NEW YORK — When Catherine Rozalski competes in the pole vault, she never watches her competitors jump.
“I want to concentrate on what I’m doing and not get caught up in how everyone else is doing,” the Queen of Peace senior said. “I’ll sit there watching races on the track or reading or listening to the music on the public address system [at the Armory], but I don’t watch other people vault.”
Of course, when it’s a large meet as it was Tuesday at the Track Universe Invitational at Armory Track Center, she can wait a long time before she makes her first attempt.
Nearly two hours had passed and only one other vaulter was left Tuesday when Rozalski entered the competition at 10 feet 6 inches, 3 feet higher than the opening height.
Rozalski cleared the bar on her second try, winning the event barely 10 minutes after she started vaulting. Then she cleared 11-3, the second-best indoor clearance of her career. An indoor best of 11-9 would be next, then an assault on the indoor Bergen mark of 12-3 set by Kayla Polcari of Ridgewood in 2011. But it wasn’t to be.
“I got on the biggest pole I have,” said Rozalski, who couldn’t get airborne on her three tries at 11-9. “I was trying some new things to improve my chances of clearing the height, but I guess during a competition wasn’t the best time to do that.”
“I just love doing this, especially at the Armory,” said Rozalski, who lists Wake Forest, Dartmouth, Northeastern and Fordham as possible college destinations next year. “I never get bored of this.”
One runner Rozalski may have been watching during her wait was Ramapo senior Lauren Brzozowski, who has signed a letter of intent to continue running at Elon University in North Carolina.
Brzozowski, who barely was on the radar a year ago, broke through last spring and finished fifth in the State Meet of Champions 400, then took fifth at the Emerging Elite 200 at the outdoor nationals.
Tuesday, she lowered her school record in the indoor 200 to 25.6 (tied for eighth in Bergen history) and ran an indoor-best 400 in 59.4, winning both events.
“I’m still figuring how to run the 400 indoors,” said Brzozowski, who enjoyed her first indoor season last winter. “I want to try and break the county record of 24.6 in the 200 indoors and see what I can do in the 400 at states.”
Bergen Catholic’s senior duo of Eddie Dehais and Kyle Ellerson swept the sprints, with Ellerson, a running back on the Crusaders’ football team, winning the 55 and 200 handily, and Dehais taking the 400 from the second heat.
“I just love to compete and I hate to lose,” said Dehais, who is considering Fordham next year. His 51.5 in the 400 is the fastest North Jersey time of the indoor season.
Westwood junior Jessica Molina dominated the shot-put field, throwing an indoor personal-best 42-11¼, third in New Jersey and sixth in the nation this winter.
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