College Sports Spotlight: Abington Heights graduate sets new record at Penn State University

By Bill Arsenault - Contributing Columnist | February 16th, 2016 12:29 pm

Tessa Barrett has put her name on top of the Penn State record book in women’s track.

Redshirt freshman Barrett (Abington Heights) captured the 5,000 meter run at the University of Washington’s Husky Classic Friday, Feb. 12 in Seattle. Her time of 15:46.08 erased a 31-year-old Penn State record set by Paula Renzi back in 1985. It was one of the oldest records in the Nittany Lion record book.

Barrett’s time is the sixth fastest in NCAA Division I and is second best in the Big Ten Conference. She finished second to Tennessee senior Chelsea Blaase in a field of 22 runners.

In cross country last fall, Barrett earned All-American honors by finishing 38th at the NCA Championships in Louisville, Kentucky, as the Nittany Lions finished 16th. Prior to that, she finished fourth to lead Penn State to the NCAA Mid-Atlantic title.

The Big Ten Championships are Feb. 26-27 in Geneva, Ohio. The NCAA Championship will be held March 11-12 in Birmingham, Alabama.

Racek leads the way

Tom Racek is just a sophomore but his coach calls him a leader of the Vassar men’s fencing team.

Racek (Abington Heights) is 59-24 competing in the foil for the Brewers. It’s the best record on the foil team and fourth best overall.

“Tom leads by example,” coach Bruce Gillman said. “His physical conditioning is the best on the team. He takes at least four individual lessons each week in addition to working hard in team practice.”

The coach said that Racek is never too busy to help a teammate improve.

“And, he makes sure to stay around late after practice to help clean up,” Gillman said. “He is the biggest cheerleader and best motivator for the rest of the foil squad in practice.”

The coach also feels that Racek is in striking range of making it to the NCAA Championships if he does well at the regionals hosted by Vassar in Poughkeepsie, New York March 13.

“Tom is leaps and bounds better as a competitor than he was last year,” Gilman said. “We call him ‘The Tominator’ because when he gets rolling on the fencing strip, he’s like a machine.”

Carr getting better

True freshman Mathew Carr (Abington Heights) is 6-7 in tournaments but just 1-12 wrestling in dual matches at 165 pounds for the Bloomsburg wrestling team.

“Competing at the Division I level is tough, no matter what year you are in school,” coach Jason Mester said. “While his won-loss record may not reflect it, Mathew is working hard to get better every day. He brings a positive attitude to our room and is a pleasure to work with every day.”

The Huskies close their regular season against Cleveland State Saturday in Bloomsburg.

Stahl’s versatile

Sophomore Angela Stahl is swimming a number of different strokes with the Rhode Island women’s swim team. Stahl, from Factoryville (Scranton Prep), swims the distance freestyle, the 100 and 200 backstroke and the 200 and 400 individual medley for the Rams. She had a third place finish in the 1000 freestyle in a recent meet against Wagner.

Stahl and Rhode Island will travel to Geneva, Ohio this weekend to compete in the Atlantic-10 Championships.

Burke eyes league meet

Senior Sean Burke (Abington Heights) is primed to represent Lehigh in the Patriot League Indoor Track Championships starting Friday in Boston.

Burke’s main event is the 3,000 meter run. He prepped for the league meet by finishing third behind two teammates at that distance at Lehigh’s John Covert Classic on Jan. 30 in Bethlehem. His time was 8:45.0. He finished ninth in the 3k and 10th in the 5k at last year’s Patriot Championship.

Nealon helping Pacers

Sophomore Catie Nealon (Abington Heights) has played in all 23 games and started six for the Marywood women’s basketball team, the Pacers 16-7 overall and 13-1 in the Colonial States Athletic Conference.

The 5-foot-6 guard is averaging 6.8 points and 3.0 rebounds and has hit 27 3-point baskets. She had 18 points in a 76-64 victory over Wilkes early in the season. She also has 34 assists and 30 steals.

Hardaway seeing action

Sophomore Eric Hardaway (Abington Heights) has played in 22 games with 11 starts for the Keystone men’s basketball team, the Giants 4-19 overall and 4-12 in the Colonial States Athletic Conference.

The 6-foot-5 forward is averaging 5.5 points and 3.2 rebounds with seven blocked shots. He had 15 points and seven rebounds in an 84-81 loss to Messiah and 12 points in a 93-79 loss to Gwynedd Mercy.

Abington Heights graduate Tessa Barrett placed second overall at the University of Washington’s Husky Classic and set a new Penn State record in the 5,000 meter run. Heights graduate Tessa Barrett placed second overall at the University of Washington’s Husky Classic and set a new Penn State record in the 5,000 meter run. Submitted photos
Barrett Submitted photos
Racek Submitted photos
Abington Heights graduate Tom Racek aiming to make NCAA Championships in fencing for Vassar College. Heights graduate Tom Racek aiming to make NCAA Championships in fencing for Vassar College. Submitted photos

By Bill Arsenault

Contributing Columnist

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