Cancer survivor Luzano wins 39th Steve’s Run

Published 5:13 pm Saturday, July 27, 2013

Steve's Run 10K winner Miguel Luzano, left, captured the 39th annual Steve's Run Saturday in Dowagiac. Brian Samson of Bridgman, right, finished second in the 5K run. (Leader photo/SCOTT NOVAK)

Steve’s Run 10K winner Miguel Luzano, left, captured the 39th annual Steve’s Run Saturday in Dowagiac. Brian Samson of Bridgman, right, finished second in the 5K run. (Leader photo/SCOTT NOVAK)

Just getting a chance to run isn’t the only reason Miguel Luzano competed in Saturday’s 39th annual Steve’s Run in Dowagiac.

The 20-year-old Luzano has emotional ties to the race.

“I’m a cancer survivor myself,” said Luzano. “This is my favorite race from high school.”

Luzano was diagnosed with testicular cancer when he was 17-years-old and Steve’s Run is in memory of Steven Briegel, a Southwestern Michigan College honors graduate who lost his fight against cancer in 1990. All funds raised from the event will be donated to the Mayo Clinic Cancer Research Fund and/or the Steven Briegel Scholarship Fund.

“I’m good to go,” Luzano said about beating cancer.

Luzano, who’s a Mishawaka (Ind.) High School graduate and is currently a sophomore at IUPUI, won the 10K race with a time of 34:08. Ryan Leahy from St. Joseph placed second with a time of 34:53.

Saturday marked the third time that Luzano had competed in Steve’s Run. Luzano’s previous highest finish was third.

“I had a great high school coach (Chris Coveleski),” Luzano said. “I run in college now and run a lot of miles. That’s definitely a difference-maker for me.”

Luzano credited 5K winner Justin Kowalski for helping him win the race.

“He’s one of my good friends,” Luzano said about Kowalski. “He came from Mishawaka. He told me how he was going to take it out and I keyed off him. I was a little further back, obviously, because he ran the 5K and I ran the 10K. I took the lead for good a mile and a half in. I looked back a few times and didn’t see anyone and I just kept pushing the pace.”

Leah Busse of Kent City won the women's 10K run title Saturday. (Leader photo/SCOTT NOVAK)

Leah Busse of Kent City won the women’s 10K run title Saturday. (Leader photo/SCOTT NOVAK)

The top female in the 10K race was Kent City product Leah Busse, who finished with a time of 42:05. Olivia Golden from Middlebury (Ind.) finished second with a time of 43:04. Busse, who was visiting her grandparents, was a first-time runner at the race.

“I run cross country at Calvin College so it was a good tester for the season coming up,” said Busse. “I found out about the race online.”

Kowalski, who’s a South Bend resident, won the 5K race for the fifth straight year. He ended up with a time of 16:00. Brian Samson from Bridgman ended up second with a time of 16:27.

“I had my slowest time compared to other years by about four seconds,” said Kowalski. “I went out a little bit hard and didn’t have as much left at the end. I also had people closer to me in previous years.”

Kowalski, who’s 27-years-old, has been a Steve’s Run participant for 10 years.

“It’s a local race and a pretty fast course and usually fast competition,” Kowalski said on why he likes the event. “I was off last weekend (running) for the first time in eight weeks.”

South Bend resident Katie Fenstermaker, who just had a baby in February, was the top female in the 5K with a time of 18:06. Skylair Hilton from Evansville, Ind. was next with a clocking of 19:32.

“It’s about as hard as I expected it would feel,” said the 30-year-old Fenstermaker, who went to Adams High School and Notre Dame. “I’ve never run this race before. I’m either running another race or training for something else. I’ve been back running for a couple months now and I needed to get my race legs back. It just worked out really well and this race has a great following and a great reputation.”

Michael E. Shields Jr. from Dowagiac was the 5K walk male winner with a time of 36:25. Nancy Nelson was the top female in the 5K walk with a time of 33:51.

At the end of the event, Ron Gunn was given a award for his years of services towards the race. Gunn has been the Steven’s Run race director for all 39 years.


Steve’s Run

at Dowagiac

Men’s 10K age group winners

7-9: Luke Rathburn (Portage) 59:28; 10-11: Gabe Rathburn (Portage) 54:56; 12-13: E.J. Kelly (Watsonville) 42:19; 14-15: Antonio Chapa (Portage) 38:04; 16-18: Ryan Leahy (St. Joseph) 34:53; 19-24: Miguel Luzano (Mishawaka) 34:08; 25-29: John Clay (South Bend) 43:11; 30-34: Ryan Snyder (South Bend) 38:55; 35-39: Adam Keim (Allegan) 39:16; 40-44: James Bradberry (Goshen) 40:32; 45-49: Stephen Messick (Goshen) 42:58; 50-54: Andy McGrail (Jones) 44:44; 55-59: Christian Davis (South Bend) 42:46; 60-64: Fred Colbert (Kalamazoo) 48:13; 65-69: Bob Sievert (St. Joseph) 45:13; 75-79: Clair Green (Battle Creek) 1:05.44


Women’s 10K age group winners

12-13: Madison Allen (Valparaiso) 49:28; 14-15: Kyra Ball (Portage) 46:32; 16-18: Olivia Golden (Middlebury) 43:04; 19-24: Leah Busse (Kent City) 42:05; 25-29: Sarah Gunn (Brookline) 53:02; 30-34: Megan Parrish (Granger) 49:12; 35-39: Christie Wade Cook (Kalamazoo) 46:00; 40-44: Penny Rathburn (Portage) 45:16; 45-49: Sheri Harrell (Niles) 48:20; 50-54: Deborah Miller (Goshen) 50:42; 55-59: Laurie Gorby (Chicago) 58:49; 60-64: Adele J. Pitt (Cudahy) 58:22


Men’s 5K age group winners

6-under: Elliot Smith (St. Joseph) 42:45; 7-9: Jaxon Miller (Goshen) 27:01; 10-11: Luke Benes (Chicago) 23:04; 12-13: Kurt Kussurelis (Ann Arbor) 20:43; 14-15: Brian Samson (Bridgman) 16:27; 16-18: Cameron Bredice (Bridgman) 16:36; 19-24: Christopher Gantt (Dowagiac) 16:36; 25-29: Justin Kowalski (South Bend) 16:00; 30-34: Matt Aurenz (South Bend) 17:27; 35-39: Jason Lundy (Niles) 22:29; 40-44: John Horvath (Edwardsburg) 19:24; 45-49: Jeff Klingler (Coldwater) 18:34; 50-54: David Bussard (Elkhart) 17:06; 50-54: Marlin Howe (Niles) 21:48; 60-64: John Reed (Parma) 22:08; 65-69: Mike Shuler (LaPorte) 25:49; 70-74: Willis Worick (Stevensville) 32:46; 75-79: Freeman Hershberger (Goshen) 29:20; 80-over: Hal Higdon (Long Beach) 58:03


Women’s 5K age group winners

6-under: Alexandra Li (San Jose) 40:19; 7-9: Katelynn Secord (Dowagiac) 23:12; 10-11: Ali Ball (Ogden Dunes) 24:35; 12-13: Jenna Miller (Goshen) 22:51; 14-15: Aubrey Ritchey (Edwardsburg) 20:40; 16-18: Amanda Campbell (Middlebury) 20:30; 19-24: Skylair Hilton (Evansville) 19:32; 25-29: Liesl Muehlhauser (Niles) 22:42; 30-34: Katie Fenstermaker (South Bend) 18:06; 35-39: Christine Anderson (South Bend) 22:56; 40-44: Shelley Moyer (St. Joseph) 24:22; 45-49: Tinamarie Lowe (South Bend) 28:57; 50-54: Patricia Lafollette (Granger) 26:12; 55-59: Karen Schwelnus (South Bend) 26:41; 60-64: Debbie May (Paw Paw) 34:36; 65-69: Barbara Pendergrass (Dowagiac) 34:22; 70-74: Camille Briegel (Dowagiac) 37:32; 75-79: Barbara Burton (Niles) 41:54.