Donald Pollitt is ready for action.
Pollitt (Hazleton Area) is a standout member of the Syracuse University men’s track team. An All-American in outdoor track last season (110 hurdles), the senior will concentrate on the 60-meter hurdles this winter. He opened the season by finishing second in that event at the Gotham Cup in New York City with a time of 7.90.
“Donald had a great fall of training so we expected him to run well,” coach Chris Fox said. “He was very pleased with the 7.90 but we think he can run much faster later in the season. Hurdlers typically need a lot of races to get into peak form so we’re looking forward to the season ahead.”
Pollitt finished sixth at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships to earn his All-American honor.
“We hope that Donald can get to that level indoors, but a lot of things need to go right for someone to be an All-American,” Fox said.
Pollitt captured the Big East Conference title in the 60 hurdles last season with a time of 7.79. This season, he and the Orange will be competing in the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship from Feb. 27-March 1 in Clemson, S.C.
Fox, who gives event coach David Hegland the credit for Pollitt’s development, feels that his hurdler will be ready for the ACC meet.
“Both the Big East and ACC have been great hurdle conference the past three or four years and I think that coming through the Big East last year helped Donald later in the championship season,” Fox said. “This year, there are some outstanding hurdlers in the ACC so anyone that makes it to the NCAA Championships should be very well prepared.”
SOWINSKI WORKING HARD – Freshman Rachel Sowinski (Holy Redeemer) has had a solid start to her career running with the Holy Cross women’s track team. She was the only Crusader entered in the Gotham Cup in New York City and she finished sixth in the mile (5:19.94). Last weekend against New Hampshire, she finished fourth in the mile with an improved time of 5:17.46 and ran the anchor leg on the winning 4x800 (9:31.95). She had mono during the cross country season and spent December and January just on base work.
“Rachel’s workouts have looked strong and she’s keeping up with our older runners,” coach Egetta Alfonso said. “I haven’t been working with her too long, but based on what I’ve seen I’m excited about how she’ll do. She’s got a desire to do well and she has a toughness that you can’t teach an athlete.”
The coach sees Sowinski running the 800 and 1000 as well as the mile for the Crusaders.
“I expect Rachel to qualify for the ECAC Championships in one of those events,” Alfonso said. “And she’s a member of our 4x800 which traditional places at the ECAC meet.”
BELL CONTRIBUTES – Senior Chris Bell of Wyoming (Choate Rosemary Hall) is in his fourth season playing with the George Washington men’s squash team. He carried a 29-28 record entering this season and is 0-2 this year after the Colonials lost 9-0 to No. 1-ranked Trinity and 9-0 against No. 14 Navy.
“Chris is a co-captain and has been a solid contributor to our success over the past few years despite having to overcome several injuries during his career,” coach Wendy Lawrence said. “He has balanced a rigorous academic schedule while playing between No. 7 and No. 8 on our ladder.”
Bell is majoring in Aerospace Engineering and holds one of the top grade point averages on the squad.
“He also serves as treasurer of the Student-Athletic Advisory Council,” Lawrence said.
TRIO WITH HAWKS – Senior Mercedes Yanora (Holy Redeemer) and sophomores Dannah Hayward (Coughlin) and Sara Radzwilka (Wyoming Area) are competing with the St. Joseph’s women’s indoor track team this winter. All three excel in the class room as well.
Yanora, a senior captain, is a sprinter for the Hawks.
“Mercedes has proved invaluable as a strong leader on the track and in the locker room,” coach Kevin Quinn said. “She’s focusing on the long sprints and she’s seeking a spot on our very strong 4x400 relay.”
Yanora, a history major, posted a 4.0 GPA the fall semester.
Hayward is a middle distance runner. She set school records in the 500 (indoors) and the 400 intermediate hurdles (outdoors) as a freshman.
“A late-season injury hampered her when she qualified for the Junior Nationals in the summer,” Quinn said. “The injury was nagging and limited her somewhat during the fall, but she is now in full training.”
Hayward had a 3.45 GPA in the fall majoring in psychology.
Radzwilka is also a middle distance runner and she, along with Hayward, are vying for a spot on the Hawks’ standout 4x800 relay team.
“Sara endured a limited cross country season but is back running at full strength now,” Quinn said.
Radzwilka is majoring interdisciplinary health services and posted a 3.39 GPA in the fall.
TAMANINI A LEADER – Junior Chris Tamanini (Dallas) competes and scores points in the 100 and 200 freestyle and the 100 backstroke as well as being a member of the 200 free and 200 medley relays for the Villanova men’s swim team. He also helps the Wildcats in another area.
“Now that Chris is an upperclassman, he provides more leadership to our younger athletes,” coach Rick Simpson said. “He is a vital part of our two-year plan as we move into the new Big East concept. He is a reliable student-athlete and an important member of our relay teams.”
The Big East Championship is Feb. 19-22 in Sewell, N.J. The Wildcats have one more dual meet remaining until then – Friday, Jan. 31, at Pittsburgh.
ELLSWORTH HAS ADJUSTED – Freshman Lydia Ellsworth (Wyoming Valley West) has become a solid contributor to the strong Messiah women’s swim team. She competes in the 100 and 200 freestyle along with the 400 free relay. She finished sixth in both the 100 free (1:00.12) and 200 free (2:12.53) as the Falcons defeated Arcadia 130-72 and King’s 133-69 recently in Grantham.
“The transition to college is often bigger than high school grads realize. but Lydia has done a great job of adjusting to college life,” coach Nancy Luley said. “Not only has she adapted but she is spending two hours a day, six days a week, practicing with the swim team. She is conscientious and a great time manager.”
MENICHINI IMPROVING – Junior Samantha Menichini (Holy Redeemer) is a member of the Southern Connecticut women’s gymnastics team. She competes in the vault, bars and floor exercise for the Owls and finished fifth in the floor (9.400) in a season-opening 186.325-181.800 victory over Brockport.
“Samantha has improved greatly in her confidence and her athletic ability,” coach Jerry Nelson said. “She possesses both power and great execution and we are expecting a national-caliber year out of her.”
The Owls return to action Saturday when they travel to Towson, Md., to face Towson, West Chester and Centenary.