Norwin athletes shine at Tri-State indoor championships

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Friday, February 28, 2020 | 11:23 PM


Norwin’s boys distance medley relay unit stepped into the spotlight Feb. 22 at the Tri-State Track Coaches Association indoor championship meet.

The DMR runners took first place with a school-record time of 10 minutes, 41.28 seconds, 7 seconds faster than their seeded time of 11:04.17.

“Overall, the race went as planned,” Norwin coach Brian Fleckenstein said. “We had been planning all winter to all run the DMR fresh at a meet.

“We raced very well and were able to beat tough Meadville, Mt. Lebanon, Butler and Riverside teams.”

Seniors Logan Huss, Dom Spatolisano and Jake Tarosky and junior Alex Jubert teamed up for the Knights to beat runner-up Meadville (10:48.11) by a handy margin.

“We were proud to come away with the win against some stiff competition,” Tarosky said. “Many of the top schools in the WPIAL were competing.

“Our goal was to run sub-10:45, and we were able to do that. Our time was the fastest from Western Pennsylvania this winter.”

Jubert led off with a 3:18 effort in the first 1,200 meters

“He kept us in striking distance of the pack and of Patrick Anderson of Mt. Lebanon, a North Carolina recruit and one of the top distance runners in the country,” Fleckenstein said.

Jubert handed off to Huss, who opened up a lead thanks to an explosive 51.5 performance in the 400. Spatolisano widened the gap with a season-best 2:01 time in the 800.

Tarosky entertained a 7-second edge to start the 1,600, then held off Meadville’s anchor runner to secure the victory.

“It was nice to win the relay because the WPIAL has been the dominant distance running district in the state the past few years,” Fleckenstein said. “So to win against some of best runners in the state was validation for all the hard work the kids put in all season.

“Many teams train indoor for part of the winter, but we are outside every day with our distance running. It’s always nice to see the kids rewarded. They earned it.”

Tarosky is a versatile athlete who used to play basketball and soccer and has competed in cross country. He is focused solely on running now.

The Norwin senior plans to continue his running career and study mathematics in college. He has a 3.9 GPA.

“The key to winning the race was just everybody doing their job,” Tarosky said. “Alex kept us within striking distance against the top runner in the state. Logan took over the lead and Dominic maintained the lead. I was able to seal the victory.”

Norwin had eight medal-winning performances at the Tri-State championships held at Edinboro.

The girls 800-meter relay unit set a school record and placed fifth with a time of 1:49.17.

The team members were freshmen Jocelyn Boyd and Nataiah Robinson-Dutrielle, sophomore Brianna Hatok and senior Kayla Singer.

“The girls ran a great race,” their coach said. “They finished behind three state-qualifying teams and really showed a lot of improvement by over three seconds since their last meet.”

Layla Robertson, a standout sophomore, was a triple medalist, taking seventh in the 400 with a PR time of 1:02.24, and running a leg on the DMR and 1,600 relay units that finished fifth and eighth in 13:5.21 and 11:06.28.

“Layla had a strong meet, running the 800 and two 400s,” Fleckenstein said. “She was the only (Norwin) person to take home three medals.”

Robertson was joined by senior twins Allison and Katelyn Plassio and freshman Emma Jiancristoforo in the 1,600 relay, and by Jiancristoforo, Katelyn Plassio and sophomore Alexandra Walton for the DMR event.

Junior Aleksandra Brozeski also was a medalist in the triple jump, securing sixth place with a mark of 33 feet, 812 seconds.

For the boys team, senior Mike Ryan was a double medal winner, placing seventh in the long jump (20-712) and eighth in the 200 (23.21).

“Mike has worked really hard this winter,” Fleckenstein said. “It was great to see him medal with some very talented sprinters out there.”

Both Norwin track and field squads hope to pick up momentum from their winter conditioning to make a strong run at WPIAL titles in the outdoor season.

“We had a great (indoor) showing with 20 athletes competing in multiple events,” Fleckenstein said. “It really was a preview of the district meet three months away. We hope to build on a very successful winter training and competition season and keep the Norwin tradition rolling.”

Norwin’s girls team was the WPIAL Class AAA runner-up in 2019. The boys team placed fifth.

“The outlook is bright for the spring season,” Tarosky said. “We feel we have a complete team, from jumpers to throwers to sprinters and distance runners. Our goals are to win the section, win the county championship, and make a push for the team WPIAL championship.

“Individually, I’m looking to keep my momentum going from the indoor season, help the team as much as I can, and qualify for the state meet.”

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