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Daily News spotlight athletes: Elizabeth Forward's Matt Bernadowski, McKeesport's Kasey Dansak

| Wednesday, May 29, 2013, 1:21 a.m.
Elizabeth Forward track athlete Matt Bernadowski
McKeesport softball player Kasey Dansak

Matt Bernadowski

Class: Junior

School: Elizabeth Forward

Sport: Track

Claim to fame: Bernadowski placed third in the 110-meter hurdles at the PIAA track and field championship meet at Shippensburg University Saturday with a new school record time of 14.29 seconds. The junior placed fifth in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 39.89 seconds.

“At the beginning of the year, we knew he could get to states in the hurdles,” coach John Walsh said. “He plays basketball as well and does AAU ball in the summer, so we weren't sure how much he'd be able to practice. But he came into this season ready to go. He trained hard and realized he could be good at more than one event. He definitely peaked at the state meet.”

What track event do you enjoy doing the most?

I'd have to go with the 110 hurdles. The rush and the feeling you get during the race and jumping over each hurdle is unexplainable.

What will you work on the most over the summer?

I'm definitely going to be focusing on the long jump and 100-meter dash. I won't forget about the hurdles though because my goal is to be at the state meet for all four events and to medal in all of them.

Do you enjoy playing basketball or running track more?

They both have their pros and cons, but overall probably track because I feel like it comes naturally. Also, the possibility of college being paid for with just 14 seconds of your life is pretty amazing. But to be able to do both in college would definitely be my choice.

What are your goals for track next season?

My goals for track next season are to take first in the 110 and 300 hurdles and to get third or better in the long jump and 100.

Do you have a favorite movie?

Yes, it would have to be “The Blind Side” because it shows that no matter where you come from and no matter what your background might be, if you have goals and faith and you work for them they can be achieved. I've learned you can do all things through Christ if you believe in yourself and use the support you have around you.

Kasey Dansak

Class: Senior

School: McKeesport

Sport: Softball

Claim to fame: Dansak hit .329 with 19 RBI this season, which was good for third on the team. The senior allowed only three stolen bases all season and helped the Tigers (17-5) to an undefeated season in Section 2-AAAA. McKeesport lost to North Allegheny on May 20 in the quarterfinals.

“We expected Kasey to be a leader this season,” coach Missy Conrad said. “She has really stepped up. She has been an excellent leader for this team both on and off the field. She came through with timely hits all season long, like her first inning RBI against Baldwin in the playoffs. This team couldn't have asked for a better leader.”

What was the best part of your senior season?

Winning the Baldwin playoff game (WPIAL first round), definitely. McKeesport hadn't won a playoff game for 15 years, so that definitely would have been the best part.

What is one thing you learned about yourself through playing softball?

I would say I learned that I could be a leader. I didn't have to be my freshman and sophomore seasons. When I had to, I found out that I could.

How did the team react to going out of the playoffs?

It was disappointing. We were all very happy to get the win but we weren't satisfied. I think future teams will see that and be pushing for more.

Are you going on any kind of vacation this summer?

I'm going to Ocean City, Md. in a few weeks. My family goes down with a couple other families. This will be my first time in Ocean City. I like to lay out on the beach and swim.

What are you going to be doing next year?

I'm going to Penn State Greater Allegheny next year. I am going into the undecided program as of right now. There is a broad range of things I'd like to do, so I'm going to use these next two years to decide what I want to do. I'm going to play softball and run cross country as well.

— Robert Stinner

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