WILKES-BARRE — Jeff Skwierz ran away from the field to capture overall honors and Emily Bell scored a come-from-behind victory in the women’s division in the River Street 3 Mile Run on Sunday.
Skwierz won in wire-to-wire fashion, breaking the tape in 15 minutes and 46 seconds. The 32-year-old from Forty Fort outran second-place finisher, George Dunbar, 51, of Old Forge, by 3:46. Greg Bassham, 56, of Mountain Top, finished third in 20:16.
When Skwierz moved to the starting line and looked around, he figured he’d be running alone.
“I didn’t see Chris Wadas or Rob Moulton or anybody else who might challenge me,” Skwierz said. “So I just decided to get in a good time trial and see where I’m at for Forty Fort.”
Skwierz was referring to the Old Fort 5 Miler, the Memorial Day race he’ll be competing in that takes place in his home town.
Skwierz, who ran for Hazleton Area High School and Lock Haven University, said he was happy with his performance.
“I wanted to run a little harder - more aggressively,” he said.”But the high humidity made it tough. And considering that I was running alone out there with no one pushing me, I did pretty well.”
One thing is for sure, Skwierz knows there will be a very competitive field in action in Forty Fort on Memorial Day. The Memorial Day race always draws a good field of runners.
Skwierz will be the heavy favorite to win the Ed Kupstas Memorial Award given to the first male Forty Fort resident to finish. But Skwierz is in really good shape and could possibly challenge for top honors in the 5 miler.
Bell said she surprised even herself, winning top female honors with a fourth-place overall finish in 20:28. The 32-year-old from Bear Creek Township outraced the second-place female finisher, Sherri Yelen, 43, of Kingston (seventh-place overall) by 25 seconds. Jordan Everett, a 15-year-old from Hunlock Creek was the third female to finish, placing 10th overall in 22:31.
“I caught and passed (Yelen) just before 2-1/2 miles into the race,” said Bell, who usually trains almost exclusively for half marathons. “Once I took over the lead, I settled into a good pace. I couldn’t hear (Yelen) behind me. So I just kept my eyes on the guys running ahead of me. I caught and passed one guy. Once I saw the finish line up ahead, I give it all I had to the finish.”
Jewish Community Center of Wyoming Valley’s
2015 River Street 3 Mile Run results
1. Jeff Skwierz, 32, Forty Fort, 15:46
2. George Dunbar, 51, Old Forge, 19:32
3. Greg Bassham, 56, Mountain Top, 20:16
4. Emily Bell, 32, Bear Creek Twp., 20:28
5. Kevin Curry, 27, Pittston, 20:37
6. Don Shearer, 47, W. Pittston, 20:44
7. Sherri Yelen, 43, Kingston, 20:53
8. Dave Jiunta, 62, W. Wyoming, 22:06
9. Rich Pais, 54, Wilkes-Barre, 22:21
10. Jordan Everett, 15, Hunlock Creek, 22:31
Male age group winners: 14 & under: 1. Ray Joseph, Mountain Top, 31:20. 15-19: none. 20-29: 1. Kevin Curry, Pittston, 20:37. 30-34: none. 35-39: 1. Mike Dutrow, Hanover Twp., 23:19. Masters division: 40-44: John Zawardski, Luzerne, 23:14; 2. Dave Hines, Kingston, 27:00. 45-49: 1. Don Shearer, W. Pittston, 20:44; 2. Joe Sklarosky, Mountain Top, 24:48. 50-59: 1. George Dunbar, Old Forge, 19:32; 2. Greg Bassham, Mountain Top, 20:16. 60-69: 1. Dave Jiunta, W. Wyoming, 22:06; 2. Tom Winters, Shavertown, 28:06. 70 & over: 1. Dave Martindale, Kingston, 33:52.
Top 3 female finishers
1. Emily Bell, 32, Bear Creek Twp., 20:28
2. Sherri Yelen, 43, Kingston, 20:53
3. Jordan Everett, 15, Hunlock Creek, 22:31
Female age group winners: 14 & under: 1. Katie Sklarosky, Mountain Top, 29:05. 15-19: 1. Jordan Everett, Hunlock Creek, 22:31. 20-29: 1. Jaclyn Rawlings, Edwardsville, 22:45; 2. Heather McAndrew, Duryea, 23:02. 30-34: 1. Amy Feldman, Shavertown, 23:38; 2. Cathy Bruno, Dallas, 24:45. 35-39: none. Masters division: 40-44: Sherri Yelen, Kingston, 20:53; 2. Kerry Zawardski, Luzerne, na. 45-49: 1. Ingrid Everett, Hunlock Creek, 29:01. 50-54: 1. Ruth Brumagin, Mountain Top, 29:20; 2. Ann Cheney, Dallas, 31:07.
First walker to finish: Jeff Knutson, 62, Salorsburg, 33:59.
Field: 60 (run-50, walk-10). Official starter and finisher: Vince P. Wojnar. Timing: Vince A. Wojnar. Results: Insta Results. Race director: BillBuzza.
Monday, May 25 (Memorial Day): Forty Fort Lions 35th annual Old Fort 5 Miler at Betty Mascelli Borough Park, Wyoming Ave., Forty Fort at 9 a.m. Info: Bernie Popson, 570-498-7665.
Saturday, June 6: West Pittston Anthracite 4 Mile Run at the West Pittston Borough Office, Route 92, W. Pittston at 9 a.m. Info: Borough office, 570-655-7782.