BERLIN - Fresh off a strong showing at the State Open, the Berlin girls outdoor track and field team is wrapping up one of its most successful seasons as a program. But it’s been one Redcoat who’s stood out to head coach Steve Soucy throughout year.
“Patty [Mroczkowski] won the high jump,” Soucy said. “I think she’s the first from Berlin to win a State Open event. We had 11 all-conference kids, five ended up being All-State at the Class M meet. We came in third overall. So at this level, you’re competing against the best of the best.”
Mroczkowski not only won the high jump, but did so with ease. The junior cleared a mark of five feet, eight inches, two inches better than the second-place finisher. Her finish also set a school record.
In her final jump, after she had already secured the victory, she tried to clear a jump of 5 feet, 9¼ inches, which would have set a new State Open record. She failed to clear it, but still left with an impressive mark.
“I’m really proud of myself because I’ve come a long way and worked really hard,” Mroczkowski said. “At least I feel like I have. I just feel very accomplished. I’m really happy.”
Mroczkowski first became involved in the sport after seeing a need for a high jumper on her middle school team and has stuck with it ever since.
“I’m really bad at running. Just really bad,” Mroczkowski said. “I can’t sprint. I can’t do long distance. My coach in eighth grade, it was when I first joined the track team, he said ‘I think you’d be really good at high jump. We haven’t had any high jumpers.’ So I joined.”
The decision to join was a good one as Mroczkowski has become the best girls high jumper in Connecticut. So much so she is headed to the New Balance Outdoor Nationals June 15-17 for what has become a seasonal event.
“I’ve gone to Nationals, indoor and outdoor, [before] but they weren’t really good seasons,” Mroczkowski said. “I was jumping 5-6 then. But to jump 5-8 two meets in a row is a really big accomplishment for me personally. Hopefully it means I can place at Nationals because it’s really hard to place. Obviously, it’s the entire country and there are just so many girls that are so good.”
One of the biggest supporters of Mroczkowski is Soucy, who has been determined since taking over in 2010 to get his girls on the same stage at the best of the best.
“Soucy is a great coach,” Mroczkowski said. “He really pushes me and motivates me. He never puts me down, which a coach never should.”
Still only a junior, Mroczkowski is on pace to continue to break records. But first is to continue the already strong season she’s had.
Tyler Roaix can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org