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The inaugural ATW Awards

January 2, 2010 - Erik Brown

Announcing and presenting the first annual ATW Awards for outstanding achievements by local runners. Over the next week or so, I’ll blog about the best of the best runners, coaches, and others involved in our sport from the Mirror coverage area and present the very best with a soon-to-be coveted ATW Award.


The ATW Award categories include:


Outstanding Female High School Runner

Outstanding Male High School runner

Outstanding Female Runner

Outstanding Male Runner

Most Inspirational Female Runner

Most Inspirational Male Runner

Lifetime Achievement – Female

Lifetime Achievement – Male

Outstanding Promoter of Running by an Individual, Group, or Organization


(More categories may be added)


The ATW Awards Committee (me) has already selected the nominees and winners in each of the categories listed above, but I absolutely welcome your input for additional nominees, categories, or whatever. For example, I could use some help in gathering information on our local college runners. You can e-mail your thoughts to me at, or better yet, post them below as a comment. Who did I overlook? Please let me know.   


Without further adieu then…


The (Inaugural) ATW Award for Outstanding Female High School Runner


3rd Runner-Up – A tie between Alyssa Brandis from Central Cambria, and Lucia Sofo from State College. Brandis, a freshman, was the top runner for the Central Cambria girls’ XC team that repeated as PIAA Girls AA State XC Champions. She finished 3rd in the AA Girls’ race at the District 6 meet (19:45) and 4th at states (19:37). Sofo, a senior, was the AAA Girls’ District 6 Outdoor Track & Field Champion in the 3200M (12:02), the D6 XC Champion (19:49), and finished 22nd at states (20:19).


2nd Runner-Up – Chloe Schmidt from State College. Chloe excels as a middle distance runner. Her accomplishments in 2009 include two Girls’ AAA District 6 Outdoor Track & Field titles: 800M (2:12) and 1600M (5:14), a first place finish in the 800M (2:12) at the West Central Coaches Meet, and a 2nd place finish in the 800M (2:11) at the PIAA State Outdoor Track & Field meet.


1st Runner-Up – Leah Anne Wirfel from Forest Hills. Leah Anne is currently the best female high school distance runner from this area. She won the 3200M at the West Central Coaches Meet in 11:17, and was the Girls’ AA District 6 Champion in the 3200M (11:18). Wirfel ran even faster at the PIAA State Track & Field meet earning a 3rd place in the 3200M (11:02). In October she ran away from a talented field at the District 6 XC meet to win easily in 18:42. I have to assume that Leah Anne was sick, injured, or both at the PIAA State XC meet because things did not go at all as expected. Nonetheless, she had a great year in 2009.


And the (first ever) ATW Award goes too… This young lady comes from a well-known running family, and has made her mark as a middle distance runner. She was a double winner at the West Central Coaches Meet in the AA Girls’ 800M (2:18) and 1600M (5:03). She matched that feat at the District 6 Outdoor Track & Field Meet winning the 800M in 2:17, and the 1600M in 5:06. She topped off her outdoor track & field season with a PIAA State gold medal in the 1600M (5:01). But wait, there’s more! At the PIAA State XC Meet in November, she ran a superb race finishing 7th overall in 19:38 which most certainly helped her Central Cambria teammates repeat as PIAA Girls’ AA State XC Champions. The winner is… the second Seymour sister… Kelsey Seymour!


Congratulations and well done to all. Over the next two weeks, I’ll announce the winners of the other categories. Next on the schedule is the ATW for Outstanding Male High School Runner. Look for that in the next couple of days!


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