North Xtra: Vincentian girls on fast track

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With one state championship firmly in their grasp, two senior members of the Vincentian Academy girls basketball team hope to add some more hardware to their collections before they graduate later this spring.

For Kayla Key and Ally Bartoszewicz, the dreams may be lofty, but track coach Dan Carlino believes the opportunities are definitely in place for both of them to do well.

"Ally is a great sprinter," said Carlino, who helped institute the track program a year ago at Vincentian. "She won the WPIAL [Class AA] 200-meter title last spring, and she was second in the 100. At the state meet, she was fourth in the 100 and third in the 200."

Bartoszewicz wasted little time getting back into track shape as she won both the 100- and 200-meter dashes with respective times of 12.57 and 25.94 seconds at this past Saturday's South Hills Classic at Baldwin High School.

"I took off about 24 hours [after the state championship game]," Bartoszewicz said. "I was back on the track on Monday."

Key has taken a bit longer to recover from the basketball season, but Carlino said she will start competing this week.

Both Bartoszewicz and Key want to study journalism, but they will purse their dreams at different schools. Key will study and compete at Hampton University in Virginia, while Bartoszewicz will do the same at Notre Dame.

Carlino said Key took a bit longer to get back on the track, but she can make a big impact in so many events.

"She'll be competing pretty much in the 400 and the 800 for us, but she has the talent to run in anything from the 100 to the 3,200," he said. "She's also going to be on the 400-meter relay and because she wants to compete in the heptathlon in college, she'll be long jumping."

Key's favorite race is the 400-meter dash because it is such a demanding race.

"It's a race that takes a lot of heart," she said. "If you can run the 400, you can do anything because it's such a mental race. I like doing things other people can't do."

Bartoszewicz has done well at both individual sprints, but she has an affection for the 200.

"I still have a lot of work to do with my technique, but I have a little more time to work on my technique in the 200," she said.

Last summer, one of the coaches on her club track team had a novel approach on how best to run the curve that each athlete must negotiate at the outset of the 200-meter dash.

"He put a parachute on my back, and it forced me to hug the inside of the lane," Bartoszewicz said. "It was a weird feeling, but it's helped me to stay on the inside of the lane when I run the curve."

Bartoszewicz and Key will team up with two other starters from the basketball team on the Royals' 400-meter relay team, Maia Joiner and Torrieonna Cash. The team's fifth starter, Brenna Wise, declined an offer to join the track team as she will concentrate on AAU basketball during the summer.

Bartoszewicz is pleased to have two more basketball teammates on the relay team with her and Key.

"Kayla, Maia and I ran the 4-by-100 last year," Bartoszewicz recalled. "It will be a lot of fun to have Torrie with us this year."

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