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Former Patriots win Tomato 5K

Flynn, Porfirio take men’s, women’s titles

Runners take off to start the Pittston Tomato Festival 5K Run last Saturday morning.

photos by BILL TARUTIS

Matt Flynn of Media takes first in the male division of the Pittston Tomato Festival 5K Run with a time of 16:17.

Deedra Porfirio of West Pittston takes first in the female division of the Pittston Tomato Festival 5K Run with a time of 19:26.

Matt Flynn and Deedra Porfirio ran to easy victories in the Pittston Tomato Festival 5K Run last Saturday.

Both winners – former Pittston Area High School runners - trailed early in the race, but took charge shortly after the first mile.

Flynn, 25, of Media, broke the tape in 16 minutes and 18 seconds. Shavertown’s Sean Robbins, 41, who recently won the Wilkes-Barre Triathlon, finished second, 44 seconds behind Flynn.

“It went pretty well,” said Flynn. “I trailed over the first mile. Then at the one-mile marker, I felt good. So I decided to go for it. I took off and built a pretty good lead. Once I put some distance between myself and the rest of the field, I settled into a nice pace to the finish.”

Porfirio won the female division of the 5K with a 10th-place finish overall in 19:27. The 34-year-old from West Pittston outran second-place finisher, Catherine Lombardo, 16, of Pittston, by 28 seconds.

“There were a bunch of runners ahead of me early in the race,” said Porfirio. “I passed them. And at one-mile, I was in front. But I knew someone was right behind me. I just kept up my pace for a while. But I wasn’t able to settle into a comfortable pace. And with (Lombardo) right behind me, I had to keep pushing. I wasn’t sure what kind of lead I had after that, so I just kept pushing.”

Lombardo, who will be a junior this fall at Pittston Area where she runs track and cross country, said that Porfirio actually pulled ahead of her quite substantially somewhere between miles one and two.

Porfirio has been suffering from an ankle injury. But you wouldn’t know it by her performances so far this year. Her Tomato Festival win was her sixth in area races. She won the Hazleton Health and Fitness 5K and the Warrior Trail 5K in Shickshinny – both in April. She won the Old Fort 5 Miler in Forty Fort on Memorial Day. She won the West Pittston Anthracite 4-Mile Run in June. And she won the Pauly Friedman Family 5K at Misericordia University a week ago.

Exeter’s Jeff McCabe, the former Wyoming Area and Edinboro University standout runner who won the Tomato Festival 5K the last two years, was on hand yesterday as a spectator. McCabe is nursing a quadriceps injury and was unable to defend his crown.

Flynn finished second last year, finishing 1:24 behind McCabe.

This year’s race, which had a field of 256 runners, was run in memory of SPC Dale J. Kridlo, US Army, 33, of Hughestown, who was killed by insurgent gunfire in Afghanistan in November 2010. Kridlo is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Pittston Tomato Festival 5K Run results

Top 10

Matt Flynn, 25, 16:18

Sean Robbins, 41, 17:02

Chris Dailey, 20, 17:03

Paul Leonard, 49, 17:23

Marcus Magyar, 25, 17:28

Pat Leonard, 31, 17:41

Jamie Connors, 17, 18:42

Mike McAndrew, 51, 18:47

Jeff Calarusso, 21, 19:07

Deedra Porfirio, 34, 19:27

Male award winners

Overall: 1. Flynn; 2. Robbins; 3. Dailey. Age group award winners: 14 & under: Jeremy Grivensky, Plains Twp., 21:24. 15-19: Jamie Connors, Pittston, 18:42. 20-24: Jeff Calarusso, Hanover Twp., 19:07. 25-29: Marcus Magyar, W. Pittston, 17:28. 30-34: Pat Leonard, Pittston, 17:41. 35-39: Derek Zalenski, Moosic, 21:01. Masters Division: 40-44: Paul Sokolowski, Greenfield, 19:55. 45-49: Paul Leonard, Scranton, 17:23. 50-59: Mike McAndrew, Avoca, 18:47. 60 & over: Bill Camp, Dallas, 31:14.

Top 3 female finishers

Deedra Porfirio, 34, 19:27

C. Lombardo, 16, 19:55

Alexandria Plant, 16, 20:01

Female award winners

Overall: 1. Porfirio; 2. Lombardo; 3. Plant. Age group award winners: 14 & under: Tara Johnson, Avoca, 20:49. 15-19: Bianca Botton, Pittston, 21:03. 20-24: Katie Snyder, Dalton, 21:29. 25-29: Chantal Priolo, Pennsauken, N.J., 25:55. 30-34: Erin Moreck, Forty Fort, 22:10. 35-39: Erin Griffin, Kingston, 23:02. Masters Division: 40-44: Mary Leonard, New York City, 22:52. 45-49: Mary Walsh, Pittston, 30:32. 50-59: Laurie Chiumento, Pittston, 28:06. 60 & over: Dee Cordora, Swoyersville, 28:10.

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