Every piece of the puzzle has to fall into place to win a championship.
And, the Northern Cambria girls track and field squad is really good at putting the pieces together in order to win titles.
The Colts claimed their sixth straight Heritage Conference crown and fourth consecutive West Central Coaches Invitational laurel last week.
Northern Cambria finished with 99 points, 341/2 ahead of second-place Elk County Catholic from District 9. The Colts scored points in 11 of the 18 events at the West Central Meet, with senior Janae Dunchack contributing 40 points, with victories in the 100, 200, long jump and high jump.
Breanna Kochinsky added 23 points with a victory in the 100 hurdles, a second in the high jump and a fourth in the 300 hurdles while Jess Rocco contributed 18 points with a win in the javelin and second in the discus.
But there were numerous other athletes who contributed to the team’s title.
Ariel Rocco was third in the triple jump, Grace Thomas was third in the discus, Stephanie Paronish was fifth in the javelin, Allison Paronish had an eight-place finish in the shot put and the Colts’ 3200 relay was eighth.
“We always make a point of saying if someone else gets 40 points, but you don’t get your five or six and we end up losing by two or three it doesn’t do us any good,” Northern Cambria coach Jim Rocco said. “Janae gets 40, and maybe Kochinsky gets 30 or 20 and Jess Rocco gets 20, but it takes all the points to add up at the end to win. I really hope the other kids know that what they do is important. I certainly try to emphasize to them, just because you’re getting one place and they’re getting four, don’t take that lightly. Every point matters, and at districts, every point is really going to matter. To me, that’s a big thing. Everyone has their role to play.
Multiple wins in an event are also keys to the team’s success.
“If one school gets a win and we get third and fourth, we’re pretty much equal,” Coach Rocco said. “Just because you don’t go home with a medal, together essentially they are helping win the meet. If you can get double places in an event, it really give you an enormous advantage. Every point counts.”
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A chance to sleep in: If the Heritage Conference is looking for confirmation about its decision to move its track and field championships from Saturday to Tuesday, just ask the competitors.
“We had three invitationals this week, but definitely being able to sleep in (on Saturday) is going to be a bonus,” Northern Cambria’s Jess Rocco said.
Added Colts coach Jim Rocco: “I am thrilled to death, I’ve been looking forward to not getting up (Saturday) all week.
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Upcoming meets: The WestPAC Meet is set for 3 p.m. today at Windber’s complex.
The Laurel Highland girls will do battle at Johnstown’s Trojan Stadium at 3 p.m. Tuesday and the boys from the LHAC will square off at Trojan Stadium at 3 p.m. Wednesday.
Cory Isenberg is a sports writer for The Tribune-Democrat.