BERLIN - Taking plane trips down to Greensboro, N.C. for Nationals in June has been a theme for Berlin’s Patricia Mroczkowski throughout her outdoor track career.
“It’s exciting going there because Nationals is really difficult,” Mroczkowski said. “I have a really hard time placing there so it pushes me to be better.”
This season, the junior qualified for her third consecutive Nationals in the high jump event and will be representing the town of Berlin again. One needs to jump 5 feet, 6 inches or higher in order to qualify for Nationals. Her best finish was 30th in her freshman year. Last year Mroczkowski didn’t place. Just getting there, though, is a feat for the junior.
“It means a lot,” Mroczkowski said. “I don’t think it’s a heavy weight on my shoulders because getting to Nationals is pretty good especially for it being a small town in Connecticut. So I’m really proud of myself and happy for my team. They pushed me to be able to go to Nationals and be the best I can be.”
She will be the only athlete representing the Redcoats and one of two in the state (Monique Anderson, Bloomfield High School), something her teammates are proud of. Mroczkowski is also the only high jumper for Berlin.
“It’s quite the accomplishment,” Berlin’s Tyler Dinkins said. “We’re just a little small town in Berlin, Connecticut. Nobody knows about it. To see her there at Nationals and placing is a pretty cool thing to see.”
At the CCC South Championships, Mroczkowski placed first with a high jump of 5-2.
She started at 5-0, which was two inches ahead of what Shy-Ann Whitten (Bristol Central) starts at. The other 10 competing all started their first jump at 4-6 or under.
It’s a reminder of what’s already been a standout career for Mroczkowski.
“She makes Nationals every year,” teammate Andrew Brochu said. “She’s very consistent. She comes in practices and works hard every single day. She works hard in the weight room as you can see and out here on the track. She’s made All New-England as well. I’m proud of her.”
“I enjoy watching Patty,” Dinkins said. “She’s really good at high jump. Just watching her beat everyone else is cool. Being able to see her succeed and do well is a good thing for Berlin.”
Mroczkowski came into the school with a high jump of 4-10 and has progressed all the way up to 5-7, both her personal and the school record. The previous school record was 5-3.
For head coach Steve Soucy, Mroczkowski’s accomplishments thus far have been special to see.
“She’s definitely the best high jumper we’ve ever had,” Soucy said. “She has the school record for both indoors and outdoors. She’s always calm and doesn’t let anything get to her.”
A big part of Mroczkowski’s improvement has come outside of the high jump, putting in the work at practice and on her own time to improve.
“She works very hard for what she wants to do,” teammate Jessica Ingenito said. “Even if she gets it wrong she keeps trying and trying. She’s very dedicated.”
Mroczkowski still has one year remaining at Berlin and is already drawing college interest from schools, including UConn, Boston College, West Point, Naval Academy and Lehigh.
Getting a Division I scholarship is something Mroczkowski would be thankful for. It’s without question she has the ability to do so, and her senior year may be something special donning the Berlin red.
“It would be amazing,” Mroczkowski said. “Knowing that colleges want me on their team and they’re willing to give me a scholarship would mean a lot.”
Dan Orencole can be reached at 860-973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org