Over 1,000 runners and walkers head out on the course during the 38th running of Steve’s Run in Dowagiac Saturday. (Daily Star Photo/SCOTT NOVAK)

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Teammates become rivals for a day

Published 5:40pm Saturday, July 28, 2012

University of Notre Dame cross country and track teammates John Shawel and Jeremy Rae were rivals for one day Saturday at Steve’s Run in Dowagiac.

The duo produced quite a finish in the 10K run as Shawel (33:23) edged Rae by a second to win the race.

“We go back and forth a lot,” said Shawel about his competition with Rae. “He literally stopped at the end and he motioned for me to go. Next time, he’ll beat me. It was fun.”

Notre Dame's Jeremy Rae, John Shawel

Saturday marked the first that Shawel and Rae had competed in Steve’s Run. Shawel credited Notre Dame men’s cross country coach Joe Piane and his teammates for his success on Saturday. Shawel, whose graduated from Notre Dame, is coming back to the school for one more semester to run cross country.

“They really pushed me to do it today and we’ve been training well together,” Shawel said about Piane and his Irish teammates. “It’s a beautiful course. I love the combination of going on the roads and the trails. It’s tougher than I thought it would be, but it’s a fun course to run.”

The top female in the 10K run was 15-year-old Mishawaka product Anna Rohrer, who finished with a time of 39:04. Chesterton’s Mary Ballinger was the second place female with a clocking of 40:21.

“I’ve improved a lot this year,” Rohrer said. “I’m doing a lot of cross-training to make sure that I stay healthy. I saw somebody in front of me and I wanted to pass them. I passed the girl that finished second around the four-mile mark.

“I love that this course is part trail and part road and the weather was really nice today.”

Rohrer seems ready to have a strong sophomore cross country season at Mishawaka High School after suffering a broken foot midway through the season. Rohrer made a quick recovery and qualified for the state finals in the 3,200-meter run.

“What I did today gives me a lot of confidence for the (cross country) season,” Rohrer said.

The top male in the 5K race is no stranger to success at Steve’s Run. Mishawaka resident Justin Kowalski won the 5K for the fourth straight year. On Saturday, the 26-year-old had a time of 15:48. Elkhart’s Lucas Roscoe placed second after finishing 10 seconds behind Kowalski.

“This is my fastest time ever, by four seconds, for this course,” Kowalski said.

Competition drives Kowalski to compete at Steve’s Run. The event has been on Kowalski’s schedule since he was in junior high school.

“It’s usually pretty competitive with over 1,000 people and I knew one of my training partners (Roscoe) was doing it this year,” Kowalski said. “Also most races don’t have the cross country part.”

The top female in the 5K was South Bend’s Amanda Farrough with a time of 19:37. Jordan Mornout, from Evansville, Ind., had the second best female time (19:44).

Farrough, who will be a 16-year-old senior at Clay High School, was making her debut as a Steve’s Run participant,

“I have a trainer whose really been helping me a lot,” said Farrough. “I’ve also been putting in miles over the summer.

“This is a nice course and I like doing hills. It’s a good combination of uphill and downhill. I’m surprised I did so well. I was a little nervous coming out. Winning today is definitely a confidence booster for me for the upcoming season.”

Nada Kramp, from Stevensville, was top female and overall finisher in the 5K walk. She finished with a time of 33:12. Benton Harbor’s Nancy Nelson was the next female and overall finisher (33:38).

Robert Guthrie, from St. Joseph, was the top male in the 5K walk with a time of 34:39. Dowagiac’s Dale Keene was the next male finisher with a time of 38:26.

Saturday marked the 38th year for the event. The race is in memory of Steven Briegel, who was a Southwestern Michigan College graduate, who lost his fight against cancer in 1990. All funds raised, including 100-percent of the pledge money, are donated to SMC’s Steven Briegel Scholarship Fund and to the Mayo Clinic Cancer Research Fund.

Many cancer survivors competed in Saturday’s race, including 69-year-old Niles resident Robert Conway. He’s been running in the 10K since he was in his 40’s.

Conway was diagnosed with prostated cancer five years ago. He’s now in remission.

“I think it helps the cancer survivors,” said Conway. “When you see all the people come out and support this it gives you a good feeling.”

Conway was asked how he thought he ran on Saturday.

“I think I’m getting slower because I’m getting older,” Conway joked. “But, I’m still doing it and that’s the main thing.”


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