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Ryan captures Zacchera Memorial Scholarship 5K; Perry sets new record

Avon Middle School student Jack Ryan won the Ray Zacchera Memorial Scholarship 5K on Sunday at Fisher Meadows. More photos from the race.

AVON, September 8 – Jack Ryan juggles two sports after he completes the school day. The eighth grader at Avon Middle School plays soccer and runs cross country.

“I run cross country in the afternoon and play soccer in the evening,” he said.

Ryan took a run Sunday morning and captured the third annual Ray Zacchera Memorial Scholarship 5K road race at Fisher Meadows. Ryan, 13, won the 3.1 mile race with a time of 21:29. Branford’s Mark Oeding was second in 21:58 with Avon’s Andy Wu taking third in 22:18.

Proceeds from the race help support the Lions Club’s Ray Zacchera Memorial Scholarship, which is presented each year to an Avon High senior who demonstrates commitment to the Avon community through civic service and leadership. Zacchera helped found the Avon Lions Club in 1951 and served as the group’s first president.

The start of the race was quick but Ryan pulled away at the midway point of the race and came in to the finish line alone. It was his first race victory.

Debbie Perry finished sixth overall and set a new course record Sunday when she captured the women’s race. More photos from the race.

Debbie Perry of the Plantsville section of Southington won the women’s race with a record time of 24:13. She finished sixth overall and finished nearly a minute ahead of Rocky Hill’s Anna Dubiel in 25:13.

Perry, 62, broke the course record set by Michele Stefanor in 2017 with a time of 25:18. An experienced runner, she is training for a half-marathon (13.1 miles). “I just ran at my own pace,” she said. “I needed to do some faster work today.”

There were 36 finishers in the race.

Runners take off at the start at Fisher Meadows in Avon. More photos from the race.

2019 Ray Zacchera Memorial Scholarship 5K
At Avon
Overall results: 1. Jack Ryan, Avon, 21:29 for 3.1 miles at Fisher Meadows, 2. Mark Oeding, Branford, 21:58, 3. Andy Wu, Avon, 22:18, 4. Michael Burke, Windsor, 23:24, 5. Stephen Hunt, Avon, 23:45, 6. Debbie Perry, Plantsville, 24:13, 7. Anna Dubiel, Rocky Hill 25:23; 8. Morgan Rose, East Hampton, 26:05, 9. Samantha Kearney, East Hampton, 26:05, 10. Alberto Higuera, Burlington, 26:48, 11. Chris Butwill, Burlington, 27:27, 12. Ted Wu, Avon, 28:11, 13. Kimberly Parkman, Oxford, 28:25, 14. Dawn Krukowski, New Preston, 28:37; 15. David Wu, Avon, 29:09
Women’s results: Debbie Perry, 24:13, new race record. Old mark: Michele Stefanov, 25:18, 2017

Joe DeMartino of The Max Challenge of Avon provides a pre-race warmup for the runners on Sunday. More photos from the race.

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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