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Clement, Blanco run to Gary Brown 5-Miler titles

August 25, 2012|By ANDREW MASON | andrewm@herald-mail.com
  • Williamsport's Tony Clement runs along the C&O Canal on his way to victory in the Gary Brown 5-Miler on Saturday morning.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

WILLIAMSPORT — The 31st annual Gary Brown Memorial C&O Canal 5-Miler was a home run for Tony Clement.

The 25-year-old, who lives in Williamsport, was a champion there Saturday morning.

“I train on the canal, I love the canal, it was perfect,” he said. “I’d been looking forward to this race for a while.”

Clement completed the out-and-back race, which started and ended at Riverbottom Park, in 26:49 — averaging 5:22 per mile on the towpath course.

Cameron Hanlin, 24, of Hagerstown, the defending champion, finished second this year in 26:57. While he stayed within striking distance the entire way, Clement prevented himself from being struck.

“He was there the whole time,” Clement said. “I just kept on pressing, and he never really moved up on me.”

Amy Blanco, 36, of Hagerstown, was the women’s champion in 30:46, while Angie Rhoderick-McKinley, 30, of Warfordsburg, Pa., was the runner-up in 31:44. The pair ran together to the turnaround cone, before Blanco pulled away the final 2 1/2 miles.

“Angie looked really strong and didn’t even seem tired, but at the turnaround she said she lost her footing a little bit,” Blanco said. “I felt strong and just kept the same pace to the end.”

Susan Graham-Gray, 44, of Greencastle, Pa. — a seven-time champion of the race — finished third in 32:11, capturing the masters (40-and-older) title. Laurie Dymond, 46, of Chambersburg, Pa., was fourth in 33:01, and Boonsboro High School star Sarah Zielinski, 17, was fifth in 33:16.

Zielinski, a senior, ran 25 seconds faster than she did last year, when she was the overall female champ.

The top high school male was Luke Daigneault, 16, of Smithsburg, who finished third overall in 28:19. Daigneault, who won three state titles on the track last school year as a junior at Smithsburg, has transferred to St. Maria Goretti and is set to lead the Gaels this fall in cross country.

“I had never raced 5 miles before,” he said. “It was a nice, modest effort going into the season.”

Mitch Swope, 17, of Thurmont, Md., who also will be a senior at Goretti this year, finished fourth overall in 28:47.

“It’s really great to have teammates to run with,” Daigneault said.

Brandon Brown, 24, of Hagerstown, completed the top five in 29:22. The men’s masters champ was Matt Elgin, 41, of Chambersburg, Pa., who finished sixth overall in 29:25.

There were 140 official finishers — including 9-year-old Ryan Rasco, of Hagerstown, who was 34th in 35:14.

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