Norwin track and field teams expecting another strong season

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Friday, April 5, 2019 | 5:14 PM


The Norwin girls have advanced to the WPIAL Class AAA final four in track and field in 13 of the past 14 years.

“The expectations for both the girls and boys are always the same,” coach Brian Fleckenstein said. “Win all the section meets, win the Westmoreland County team title, make it to the final four at the WPIAL championships and qualify as many athletes as possible for the WPIAL finals and PIAA championships.

“The girls have finished in the top four of the WPIAL almost every year dating back to 2005. The boys made it to the WPIAL team finals the last two years.”

Norwin’s girls team is led by an athletic group of seniors, in particular, Jessica Kolesar, Emily Brozeski, Lexi Gray, Courtney Kosanovic, Julia Fasiczka and Lexi Birkland.

“These girls have been contributing for what seems like forever,” Fleckenstein said. “They have re-written five track and field records.”

Kolesar, a Cornell commit, owns four school records.

“Jessica is so versatile and such a great athlete,” Fleckenstein said. “She does both long and triple jump and runs everything on the track from the 100 to the 400.”

Kolesar broke the team records in the 200, long jump and triple jump in 2018. She has high hopes for the girls team, as well as for herself, this season.

“The expectation this year is to win the WPIAL title,” Kolesar said. “Our greatest strength is our widespread talent. There’s no one particular area we are weak in or don’t have a chance to score points.

“My personal goal is to win a WPIAL and a state title.”

Kolesar has a 4.0 GPA and plans to major in engineering or actuarial science in college.

“Cornell was the best fit for me,” she said. “I love the campus, the education (that’s) available, and of course the track program.”

Kolesar was a WPIAL medalist in the 200, triple jump and long jump last season. She has seven WPIAL and two PIAA medals in her career.

Gray, a Bucknell recruit, finished as the WPIAL runner-up and broke the team record in the triple jump in 2018.

“Jessica and Lexi give us a one-two punch in the jumps,” Fleckenstein said. “Lexi is so dominant in all three jumps that it allows us to keep some other girls on the track.”

Duquesne commit Brozeski is perhaps the best multi-skilled athlete on the team. She was a WPIAL medalist in both hurdles events last year. She also high jumps.

“She just came off basketball (season) and will compete in the heptathlon and pentathlon in college because she can jump, hurdle, sprint and has even dabbled in throws,” Fleckenstein said. “Emily owns the school record in the 100 hurdles, breaking her hurdles coach’s record.”

Megan Duncan, a former Big Ten champion and Olympic qualifier, coaches the Knights’ hurdlers.

Fasiczka, who will continue her career at Penn State Behrend, Kosanovic, Birkland and junior Emily Shaw provide depth at the top of the lineup.

“Julia is a force in the 400 and 800,” Fleckenstein said. “Courtney has steadily led the distance squad for four years.

“Lexi has been a steady contributor in the throws and has just missed states the last few years in the discus.”

Birkland (discus) and Shaw (800) were WPIAL medalists last season.

Athletes looking to make an impact include freshman Berna Zukina in the sprints and 400 and freshman and Hempfield transfer Layla Robertson in the 300 hurdles and 400. Sophomore soccer players Lacey Bernick and Katie Kaufmann also will contribute.

“Both ladies have stepped right in on the sprints,” Fleckenstein said, “teaming up with junior Kayla Singer.”

Joining Birkland in the throwing events will be sophomores Anne Mamas and Brooke Alexander in the shot put, sophomore Megan Barry and seniors Christine Durmis and Marie Mosa in the javelin.

Kolesar and Brozeski were the top two point-producers on the girls squad last year.

While the strength of the girls team is the senior class, for the boys team it’s the junior class.

“On the boys side, we are really deep,” Fleckenstein said. “We have 78 boys. I’ve been coaching since 2005, and that’s the most we’ve ever had. Even though we have a lot of returning varsity athletes, we are still young.”

Junior Dominic Spatolisano was the leading scorer for the boys last season. He is back in the distance events, along with sophomore Alex Jubert.

The sprinting corps is strong, featuring juniors Logan Huss and Matt Federovich, sophomore Ian Brown, senior Zeke Houser and junior Mike Ryan, a first-year competitor. Huss was a WPIAL medalist in the 400 last season.

“We have good depth,” Fleckenstein said. “Logan is one of the top returning WPIAL athletes in the 400 and 200, and Ian is one of the top returning in the 400.

“Matt is probably our best all-around male athlete.Kids that can do multiple events are always nice to have heading into the playoffs.”

Senior Reice Morgan (shot put), junior Trent Cockeram (discus), plus freshmen Cody Scherle (javelin) and Aaron Schmook (javelin), are expected to propel the Knights in the throwing events.

“The throwers are off to a great start,” Fleckenstein said.

Norwin’s veteran coach is anticipating big things for the relay runners.

The Knights have set a high standard in the 1,600 relay after becoming the first boys team from the Pittsburgh area to win the event at the PIAA meet (2017).

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