2011 Greater Hazleton Festival of Races Banquet
Photo, click to enlarge: Left to right-
Sitting: Mike Lewis (18U Co-Champion) Wendy Reshetar (VRC Secretary)
Front Row; Amy Cartwright (Valley Great8 RD), Nicole Miller (18u 2ndPlace)
2nd Row: Melissa Miller (YMCA RD), Mark Nensteil (19 & over, 3rd Place), Ashley Youmans (18 & under, Champion), Sherry Akins (Masters Champion), Joe Kichlinsky (Masters Champ) George Dunbar Jr. (Overall Champion), Jacob Fetterman (18 & under, Co-Champion), Rob Warnagiris (Masters, 3rd Place)
Last Row: Rob Gould (PSU 5K RD) Dan Nensteil (19 & over, 2nd Place), Mike Palermo (Masters, 4th Place), Nico Palermo (18 & under, 3rd Place), Jim Akins (Masters 5th Place) Pat Shields (Masters, 7th Place) Sherry Robinson (Masters, 2nd Place) Bill Coolbaugh (Masters, 6th Place) Roland Gensel (Masters, 2nd Place)

by Mike Palermo

      The Valley Running Club celebrated the Hazleton Area's 2011 running season with their end of the year banquet Sunday November 13th, 2011 at Vesuvio's Ristorante in Drums. Among the attendees were The 2011 Greater Hazleton Festival of Races participants who competed in area races from April through October.

      This year's competition was not a runaway for the males in any division as George Dunbar,Jr. of Old Forge had a narrow win over Joseph Kichlinsky of Wyoming. In the combined seven required races that spanned a total of twenty-three and a half miles Dunbar won by a mere half a minute. The speedy Dunbar was also lucky as he walked away from the banquet not only as the champion but the winner of the Phillips HD 32" LED television drawing.

      In the Male 18u (eighteen and under) division Mike Lewis of Shickshinny and Drum's Jacob Fetterman ended in a tie and were named co-champions for 2011. Plymouth's Kerry Zawadski three-peated as the Female Overall Champion. Sherry Akins of Tamaqua won the Female Masters Division followed by Sugarloaf's Sherry Robinson. Area runners, Ashley Youmans (Freeland) captured the Female 18u championship followed by Nicole Miller (Sugarloaf).

      The banquet not only honored our champions but it was a celebration of the success of the Hazleton Area's races this past year. Many of our local race directors were in attendance and were recognized at the banquet for their dedication to our sport in 2011. This was one of our best celebrations to date as a running club and we are looking forward to the 2012 Hazleton Area Running season which will kick off in April with the Health & Wellness 5K.

      The Greater Hazleton Festival of Races was proudly sponsored by George Dunbar, Jr, Tim Kelly (Physical Therapy Specialists) and Palermo Chiropractic Center. The Valley Running Club is especially grateful to our sponsors, runners and all those who contributed to our success in 2011.