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Reta breaks through, wins Ausherman 5-Miler

August 09, 2009|By ANDREW MASON

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- The third time was the charm for Alene Reta at the 22nd annual Tom Ausherman Memorial 5-Mile Run.

After finishing second at this race each of the previous two years, Reta, a 27-year-old Ethiopian living in New York City, easily won Saturday in 23 minutes, 46 seconds. Matt Marcini, 33, of York, Pa., finished second in 25:18.

Luck was on Reta's side, as he was the only elite African to show up to the race, which has long been dominated by African men. Last year, Reta had to run nearly a minute faster (22:49) to finish second in a deep field of foreign-born runners.

"No hard work today," said Reta, who earned $500 for the victory. "No competition, nobody to push me. I wanted to win, but the problem is I didn't run a good time."

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Lara Crofford, 20, of Newville, Pa., was the women's champ in 29:01. The race hadn't had an American winner since two-time Olympian Anne Marie Lauck took the title in 2001.

While Crofford -- a standout runner at the University of Nebraska -- didn't have to battle an international field Saturday, she had to contend with longtime friend and rival Sarah Morrison.

Morrison, 20, of Chambersburg, who's a top runner at Villanova University, was the runner-up in 29:20.

"I didn't look back because I knew she was right there," Crofford said. "I just kept running."

Of the 359 overall finishers, several were from Washington County.

Michael Lilley, 18, of Hagerstown, was the top county male, placing sixth overall in 26:44. Dani Mason, 37, of Hagerstown, was the top county female, finishing seventh among the women in 34:13.

Lilley, a 2009 Williamsport High School graduate, was The Herald-Mail's Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year last fall. In a few weeks, he'll begin his NCAA Division I cross country career at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C.

"I've just been doing base training all summer," Lilley said. "I didn't even decide to do this until Wednesday, so I didn't really cut back or anything for it.

"I just wanted to do it so that (5-mile races) in college won't be such a shock. It's a lot different than 5K."

Former Clear Spring High School runner Wade Miller, who now competes for Hagerstown Community College, finished 10th overall in 27:19.

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