By KIM NORTH
For the News-Register
ST. CLAIRSVILLE - Two new champions were crowned Saturday morning as the 14th annual Samuel A. Mumley "Do It for the Kids" 5K Classic Run/Walk was held.
St. John Central graduate Matt Riffle was the first runner to break the tape on a brisk and windy morning. The former Irish runner checked in at 17:18.
Two minutes, 31 seconds later, St. Clairsville senior-to-be Juliana Madzia crossed the finish line to win the women's overall title.
Saturday's race was the third time Riffle, who competes at Wheeling Jesuit University, had taken part in the St. Clairsville Sunrise Rotary-sponsored event, but the first time he took it seriously.
"I've ran this race a couple of other times when I was in high school, but this is my first time really racing," Riffle said. "The other two times I just kind of jogged it with my friends ... just to come and hang out.
"If was fun. The conditions were pretty good. I thought my time was OK for being a really tough course."
Former Martins Ferry distance ace Cedric Robinson, who won last Wednesday's Betty Zane Days 5K, led until the pair came off of the bicycle path.
"You've got to keep that big hill in mind at the end ... that last mile," Riffle explained. "If you're not ready for it, it will beat you up.
"But Cedric ran a good race. The hill got him."
Robinson didn't disagree.
"I felt awesome, but the hill was just too much," he said.
"Once he passed me, I couldn't catch up."
Madzia had another way to explain her triumph.
"Amy Castle didn't run," Madzia, who finished second last year, said of the 2011 women's champion. "I've been training a lot more this summer, and I'm a lot more used to this course because we practice on it for cross country."
Knowing the course, Madzia took off early and never looked back.
"It was all downhill for the first mile, so I just went as hard as I could because you don't really get tired when you're running downhill," she said.
"My goal was to break 20 minutes, and I did. So, it was a good day."
Not only did Riffle and Madzia win the overall titles, respectively, they also claimed the Mayor's Awards sponsored by St. Clairsville Mayor Robert Vincenzo, and their respective age groups.
Former St. Clairsville cross country and track standout, Jamie Perzanowski, finished second.
Taking the 5K walk championships were Moundsville's Gary Bennett and Zanesville's Kathy Ervin.
Winning the annual $1,000 scholarships were Alexis Laurine and Cole Antolak. Awarded the academic scholarships, which were done in a blind draw of all OVAC Cross Country runners entered in yesterday's race, were Zach Malesky and Ryan Lewton.
The entire race took less than an hour, as the final walker crossed the finish line with a couple of minutes to spare.