By Jim Hague
Observer Sports Writer
Queen of Peace really doesn’t have an indoor track team, except for two talented young women.
Senior Michele Rozalski and her younger sister Katherine “Kas” (pronounced KAASH) form the entire Golden Griffins’ team in the winter months.
However, both certainly made their marks this season, as they both received medals for finishing among the top six girls’ pole vault competitors in the entire state.
Michele finished fifth at Saturday’s NJSIAA Meet of Champions, held at the Bennett Center in Toms River, while Kas finished sixth. They both cleared the bar at 11 feet, but Michele finished ahead of Kas because of a match of jumps.
Still, two Kearny residents representing their entire school came away with medals at the Meet of Champions. It’s quite an accomplishment.
“I’m excited about it, because I was hoping to get in the top 10,” Michele Rozalski said. “I’m just a little upset that I didn’t jump higher. But it’s a rewarding feeling and something I can share with my sister for a lifetime.”
Kas Rozalski was also excited.
“I’m very happy,” Kas said. “I was just happy to be there. It’s a great feeling and I’m happy that we both did well. When you think of it, it’s pretty amazing. I just tried to do my best. I wasn’t that nervous.”
The two sisters seem to push each other to succeed, but it’s remarkable that they finished with the same height and one place apart among the very best in New Jersey.
They are always asked where the rest of their team is or what a Griffin is, referring to the name that appears on their uniform, short for Golden Griffins of QP.
“Everyone asks us those things, but now, they kind of know where the school is,” Kas said.
“I like to even things out,” Michele said. “I don’t ever think there’s competition between us. We’re just out to help each other. We calm each other down whenever one is jumping. We also push each other to do better.”
“I’m glad to share things like this with Michele,” Kas said. “We’re lucky that way.”
Michele has a higher goal in mind.
“I want to jump 12 (feet),” Michele said. “That’s my goal. Hopefully, I can do it. And I’m going to push Kas to jump higher. It’s a good feeling that we did well. I just wish I jumped higher. I’m definitely not disappointed, just a little upset.”
The two will now prepare for the outdoor track season. By then, maybe there will be more of a team for Rozalskis to attend meets with.
“The indoor season is for us to get ready for outdoors,” Kas said. “I think we can do even better outdoors.”
The duo qualified for the Meet of Champions the week before at the NJSIAA Non- Public B state championships.
In that meet, Kas actually finished ahead of Michele, but both again had the same height of 10-6. Kas finished third at the Non-Public B meet, with Michele right there in fourth, setting up their second trip to the Meet of Champions.
It’s pretty remarkable how the two sisters reached the same height in both state meets.
At last year’s Meet of Champions, the two sisters finished in a tie for 15th overall, clearing the bar at 10 feet. So they both have shown solid improvement over the past year.
Maybe that improvement will now carry over to the outdoor season.
The two sisters have yet to topple their older sister, Stephanie, who jumped 12-9 during her senior year at QP. Stephanie Rozalski is now a student at Seton Hall, but she still competes in open track meets and trains regularly with her sisters at Apex in Oakland.
So they each got a medal together at the Meet of Champions. That’s truly memorable.
“It’s just amazing,” Kas said. “I think we’re going to always remember this.”