SCRANTON – Call it an invitation or a challenge.
Whatever the case, Bree Bednarski made her way to the Wyoming Area track and field team in her sophomore year to test the arm she used to fire softballs from centerfield on throwing the javelin.
Before long, Bednarski was also comparing the speed she used to be a multi-tool softball standout and one of the nation’s most prolific scorers in high school field hockey with that of the sprinters already established in the sport.
“I love it,” Bednarski said of track and field while in the middle of Monday’s performance in which she was the most-decorated athlete at the District 2 championships. “I wish I started earlier.”
Bednarski could not be stopped Monday.
The Wyoming Area senior was the only four-event state qualifier – girl or boy, AAA or in Tuesday’s AA meet – as well as being the only three-time gold medalist and matching a handful of the district’s top athletes in producing two individual titles. The individual gold medals were the first two of Bednarski’s career.
Although her speed on the track now receives most of the attention, Bednarski is still throwing the javelin. That’s where she produced the only points the Warriors were able to add to their deep pack of sprinters, jumpers and hurdlers that carried them all the way to a third-place finish out of 19 teams.
Wyoming Area scored 76 points to finish behind only a pair of perennial track powers, who were coming off unbeaten champions in Division 1 of their respective leagues. Abington Heights beat out Dallas, 106-83, for the team title.
“It was a great day,” Bednarski said. “Great day for my team, too.”
“Great” was just one way to describe it.
“It’s been a really busy day,” Bednarski said before completing an effort that included top finishes in both qualifying heats and finals for the 100- and 200-meter dashes as well as the anchor leg of the winning 400 relay, “but, I’ve been doing the best I can with everything.
“It’s been a busy spring.”
That’s because Bednarski never stopped being one of the leaders of a successful softball team while climbing to the top of what was once just a secondary sporting interest for her.
Wyoming Area made itself into a district title contender primarily because of the sprinters it was able to combine with Bednarski.
The Warriors finished first and second in the 100, first and sixth in the 200 and won the 400 relay.
Jalen Rhodes was second in the 100 in 12.81 seconds. Bednarski ran the day’s two fastest times, 12.61 in qualifying and 12.56 in the final.
Bednarski’s 26.78 in 200 qualifying was 73-hundredths of a second better than the rest of the field. She then took 65-hundredths off that time to win in 26.13. Vanessa Shedlock, who was also fifth in the 400, added more points by placing sixth.
Rhodes, Jillian Spak, Vanessa Shedlock and Bednarski won the 400 relay by more than a second in 49.8.
The top six in each event earn medals and top eight score team points.
Spak scored in the 300 hurdles with an eighth-place finish.
Shelby Stackhouse finished third in the 100 hurdles and also combined with Shedlock to lead the team’s jumping efforts.
Stackhouse, in the high jump, and Shedlock, in the triple jump, each finished third.
Alley Petit was sixth in the triple jump while Valerie Gerchak was eighth in the long jump.
The only event that Bednarski did not win was the javelin where she was part of a strong field in which four girls qualified for the state meet.
The top finishers in each event, plus the few elite athletes that surpassed lofty state qualifying standards, made it to Shippensburg University for the May 27-28 Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Championship.
Bednarski, who is committed to the University of Michigan for field hockey, finished second in the javelin with a throw of 125-6.
The Wyoming Area boys had nine athletes each score in one event while finishing 11th out of 19 teams with 25 points.
Robert Acacio led the way, taking third in the long jump.
Marc Minichello was fourth in the javelin.
The 400 relay team of Sam Giordano, Brian Miles, Michael Murphy and Ryan Murphy was fifth.
Ryan Murray, in the high jump, and David Klaproth, in the pole vault, were each fifth. Joseph Buczynski gave Wyoming Area two medalists in the high jump with a tie for sixth.
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