WHITE HAVEN — Stephen Senick, a recent Penn State grad, led a field of 100 runners en route to top honors in the Wyoming Valley Striders 20K Run on Sunday at Lehigh Gorge State Park.
Senick, 22, of Hazleton, finished the 12.4 miler in 1 hour, 17 minutes and 27 seconds. Senick, who ran on the Penn State Cross Country Club Team at State College, held off second-place finisher, Paul Leonard, 53, of Scranton, who finished 10 seconds later. Nick Wadas, 33, of Kingston, who is the head cross country coach at Wilkes University, finished third, clocking in at 1:18:01.
“We had a pretty good group (in the lead pack) on the way out,” Senick said. “The top three dropped pace (at the turnaround). And I tried to open things up a bit. That’s when I got a small cushion. But the other runners kept pushing me the entire way. I just tried to hold them off.”
Patricia Buzinkai, 40, of Kingston, won top female honors in 1:34:27. Like Senick, Buzinkai had to hold off the second-place female finisher, Christal Zermane, 36, of Avoca, who pulled in 45 seconds behind.
“I basically led the entire way,” Buzinkai said. “I opened things up a bit at the 3-mile marker. But (Zermane) wasn’t that far behind the whole way. But I was able to hold her off.”
Buzinkai started running in 2008. Zermane started running in 2009.
After a 22-year hiatus, the Striders brought back its 20K last year. The original race, the 20Km Classic, as it was called back then, ran for 18 years before the running club shut it down due to safety issues. The old race was run through the city with a few small hills. The new race is run on cinders over a flat trail that features about a one percent upgrade on the way out and a one percent upgrade on the way back.
Wojnar to be honored
The Striders will celebrate its 40th anniversary with a banquet at Sheehy-Farmer Campus Center at King’s College on Tuesday. Runner’s World magazine chief running officer, Bart Yasso, will be the guest speaker.
Vince Wojnar, who was one of the founders of the running club, will be honored for his contributions to the local running community over the years.
Wojnar has served as the secretary/treasurer for many years. And he’s been the race director for most of the runs the club has sponsored over the years.
Wojnar recently announced that he will no longer serve as race director for Striders-sponsored races, turning over the race director duties to other members of the running club.
In August, the Striders, with permission from the city of Wilkes-Barre, honored Wojnar with a park bench placed in Kirby Park in an area where thousands of runners had run by while competing in Striders races over the years.
The bench features a plaque that reads: “In honor of Vince Wojnar, Athlete, Coach, Teacher, Official and Friend to All Runners Wyoming Valley Striders Dedicated 2015”
Wyoming Valley Striders 20K Run results
Top 10 finishers
1. Stephen Senick, 22, Hazleton, 1:17;27
2. Paul Leonard, 53, Scranton, 1:17:37
3. Nick Wadas, 33, Kingston, 1:18:01
4. Tony Korch, 55, Nanticoke, 1:22:21
5. Joe Drumsta, 47, Scranton, 1:27:12
6. William Cook, 61, Scranton, 1:27:28
7. Ryan Andrews, 48, Tunkhannock,1:30:42
8. David Rios, 39, New York City, 1:31:18
9. Dan Rosa, 45, W. Pittston, 1:31:39
10. Will Craft, 48, Lake Ariel, 1:31:49
Male award winners: Overall: Senick. Age group winners: 20-29: Frankie Swaha, Archbald. 30-34: Nick Wadas, Kingston. 35-39: David Rios, New York City. Masters division: 40-44: Will Craft, Lake Ariel. 45-49: Joe Drumsta, Scranton. 55-59: Tony Korch, Nanticoke. 60-64: William Cook, Scranton. 65 & over: Tony Cerminaro, Jermyn.
Top 3 female finishers
1. Patricia Buzinkai, 40, Kingston, 1:34:27
2. Christal Zermane, 36, Avoca, 1:35:12
3. Melissa Obmann, 42, Mountain Top, 1:41:03
Female award winners: Overall: Buzinkai. Age group winners: 20-29: Rebecca Kinsey, Dunmore. 30-34: Kaitlyn Carr, Edwardsville. 35-39: Christal Zermane, Avoca. Masters division: 40-44: Melissa Obmann, Mountain Top. 45-49: Deanna Manzoni, Dallas. 50-54: Annet Kaminski, Trucksville. 55-59: Laurie Chiumenta, Plains Twp. 60 & over: Bev Tomasak, Edwardsville.
Field: 101. Official starter and timing: Vince P. Wojnar. Results: Wyoming Valley Striders. Race directors: John Martino and Tony Pszeniczny.
Thursday, Nov. 26 (Thanksgiving): Berwick a marathon Association’s (9 mile) Run for the Diamonds at Market and Second streets, Berwick at 10:30 a.m. Info: Margaret Livsey, 570-759-1300.
Reach Times Leader sports at 570-829-7143 or on Twitter @tlsports.