Varsity boys & girls track teams appear poised for a bounceback season

Both of Honesdale’s varsity track & field teams struggled mightily last season in Lackawanna League action.

With veteran head coach Mike Jurkowski calling the shots, the boys and girls combined for just win in the always-rugged Division II.

This spring, Coach Jurkowski is convinced that the Hornets will be much-improved over last year’s squads. Despite the extended winter weather, they’ve maintained a solid work ethic and positive attitude.

“It’s definitely been tough, but we all have to deal with it and make the best of it,” he said. “This is such a great group of kids, though. I really don’t have to motivate them much. I’m expecting good things from the boys and girls once we get out there.”

Weather permitting, the Red & Black will open up their Lackawanna League slate Thursday on the road at Delaware Valley.

Meet action is tentatively scheduled to get underway at 4:15 p.m. in Milford.

The Hornets were to have competed this weekend at the Icebreaker Relays. This event, hosted each year by Wallenpaupack Area, attracts teams from all over the region.

According to Buckhorn officials, the meet has now been postponed until next Saturday, April 14, starting at 9 a.m. on the shores of The Big Lake.

***Leadership

Honesdale's boys and girls rosters will feature an interesting mix of talented youngsters and battle-tested veterans.

The boys team struggled mightily last season, suffering lopsided losses in all four of its league meets.

This year, though, Coach Jurkowski is optimistic that his Hornets will be much more competitive on a consistent basis

Pacing the Red & Black attack will be seniors Gavin Kelly (hurdles), Billy Bekanich (hurdles, jumps), and BJ Holloway (pole).

“I like what I'm seeing from those guys already,” he said. “They're showing good leadership.

“We have some talented individuals, so one of our main goals will be to get them ready for districts and maybe bring home medals. Mainly, I just want to see us improve from week to week and meet to meet.”

Among the youngsters, all eyes will be on shot putter Julian House. The gifted sophomore won a Lackawanna League title last year and is making the jump to varsity.

On the girls side of the ledger, Honesdale will feature a pair of familiar names in seniors Julia Polt and Kally Pachuta.

Polt will return as the Lady Hornets' premier hurdler, while Pachuta is expected to shine in the jumps once again.

“Julia is off to a great start,” Coach Jurkowski said. “We had a meet last week at Scranton and she already matched her best time from last year.

“Kally is a talented young lady and I'm really thinking that she's going to have a big senior season.”

Honesdale also boasts a strong stable of long and middle distance runners.

The Lady Hornet cross country team is coming off yet another outstanding season, a fact that inevitably benefits the track team.

Mackenzie LaMorte, Bella Frigoletto, Tedra Harrison and Shannon O'Day will lead the way.

“I'm expecting a lot from that group,” said Coach Jurkowski. “If things go the way I expect them to, we should be very competitive distance, middle distance and the relays.”

Mackenzie Meagher will also be in the spotlight for the Red & Black. A junior who has her sights set on a school record in the triple jump, Meagher will also compete in the long jump, sprints and 400M.

“Mackenzie is a very talented and versatile kid,” Coach Jurkowski said. “I'm expecting big things from her this season.”

***Looking Ahead

Mike Jurkowski is entering his 18th season at the helm of Honesdale's track & field program.

In addition to overall numbers being strong, the veteran skipper boasts an outstanding staff this year.

Megan Schweighofer Green returns to the fold after a stellar career at the NCAA level. She was a standout thrower at Shippensburg, as was her husband, Dave, who is also lending a hand.

Kevin Kloss moves up to the varsity level and will handle distance events.

Pat Blaskiewicz, a former Hornet who continued his running career at Misericordia, will assist with junior high.

Tiffany Leventhal, one of the most successful distance runners in the region, returns to help out as well.

Gene Biscontini and Hall of Famer Cathy Howell are also lending their expertise to the younger athletes.

“I'm blessed with a really great staff,” said Coach Jurkowski. “It's great for me and great for the kids.”