April 29, 2016


Race memorializing slain Elyria officer continues growth

ELYRIA — Race leaders for Saturday’s fourth annual James A. Kerstetter 5K Run and Family Fun Walk were in consensus. The footprint of the late Elyria police Sgt. James Kerstetter remains as strong as ever.

Elyria’s Matt Wiehe, 20, defended his title in 16 minutes, 27.4 seconds as he outdistanced former Elyria Catholic teammate Jake Amato, 18 (17:05.5). Elyria High junior James Hawks was third (17:43.8).

Lorain’s Kelly Staruch, 28, (18:44.5) was the women’s winner. She held off two-time winner Alexa Rick, 20, from Elyria (18:53.5), who won the event in 2010 and ’11. Michaela Foisy, 18, Rick’s former teammate at EC, was third in 19:13.8.

“Officer Kerstetter paid the ultimate price. I’m happy to come out here and support it because he gave his life for the city,” said Wiehe, an Ashland University junior this fall. “You can’t ask for a better guy than that.”

Wiehe was twice All-Ohio in track as a member of the 3,200-meter relay for EC and a member of three state cross country teams that finished second (2009), fourth (2010) and ninth (2008).

“Kerstetter represents what Americans stand for,” said Amato, who will attend Dayton this fall. “They should stand up for each other and support the selfless fact of giving of oneself. It stinks that that happened to him. He’s gone from us, but he’s remembered right here, right now.

“My friends have always come out to support this event. What’s better remembering someone than remembering someone with your friends? It brings a sense of community to Elyria. Even though we’re all different we can all stand together and pay respect to a guy that gave his life for the city.”

The course was altered slightly this year because of construction in Cascade Park. The start/finish was Kerstetter Way with a turnaround at Washington Avenue and Elywood Drive.

“I love coming out here,” said Hawks, who finished second last year to Wiehe. “It’s a great cause and I love supporting it.”

With the summer race docket full of choices, the cause is what attracted Staruch to the event.

“It’s a good cause,” said Staruch, a graduate of Baldwin Wallace University. “My friends and I always do the Heroes’ Run 5-miler in Cleveland during the fall (for fallen police officers and firemen). Anything like this we try to do. We try to do the ones that are worth the cause. I like it. It’s good crowd support. The town’s nice, too. I’ve never been here before.”

Rick tried her best to chase down Staruch in the end after the Lorain resident opened about a 100-meter lead in the first mile.

“I love tradition aspect of the race,” said Rick, who was third last year behind Lydia Souter and Foisy. “I love seeing our city come together for a great cause. That’s definitely what keeps me coming back.”

Rick enters her junior year at Ithaca University where she’s a member of the track and cross country teams.

“It’s an honor to be able to run in it,” said Foisy, Division III All-Ohio in track for EC, now headed for Akron. “I’m so glad that they put this event on and recognize the people that give their all for this country.”
Foisy understands sacrifice as well as anyone. Her father, Dave, is a Lorain firefighter.

“We take so much for granted,” said Foisy. “This reminds us of the little things in life that matter. A life was taken from us. The least we can do is come out and show our support and give him honor.”

Race director Terry Costigan was thrilled with both the turnout and crowd support.

“Right now we’re at 700 runners and participants, which is well ahead of last year. It grows every year,” said Costigan. “It’s a tribute to Officer Kerstetter. People see this as a great community event. What’s nice to see is people that come to race with their own shirt of design, with Jimmy’s name or number (177) on it. So they are remembering. It’s not just coming here for the run. They’re coming here to remember him.”

Elyria FOP President Dan Sumter was also touched by local support.

“We have great people that organize the event,” said Sumter. “The runners provide great support. The attendance is getting larger and larger. It’s home. Even we are out here running together as a group. Previously, we didn’t have many officer groups and departments. Now we have Elyria PD, Lorain PD, Lorain County Sheriff Department, that just tells you we stick together and back each other up. That means a whole lot.”

A 15-year police veteran of the Elyria Police Department, Kerstetter was shot and killed March 15, 2010, while responding to a disturbance involving neighbors on 18th Street in Elyria.

Contact Paul Heyse at (440) 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.
1. Matt Wiehe, age 20 (Elyria), 16:27.4; 2. Jacob Amato, 18 (Elyria), 17:05.5; 3. James Hawks, 17 (Elyria), 17:43.8

9 and younger: 1. Jace Perez (Lorain), 26:33.0; 2. Zachary Longacre, 30:30.4; 3. Ty Perez (Lorain), 30:54.4. 10-13: 1. Dave McCullough, 20:46.7; 2. Luke Gardner, 23:37.1; 3. Sam McClelland, 24:13.2. 14-18: 1. P.J. Foreman (Elyria), 18:13.2; 2. Luke Landis (Elyria), 18:34.4; 3. Jake Chizmar (Elyria), 18:38.1. 19-24: 1. Josh Allen (Elyria), 19:19.5; 2. Will Sellers (Elyria), 19:24.6; 3. Tyler Robinson, 19:47.8. 25-29: 1. Kirk Shellhouse (Wellington), 18:04.7; 2. Jerry Traster (Middleburg Heights), 20:00.8; 3. Matt Polo (Oberlin), 20.57.3. 30-34: 1. Kevin Kirsh, 20:04.1; 3. Brett Duffy (Elyria), 21:16.6. 35-39: 1. Sam Lambert, 21:05.6; 2. Mark Cawthon, 21:37.1; 3. Dave Ramos (Lorain), 22:30.2. 40-44: 1. David Hathaway (Elyria), 18:21; 2. Kevin Lewis (Lakewood), 22:51.8; 3. Thomas Feher, 22:52.6. 45-49: 1. Jim Tuttle (West Salem), 20:02.5; 2. John Nakel (Avon), 20:16.0; 3. Jerry Chizmar (Elyria), 20:31.3. 50-54: 1. Rollin Young (Amherst), 22:37.1; 2. Dan Connelly (Rocky River), 22:41.9; 3. Robert Benton, 22:47.4. 55-59: 1. Paul Norrod (Wakeman), 23:08.7; 2. Joe Gensert (Elyria), 24:03.1; 3. Mike Chapman (Elyria), 29:47.9. 60-64: 1. Tom Kilcourse, 22:22.1; 2. Ron Brushaber (Brownhelm Twp), 24:59.4; 3. Jack Byrne, 25:23.1. 65 and older: 1. Don Rivera (Lorain), 25:04.6; 2. Bob Lloyd (Lorain), 29:04.3; 3. John Paul (Amherst), 32:50.0.

1. Kelly Staruch, 28 (Lorain), 18:44.5; 2. Alexa Rick, 20 (Elyria), 18:53.5; 3. Michaela Foisy, 18 (Elyria), 19:13.8.

9 and younger: 1. Gracie Milam, 30:48.4. 10-13: 1. Kelsey Gannon, 25:52.0; 2. Hanna Aschemeier, 21:26.3; 3. Olivia James, 29:42,3. 14-18: 1. Gabrielle Neubauer, 20:19.3; 2. Jessica Zurcher, 21:26.3; 3. Jessica White, 22:28.4. 19-24: 1. Grace Dill (LaGrange), 24:07.0; 2. Michelle Carandang (LaGrange), 24:31.0; 3. Sarah Rapps, 25:00.0. 25-29: 1. Lydia Souter (Lorain), 24:24.7; 2. Ashley Belzer (Cleveland), 24:35.9; 3. Sarah Gensert (Elyria), 24:42.4. 30-34: 1. Liz Fox (Avon), 22:16.8; 2. Jenine Jones (Elyria), 23:04.6; 3. Karen Hahn, 23:51.5. 35-39: 1. Jodi Higgins, 25:01.2; 2. Mary Rhoads (Elyria), 26:37.2; 3. Tara White (Grafton), 26:38.1. 40-44: 1. Nancy Wells (Avon), 22:17.4; 2. Karen Cawthon, 25:49.1; 3. Shannon Walls, 27:26.0. 45-49: 1. Kathy Nagy, 22:49.6; 2. Dianne Nimon (Amherst), 23:05.5; 3. Marianne Foisy (Elyria), 25:58.8. 50-54: 1. Mary Van Almen, 23:39.1; 2. Athena Scrofano (Amherst), 23:59.0; 3. Wendy Nielsen, 26:47.1. 55-59: 1. Cynthia Brown (Wellington), 29:17.6; 2. Nena Moskwan (North Olmsted), 29:22.2; 3. Susan Bowers, 33:02.9. 60-64: 1. Susan Survance, 29:09.5. 65 and older: 1. Jeanne Sikorski (North Ridgeville), 30:43.2.