Bristol Press Athletes of the Week are Bristol Eastern's Avery Braccia and Bristol Central's Mark Petrosky

Published on Monday, 16 October 2017 22:42


Two underclassmen who run cross country share “Athlete of the Week” honors with regards to area scholastic sports. They are freshman Avery Braccia of Bristol Eastern and sophomore Mark Petrosky of Bristol Central, first place finishers in the girls and boys races, at the Bristol City Championships on Thursday.

Braccia, the daughter of Melinda and Rich Braccia, ran the 3.1-mile course in a time of 22:52.

“Avery is a great runner,” Eastern head coach Kyle Fuller said. “She has gelled perfectly into our system and her approach to this season is energetic. Avery is just starting to peak with her running this season, which is perfect with the championships coming up. As good of a runner that she is, we have not seen her best yet this year.”

For Braccia, who started running cross country in the seventh grade, just two years ago, the city meet was a great experience.

“Central is really good, so I wanted to see how well I’d do,” Braccia said. “I was nervous and excited at the same time. I was going in with my team and we all motivated each other because we wanted to do well. We were just going in with a good attitude and we wished each other good luck.”

As a team, the Lancers finished second to Bristol Central, while St. Paul placed third overall.

With the city title in her pocket, up next for Braccia is today’s CCC championship meet. She hasn’t set a goal, because it’ll be her first time at that level.

“I’m just going to go, give it my all and do my best,” Braccia said.

One of her longtime goals is to run a 5K in 20 minutes. Her best to date is a 21:40, so with three more seasons of scholastic running there’s a strong possibility that she will.

“I also want to get a scholarship and run in college,” Braccia said. “I hope to continue winning the city meet, win the conference and place high in the states.”

In the two years she’s been running long distance, Braccia has been rewarded in many ways, including gaining a true for the sport.

“I enjoy it because I love my team, everyone is family,” Braccia said. “I like the energy cross country has. When you are in cross country, you have to have the mindset to do well. It raises my confidence up and when you finish a race you can look back and say, wow, I just did that.”

Petrosky, the son of Bryan and Stacy Petrosky, clocked 17:45 in taking the boys event at the city meet.   

“I knew Mark was a talented runner as an incoming freshman, but the progress he has made after a full year running for us is very impressive,” Central head coach Tamara Stafford-Kirk said. “Mark is a focused and determined student of the sport. I am very proud to coach Mark and looking forward to his continued growth over the next couple of years. He has the potential to run extraordinary times.”

As a freshman last year, Petrosky finished seventh in the boys race and this year he was in the mode to do better.

“Going in, I felt good, my body felt strong,” Petrosky said. “During the race I pushed the pace because I was feeling strong. It was great having all of those people cheer for you. After I got over ‘Mount Rockwell’ (approximately 1½ miles into the race), I felt I started pulling away a little bit.”

With regards to today’s CCC Meet, Petrosky has no predictions for himself. Last year he ran JV and said he didn’t have a good day.

“I want the team to win,” Petrosky said. “For me, there are these other sophomores in there and I want to run with some of the better runners in the race. There are also some really good teams there.”

Individually this season to date, Petrosky has only finished second once in dual meets and has some high expectations for himself before Thanksgiving arrives.

“In the Class Ls the top 13 (individuals) qualify for the State Open and I think that’s something I can do,” Petrosky said. “Also, my best in the 5K is 17:08 and I did that twice at Hubbard Park. My goal is to go under 17:00.”

Team wise, the sophomore would like to win the CCC South Blue division title today and build on that momentum moving forward.

“I’d like the whole team to compete at the State Open,” Petrosky said. “In Class L, we have a good enough team to make it to the State Open.”

And when asked about what he has gotten out of competing cross country, Petroksy list a number of things.

“It’s taught me that if you put the work in you’ll see results,” Petrosky said. “It’s helped me make friendships with people on the team, closeness.”

Posted in The Bristol Press, Athletes of the Week, Bristol Central, Bristol Eastern, General Sports on Monday, 16 October 2017 22:42. Updated: Monday, 16 October 2017 22:45.