Highlands grad Slosky ran his way into Alle-Kiski Valley Sports Hall of Fame

Saturday, April 15, 2023 | 4:16 PM

Tom Slosky’s decorated career as a distance runner and coach earned him a call to the hall.

The Highlands and Duquesne graduate is among those scheduled for induction into the Alle-Kiski Sports Hall of Fame on May 20 at the Pittsburgh Shrine Center in Harmar.

A few weeks after the A-K ceremony, Slosky will respond to a different calling. He will be ordained as a priest in the Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Church.

“It’s been a journey,” said Slosky, who is a licensed professional counselor. “When I was coaching (at Duquesne), I loved being able to help people, but I wanted to emphasize more of it in my life and felt that I could do that through mental health. I also felt a calling to the priesthood in college and decided that, to do both, I would have to leave coaching.”

A Brackenridge native, Slosky has a private counseling practice in Wexford. After ordination, he expects to be assigned to a church parish in western Pennsylvania.

“I wanted to continue my secular career,” said Slosky, who also is a chaplain candidate with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. “I will be able to combine my job as a professional counselor with my church duties.”

A 2004 Highlands graduate, Slosky became involved in distance running at the urging of his eighth grade basketball coach, Mike Foster, who also directed the track and field team.

“I remember going to B&J Sports (in Natrona Heights) and buying my first pair of track spikes,” he said. “I think they were neon green and purple. I put them on and took a run around the track once, and I knew that was it. I was hooked.”

With the Golden Rams, Slosky was a five-time state qualifier in track and cross country, breaking the school record in the 3,200-meter run. He placed third in the 3,000 meters at the state indoor meet as a senior.

“There was a sense of community (with the Highlands program), especially with the cross country team,” he said. “I was able to emphasize my talents as a runner, but I also was able to see what it means to be a teammate.”

Slosky chose Duquesne for his college running career, competing in track and field and cross country for the Dukes from 2005-08.

“It was a local school that was Division I, and it was going to be my best academic choice,” he said.

At Duquesne, Slosky began competing in the steeple chase, a long-distance track event in which runners must navigate hurdles and water jumps.

“The coaches said, ‘You’re pretty athletic. You’re not just a good endurance runner,’ ” Slosky said. “During the winter of my freshman year, I started doing drills to make myself a better hurdler.”

Slosky went on to become an NCAA Division I All-American in the 3,000-meter steeple chase and the first Duquesne athlete to qualify for an NCAA final. His many college accolades included being named the 2007 Atlantic 10 cross country male athlete of the year, capturing four Atlantic 10 individual titles and setting six Duquesne school records. He also led the 2005 cross country team to the school’s first Atlantic 10 title.

“At Duquesne, I had the ability — with the help of the coaching staff — to become a student of the sport,” said Slosky, who still holds the school’s steeple chase record with a time of 8 minutes, 43.39 seconds. “It allowed me to better understand running and get the most out of myself.”

He returned to Duquesne as an assistant track and cross country coach from 2011-19. During that time, Slosky helped Jim Spisak become the second Dukes runner to qualify for an NCAA track final. He also coached the women’s cross country team to its first Atlantic 10 title.

Slosky received a master’s degree in clinical mental health from Duquesne and a master of divinity from Loyola University of Chicago. The Carpatho-Russian Church allows married men to be ordained as priests. Slosky lives in Edgewood with his wife, Rachel Van Campenhout, and their 3-year-old son, Cyril. A doctor of education, Van Campenhout is a research scientist in the education and technology field.

Slosky won’t be the first member of his family in the A-K Hall of Fame. His great-great uncle, Ken Slosky, was recognized in 1983 for winning 228 games as the New Kensington High School boys basketball coach from 1949-63.

“It will be a great honor to follow in his footsteps,” Slosky said.

If you go

52nd A-K Valley Sports Hall of Fame induction

7 p.m. Saturday, May 20

Pittsburgh Shrine Center, Harmar

Tickets: $40

Contact: Larry Lutz, 724-822-3695; Fred Soilis, 412-736-1809; Bill Heasley, 724-882-3079


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