Spring Fling runs through PUC
Published: Monday, April 23, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 18:04
The annual Spring Fling was held on PUC’s campus on April 21. A total of 393 runners gathered on 173rd Street on the cool Saturday morning to run in the mini-marathon.
The run covered 5 km (just over 3 miles), slightly shorter than the autumn run of the Fall Frolic. In addition, the run was more intimate, utilizing PUC’s campus in addition to the streets of Hammond. The run even included incline portions in the parking garage, and the finish line was located at the cul-de-sac on the Southeast corner of SUL.
“5k was the perfect amount,” PUC student and participant Ted Hiemsrta said. “The incline in the garage spiced it up a little bit.”
Before reaching these parts of campus, however, the runners took their places at the starting line on 173rd. At 9:00 a.m. sharp, the run began.
A little over a quarter-hour later, runners were spotted chugging toward the finish line. The winner by a considerable distance was 15-year-old Emanuel Lopez with a time of 17 minutes, 16 seconds.
The Munster High School student runs for his school and had participated in the Fling before. However, finishing in first place came as a shock to him.
“I feel surprised,” he said. “I didn’t actually think I was going to win.”
PUC’s cross-country teams made an appearance in the run. Only three team members officially participated, but all made a strong showing in the run.
Freshman Stephen Bajzatt of the men’s team finished first in his age group and first among PUC students. Clocking in at a personal best of 19 minutes and 24 seconds, Bajzatt was quiet afterward, but humbled and proud of his achievement.
From the women’s team, sophomore Kristina Lynn Schafer (21 minutes, 32 seconds) and freshman Kristen Stapay (24 minutes, 10 seconds) finished first and second respectively in their age group.
“I’m really happy with my time,” Stapay said. Stapay was especially proud of her time considering she had just run a mini-marathon the weekend before.
In addition, PUC Cross Country Assistant Coach Karen Nagel finished first among female runners at 18 minutes, 53 seconds. She placed fifth in the standings overall.
Head Coach Matt Bliss did not run, but was on hand to support his runners. Despite the Fling being for fun instead of a true competition, he was happy with his team’s individual performances in the run.
“Everybody ran a really good time for themselves,” Bliss said.