Local tracksters compete at next level
BY KEVIN WOODRUFF
A pair of former local track and field stars have stepped up their game competing for NCAA Division I programs.
Elk Lake graduate Ryne Carney is running for Bucknell University, while Montrose Area graduate Julia Koloski is competing for the University of Pittsburgh.
Carney, 20, of Dimock, now a sophomore, is a member of the Bison team competing as a distance runner.
He competes in the 5K and 10K for Bucknell and is hoping to help the team to a Patriot League title this season.
Carney said that he feels he’s adjusting well to running at the college level, after a bit of a shock going in last year as a freshman.
“It was almost immediate that I noticed how much better the competition was,” Carney said. “And going from being the top runner in high school to middle of the pack in college was a bit of an adjustment. But, I’m glad I did it.”
Carney said that he has been making strides at working his way back to the top of the Bucknell pack, where he is in the top 10 runners on the team.
He said that his main goal for the 2011 outdoor season is to bring his 5K time under 15 minutes.
“If I can do that, I will feel accomplished for the season,” Carney said.
Carney said that adjusting to college life and balancing work and athletics hasn’t been as difficult as he once thought it would be.
He is an economics major, and said that he likes the rigid schedule, doing school work at specific times during the day.
The Bison distance runners currently average about nine miles of practice per day, with a 12 to 15 mile run on Sundays.
Carney said that its important to work hard because the team has very few outdoor meets.
“There are few chances to prove yourself,” Carney said. “Which makes every outdoor meet important.”
Bucknell next travels to Williamsburg, Va., on Friday, for the Colonial Relays.
Koloski, 19, a freshman for the Panthers, is competing in long jump, triple jump, the 100 meters, the 4×100 relay and the 4×200 relay.
She said that there is a lot more competition at the college level than she encountered while running for the Meteors.
“There is a lot more competition and a lot more training involved here,” Koloski said on Thursday. “But the team here is a tight-knit group, and is great to be a part of.”
Now that the Panthers indoor track season is over, Koloski and her teammates have moved their efforts outdoors where she hopes to have success in her events.
Currently Koloski said the team practices 2 to 3 hours per day, and another hour is spent by herself training.
“It’s definitely harder than high school,” Koloski said. “And was tough to get used to in the beginning. But I’m in a groove now with workouts and things are going great.”
Koloski said that some goals for herself in her first year are to improve her triple jump and long jump lengths.
And one of those goals was already met during the indoor season where she added 10.5 inches onto her best triple jump score.
“I hope to continue to build and build on my jumps,” Koloski said.
Koloski is a pre-pharmacy major at Pittsburgh, and said that it hasn’t been as hard to balance school and track as she thought it would be.
“Well, I have set times to do school work, so I know that I have to get it done during that allotted time,” Koloski said. “So it hasn’t been bad.”
Koloski said she looks forward to her time at Pittsburgh and said she enjoys the coaching staff and her teammates.
“My coaches give me all the attention I need and are very knowledgeable,” Koloski said. “And just getting to compete at this level is amazing. The athletes are amazing to watch.”
Pitt also next travels to Williamsburg, Va., on Friday, for the Colonial Relays.
There are also several other local athletes that have gone on to compete in track and field at the college level.
2007 Elk Lake graduate Thaddeus Koneski, 2008 Tunkhannock graduate Jeff Wilbur, 2009 Blue Ridge graduate Zachary Knott and 2010 Tunkhannock Area graduate Jeremy Stonier all compete for the Keystone College track and field team.
Mountain View graduate Jenna Fancher is a senior distance runner on the Keystone team.
Tunkhannock graduate Dezaray Distasio is a junior on the Gwynedd-Mercy College track team as a sprinter.
Elk Lake grad Brent Salsman is a sophomore at Misericordia University and competes as a distance runner for the Cougars.
Blue Ridge’s Lauren Findley is currently a sophomore at Rider University and competes as a sprinter.
Other Raider graduates Laurie Hall, Megan Kleiner and Bethany Stone all compete as distance runners on the California University of Pennsylvania track and field team.
Montrose graduate Cory Poepperling is a sophomore on the Binghamton University Bearcats decathlon team.
Another Montrose Area graduate, Cody DeBoer, is a freshman jumper for the Shippensburg University Raiders.
Blue Ridge graduate Kaitchen Dearborn is a freshman on the Penn State University track and field team.
Lackawanna Trail graduate Kaylea Zick is a member of the track and field team at Ashland University.