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Shanes Anthony, Clauser; Manness, Popalis winners at 10th Truskey Memorial Run

It was a good day to be named Shane at Saturday's 10th Annual Chris Truskey Memorial Run.

The two male winners shared that name, with Pottsville High School sophomore Shane Clauser capturing the 5K event and Palmerton native Shane Anthony winning the 10K.

It was also a good day for Liz Manness, as most races normally are for the Tamaqua High sophomore phenom. Manness, in her first Truskey Run, rolled to the 5K title. Renee Popalis of Bloomsburg successfully defended her women's 10K crown.

The races, which were run in brilliant sunshine and temperatures in the low 80s at Tuscarora State Park, are sponsored by the Tamaqua Runners Club in conjunction with the Switch-Back Road Runners of Jim Thorpe.

The event is held in memory of Chris Truskey, a Tamaqua cross country runner and wrestler who was killed in an auto accident a decade ago. The race benefits the Chris Truskey Scholarship Fund, which aids Tamaqua runners in seeking higher education.

The reason for the race wasn't lost on Anthony, who, in a touching moment, presented his first place plaque to four year-old Cory Truskey, the cousin of the race's namesake. Cory and his sister Christy, 9. are the children of Bob and Susan Truskey and both participated in the 5K event.

This year's 10K layout was altered, meaning that Anthony, 32, who captured the Truskey 10K in 1998 before sitting out with an injury last year, established a new course record of 35 minutes, 58 seconds, well ahead of another Palmerton resident, David Horvath, who placed second at 40:04.

"It's tougher now, but it's once of the nicest 10K's around because of the trails and scenery," said Anthony, coming off a win at the Alburtis 5K last week. "It's more like a trail run than a road race."

Anthony will start training for the Boston Marathon later this year, while Pottsville's Shane Clauser is looking foward to the fall with the Crimson Tide harriers.

The 15 year-old Clauser posted his best time on the Tuscarora trail, with his winning time of 16:59 topping his 17:08 from the Schuylkill League Meet last October.

"I didn't figure I was going to win, because Jim Cuono (last year's 10K champ) was in the 5K," said Clauser. "I was hoping for a good time and to finish in the top 5-6. I didn't think I would go under 17 minutes, but I pushed it all the way."

Clauser didn't assume the lead for good until the final 200 meters after he passed Mike Germano of St. Pius, Pottstown, who inadvertantly took a wrong turn near the end of the service road. Germano placed second a year ago; this time, Port Carbon's Cuono came in second, with a time of 17:10.

The amazing Miss Manness was clocked at 20:21 in the women's 5K, easily outdistancing second place Mary Lechleitner of Minersville, who was timed at 21:30.

Manness admitted she is still training to get in shape to defend her Schuylkill and District 11 titles. "It feels good to win this," said Manness. "I'm looking forward to the season. I'm getting in better shape and I'm ahead of where I was at this time last year."

Popalis, a Shenandoah native and Cardinal Brennan grad, was Renee Racis when she won last year's 10K but got married in the interim. Marriage hasn't slowed her down; her time of 49:02 gave her another Truskey title, beating out Donna Ornosky of Birdsbiro by 56 seconds. Ornosky was runner-up as well a year ago.

"I'm thrilled to win this again, and I enjoyed coming back," said Popalis. "This is a nice race, and it's for a good cause."

This year's event drew a total of 236 participants, including 174 for the 5K and 53 in the 10K. That's an increase of 33 over last year's total of 203, which included 155 in the 5K.

"We've had a lot of the same people supporting us from the beginning, and that means a lot, because they have to take the time to come here and do this," said Wendy Dunkelberger, president of the Tamaqua Runners Club. "It's always very emotional for all of us."

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