Spradlin, Sober take CASA 5K titles

October 8, 2016

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Riemenschneider, Ellsworth declared Masters champs

Bryce, 3, whistles runners to rainy start

* Results and age group winners
* Event Facebook page
* CASA of Allegany County website
* Queen City Striders website

BOWLING GREEN, Md. — Jen Sober doesn’t gingerly do anything. The personal fitness trainer is inclined to give the best of whatever she has on any given day in the gym or while logging miles on the roads.

Submitted photo Misty Raines, left, makes a special presentation to the sister and wife of the late Dr. Megan Bradley.

Submitted photo
Misty Raines, left, makes a special presentation to the sister and wife of the late Dr. Megan Bradley.

So it’s no surprise that, despite the fact that the 43-year-old McHenry resident is nursing a nagging tendon issue that just won’t seem to heal up — she tweaked at last week’s Great Allegany Run 15K and again in a workout of mile repeats — she ends up first to the finish line just the same. McHenry led all women (who comprised 70 percent of official finishers) to the finish line on a rainy Saturday morning in the inaugural Megan Bradley Memorial 5K for CASA of Allegany County. She stopped the clock in a not-so-gingerly time of 22 minutes and 7 seconds, good for a pace of 7:08 per mile.

Despite the injury setbacks, however, it was still nine seconds per mile faster than a similarly flat Prescribe Change 4-miler a month ago in South Cumberland. Of course, Sober won that one, too. She remains the points leader in the Queen City Striders points series. The Megan Bradley Memorial 5K is a QC Striders club race and for club members counts towards season-ending standings. Sober said she’s won the overall women’s title for several years in a row. She hopes that this injury doesn’t prevent her from taking that honor for the 2016 racing season.

Sober’s finish was good for seventh overall in a field of 34. Race officials suspect a steady rain kept away many of the pre-registered runners and helped potential race-day participants roll back over inn their beds to catch some extra sleep. Sober outdistanced 9-year-old Callie Pudlak, of Swanton, who finished second in the female standings in 23:06. Pudlack represente the Antelope Youth Running Club with her orange T-shirt. Krystal Stair, 20, of Cumberland, was third in 23:23.

Still, there was a title to be won for the race, which was was renamed this year in Megan Bradley’s memory after 46-year-old professor, wife and mother passed away  in April at the age of 46. Bradley was vice president of the board of directors for CASA of Allegany County, a nonprofit organization that recruits and trains volunteers to be the voice neglected and abused children in a court of law. As 3-year-old Bryce Bradley-Hay, the son of Megan Bradley and Cindy Hay, started the race from his stroller with a blow on his new whistle, there were four primary contestants for the top spot.

Kevin Spradlin, 37, of Frostburg, and Chad Sindy, 19, of LaVale, were closely followed by Allegany High School cross country coach Chris Biser, 32, of Cresaptown, and Tyler Kirkwood, 22, of Frostburg. It stayed in that order until shortly after the turnaround point just past the water station powered by Allegany High School cheerleaders.

Submitted photo Shauna McQuade (left, women's 30-39) and Sharon Ellsworth (center, women's masters) placed well ... and Megan Mertz, right, chopped off more than 74 seconds to — after two years of trying — notch a 5K run under the 30-minute barrier.

Submitted photo
Sharon Ellsworth (center, women’s masters) placed well … and Megan Mertz, right, chopped off more than 74 seconds to — after two years of trying — notch a 5K run under the 30-minute barrier. Dr. Bradley was Megan’s advisor at Frostburg State University.

Sindy passed Spradlin twice in the second mile, only for Spradlin to catch him again. Kirkwood (running with a cast on one arm), meanwhile, caught Biser in the second half and held him off the rest of the way. Spradlin passed Sindy one final time before the railroad tracks and with less than a half-mile to go, Sindy settled in for second place. Spradlin crossed the finish line in 19:38 while Sindy, a first-year runner on the Allegany College of Maryland cross country team’s debut season, finished in 19:45. Kirkwood was a close third in 19:47 and Biser was fourth in 20:03. Kirkwood had beaten Spradlin by 11 seconds for third place in the Prescribe Change 4-miler, contested on Labor Day last month.

The win was Spradlin’s third road race victory since 1997 and first since the Red Bud Distance Run 10-miler in 2013. It was his fastest 5K time since running another 19:38 on May 10, 2008, in Hyndman, Pa.

Neal Riemenschneider, 61, of Winchester, Va., raced to a fifth-place finish to earn the men’s masters title in 21:23, a pace of 6:53 per mile. Queen City Striders President Sharon Ellsworth ran to the women’s masters crown in 25:17, good for 13th overall.

The next Striders race — and second-to-last for 2016 — is set for Thursday, Nov. 24, with the 20th annual running of the Turkey Day 5K, starting and finishing beside Westernport American Legion Victory Post 155.

A giant “thank you” to a small army of 5K volunteers on Saturday that consisted of Zach, Tom, Chris, Misty, Katie, Amy, Kim, Lynn, Sharon, several members of the Allegany High School cheerleading squad and many others.

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