June 9, 2011
Trojans’ Tozser hopes for big finish
Over the years, Homer Central has showcased some talented track and field girls who have raised the bar not only for the Trojans’ program but in Section 3 as well.
Senior Bori Tozser is the latest to continue that successful Trojans trend, and she will conclude her brilliant running career this weekend at Caledonia-Mumford High School during the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Championships.
She will be competing in both the 800-meter run on Friday and the 2,000-meter steeplechase Saturday at the state meet in Division II.
“I’m really going to miss it a lot,” says Tozser of her high school days, though she is SUNY Cortland-bound this fall to continue her running career. “I’m going to miss the team and all the fun practices we’ve had together. I am looking forward to running in college next year, but I hope I can end my season successfully this weekend.
“Abbey Gray has improved so much this year,” she added in reference to her junior teammate. “We always run together. I have told her how horrible it will be for me to not run with her next year. I’m sure she’ll find someone else and will have a great senior year as well.”
In cross country for the Trojans, Tozser set records at her home Lime Hollow Nature Center course (19:14) and in a meet at Jamesville-DeWitt (18:18). She shattered the Red Rams’ course record by 41 seconds, bettering the old mark held by Eileen Cody who graduated from J-D in 2010. She was a two-time first-team all-star and won one sectional crown.
In track, Tozser holds three school records. She holds the indoor senior class record in the 3,000-meter run (10:32.13), the indoor school record in the 500m run (1:20.70) and the outdoor school record 2,000m steeplechase (7:13.43). She has won eight sectional titles and earned first-team all-league honor a dozen times.
Her coaches over these years — George Schneider in track and Jim Baldwin in cross country — sum up well Tozser’s impact on their respective programs.
“Bori has had a great running career at Homer highlighted by a stellar senior season,” Schneider said. “This year she won a vast majority of her races, including going undefeated in dual meets and quadrupling at the league championships.
“Had she not sat out the sectional championships, she would most likely have set the school record for points scored in a single season,” he added, Tozser missing that meet to rest a minor injury. “Bori did, however, move to number three on the single season point total and number seven all-time in points scored. She also broke her own school record in the steeplechase.
“When people think of the great female runners in Homer High School history names like Alessa Stevens, Michelle Franklin, Tracey Brauksieck and Heather Wilson come to mind,” he added. “Bori Tozser has definitely earned her right to be listed among them.”
“Bori is the finest athlete I have had the privilege to coach,” cross country coach Baldwin stated. “She has enormous natural ability and she works really hard to maximize that potential. She has matured into a team leader that will be difficult to replace.
“One of the characteristics that I think goes un-noticed by people regarding Bori is she is so willing to listen and take suggestions for improvement,” he continued. “Her positive attitude will take her far in life.”
IT’S NO SURPRISE one of the former Homer stars was a person that Tozser looked up to early in her career.
“It’s definitely Heather,” Tozser said of Wilson, currently having success at the University of Connecticut. “She was a senior when I was a freshman. I remember being amazed at how fast she was. Coach Schneider keeps letting me know how well she’s doing in college.”
Tozser has run track since seventh grade, but came to cross country a little bit later. She played soccer until her sophomore year when she switched to running through valleys and over hills, in part at the urging of Jessica Bramhall. Tozser is an avid swimmer as well, but she stopped swimming for indoor track as a junior.
“I like cross country and track equally,” Tozser explained. “Maybe cross country a little more because we do get to run the trails at Lime Hollow Nature Center.”
This will be Tozser’s fifth trip to a state meet. She has represented Homer twice in cross country, once during indoor track and now is making a second spring track appearance.
Last spring she placed 14th in the Division II 800m run in 2:21.66.
“It’s always a little bit scary because there are so many good people there,” she stated. “After a while, you get use to it.”
She didn’t have the best result at her lone indoor appearance this past February, but her 16th-place finish in the 1,000m run came after a week of being sick.
In November it was a much scarier day at the New York State Cross Country Championships where she was running with the lead pack (top 5) entering the woods just over a mile into the race. When the leaders emerged late in the race, Tozser was not among them — struggling back in 17th place. She collapsed twice in the final flat stretch of that race, the second time just 10-feet from the finish line, and couldn’t continue.
“I just could not run at that point,” Tozser recalled of that misfortune. “It always hurts a bit when you run, but I simply could not move my legs. I still have no real idea what happened.”
TOZSER HOPES FOR a better result this week at Caledonia-Mumford. She is seeded 13th for the 800m (2:19.41) and is seeded sixth for the 2,000m steeplechase.
“I want to improve my time this year,” Tozser said of this final state trip. “I would also like the place, especially in the steeplechase.”
Tozser has run numerous track events, including relays, and she has her favorites.
“I definitely like the 800 and 1,500,” Tozser said. “I like those middle distance race. I don’t really like the distance races in track, but it’s different for cross country because you do get to run and it’s not just in circles.
“I really love the steeplechase,” she added. “I’m not sure I’ll do that in college because it is longer. In high school it is 2,000 meters. In college, it’s 3.000 meters. I’m not sure I can run in circles that long.”
After following the example of past teammates like Wilson, as a senior Tozser has had the chance to help out younger athletes.
“Track is a sport where you work hard and your goal is to keep getting better which means beating yourself, your own times. Push yourself to get that first place finish or that best time,” is the advice Tozser offers her teammates. “Nothing is more satisfying than beating your old times. Ninety-nine perfect of running is hard, but it’s that one percent that comes from a better time. That’s a mark that shows how your work as paid off.”
Tozser’s hard work has certainly paid off, leading up to this state meet finale.
“It’s kind of strange and happened so fast,” she added. “It’s hard to think of myself as a senior leader now. It has been nice to be able to help the younger runners. It’s been a lot of fun. I will miss everyone next year.”
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