Meadville Tribune

April 7, 2014

MASH track squads set to open 2014 schedule

By Frank Foreman
Meadville Tribune

MEADVILLE — In his 36-year tenure as head coach of the Meadville track and field program, Carl Roznowski has seen it all. From the days of Bender FIeld being outlined with a cinder track until today, Roznowski has seen the sport, both on small and large scales, develop and improve over time.

Roznowski is hoping that the same can be said for both of his boys and girls track and field teams as they look to take a prominent step forward following a down season, specifically on the boys’ end. The boys finished with just one win last season, while the Lady Bulldogs wrapped up the year one win above the .500 mark.

The combined roster for both teams sits at 90, a figure down from 110 athletes from a season ago. The challenge now is maximizing the talent from both returning athletes and newcomers alike, a task made easier when senior Heather Sternby is leading the charge.

The Lady Bulldogs finished the 2012-13 season with a 5-4 record, a respectable mark considering the talent of fellow regions teams. Sternby was a big key to the success Meadville had last season, as she made it to states after winning the district crown in the 100 meter dash.

Sternby’s time of 12.71 was impressive, considering the fact that just weeks earlier, the then junior came up limping during a race at Harbor Creek. The injury was a pulled muscle, but it wasn’t enough to stop Sternby from showcasing her speed at districts.

“At Harbor Creek, she finished first in the 100 and in the 200 preliminary race, she blew everybody off the block,” Roznowski said. “All of a sudden, you could see she was limping. She still won the race, but we knew something was wrong.”

Sternby took second in the 200 meter dash, but the injury caught up to her at states, where she struggled.

“She definitely wants to do better,” Roznowski said. “I look for her to be at the top in the 100 and 200 races, and we’re trying to stretch her to run the 400 as well.”

Roznowski has high expectations for Sternby, and those hopes also apply to his throwers, as the combination of Fiona Mosley (shot put, discus) and Emily Allen (discus) provide a solid one-two punch.

“There are possibilities for those girls to reach states,” Roznowski said. “They both have nice measurements now, so we will see as the season goes.”

Also returning is senior Kendell Dickson, who took fifth at districts in the long jump and triple jump, and seventh in the high jump. Jordan Lynn is also back, hoping to build off her second-place finish in the 100 meter hurdles at districts

Roznowski added that he will turn toward his upperclassmen to be the guide for a talented young group, in hopes of setting up a strong future.

“We have some nice leaders here,” Roznowski said. “The upperclassmen are going to show the young kids the way it is done, and hopefully a nice tradition will be built.”

While pieces are in place for a solid season for the girls, on the boys’ side, improvement  over last season’s one-win campaign is a must.

Roznowski said that junior Alex Parker, senior Matt Svets and sophomore Matt Neubert are just three of the many boys athletes he hopes to get strong seasons from. Svets is back after taking 10th at districts in the 3,200 meter run.

“We are spread around pretty good. We’re not senior-heavy,” Roznowski said. “We have a good group.”

With a team filled with underclassmen, the early going will be a lot of mixing and matching for events, but for Roznowski that’s nothing new.

“Some of them had previous experience in the middle school program, and we got ideas of where the kids are good,” Roznowski said. “Once we take a look at them, we will start to push them in areas and have them develop and earn points for the team. By the time they are juniors and seniors, they will have found their spot.”

For both the girls and boys teams, help from the younger athletes will likely determine how far each group can go. Helping that process comes from the experiences ones.

“Right now we have a lot of returning lettermen,” Roznowski said. “We are trying to make sure that our younger kids take after those who are doing well. We are looking for those who are doing well to be our leads, and demonstrate for the younger kids how to perform and push yourself.”