ELYRIA — City streets were packed with spectators as well as runners Saturday during the 10th annual James A. Kerstetter Memorial 5K and Family Walk.
The event honoring an Elyria police officer who was killed in the line of duty went off without a hitch. Sgt. James A. Kerstetter, a 15-year veteran of the force, was shot March 15, 2010, and died at the age of 43.
There was considerable turnout by competitors, but a familiar face stole the show again.
Winning for the third straight year was David Woodward, who has participated for six straight years.
Woodward, a 35-year-old Elyria native who travels the country for races, also took first place in 2015 and finished second in 2016.
“It always feels great to be able to win the race that’s in my own backyard,” Woodward said. “This is where I do a lot of training runs, so that experience definitely helped.”
Woodward bested his time of 16.31.7 from a year ago, finishing with a 16.24.6 on Saturday.
He outlasted a late final push from Matthew Wiehe, who ended up finishing second with a time of 16:25.2.
Woodward took the lead for good near Broad Street and was not expecting the strong final burst from Wiehe.
Luckily for Woodward, he had another gear left in his tank.
“I do a lot of half-marathon training, which helps prepare me for the 5K well,” Woodward said. “That certainly contributed to a lot of my success this year.”
Emily Nemeth, 18, also an Elyria native, took the top overall spot on the women’s side.
Nemeth won with a finish time of 21:10.8, more than a full second ahead of her closest competitor.
After winning the 15-19 age group in the Kerstetter 5K last year, Nemeth took the next step and dominated the women’s field.
“It was a lot of fun to be out here running with the community, teammates and a lot of people I know,” Nemeth said. “There was so much good energy all morning here.”
Nemeth paced the competition, using short burst to stay ahead of the pack without entirely wearing herself out.
“The weather was great and helped me not get too hot or cold out there,” Nemeth said. “I usually run this race with a good friend of mine but she wasn’t here this year, which made it a little different but it was still great.”
The Kerstetter 5K attracted a diverse group of competitors, with men and women of all ages, ethnicity and backgrounds running.
Bella Muratore, 9, found herself in the middle of a pack of adults as she and Parker Thacker dominated the 9-and-younger group.
Muratore finished first in the group with a 36:15.3 finish time while Thacker took second with a time of 37:03.7.
“This was my third first-place finish in a race, so I am really excited,” Muratore said. “The first time I ran this race I was nervous, but now I am used to it so that helped me.”
Jacqueline Sopko and Riley Folley finished second and third overall on the women’s side.
Sopko ran a 22:23.5 with Folley close behind at 22:36.9.
Brennan Crawford, of Amherst, who has finished in the top five in this race numerous times, took third overall for the men with a 16:34.8.
Crawford finished second to Woodward last year, and the two have battled for years in this race.
“Brennan raced a little differently this year, but he is always a great competitor and I enjoy running against him,” Woodward said.
MEN’S TOP THREE
1. David Woodward 16:24.6
2. Matthew Wiehe 16:25.2
3. Brennan Crawford 16:34.8.
MALE AGE DIVISION
- 9-UNDER: 1. Jamison Whitesel, 2. S.J. Tatem, 3. Kevin Reichert;
- 10-14: 1. Ty Perez, 2. Jordan Nutaitis, 3. Andrew Hamilton;
- 15-19: 1. Joel Pospisil, 2. Mark Allman, 3. Ian Hamilton;
- 20-24: 1. Patrick Foreman, 2. Creighton Jensen, 3. Ethan Kocak;
- 25-29: 1. Joe Mathewson, 2. Tyler Robinson, 3. Cully Brownson;
- 30-34: 1. Andrew Cotton, 2. Casey Bevington, 3. Chris Schneider;
- 35-39: 1. Joshn Basen, 2. Andrew Beizer, 3. Zackery Horning;
- 40-44: 1. Dan McBennett, 2. Brad Crellin, 3. Aaron Luckachko;
- 45-49: 1. Don Wymer, 2. Tom Spayd, 3. Casey Carty;
- 50-54: 1. Jerry Chizmar, 2. Jim Tuttle, 3. Tom Kvach;
- 55-59: 1. Tom Leano, 2. James Ziegelmeyer, 3. Terrence Hunady;
- 60-64: 1. Joe Gensert, 2. Jim Walch, 3. Dennis Boose;
- 65-OVER: 1. Jaime Pabon, 2. Jack Byrne, 3. Guy Nicely.
WOMENS TOP THREE
1. Emily Nemeth 21:10.8
2. Jacqueline Sopko 22:23.5
3. Riley Folley 22:36.9.
FEMALE AGE DIVISION
- 9-UNDER: 1. Bella Muratore, 2. Parker Thacker, 3. Ally Figula;
- 10-13: 1. Emma Schemmel, 2. Julie Gatto, 3. Jordyn Copley;
- 14-18: 1. Kayla Van Dyke, 2. Julia Hamilton, 3. Isab Mraz;
- 19-24: 1. Maritza Torres, 2. Amanda Spangenberg, 3. Meliah Roman;
- 25-29: 1. Brittany Hirth, 2. Jaimee Senk, 3. Heather Robinson;
- 30-34: 1. Rebecca Stewart, 2. Michelle Saladonis, 3. Sarah Gensert;
- 35-39: 1. Jenine Dorsey, 2. Nicole Rico, 3. Jessica Kirsh;
- 40-44: 1. Leslie Calanni, 2. Nona Kwasny, 3. Heather Barton;
- 45-49: 1. Irene Carpenter, 2. Rachelle Watters, 3. Kelly Allen;
- 50-54: 1. Dianne Nimon, 2. Denise Ryan, 3. Jen Corcino;
- 55-59: 1. Mary Van Almen, 2. Deborah Schroeder, 3. Anita Simko;
- 60-64: 1. Katherine Phillips, 2. Julie Sheehy, 3. Cynthia Brown;
- 65-OVER: 1. Pati Habenicht, 2. Susan Brehm, 3. Janet Stoffer.