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Springville Stampede makes local history

AND THE GOLD GOES TO ­— Carl Emerling presents a trophy to winner Brian McNearny (center), as Joe Cocina looks on.
SPRINGVILLE — The Springville-Griffith Institute Varsity Club hosted its fifth annual Springville Stampede on May 9. The event is a fundraiser for the varsity club, a group that assists S-GI athletic programs.

Brian McNearney, a 2012 S-GI graduate and current runner at the University at Buffalo, took first place overall, finishing the course with a time of 16 minutes, 53 seconds. McNearney credited his win to former teammate Chad Maloy’s being absent from the race, due to an injury.

“I noticed that Chad Maloy wasn’t in the race,” McNearney said. “I was just pretty sure that nobody else here could keep up with me, so I just kept running my race. I have to hope that Chad gets injured again, next year, if I want to repeat,” he said, with a laugh.

SPRINTING WITH A SMILE — Jessica Wojkowiak gives the thumbs up as she leads the pack down Maple Road.

S-GI sophomore Mitch Bunic finished second, overall, while Jess Wojkowiak won the female title.

There were 225 competitors in the stampede, with 197 runners in the 5K race; 28 kids raced in the “Little Griff” races. The overall number of runners and volunteers marked the largest turnout since the race began, in 2009.

Chris Mathewson, who works on the race and with the varsity club, said he was impressed with the number of student racers and volunteers. There were 79 student-aged runners, 30 student volunteers and 28 more “Little Griff” runners.

“There was great weather [and] great racing, from runners from ages 3 – 72 and great fellowship, among teachers, students, parents, administrators and visitors,” Mathewson said. “Feedback from our visitors was overwhelmingly positive and our volunteers, runners and community were highly regarded, by the event’s conclusion. It was nice to see such a large turnout, especially such a large increase in our students’ participation, in what can be a lifelong, healthy activity.”

Visitors came from Pioneer and Jamestown as well as Seattle, Wash. and New Hampshire.

First place finishes in each age group, for men, were Brad Zifra, 14 and younger; McNearney, 15 – 19, Robert Beckett, 20 – 24; Nate Page, 25 – 29; Adam Fisher, 30 – 34; Kevin Walsh, 35 – 39; Alan Pulinski, 40 – 44; Paul Pulinski, 45 – 49; Mark Ballachini, 50 – 54; Jeff Davis, 55 – 59; Rick Serley, 60 – 64; Larry Ammon, 65 – 69 and Michael Williams, 70 – 99.

In the women’s categories, first place finishes were Grace Zabawa, 14 and younger; Jess Wojkowiak, 15 – 19; Katie Geoffrey, 20 – 24; Marviane Darnley, 25 – 29; Heather Burger, 30 – 34; Mary Laurence, 35 – 39; Diane Waterman, 40 – 41; Amy Dickinson , 45 – 49; Laura Zeffer, 50 – 54; Stacey Curry, 55 – 59; Noreen McAllister, 60 – 64; Patricia Kunselman, 65 – 69 and Edna Hyer, 70 – 99.

LIKE BROTHER, LIKE SISTER — McKenzie Maloy finished the stampede with her little brother, Harley. Photos by Dave DeLuca.

“First and foremost, it is important to recognize the student leadership of varsity club, especially Alena Woodarek and Tia Woodarek,” Mathewson said. “They are very capable and their efforts were significant, to the success of the evening. Tell them ‘nice job,’ if you happen to see them. In addition, many faculty, athletic teams and clubs showed up, to lend big helping hands, not only [during the event], but in the weeks leading up to the event.”

Mathewson put the race together with Jim Velasquez. Both of these individuals thanked those who made the event possible: the S-GI girls track and field, S-GI cross-country, S-GI high school student services, Velasquez’s exercise science class, Joe DeMartino and the S-GI athletic department, the S-GI business department, SWAT, Springville Youth Inc., Larry Kroll, Bob Parsons, Sherry Bligh and volunteers Kim Pazzuti, Nils Wikman, Mark Heichberger and Eric Holler.

“Thank you to Mr. [Vincent] Vanderlip and Mr. [John] Baronich, for their consistent support of varsity club’s efforts toward supporting the S-GI athletic community,” Mathewson said. “It was a community effort and a fun event, for the S-GI community.”


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