HERMITAGE – Even in retirement, the name Barb Dzuricsko continues to resonate in Mercer County and throughout the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Mrs. Dzuricsko has been selected for induction into the Pennsylvania High School Track & Field Hall of Fame. Appropriately, the ceremony will take place Saturday, May 28 during the PIAA Track & Field Championships at Shippensburg University’s Seth Grove Stadium. As a Hickory student-athlete, Dzuricsko competed in the inaugural PIAA Track & Field Championships for females in 1974.
“Barb is being recognized for her outstanding career as a coach, administrator and official,” related Gerry Stemplewicz, Hall of Fame committee chairman.
“When I got the call in December ... humbled by the selection, but at the same time excited to represent track and field at Hickory High School, Mercer County, and District 10 on the state level!” gushed Mrs. Dzuricsko.
She (2017) and husband Bill (2020) were inducted into the Mercer County Hall of Fame. Some other career highlights include:
• A 29-year tenure as Hickory High girls outdoor track & field coach (1982-2004; 2009-14). Her record included 14 undefeated seasons, 17 Mercer County championships, 8 District 10 championships, a PIAA Class AA team championship (2012), and a dual-meet record of 191-26.
“That state title is still very emotional for me,” Mrs. Dzuricsko admitted, noting, “How about it will be the tenth anniversary, and I will get to stand in the same area receiving the award that I did with the state trophy. Pretty cool!”
• Pennsylvania Track & Field Coaches Association Girls Co-Head Coach of the Year (2012).
• Nine years as Hickory High boys’ outdoor track & field coach (2002-04; 2009-14), including 3 District 10 championships and a dual-meet record of 49-13.
• Hickory High boys and girls indoor track & field coach for 8 years.
• District 10 Track & Field Championships meet director since 2001.
• Service on several District 10 committees including: President of Athletic Directors’ Association (2 years), member of AD Executive Council (4 years), AD Scheduling Committee (2 years), Track & Field chair (2 years), and Cross Country chair (1 year)
• Hickory High Director of Athletics (2002-19).
• PTFCA State Indoor Championship Meet official since 2018.
• PIAA Track & Field Championships official since 2018.
• Keynote speaker at 2018 PIAA Officials general session.
• Erie Times-News Varsity Cup Lifetime Achievement Awardee (2019).
In true character, the humble Mrs. Dzuricsko expressed gratitude to everyone:
“Thanks ... to my family, especially my husband Bill, for their total support during all the years that I have been a part of any track and field program or event!
“Thanks ... to Sally Ward, who was my track coach in high school, for pushing us to be our best. ... She made us believe that we could get to that level, and I have tried every year to reach for that state status as a coach for our athletes, and have always tried to run our invitationals and District 10 meet like a state meet as much as possible!
“Thanks ... to the Hermitage School District and City of Hermitage for their support of us running so many meets and invitationals at our facility (Hornet Stadium)!
“Thanks ... to all the coaches and athletes that I have worked with at Hickory High School. Your hard work and dedication raised the level of our track and field program over the years. You each own a piece of this award!
“Thanks ... to all the Mercer County and District 10 coaches for the awesome track and field battles over the years. I think we all raised the level of track and field in District 10, and we continue to compete at the state level year in and year out! So proud to see so many District 10 athletes on the state medal stand!
“Thanks ... to District 10 committee for the opportunity to organize and oversee the District 10 meet for so many years. It was an honor! and thanks to the Mercer County coaches for their support of us running the invitationals. For so many years we ran the Mercer County high school and junior high meets, along with the Class AAA and AA District 10 meets, in a span of two weeks each year. Those were crazy times, without a lot of the technology that we have now!
“And thanks ... to the media from south to north. All of you took everything I gave you and supported track and field, which gave all our athletes across the district a chance to shine and receive their just recognition. That made me proud!” she summarized.
Stemplewicz noted., “The Pennsylvania Track & Field Hall of Fame was established in 1995 to honor elite individuals in our state’s distinguished track and field history. A 30-member selection committee (coaches, officials, journalists) collects and reviews information about individuals who have been nominated. Further research is conducted, and a new ballot is formed each summer. Voting takes place in the fall, and newly elected members are inducted at the PIAA State Championships.”
Note: Each year, 6-to-12 athletes, 1 coach, 1 contributor, and 1 distinguished alum are inducted. Athletes become eligible for nomination 5 years after their high school graduation. Once nominated, a candidate remains under consideration in perpetuity. The committee currently has information on over 400 athletes, 100 coaches and 50 contributors – more than a century’s worth of outstanding individuals – who have been nominated, but not yet inducted. Those wishing to share details about deserving candidates are encouraged to submit a nomination through the PTFCA website (ptfca.org), Stemplewicz added.