Christopher Wuensch,

Runners of all experience levels took to the streets of the Northwest Dec. 4 to compete in the 12th annual Holualoa Tucson Marathon.

The big winner was Mike Digennaro, of Delaware, who won in a time of two hours, 28 minutes. Digennaro knocked off six-time champion Bassirima Soro of Tucson.

All results are sent to the Boston Athletic Association and used as qualifiers for the Boston Marathon, which will be run April 17 in Bean Town.

More than 4,000 runners competed in the event's three races - 2,500 in the full marathon and 1,500 in the Bobbi Olson Half Marathon. The race has come a long way in the dozen years that Tucsonan Pam Reed has been putting it on. There were just 1,200 in the first race held in 1993. Now, more than 50 percent of all runners come from throughout the Unites States to compete in the race that starts in Oracle and winds its way down into Oro Valley. According to Reed, the economic influx on the Northwest is about $3 million between hotels, food and other expenses.

Legs and brains

The Pac-10 named four former Northwest and Foothills cross country runners now competing for the University of Arizona to the league's All Academic Team.

Jenn Ford, Emily McGregor, Karen Langdorf and Chris Ogle were among the eight Wildcats selected for academic honors.

Chris Ogle, a Mountain View High School grad, was the only Wildcat selected to the first team. The sophomore psychology major has a 3.93 grade point average.

Ford, a Catalina Foothills High School grad and pre-business major, led the second team with a 3.90 GPA and was followed by junior Karen Langdorf, 3.574, physiology; and sophomore Emily McGregor, 3.042, nutritional sciences. Langdorf is formerly of Canyon Del Oro High School, while McGregor was a teammate of Ogle's at Mountain View.

The men were the only UA squad to place at the NCAA championships held Oct. 29 in Terre Haute, Ind. Finishing 10th overall.

Big shot

The Nov. 25 trade that sent Jim Thome from the Philadelphia Phillies to the Chicago White Sox for centerfielder Aaron Rowand may be a blessing in disguise for one former Canyon Del Oro High School standout baseball player. With Rowand out of the lineup the defending champion White Sox will likely move leftfielder Scott Podsednik to center, opening up a slot in the outfield for Brian Anderson to earn a role as an everyday starter. Anderson appeared in 13 games last year for the ChiSox and slugged two homeruns.

Giving Mood

The Pines Golf Club got into the giving mood early this year helping to raise more than $3,600 for women's recovery centers The Haven, Women in Recovery and Spirit of Service. The money was raised as part of the Nov. 17 Fund Raising Friday, which saw 40 golfers play in the tournament to raise money for small nonprofit organizations.

NW Betting

The Tucson Grey Hound Park will hold a betting seminar Dec. 15 to commemorate the grand opening of the off-track betting facility at Old Father Inn, 4080 W. Ina Road. The seminar will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. and will answer questions, offer tips on handicapping and feature a drawing. The Old Father Inn will run simulcast races from Tucson Grey Hound Park and other horse and dog tracks throughout the nation in its revamped off-track betting facility.

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