Cruz, Harveys Lake, 51:12; 3. Tita McDermott, Harveys Lake, 52:32. 60 & over: 1. Cindy Delasavage, Shavertown, 56:22; 2. Mary Ellen Doris, Shavertown, 56:24.
First male finisher: Devan Clark, 10, Monroe Twp., 48:23. First female finisher: Anne Rockefeller, 49, Friendsville, 45:35. Field: 61 (51in the run and 10 in the walk).
Official starter: John F. Martino. Timing: John G. Martino, race director. Results: Joe Mogilski. Back Mountain Youth Group coordinators: Jayne Moore and Fr. Daniel Toomey.
Today: Jewish Community Center of Wyoming Valley's Benjamin August Memorial 3 Mile Run/Walk at the JCC, South River Street, Wilkes-Barre at 9 a.m. Info: Bill Buzza, 824-4646.
Saturday, Oct. 27: King's (College) 5K Run/Walk at Kirby Park at 10 a.m. Info: Jackie, (609) 273-8054 or Dr. Bindu Vyas, (570) 208-5900, ext. 5787.
Sunday, Oct. 28: Wyoming Valley Striders' Fall Trail Run at Frances Slocum State Park, at the pavilion near the boat launch area, Kingston Twp. At 1 p.m. Info: Vince Wojnar, 474-5363.
Thursday, Nov. 22 (Thanksgiving): Berwick Marathon Association's (9 mile) Run for the Diamonds at Market and Second streets, Berwick at 10:30 a.m. Info: Margaret Livsey, 759-1300.