Wyoming Area sprinter Bree Bednarski leads talented field of WVC athletes into District 2 track and field championships


By Paul Sokoloski - psokoloski@timesleader.com



Wyoming Area sprinter Bree Bednarski is the only Wyoming Valley Conference athlete seeded first in three events for Monday’s District 2 Class 3A Track and Field Championships at Scranton Memorial Stadium. Bednarski is the favorite in the girls 100 and 200-meter dashes and is on the top-rated 400-meter relay team.


Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Lake-Lehman’s two-time defending state champ Dominic Hockenbury will try to win his third consecutive District 2 Class 2A boys 1,600 and 3,200 runs during Tuesday’s competition at Scranton Memorial Stadium. Hockenbury is the top seed in both events this season.


Fred Adams|For Times Leader

Returning state silver medalist Raheem Twyman of Meyers (center) will try to return from a nagging hip flexor injury in time to win the 110 and 300 hurdles when the District 2 Class 2A Boys Track and Field Championships get underway Tuesday at Scranton Memorial Stadium. Twyman won the District 2 gold medal in the 300 hurdles during last year’s district meet.


Pete G. Wilcox|Times Leader

IF YOU GO …

Monday

District 2 Class 3A Track and Field Championships at Scranton Memorial Stadium, 3 p.m.

Tuesday

District 2 Class 2A Track and Field Championships at Scranton Memorial Stadium, 3 p.m.

This isn’t her main sport.

That would be field hockey, where Wyoming Area standout Bree Bednarski committed to play for the University of Michigan before her senior season this past fall, then led the whole nation in goals scored for most of the 2015 season before settling for a national third-place finish.

She also plays softball during the spring season, as a do-it-all leadoff hitter for a Warriors team on the brink of making the District 2 playoffs in that sport.

But the supremely talented and super-fast senior has just as much fun lining up and trying to beat other runners from point A to point B.

“I actually love track,” Bednarski said.

It shows.

So much so, she’s the only athlete from the Wyoming Valley Conference seeded first in three different events for the District 2 Track and Field Championships, which open Monday with Bednarski competing in the Class 3A girls field at Scranton Memorial Stadium.

She has the top time in the 100-meter dash.

She’s first in the 200.

And she’s the anchor of a Warriors 400-meter relay team that includes Jalen Rhodes, Jillian Spak and Vanessa Shedlock who are also the favorite at districts.

Her speed seems to come from above.

“She’s just a natural athlete,” said Wyoming Area coach Joe Pizano, who is also the school’s athletic director. “That’s the reason she has a full athletic scholarship and is going to Michigan to play field hockey. She’s just as good of a softball player. She picks up the hockey stick and she’s the best field hockey player in the state. She picks up a softball bat and has one of the highest batting averages in the league last year.

“If she played football, she’d be a starting tailback at Wyoming Area.”

It didn’t take long for Bednarski to start enjoying track.

She was the driving force behind the first Wyoming Area girls team to win a Wyoming Valley Conference Division 2 title in at least 20 years in 2015, then helped last year’s Warriors fall a handful of points shy of winning a District 2 Class 3A team championship.

“It’s a good diversion for me,” Bednarski said. “It’s just so competitive, but it’s kind of laid-back at the same time. I feel like the other two sports really helped out with track. Field hockey has a ton of running. In softball, you have to sprint the bases. I feel like it’s helped me a lot.”

A bunch of her fellow WVC athletes won’t need much help gearing up for the district championships.

In Class 3A boys competition, Coughlin standout Ron Sepkoski is the top seed in the 110 hurdles and has a shot at also winning the 300 hurdles — where he’s three-hundredths of a second behind favorite Matthew Houser of Hazleton Area. Returning state fifth-place medalist Ray Richard is back to defend his District 2 title in the 400 and anchors the Spartans’ top-seeded 1,600 meter relay team.

And Tuesday’s Class 2A field is littered with WVC competitors who have a shot at walking out with multiple gold medals.

Lake-Lehman’s Syracuse-bound distance star Dominic Hockenbury goes for his third straight District 2 sweep of the 1,600 and 3,200, where the two-time defending state 3,200 champ is favored — by far — in both boys events.

He joins Hanover Area’s Brandon Chafin, who has the district’s longest distance this season in both the long jump and triple jump, as a favorite to win two gold medals.

On the girls Class 2A side, Holy Redeemer’s returning bronze high jump medalist Caroline Banas will try to make it two District 2 golds in a row in that event and is also the top seed in the 400, while Nalasjia Harris-Johnson of Meyers makes a run at living up to her seeding and finishing first in the 100 and 200-meter dashes.

There’s also a bit of intrigue in the boys Class 2A field.

About the only thing that can stop Meyers star Raheem Twyman from running away with two gold hurdles medals is injury, and he’s been hampered by one. The defending district and state silver medalist in the 300 hurdles suffered a slight hip flexor injury just over two weeks ago, and although he’s comfortably seeded first in both events based on the fastest times from the season, he hasn’t run competitively this month.

GAR speedster Anthony Maurent, a two-time defending district champ in the 100 and 200 who twice won medals in the state’s fastest sprint field, was also shut down for the past three weeks after suffering a slight hamstring strain. He’s not running the 200 in the Class 2A boys district field, but is seeded first in the 100.

It all starts with Bednarski’s pursuit of district gold, and she has three shots to secure at least one championship medal while trying to take the Wyoming Area girls team to the top of the District 2 podium after last year’s near-miss.

“Oh yeah, we’re all thinking about that,” Bednarski said. “We just want to go up and try to win it. We were so close last year. There is pressure with it, knowing I am seeded first. I’m just going to go and try to do the best that I could. I want to really try to get as many first places as I can. But I also want to try to get our relay team, all of us, to see if we can go to states.”

Wyoming Area sprinter Bree Bednarski is the only Wyoming Valley Conference athlete seeded first in three events for Monday’s District 2 Class 3A Track and Field Championships at Scranton Memorial Stadium. Bednarski is the favorite in the girls 100 and 200-meter dashes and is on the top-rated 400-meter relay team.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_TTL050615Lehman-WyoAreaTrack_2.jpgWyoming Area sprinter Bree Bednarski is the only Wyoming Valley Conference athlete seeded first in three events for Monday’s District 2 Class 3A Track and Field Championships at Scranton Memorial Stadium. Bednarski is the favorite in the girls 100 and 200-meter dashes and is on the top-rated 400-meter relay team. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Lake-Lehman’s two-time defending state champ Dominic Hockenbury will try to win his third consecutive District 2 Class 2A boys 1,600 and 3,200 runs during Tuesday’s competition at Scranton Memorial Stadium. Hockenbury is the top seed in both events this season.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_d2aa4_faa.jpgLake-Lehman’s two-time defending state champ Dominic Hockenbury will try to win his third consecutive District 2 Class 2A boys 1,600 and 3,200 runs during Tuesday’s competition at Scranton Memorial Stadium. Hockenbury is the top seed in both events this season. Fred Adams|For Times Leader

Returning state silver medalist Raheem Twyman of Meyers (center) will try to return from a nagging hip flexor injury in time to win the 110 and 300 hurdles when the District 2 Class 2A Boys Track and Field Championships get underway Tuesday at Scranton Memorial Stadium. Twyman won the District 2 gold medal in the 300 hurdles during last year’s district meet.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_hstrack01.jpgReturning state silver medalist Raheem Twyman of Meyers (center) will try to return from a nagging hip flexor injury in time to win the 110 and 300 hurdles when the District 2 Class 2A Boys Track and Field Championships get underway Tuesday at Scranton Memorial Stadium. Twyman won the District 2 gold medal in the 300 hurdles during last year’s district meet. Pete G. Wilcox|Times Leader

By Paul Sokoloski

psokoloski@timesleader.com

IF YOU GO …

Monday

District 2 Class 3A Track and Field Championships at Scranton Memorial Stadium, 3 p.m.

Tuesday

District 2 Class 2A Track and Field Championships at Scranton Memorial Stadium, 3 p.m.

Reach Paul Sokoloski at 570-991-6392 or on Twitter @TLPaulSokoloski

Reach Paul Sokoloski at 570-991-6392 or on Twitter @TLPaulSokoloski

comments powered by Disqus