Tough competition in Traverse City highlights this past weekend's running and racing

Tough competition in Traverse City highlights this past weekend's running and racing

By Steve Marcinkowski,

The Cherry Festival is an annual event held in beautiful Traverse City, Michigan. This year’s Festival of Races proved to be another exciting event.

Tommy Neal was the male overall champion for the 5K run Saturday. Neal completed the challenging and hilly course in an impressive 15:20. Hailing from Manitou Springs, Colorado, Neal was also a participant in the 2012 US Olympic Marathon Trials held this January in Houston, Texas. Following Neal in second place was Kevin Cataldo of Suttons Bay, Michigan. Cataldo, a former Oakland University Track and Field and Cross Country runner, ran 15:49 in Saturday’s Cherry Fest 5k. Close behind Cataldo, Neil Klinger of Spring Valley, Ohio was third in 16:01.

Oxford, Michigan resident, Brooke Kovacic was the first female to cross the finish line with a time of 18:30. Finishing in second place, Andrea Blake of Dearborn crossed the line in 19:14.

In the 15K, the men’s finish was a sight to see. First place finisher, Zach Ripley of Rockford, MI finished the 9.3 mile course in 48:31. Ripley, who now runs for Playmakers, was the 2010 Cornerstone University NAIA National Steeplechase Champion. Finishing second, Petoskey’s Dan Kerr crossed the line in 48:32. Kerr also competed at the collegiate level having run for Calvin College.

Emma Kertesz, current University of Toledo Track and Field and Cross Country Runner, won the women’s 15K in a blazing 53:05. In her 2012 Outdoor Track and Field season at Toledo, Kertesz set the Mid-American Conference 10K record in 33:28. Her time also qualified her for the Olympic Track and Field Trials in June. Finishing behind Kertesz Saturday, Nicole Michmerhuizen of Holland, Michigan took home second place in 58:25. Michmerhuizen is a current Track and Field and Cross Country runner for Calvin College.

The 10th Annual Bastille Day race held in Fenton was also run on Saturday. Davisburg resident, Michael McCarty Jr. was the male overall champion in the 5K with his time of 16:54. Close behind McCarty was Davis Nixon of Davisburg crossing the line in 17:02. Finishing third overall in the 5K, female overall champion, Suzanne Larson of Fenton ran 18:41. The second female to cross the line was Lisa Veneziano, also of Fenton. Her time of 19:39 was good for 10th place overall and the female Masters Championship.

In the 15K, Kenny Wall ran away with the win. Wall, a former Oakland University Track and Field and Cross Country runner, completed the course in a time of 50:34. Second place and male Masters Champion, was Kurt Walrath of Fenton crossing the line in 53:46. Rounding out the top three was Patrick Cassady. Cassady, who currently runs for Oakland University, finished in 56:40.

On the women’s side, Kelsey Bragg won the 15K race in a time of 1:07:31. Bragg currently plays Lacrosse for Grand Valley State University. Second place female and current Oakland University runner, Leigh Bravender crossed the line in 1:10:22.

In Wyandotte, Saturday’s Portofino Run 4 Art 5K was yet another exciting event in the state. The overall 5k champion was Matt Robin of Rockwood, Michigan. Robin's first place time was 16:59. Second place went to the male Masters Champion, Redford, Michigan resident Paul Aufdemberge with his time of 17:38.

Ann-Germaine Danz of Wyandotte was the first female to complete the 5K course in a time of 20:15. Finishing 30th overall, female Masters Champion, Denise Kopp of Grosse Ile ran 21:14, good for a second place finish in the women’s race.

Congratulations to all who raced this weekend. For additional results, visit the Results page.

Looking for a race to run in the upcoming days or weeks? Check out the Calendar!