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Bollman, O’Donnell capture 15K titles in annual July 4 race

Blair Regional YMCA Angie Gioiosa Memorial Fourth of July race

Photo for the Mirror by Chuck Meyers Amy O’Donnell of Ebensburg comes down the home stretch, finishing in first place in the women’s 15K with a time of 1:05:44.50.

Incoming Chestnut Ridge High School senior Calan Bollman is an outstanding wrestler, having placed second in the PIAA Class 2A state tournament at 106 pounds as a freshman in 2020 and fifth at 132 pounds last March.

Nonetheless, he believes that his forte, and his most promising future, lies in distance running. He was a fourth-place finisher at the Class 2A state cross country meet as a sophomore and placed 17th at the event last fall, earning two all-state medals in the process.

“I will have a shot at the gold medal in wrestling as a senior, but my best shot at a gold medal will be in cross country,” Bollman said. “I haven’t committed to a college yet, but I want to compete in cross country and track in college.”

Bollman, 17, showed his prowess over the long haul on a sun-splashed Monday in the Blair Regional YMCA’s Angie Gioiosa Memorial Fourth of July men’s 15K race through Altoona, winning the 9.3-mile event with a time of 52 minutes, 00.62 seconds.

Bollman’s distance running training partner, Van May of Bedford, placed second, 27 seconds behind in 52:27.60.

Amy O’Donnell of Ebensburg was the 15K women’s race champion with a time of 1:05.44.50. Regina Ruggery of Duncansville was second in 1:07.17.80.

Bollman found the generally flat terrain on the 15K course to his liking. Then when he encountered a hill, he dug down deep for something extra.

“This course was relatively flat, and that helped a lot,” Bollman said. “When I got to a hill, I pushed through it, because I knew that there was a downhill grade at the end where I could make up some ground on my opponents.”

Bollman finished more than 4 minutes better on Monday that he did in last year’s Altoona 15K, when he crossed the line in 56:30.

“I knew where some of the hills were this year, and I was prepared for them,” Bollman said. “The race started early (7:30 a.m.), so it wasn’t super hot out. I felt that helped, along with the water stations that were available along the course.”

Bollman, who said that he runs an average of 45 to 50 miles per week and is also a member of the track team at Ridge, wanted to go at a pace of less than 6 minutes early in the race. He and May, a Bedford Area High School graduate, both maintained that sub 6-minute-per-mile pace through the entire race.

“We used to compete against each other when he was in high school, and he was one of my toughest opponents,” Bollman said of May. “I never beat him in high school. Then we became distance running training partners. He makes a great training partner. I can always rely on him.”

Altoona’s A.J. Kelly, who won seven Fourth of July 15K men’s championships from 2000 to 2019, finished third in 52:45.75, while Williamsburg’s Loc O, attempting to win his third straight championship in the event this year, placed fourth in 53:15.28.

“It was excellent weather today and an excellent turnout,” O, 45, said. “I just got beat by some younger runners today.”

O’Donnell, 37, made her debut in the Altoona 15K a smashing success, winning the women’s championship with a time of 1:05.44.50.

“I’ve been running longer distances for the past couple of years,” said O’Donnell, who has completed several 13.1-mile half-marathons. “Today was a beautiful day to run. The weather was perfect. It wasn’t too hot. The course had some grades that made it interesting. Overall, it was a good race.”

O’Donnell had the lead a third of the way through the race and maintained a steady pace throughout.

“My splits were pretty consistent, and I was happy with that,” said O’Donnell, a former high school and collegiate runner at Cambria Heights and Saint Francis University, respectively. “I felt good right through until the finish. I always like to place among the top three, and I was very pleased with how I did today.”

Huntingdon’s Morgan Hess, a Juniata Valley High School star runner, was third in the 15K women’s event with a time of 1:08.29.15.

In the 5K (3.1-mile race), Ian Sherlock of Hopewell — a former cross country and track standout at Northern Bedford High School — won the men’s championship with a time of 16:01.59, while Daniel Kelly of Spring Mills was second in 16:34.97 and last year’s 5K men’s champ, Wayne Hooper of Ephrata, finished third in 16:57.97.

Quinn McElhenny of Hastings, a former Cambria Heights running standout, won the women’s 5K championship with a time of 18:54.78, while Chloe May of Bedford was second in 19:15.60 and Ashlyn Noce of Altoona was third in 20:51.66.

In the 2-mile walk, Donna Stoltz of Altoona was the women’s and overall champion with a time of 21:13.20, while 10-year-old Taden Pincherri was the male champion with a 25:02.80 finish.

Listed below are the top overall finishers, and their times, by division:

15K MEN

1, Calan Bollman, Osterburg, 52:00.62; 2, Van May, Bedford, 52:27.60; 3, A.J. Kelly, Altoona, 52:45.75; 4, Loc O, Williamsburg, 53:15.28; 5, Clayton Blose, Brooklyn, 54:01.37; 6, Luke Ruggery, Duncansville, 56:20.49; 7, Gabe Ebersole, Altoona, 57:54.45; 8, Joel Takacs, Ebensburg, 59:12.47; 9, Kyle Ruggery, Duncansville, 59:14.75; 10, Timothy Kelly, Harrisburg, 1:00.06.61.

15K WOMEN

1, Amy O’Donnell, Ebensburg, 1:05.44.50; 2, Regina Ruggery, Duncansville, 1:07.17.80; 3, Morgan Hess, Huntingdon, 1:08.29.15. 4, Krista McCrum, Alexandria, 1:08.30.16; 5, Jane Hallinan, Altoona, 1:09.41.86; 6, Addison Smith, Duncansville, 1:12.45.00; 7, Victoria McIntyre, Altoona, 1:13.20.45; 8, Hilary Yahner, Ebensburg, 1:14.25; 9, Jennifer Bonin, Duncansville, 1:14.32.74; 10, Brittany Madden, Hollidaysburg, 1:14.35.99.

5K MEN

1, Ian Sherlock, Hopewell, 16:01.59; 2, Daniel Kelly, Spring Mills, 16:34.97; 3, Wayne Hooper, Ephrata, 16:57.97; 4, Spencer Koontz, 17:19.25; 5, Walt Wedel, Duncansville, 18:21.94; 6, Eli Ebersole, Altoona, 18:33.91; 7, Christopher Fox, Altoona, 18:34.10; 8, Clinton Heaster, Altoona, 18:40.72; 9, Dallas Smithmyer, Bellwood, 18:50.39; 10, Shane May, Bedford, 18:51.39.

5K WOMEN

1, Quinn McElhenny, Hastings, 18:54.78; 2, Chloe May, Bedford, 19:15.60; 3, Ashlyn Noce, Bedford, 20:51.66; 4, Arlee Simendinger, Ashville, 20:51.75; 5, Blake Pennington, Altoona, 21:11.70; 6, Ava Whysong, New Paris, 21:41.45; 7, Grace Gioiosa, 21:47.97; 8, Alexis Lovrich, Tyrone 21:51.61; 9, Jenna Wise, Bedford, 22:20.98;10, Josie Ciccarella, 23:20.28.

2-MILE WALK MALE

1, Taden Pincherri, Altoona, 25:02.80; 2, Lou Pincherri, Altoona, 25:08.48; 3, Gabriel Seiler, Hollidaysburg, 26:00.10; 4, Isaiah Arpino, 27:09.75; 5, William Smith, Manns Choice, 27:29.68; 6, Robert Conte, Sr., Altoona, 27:50.80; 7, Gary Rhodes, Altoona, 28:06.11; 8, John Snyder, Duncansville, 29:18.60; 9, Bob Seiler, Hollidaysburg, 29:31.25; 10, Christin Irwin, 29:47.45.

2-MILE WALK FEMALE

1, Donna Stoltz, Altoona, 21:13.20; 2, Krystal Edwards, 23:16.21; 3, Lisa Appleby, Everett, 23:48.70; 4, Sophia Fiore, Hollidaysburg, 23:52.37; 5, Sherry Obert, Bedford, 24:19.53; 6, Kathie Pastore, Altoona, 24:47.69; 7, Bobbi Bollinger, Altoona, 25:28.40; 8, Robyn Hampton, Tyrone, 26:00.52; 9, Kathy Woods, Hollidaysburg, 26:02.52; 10, Amy Labriola, Altoona, 26:18.17.

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