Regan Rome runs to conference athlete of the year; Destiny Distasio vaults into new season

William & Mary sophomore Regan Rome and senior teammate Emily Stites were named co-winners of the Colonial Athletic Association Athlete of the Year award in women’s cross country.

Dallas grad Rome finished 25th in the NCAA Division I Championships to earn All-American honors. She finished second to Stites in the CAA Championship and finished fifth in the Southeast Regionals to earn an at-large berth to the NCAAs. She also had a big effort at the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational when she finished ninth against an elite national field.

Cross country and distance coach Natalie Hall talked about Rome’s cross country season.

“Regan came into the season very determined to be an All-American,” she said. ‘She always works really hard and was focused this year. We had some bumps along the way, but she has great perseverance. She ran a very controlled race at the CAA Championships and at the NCAAs, she ran a smart and tough race for an All-American performance.”

Rome didn’t compete when the Tribe opened the indoor season on Dec. 5 in Newport News, Virginia but is expected to be in the lineup for the Virginia Tech Invitational Friday and Saturday, Jan. 15 and 16 in Blacksburg, Virginia.

“We are looking forward to a fun indoor and outdoor season coming off her cross country fitness,” Hall said.

Distasio on the right track

If the statistics are any indication, Kutztown pole vaulter Destiny Distasio is right where she wants to be to start the indoor track season.

The Tunkhannock grad kicked off the new season by finishing fifth in the pole vault at the Bison Opener at Bucknell with a 10-4 effort. The past two seasons, Distasio also hit 10-4 in the meet and last season, went on to finish fourth in the PSAC Championship (11-2 ¼) and had a career best 11-5 ¾ effort in the Boston University’s Valentine Invitational. And as a freshmen, she finished eighth in the PSACs with a height of 11-2 ½.

“Destiny has all of the tools to be a great pole vaulter – speed, strength and height,” coach Ray Hoffman said. “She worked very hard all fall and I can see things coming together for her.”

The 10-4 she posted in the opener met the PSAC qualifying standard but the coach feels that Distasio can do a lot better.

“Her performance in the opener was a little under what we think she should be doing,” Hoffman said. “I think it’s a confidence thing. She gets her confidence up and her heights will be going up, too.”

The team returns to action Jan. 14 and 15 when it hosts the Golden Bear Invitational in Kutztown.

Clarion divers eye future

Senior Sarah Zerfoss and junior Collin Vest had a solid fall season diving for the Clarion swim team, but the two standouts figure to really make some noise at the end of the season.

Dallas grad Zerfoss and Wyoming Valley West grad Vest recorded some victories between them during the first half of the season.

“It’s hard to comment on performances during the first semester,” standout diving coach Dave Hrovat said. “As a coach, I am always changing dives and dive orders at meets trying to figure what our best lineup will be during the NCAA Championships. Therefore, scores and performances might not be up to par.”

Both divers are All-Americans. Vest is a two-time 1-meter champion and finished third as a sophomore and sixth as a freshman in the 3-meter dive. Zerfoss is a two-time

All-American but is still looking for her first individual title.

“After some great training during the semester break, I look forward to what’s in store for both of them when March approaches,” Hrovat said.

Balicki helpiong Blackbirds

Sophomore Alyssa Balicki is a key performer on the LIU-Brooklyn women’s bowling team. The Hazleton Area grad recently had a solid performance to help the Blackbirds finish fourth in the Kat Klash in Houston, Tiexas to lift the team’s record to 36-26.

“Alyssa is a very driven collegiate athlete,” coach Kayla Jones said. “She worked really hard over the summer to prepare for the season – not only her physical game but her mental game as well.”

Balicki averaged 207.4 in seven traditional games in Houston.

“Alyssa has not only put up some good numbers but she has put up some great shots in pressure situations when they are needed,” Jones said. “With the steps she has made from her freshman to sophomore year, I’m really looking to the rest of her collegiate career.”

Record start for Viti

Misericordia senior Amy Viti kicked off the indoor track season by finishing second in the 1000 meter run at the Lehigh Fast Times Invitational in Bethlehem. The Hanover Area grad’s time of 2:56.85 was a school record. She also ran a leg on the 4×400 relay that finish sixth competing against Division I and II colleges.

“Amy ran with some good competition with very little training under her belt,” coach Chris Wadas said. “Our focus is to get to the national meet again in the 800 (Viti finished fifth last year). She will be running the 400 and 800 most of the year.”

Senior Bianca Bolton, a Pittston Area grad, is also a strong performer for the Cougars. She will be focusing on the mile and with the distance medley relay.

“We feel Bianca can run quick enough in both of those to make a run at a berth in the nationals,” Wadas said. “She will also take a stab at the 3k and run the 800 possibly at the conference meet.”

Hopkins honored again

For the third time this season, Bloomsburg junior Mia Hopkins was named PSAC East Athlete of the Week in women’s basketball Monday. She won back-to-back awards (Nov. 16 and Nov. 23).

The Pittston area grad had 22 points, seven rebounds, three steals and two assists in a 91-74 loss to West Chester last Wednesday. The 5-foot-9 guard, a transfer from Monmouth, had another 22-point night and nine rebounds in an 87-51 victory over Mansfield last Saturday.

Hopkins ranks second in the PSAC both in points per game (19.4) and rebounds per game (11.6) and has led the Huskies to a 7-3 overall mark and a 4-3 league record.

Lopez selected

Freshman Amanda Lopez earned ECAC Division III South Rookie of the Week honors (Dec. 13) for her performance with the Wilkes women’s swim team.

The Dallas grad finished first in the 100 backstroke (1:07.80) and the 200 freestyle (2:10.44) as the Lady Colonels defeated Penn State-Altoona 142-84 on Dec. 12 in Wilkes-Barre.

Lopez also swam with the winning 200 medley (2:02.65) and 400 freestyle (4:06.94) and she set a Wilkes record with a 57.48 for her 100 free leg. Another freshman, Danielle McCole (Holy Redeemer), was a member of both relays.

Wilkes coach Mark Barnes talked to the media after Lopez earned her award.

“Amanda has made great strides since she came to campus in the fall,” he said. “We look forward to her being a leader of the program and building off of this great honor for many years to come.”






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