Stockade-athon: Rookie LoPiccolo pulls women’s upset (with video)

As a chir­opractor, Amanda LoPiccolo knows how to make adjustments to the spine, as well as various

As a chir­opractor, Amanda LoPiccolo knows how to make adjustments to the spine, as well as various manipul­ations throughout the body to relieve pain.

She also knows how to make key adjustments to her pace, surging at the seven-mile mark and event­ually grabbing the lead with a mile to go en route to winning the women‘s division of the 35th annual Stockade-athon Sunday with a time of 53:58.6.

LoPiccolo, making her Stockade-athon debut, finished roughly 26 seconds ahead of Jamesville’s Emily LaSala (54:25), who was fourth here a year ago.

“I felt a little off pace after the first 5k,” said LoPiccolo, a member of the Syracuse Chargers Track Club. “There were two girls in front most of the way, up to that point. I made up some distance in the next 5k or so, and that got me within striking distance. At about seven miles, I picked up the pace even more. I felt very comfortable all the way.”

Although LoPiccolo, 28, has dabbled in longer races recently, she has been predominately a 5k,

1,500-meter or 3,000-meter spec­ialist throughout her running career.

“This is long for me,” she said. “I have been running more endurance races lately because I want to get more involved in that type of racing. But last year was my first 15k race.”

Injuries kept LoPiccolo off the roads until she did some manip­ulations to relieve her own pain.

“I’ve had plantar fasciitis, and it prevented me from doing much practicing at all,” she said. “But luckily, I’m a chiropractor, so I knew how to handle it and fix things myself. I’m finally able to get back to running again.”

An assistant cross country coach at Oneonta State for her husband, Matt, LoPiccolo had a standout career in cross country and track at both Unatego High School and Ithaca College. She was the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class C-D 3,000-meter champion in high school and became a seven-time NCAA Div­ision III All-American at Ithaca. She finished second in the country in the outdoor 1,500 in 2002 and was third in the 1,500 indoor in 2001. She was also a 17-time NYSCTC champion, including nine track titles indoors.

LoPiccolo finished 14th in the 3,000 meter USATF Outoor Championship Qualifier and 22nd in the 1,500 meters last year. Indoors, she was sixth at 1,500 and 13th in the 3,000.

LoPiccolo said she didn’t mind the cool and blustery weather Sunday.

“It wasn’t bad, but the wind was blowing quite a bit, and that hurt my time, especially on the hills,” she said. “Also, I didn’t know exactly what to wear, because I try not to wear too much when I’m running. Once you stop, it’s pretty cool out.

“I thought the course was beaut­iful. There was plenty of scenery, and it was a great place to run.”

LaSala, 25, reached most of her goals as the runner-up.

“As a runner, your goal is always to win the race, but my ultimate goals are to have fun, place as high as I can and not hold anything back,” said the former Indiana Wesleyan standout.

“My goal was to go out in a 5:45 pace, and I hit that in the first mile,” she said. “I have a tendency to get a little anxious, and sometimes, I go out too quickly, but I did a good job of holding back this time. I ran well on the hills, and I avoided the temptation to push too hard.”

LaSala said her pace changed midway through the race.

“I broke down a little on the second 5k,” she said. “I was a little slower, but I still felt pretty good until we got to the cemetery. Then I had to kick it in to finish strong.”

A member of the Stotan Racing Club, LaSala was a two-time All-American at Indiana Wesleyan, but she had a slow start in the sport.

“I was home-schooled, and I didn’t have any formal coaching because I didn’t belong to any team,” she said. “I trained on my own. My best friend, who was on a high school team, would train, and I would ask her what her times were, so I could base my training on that. When I got to college, things changed.”

While LoPiccolo’s career was slowed by an injury, LaSala had to deal with illness.

“I have asthma, and there are times when I would have used that as an excuse if I didn’t run well,” she said. “But I made some changes on my own so I wouldn’t have to be medicated any longer. I changed my diet, and I’m taking a lot of vitamins. It seems to have worked, because I no longer take any asthma medication and I’m running very well.”

LaSala won the 32nd Dunn Tire Mountain Goat Run last spring, and clocked a 54:35 to finish 15th in the Utica Boilermaker last summer.

Jodie Schoppmann, 26, from Levittown, was third among the women with a time of 54:59.6, followed by 44-year-old Lori Kingsley of Wysox (56:09.4), two-time champion Emily Bryans, 43, of Schenectady (57:15.5) and former champ Eileen Combs, 32, also of Schenectady (57:15.5.). Nine women clocked times under an hour.

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