Soccer’s loss was running’s gain.
In ninth grade at Verona High School, Vinnie Puchik was all about soccer. It had been his passion growing up and when not playing for Verona, he was on a soccer club team. When he joined the track squad in the spring of his freshman year, it was purely to stay in shape for soccer the following fall. He rejoined the Hillbilly soccer squad in his sophomore year, but when he went back in track it was for more than fitness. He went from winter to spring track, and then to cross-country running in the fall. And last week in Toms River at the Winter State Sectionals, Puchik broke a school record in the 400M with a time of 54.4. For this, Vinnie Puchik is the Verona Sports Boosters Senior Athlete of the Week.
In track, Puchik found a team spirit that is every bit as strong as that of the soccer team he left behind. He was mentored by Dave Lukas and Dave Oster, who led Verona’s boys track team in the 2009-2010 season. After they graduated with the class of 2010, Puchik was trained by Eddie Congdon from the class of 2011 and fellow senior Nick Lukas. Puchik usually runs the middle distances (200 and 400 meters) and the 400 high hurdles. A regular on the VHS honor rolls, Puchik is now eying a civil engineering major in college, which may keep him off the track in the future.
During the 2011-2012 school year, the Verona Sports Boosters will be recognizing a different senior athlete at Verona High School every week. The Boosters support male and female athletes in all VHS sports through a variety of fundraisers and recognition events.