Stephen Brush defends Wilkes-Barre Triathlon title, Kristen Buckholtz wins for first time

By Paul Sokoloski - psokoloski@timesleader.com | September 13th, 2015 7:18 pm

LEHMAN TWP. — Another brush with success.

The first taste of triumph.

Whether the feeling of victory was old or new to the first finishers of the Wilkes-Barre Triathlon, the winners had one thing in common.

Thrill of winning brought them a whole lot of fun.

Stephen Brush won his second straight Wilkes-Barre Triathlon Sunday and Kristen Buckholz finally earned a long-sought women’s victory on the course where she got her start in the sport in an event that sprinkled local star talent through different divisions.

While Brush and Buckholz captured the Olympic Distance championships, past Olympic Distance winners Sean Robbins on the men’s side and Kelly Ciravolo in the women’s division both captured the Sprint Distance course titles.

“It always feels great to win,” Brush, who lives in Clarks Summit, said. “I ran a very smooth race, kept within myself. Everything worked out.”

It worked out wonderfully for Buckholz, a Mountain Top native and former Crestwood High School cross country runner who first tried a triathlon seven years ago.

“I am so excited right now,” said Buckholz, who placed 10th overall in a field of 101 competitors. “It was incredible to be the first one to cross the finish line. I did my first triathlon here. I have never won a triathlon. Best I did was third place.

“I am so excited.”

Her run to victory Sunday went basically unchallenged.

Buckholz finished in 2:26:34, easily besting the time of 2:35:27 by second-place finisher Ann Zoranski of Swoyersville.

“Biggest challenge I had definitely was the swim,” said Buckholz, 32, who works as a nuclear engineer for the nuclear power plant in Berwick. “The bike is my strong point. This course is made for me.

“I kind of rocked the bike.”

While Buckholz rocked, Brush rolled.

The 27-year-old New Jersey native won his second consecutive Wilkes-Barre title in 2:10:45, holding off Kenny Quigley of Scranton, who finished in second place at 2:16:02.

“The race was won in training,” said Brush, who works as a bartender and waiter for the Country Club of Scranton and explains he runs religiously every day. “It’s something I love to do.”

Probably the biggest challenge Brush faced was living up to his reputation as the man to beat after finishing at the top of last year’s Wilkes-Barre Triathlon.

“I was surprised. A couple days before it kind of hit me,” Brush said. “I definitely was starting to feel pressure. It’s something I’m not used to. There’s a lot of local guys here.

“It’s bragging rights.”

Robbins and Ciravolo still have reason to hold their heads high. Because of various circumstances, both past Olympic Division champions dropped down to the shorter distance Sprint course for Sunday’s Wilkes-Barre Triathlon and had little trouble capturing first-place finishes in that category.

No matter what division athletes competed in or where they finished, their camaraderie was on full display following the event. Competitors caught up with each other and shared easy laughs at an event that’s become as much of a social celebration as a sports challenge over the past 34 years.

“This atmosphere is different than any type of race I’ve gone to,” Brush said. “This community’s a tight community. You can see how everyone’s really close. There’s no prize money. Everyone’s just happy to finish. Everyone really enjoys this race.”

Now, Brush may be on to bigger ideas while using Wilkes-Barre as more practice.

“I did a lot of half-Ironmen, that kind of prepared me for this,” Brush said. “I want to take this to the next level. If I want to do that, I have to swim and run better.”

The day couldn’t have turned out any better for Buckholz, who regularly swims before heading off to work, then runs and bikes afterward.

“I wake up at 4:15,” said Buckholz, explaining her dedication to prepare for her third Wilkes-Barre Triathlon.

It paid off when her third time turned into a charm.

“I work hard so I can play hard,” Buckholz said. “I did three Ironman triathlons. By far, this is my best finish ever. I woke up saying I want to win.

“I wasn’t going to stop until it happened.”

Olympic Distance

Overall Top 10

Men

Place`Name`Age`City`Time

1`Stephen Brush`27`Clarks Summit`2:10:45

2`Kenny Quigley`44`Scranton`2:16:02

3` Andy McDonald`35`Clarks Summit`2:16:50

4`Shi Hu`31`State College`2:19:31

5`Andrew Morgan`43`Clarks Summit`2:20:01

6` Mike Adamshick`37`Dallas`2:22:46

7`Alex Saba`24`Mountain Top`2:24:03

8`Jude Cooney`41`N/A`2:24:28

9`William Deemer`44`Kingston`2:26:01

10`George Marut`40`Wake Forest, N.C`2:26:35

Olympic Distance

Overall Top 10

Women

Place`Name`Age`City`Time

1`Kristin Buchholz`32`Mountain Top`2:26:34

2`Ann Zoranski`44`Swoyersville`2:35:27

3`Anah Bozentka`18`Kingston`2:35:45

4`Charlene Aquilina`35`Tunkhannock`2:36:46

5`Jessica Chesman`43`Dallas`2:36:52

6`Maggie Faller`28`Philadelphia`2:37:19

7`Kelly Adamshick`36`Dallas`2:38:59

8`Eileen Spellman`30`Wilkes-Barre`2:39:14

9`Bridget Kotchick`36`Dalton`2:39:57

10`Jill Blankenhorn`35`Barrington, R.I.`2:43:17

Sprint Distance

Overall Top 10

Men

Place`Name`Age`City`Time

1`Sean Robbins`46`Dallas`1:23:28

2`Jonathan Bilbow`38`Mountain Top`1:26:06

3`John McGurk`50`Dallas`1:33:15

4`Scott Meuser`53`Duryea`1:33:49

5`John Loforte`37`Freeland`1:35:26

6`Robert Cicci`34`Peckville`1:38:23

7`James Albert`44`N/A`1:39:22

8`John Kearns`43`Pittston`1:40:11

9`John Orloski`33`Lake Ariel`1:40:33

10`Gary Bonfante`51`Whitehall`1:40:54

Sprint Distance

Overall Top 10

Women

Place`Name`Age`City`Time

1`Kelly Ciravolo`36`Shavertown`1:31:07

2`Kerry Potter`42`Kingston`1:47:01

3`Jennifer Heck`44`Wyoming`1:52:34

4`Carey Zapusek`45`Wapwallopen`1:54:37

5`Nicole Sennett`38`Mountain Top`1:55:10

6`Elena Stambone`22`Jessup`1:55:56

7`Sophia Rush`39`Tresckow`1:57:18

8`Beth Depolo`35`Flourtown`1:57:58

9`Kathleen Bilbow`39`Mountain Top`2:00:07

10`Liza Prokop`38`Wilkes-Barre`2:00:26

Aquabike Winners

Men

Place`Name`Age`City`Time

1`Frank Zaffino`45`State College`1:35:42

2`Chaz Ross`39`Union Dale`1:39:54

3`Steven Taren`57`Kingston`1:42:28

4`Jeffrey Miller`48`Sugarloaf`1:47:34

5`Kevin Augustine`59`Wyoming`1:48:03

Aquabike Winners

Women

Place`Name`Age`City`Time

1`Christine Gerges`30`Souderton`1:50:16

2`Teresa Gozik-Tyson`52`Mountain Top`2:02:58

3`Stasha Feret-Peterson`50`Downingtown`2:13:45

Overall Clydesdale Finishers

Place`Name`Age`City`Time

1`David Depolo`36`Flourtown`2:59:31

2`Ryan Blaszczak`31`Millersville, Md.`3:10:38

3`David Turetzky`38`Jenkintown`3:29:41

Olympic Distance

Men’s Age Group Winners

14-19 - Arthur Spears, 16, Wyoming, 3:05:07; 20-24 - Alex Saba, 24, Mountain Top, 2:24:03; 25-29 - Stu Klaas, 28, Kingston, 3:02:03; 30-34 - Shi Hu, 31, State College, 2:19:31; 35-39 - Mike Adamshick, 37, Dallas, 2:22:46; 40-44 - Andrew Morgan, 43, Clarks Summit, 2:20:01; 45-49 - Marshall Pickard, 46, Sinking Springs, 2:32:04; 50-54 - Jerome Washo, 50, Montrose, 2:33:24; 55-59 - Charles Eckman, 57, Dallas, 2:40:08; 60-64 - David Mariner, 61, Shavertown, 2:49:46; 70+ - Carl H. Walker, 74, Downingtown, 4:15:43

Olympic Distance

Women’s Age Group Winners

14-19 - Morgan Manglaviti, 17, Lake Winola, 3:07:10; 20-24 - Andrea Butchko, 24, New York, 2:48:07; 25-29 - Maggie Faller, 28, Philadelphia, 2:37:19; 30-34 - Eileen Spellman, 30, Wilkes Barre, 2:39:14; 35-39 - Charlene Aquilina, 35, Tunkhannock, 2:36:46; 40-44 - Jessica Chesman, 43, Dallas, 2:36:52; 45-49 - Deana Manzoni, 47, Dallas, 2:50:41; 55-59 - Colleen Morda, 55, Kingston, 2:52:48

Sprint Distance

Men’s Age Group Winners

14-19 - Troy Reinert, 16, Shavertown, 1:42:00; 20-24 - Andrew Heilmann, 20, Williamsport, 1:55:37; 25-29 - Kevin Scura, 28, Boston, 1:53:23; 30-34 - Robert Cicci, 34, Peckville, 1:38:23; 35-39 - John Loforte, 37, Freeland, 1:35:26; 40-44 - James Albert, 44, 1:39:22; 45-49 - Bob Guzenski, 49, Pittston, 1:42:45; 50-54 - Scott Meuser, 53, Duryea, 1:33:49; 55-59 - Jeffrey Baran, 55, Wilkes Barre, 1:43:52; 60-64 - Gregory Martin, 60, Moosic 1:55:53; 65-69 - Peter Feinstein, 65, Shavertown,2:09:35.

Sprint Distance

Women’s Age Group Winners

20-24 - Elena Stambone, 22, Jessup, 1:55:56; 25-29 - Christa Johnson, 26, Berwick, 2:10:20; 30-34 - Michele Kordek, 30, Wilkes Barre, 2:32:54; 35-39 - Nicole Sennett, 38, Mountain Top, 1:55:10; 40-44 - Jennifer Quinn, 43, Dallas, 2:05:00; 45-49 - Carey Zapusek, 45, Wapwallopen, 1:54:37; 50-54 - Tammy Smith, 50, New York, 2:03:11; 55-59 - Robin Sledzinski, 57, Lake Ariel, 2:10:25.

Stephen Brush crosses the finish line in 2:10:45 to win the men’s Olympic Distance competition of the 34th annual Wilkes-Barre Triathlon at Penn State/Wilkes-Barre campus in Lehman Township Sunday morning.
http://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/web1_wb-bush1.jpgStephen Brush crosses the finish line in 2:10:45 to win the men’s Olympic Distance competition of the 34th annual Wilkes-Barre Triathlon at Penn State/Wilkes-Barre campus in Lehman Township Sunday morning.
Kristin Buchholz crosses the finish line in 2:26:34 to win the women’s Olympic Distance competition of the 34th annual Wilkes-Barre Triathlon at Penn State/Wilkes-Barre campus in Lehman Township on Sunday morning.
http://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/web1_wb-buck1.jpgKristin Buchholz crosses the finish line in 2:26:34 to win the women’s Olympic Distance competition of the 34th annual Wilkes-Barre Triathlon at Penn State/Wilkes-Barre campus in Lehman Township on Sunday morning.
A wave of participants enters Harveys Lake to begin the 34th annual Wilkes-Barre Triathlon on Sunday morning.
http://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/web1_wb-start1.jpgA wave of participants enters Harveys Lake to begin the 34th annual Wilkes-Barre Triathlon on Sunday morning.
Sean Robbins of Shavertown finishes the bicycle leg on his way to winning the Sprint Distance competition of the 34th annual Wilkes-Barre Triathlon at Penn State/Wilkes-Barre campus in Lehman Township on Sunday morning.
http://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/web1_wb-rider1.jpgSean Robbins of Shavertown finishes the bicycle leg on his way to winning the Sprint Distance competition of the 34th annual Wilkes-Barre Triathlon at Penn State/Wilkes-Barre campus in Lehman Township on Sunday morning.
The final wave of competitors enters Harveys Lake to begin the 34th annual Wilkes-Barre Triathlon on Sunday morning.
http://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/web1_wb-swim1.jpgThe final wave of competitors enters Harveys Lake to begin the 34th annual Wilkes-Barre Triathlon on Sunday morning.
Brush defends WB Triathlon title, Buckholtz wins for first time

By Paul Sokoloski

psokoloski@timesleader.com

Reach Paul Sokoloski at 570-991-6392 or on Twitter @TLPaulSokoloski


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