The Friends of Track & Field hosted their 2014 banquet, bringing down the curtain on the high school campaign
Mike Jurkowski knew before the season began that it would be an uphill battle this year in Lackawanna League track & field action.
Honesdale's longtime varsity coach was sending two young and inexperienced teams into the fray this spring ... and he fully expected that wins might be tough to come by.
“Some years, wins and losses just aren't the main thing,” Coach Jurkowski said. “There are years that your record really isn't an accurate measurement of success or failure.”
He went on to say that in 2014 the focus was more on helping individual athletes attain their personal goals ... all the while building up his youngsters with an eye toward what promises to be a very bright future.
“I'm very pleased with how the kids did this year,” Coach Jurkowski said. “We had some really outstanding individual performances this season. We set some records and won some medals. Overall, I really can't be disappointed.”
Honesdale's boys varsity squad finished last in the always-rugged Division II.
The Lady Hornets were also shut out during the regular season, but both teams were competitive on a weekly basis against the likes of North Pocono, DV, Wallenpaupack Area and Western Wayne.
On Wednesday evening, hundreds of local fans gathered in the Honesdale High School auditorium to honor these athletes at the 2014 Friends of Track & Field awards banquet.
Trudessa Derrick and Elizabeth Aronica walked away with top honors on the girls' side.
Derrick, a senior who specializes in throws, was named Honesdale's MVP for her performance in field events.
Trudessa came out of nowhere to take first place in the discus at this year's District Two Class AAA Championships. Derrick's seeding distance was just 86' 11”, but her throw when it mattered most was an eye-popping 108' 6”.
“I just can't say enough about Trudessa,” said Coach Jurkowski. “She's a great kid. Trudessa worked extremely hard and all that work paid off. I was thrilled that she won a gold medal at districts.”
Derrick was also honored as this year's Cathy Howell Commitment to Excellence award winner.
Aronica is still only a junior and will be back in the fray next spring.
Elizabeth was tapped as Honesdale's MVP in track events. She specialized in the 100M and 300M hurdles, earning high marks from her varsity mentor.
“I think the best thing about Elizabeth is that she's a student of the sport,” said Coach Jurkowski. “She's one of those kids who works very, very hard and gets better each week.”
Arcadio Kearney and Timmy Russell were the big winners on the boys' side.
A senior who's hallmark was versatility, Kearney dazzled in the 110M hurdles, going undefeated in regular season action and earning a Lackawanna League all star berth.
“Arcadio was very, very self-motivated this year,” said Coach Jurkowski. “He's a really good all-round athlete who did anything we asked him to all season long.”
Russell enjoyed a huge senior season as well.
Timmy set a brand new school record in the javelin with a toss measuring 175' 8”. That effort erased a mark that had been on the books for 21 years.
Russell was also named to the Lackawanna League all star team, thanks to an unbeaten record in the high jump.
“You can always count on Timmy,” said Coach Jurkowski. “He's a very competitive kid who gives 100 percent in every event.”
Morgan Birmelin and Caleb Benson accepted major awards as well, taking home Rookie of the Year honors.
A multi-sport standout who also excels on the basketball court, Birmelin joined the track team for the very first time this spring.
“I was thrilled when I heard that Morgan was coming out for the team,” Coach Jurkowski said.
“She's obviously a tremendous athlete, but Morgan's best trait is her positive attitude. She is always smiling and upbeat.”
Jenson is just a freshman, but he's already turning heads as a distance runner in cross country and track. Caleb battled illness and injury this year, but Coach Jurkowski believes he's poised for a memorable scholastic career.
“We're going to be hearing a lot about Caleb in the next few years,” he said.
“I think it's just a matter of time before everything clicks into place for Caleb and he just takes off.”
Other award winners include...
•Abby Firmstone: Girls Academic Excellence.
•Erin O'Neill: Girls Most Improved and Cross Country Scholarship.
•Daniel Koop: Boys Academic Excellence.
•David Galinski: Boys Most Improved.