Handanga's 5K win is sweet revenge on rivals of 3 weeks ago

Pushed to faster pace, Skvortsova leads women

October 21, 2001|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

Aurelio Miti Handanga looked to his right at the starting line of yesterday's Fila 5K, and saw all the inspiration he needed.

Next to him were Eluid Barngetuny and David Njuguna, two runners who beat him at a race three weeks ago in Syracuse, N.Y.

"I wanted revenge on them," said Handanga, a 27-year-old from Angola. "I said, `Oh, these two guys again; we'll see who's best today.' "

Yesterday, Handanga clearly was, as he sprinted out to the early lead, dropped slightly back to gauge his competitors' pace and forged ahead in the last 1,000 meters to win the 3.1-mile race with a time of 13 minutes, 47 seconds.

Russian Silvia Skvortsova ran a 15:50 to claim top honors on the women's side. There were nearly 1,050 runners in the field.

"This was a good time for me," said Handanga, who lives in the Greektown section of Baltimore. "In the beginning, I was in front, but I needed to pick up the pace.

"When we got to the hills, I just took off. They followed me, but I finally kicked."

Barngetuny, 28, who resides in Durham, N.C., finished second, crossing the line at 13:53. Njuguna, 23, a resident of West Chester, Pa., was third with a time of 13:59.

Handanga, who finished in ninth place in the 5,000 meters at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta while representing Angola, had little trouble coping with the warm and sunny race conditions. He averaged 4:27 a mile on the course, which started on Russell Street and ended in Parking Lot C of PSINet Stadium.

"I train in Albuquerque, and the high altitude helps me a lot," said the 27-year-old, who has his sights set on the 2004 Olympics in Greece.

Baltimore's Stavros Rologas, 31, also ran in the race, finishing less than a minute after his training partner, Handanga, who runs three races a month.

"If you can go under 14 on a road race, you're in tip-top shape," Rologas said of Handanga's 13:47. It's a fair course, and it has a lot of turns through the neighborhood, and to have that time, that's very fast."

In the women's race, Skvortsova also received inspiration from another runner in the field. For the majority of the race, she ran side-by-side with Kenyan Naomi Waigui.

"We just ran together, and I was a little faster," said Skvortsova.

Because she is planning to participate in today's Pennsylvania Avenue Miler in Washington, the 26-year-old, who lives in Rockville, was planning to set a slower pace that would allow her to finish in around 16:30.

However, she said that Waigui pushed her in the beginning of the race, as the two ran the first mile in just over 4 1/2 minutes. Her overall pace was just over 5 minutes a mile.

Skvortsova, whose personal record in the 5K is a 15:17, which she accomplished on the track at the Russian Championships, is used to running longer distances, having competed in the Twin Cities Marathon in Minnesota just two weeks ago.

She played down the difference between the two distances. "Competition is competition, and you have to push yourself," Skvortsova said. "My goal was to be first or second."

Gaithersburg's Dorota Gruca, 30, finished second, two seconds behind Skvortsova. Misti Demko took third with a 15:56. Results

Top men's finishers

1. Aurelio Handanga, 28, Baltimore, 13:47; 2. Eliud Barngetuny, 28, Durham, N.C., 13:53; 3. David Njuguna, 23, West Chester, Pa., 13:59; 4. Mikhail Kmobotov, 28, Gaithersburg, 14:19; 5. Ben Hefferon, 24, Poughkeepsie, N.Y., 14:43 6. Jason Dejoy, 28, Randallstown, 14:46; 7. Kevin Kelly, 37, West Chester, Pa., 15:05; 8. Musa Gwanzura, 29, Kenansville, N.C., 15:12; 9. Dave Berardi, 41, Baltimore, 15:19; 10. Joseph Daniels, 35, Suitland, 15:23.

Top women's finishers

1. Silvia Skvortsova, 26, Gaithersburg, 15:50; 2. Dorota Gruca, 30, Gaithersburg, 15:52; 3. Misti Demko, 30, 15:56; 4. Naomi Wagui, 23, 15:58; 5. Carole Zajac-Tynan, 29, Sterling, Va., 16:13 6. Victoria Stonesifer, 42, Kailua, Hawii, 17:30; 7. Denise Knickman, 33, Baltimore, 17:43; 8. Gloria Santarpia, 40, Odenton, 18:56; 9. Marjorie Boyd, 40, Annapolis, 19:16; 10. Carole Rosasco, 42, Arnold, 19:33

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