Senior Spotlight: Trinity standout left 3-sport legacy

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Wednesday, May 13, 2020 | 12:07 PM


Editor’s note: Each day, Trib HSSN will spotlight WPIAL spring athletes whose senior years were cut short by the coronavirus pandemic.

Trinity was in the thick of a state title chase in girls basketball when covid-19 shut down the PIAA playoffs.

That was painful enough for Marlaina Bozek, a starting senior forward for the WPIAL runnner-up Hillers, who were set to meet Gettysburg in the Class 5A quarterfinals March 14.

But as the virus spread, so did the bitter news.

Spring sports also became a casualty of the virus and, as a result, Bozek also had softball — her main sport — ripped away.

She was left to wonder what might have been.

“It was extremely difficult, especially with ending the season on a high,” Bozek said of basketball. “Coming back from the game in Chambersburg, we felt like we could actually win the state title. Knowing we went out like that is heartbreaking, but also rewarding because we went out playing our best game of the year.”

As for her favorite sport, “Softball is my love,” she said. “Ever since I was little, I’ve always loved to play the game. Not getting closer to high school softball is probably what hurts the most, but also not being able to compete for a title. I’m a very competitive player, and I know we could’ve competed this year.”

Bozek, a George Mason commit for softball, would have been a four-year starter. She is one of the WPIAL’s top power-hitting shortstops and would have helped lead a talented team that was expected to be one of the favorites in WPIAL Class 5A.

For her high school career, she batted .527 with 41 of her 103 hits going for extra bases. That includes 12 home runs.

Some forget Bozek is a three-sport standout. In the fall, she was the No. 1 tennis player for the Hillers. She has qualified for the WPIAL postseason in singles and doubles.

Another regret from something she couldn’t control was missing out on playing a softball season with her sister, Kristina, a freshman.

“That really saddens me,” Marlaina said. “I’ve always wanted to play on the same field as her.”

What was the last live pro or college sporting event you went to?

I actually went to my first Penguins game (this season). It was such a fun experience, nothing at all like typical football or baseball games. I also went to a Penn State football game in the fall, which is such a surreal experience in itself. I love all sports. Any chance I can get, I’ll go to a game.

What was the last concert you saw in person?

I’m a big country music fan, so when Carrie Underwood came to Pittsburgh, I couldn’t wait to go. It’s a shame so many concerts this summer are being canceled or I’d go to so many.

Why have you been such a consistent hitter?

See the ball, hit the ball. My dad has told me that from such a young age. Every mechanical technique I practice outside of the game is just that. Never make any mechanical adjustments in the game. I’ve always tried to stop thinking about a perfect swing when I’m at the plate and just keep my head on the ball.

How did you manage three sports and a 4.7 GPA?

Growing up, grades have always come first for me and my family. My little sister has been told the same. Sports can only take you so far in life, so I focused on academics a lot, while also having fun at athletics.

Any new hobbies you have developed during the shutdown?

I’ve actually been writing a lot, and I also have started drawing more. I’ve always loved doing artsy things like that so I’m trying to do them more when I’m at home.

Have you cooked a meal during this time?

Well, I’m not actually the best cook. But I’m trying my best. The dining halls will see a lot of me the next four years.

Any good luck charms you use in sports?

I’m not the most superstitious person in the world. The one weird thing I probably would say I do in softball is that I always have to wear long sleeves under my jersey. It doesn’t matter if it’s 90 degrees. It doesn’t feel right if I don’t have on sleeves.

Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?

I have played the piano and violin since I was in elementary school. I also would call myself a pretty decent artist.

Have you gotten creative with masks in any way (making them, buying cool designs)?

No, not really. My (Bob Evans) co-worker made me one with a cartoon bear on it that I really enjoy, so I sort of have just stuck with that.

Have you been watching “The Last Dance?” If so, what did you learn about Michael Jordan?

Yes. Ever since I was little, I’ve always looked up to Kobe and Jeter as athletes. But after watching “The Last Dance,” what Michael Jordan accomplished throughout his career is phenomenal.

What’s the farthest home run you’ve hit and where?

I don’t know about farthest home run, but last fall I hit three home runs back-to-back-to-back in one game in Columbus, which was so cool.

Anything you would like to add?

I just wanted to thank all of my coaches and teammates these past four years. I would never be where I am without each and every one of them.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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