Lyesiuk-Rudnitsky Win 46th River Rat Race

ATHOL -- Sometimes a team is destined to win.

That seemed to be the case Saturday, as the team of Ryan Lyesiuk, of Gardner, and Matt Rudnitsky, of Gilbertville, N.Y., emerged victorious in the 46th River Rat Spectacular.

With a mile to go, the duo paddled by last year's winners Jason Lichtenberger and Jason Gauthier, and never looked back on their way to victory. Their winning time was 34:59.

For Rudnitsky, who turned 22 on Saturday, it was the best birthday present he could ask for.

"It's my birthday," said an excited Rudnitsky following the race. "It's a good birthday present. It's great out here."

Everything aligned perfectly for the duo, who had never competed as a team before Saturday's race.

"My usual partner Mike Packard couldn't make it out (from New York) this year," said Lyesiuk. "He suggested Matt and told me he was available. I've never paddled with him, but I've paddled against him many times and I knew the ability he has. We talked about racing (together) before. It was kind of a last minute thing and it worked out great. It was definitely worth the phone call."

Lyesiuk claimed the top spot back in 1999 with then partner Bob Rapant. For Rudnitsky, the win makes up for the second and third place finishes of the last two years.

"I've finished in the top 10 every year," said Rudnitsky. "We got a clean start and started mowing them down. I really wanted to paddle with (Ryan). I've come out here every year for five or six years, just trying to get that win. I've come close. I finally got a fast boat. (Winning) feels good."

The duo, who wasn't sure of their starting number, started at 162, but caught up with Lichtenberger and Gauthier on Brookside Road.

"We caught Jason and Jason right after Dave Dugas' house," said Lyesiuk. "We worked with them for about a mile side by side. With about a mile to go we made a move on the inside and got a couple of boat lengths."

Lichtenberger and Gauthier, who dropped back to third, drew post 27 and had thoughts of a repeat but ran out of gas.

"It was a good number," said Gauthier. "We just tried to get away and win like we did last year but it didn't work out. They rode us and saved their energy all the way down. We wasted ours and they had some left."

Lichtenberger was happy with third, acknowledging the efforts of the canoes ahead of them.

"The better teams beat us," said Lichtenberger. "That's all there is to it. They're fast. They rode us for quite aways."

Tom Ellsworth, of Orange, and John Kazimierczyk, of Richmond, N.H., finished second, a year after coming in third. The duo finished fifth in 2007.

The team of Gloria Wesley and Gary Aprea finished eleventh to win the mixed division. Jeff Defeo and Lisa Tambussi placed second in the mixed division after crossing fifteenth overall. Mary Hamilton and Ed Euvrard placed third.

Ellen Ellsworth and Christina Wilson came from post 270 to claim the women's division win, finishing 35th overall. It was the third straight women's division win for the duo. Pam Fitzgerald and Vicki Cummings finished second and Valerie Hamlet and Dianna Dugas placed third in the women's division.

Top 40 Winners:

1)Ryan Lyesiuk, Matt Rudnitsky: 2)Tom Ellsworth, John Kazimiercryk: 3) Jason Lichtenberger, Jason Gauthier: 4)Nick Lyesiuk, Doug Howard: 5) Jeff Shultis, Larry Harrison: 6) Dennis "Yukon" Carey, Dale Persons: 7) Paul Facteau, Peter Heed: 8) Randy Martin, Al Shaver: 9)Michael Schlimmer, Ben Schlimmer: 10) Dr. Chuck Baxter, Charley Brackett: 11)Gloria Wesley, Gary Aprea: 12) Will Stevens, Justin Campbell 13) John Berry, Brent Lyesiuk: 14)Ken Goodwin, Ryan Goodwin: 15)Jeff Defeo, Lisa Tambuiss: 16) Kevin Boss, Bill Brown: 17) Dan Smith, Steve Drew: 18)Mary Hamilton, Eddy Euvrard: 19)Tom Warner, Kristen Warner:20) David Dorsey, Kris Dorsey 21) Dave Dugas, Gary Gleason: 22)Nellie Stevens, Phil Stevens: 23)Paul Dyka, Del Cummings: 24)Sue Morris, Dana Henry: 25) Bill Ellsworth, Steve Talbot: 26) Brian Newton, Ron Hamlett: 27)Paul Cole, Matt King: 28)Bonnie Sumner, Joe Sumner: 29) Bob Allen, Dick Ulbrick: 30) Ted Kenyon, Michelle Kenyon: 31) Neil LeBlanc, Brenda Bowie: 32) Alec Davis, Roger Henry: 33) Art Souza, Tim Allen: 34) Matt Payne, Tom Payne: 35)Ellen Ellsworth, Christina Wilson: 36) Jim Roberts, John Casale: 37) Bill McDonald, Tom Carey: 38) Adam Gelinas, Dustin Allen: 39) Roland Jean, Roger Ballard II: 40)Pam Fitzgerald, Vicki Cummings

Women's Division

1) Ellen Ellsworth, Christina Wilson: 2) Pam Fitzgerald, Vicki Cummings: 3) Valerie Hamlet, Dianna Dugas: 4)Sandy Superchi, Tricia Heed

Mixed Division

1)Gloria Wesley,Gary Aprea: 2)Jeff Defeo, Lisa Tambussie: 3)Mary Hamilton, Eddy Euvrard: 4)Tom Warner, Kristen Warner

Men's Recreation Division

1)Michael Schlimmer, Ben Schlimmer: 2)Alec Davis, Roger Henry: 3)Bill McDonald, Tom Carey: 4) Gerry Lajoie, Jodi Lajoie

Women's Recreation Division

1)Laura Walton, Patty Spector: 2)Liz Warden, Ellen Martin: 3) Carolee Manley, Shannon Kennedy: 4)Amanda Finch, Rebecca Bontin

Aluminum Division

1)Roland Jean, Roger Ballard II: 2) Dave Phelps, Greg LeBlanc: 3) Scott Livingston, Scott Parker: 4)Don Stebbins, Drew Stebbins

Canvas Division

1)Bob Allen, Dick Ulbrick: 2) Mark Peters, Dan Oreilly: 3) Shawn Thompson, Dan Thompson: 4)Josh Lacasse, Tony Vitello

Lyesiuk Memorial Award - first North Quabbin area team

Jason Lichtenberger and Jason Gauthier

James Canning Memorial Award - first Youth under 18 and Adult team

Don and Drew Stebbins (youth age 13)

Athol Daily News

PO Box 1000
225 Exchange Street
Athol, MA 01331
Phone: (978) 249-3535


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