CB West Trio Commits to Compete in Collegiate Track

On Friday, May 4, 2018, Central Bucks West seniors Jake Claricurzio, Ben Bunch and Brian Baker were recognized for committing to continue their track careers at the collegiate level. To view photos of the event, please visit the Photo Gallery.

Brian Baker – Virginia Tech (Track)
Major:
Undecided
Final list of colleges:  Virginia Tech, Rhode Island, Delaware
Reasons for choosing Virginia Tech:  “I also considered URI and Delaware even though they don’t have a track team. I would have gone there if I didn’t do track, but Virginia Tech was the school for me. When I went to visit, I had a chance to meet with the coaches and some of the kids on the team. I really fell in love with the team and the atmosphere. They just treated me so well, and I really fell in love with the people there and I could see myself there. I’m also really excited to pursue (track) with one of my best friends, Jake Claricurzio. He’s a great teammate.”
What was the progression that led you to competing in track at the collegiate level?  “Track has been something I’ve always loved. It’s always been something that’s been really close to my heart. Just the amount of experiences and accomplishments it’s brought me, I really wanted to pursue it at the collegiate level because I felt as though I would have regretted it otherwise. I think it will be a great opportunity to see what I can do at the collegiate level.”
Coach Greg Wetzel says:  “Brian Baker has gotten a lot more confident this year, and that’s been the biggest difference in his performance this season. He was the anchor of our 4x800 and DMR relays indoors that were U.S. #5 and U.S. #17. He was willing to forego an individual state title to try and secure what we hoped would be two relay state titles, which was pretty neat to be able to share it with everyone. He had the fastest split of the day of anybody in the 4x800 meter relay at the state championship meet indoors, so that was probably the best performance he had as an athlete. Mostly for Brian, the biggest difference for him this year was his confidence has grown. It’s real exciting to see him continue at Virginia Tech, and we know that he’ll continue to improve a lot because he’s overcome a lot of obstacles while he’s been running for us.”
About Brian:
Favorite food: 
Sushi
Favorite movie:  The Iron Giant
Favorite music:  Alternative

Ben Bunch – St. Joseph’s University (Cross Country/Track)
Major: 
Food Marketing
Final list of colleges:  St. Joe’s, Duquesne, American
Reasons for choosing St. Joe’s:  “I chose St. Joe’s because I really felt at home there, and I’m really into community service, and they live by the idea of MAGIS, which means living greater and being a better version of yourself – volunteering in the community, leadership. I just felt St. Joe’s emulated the person I wanted to be.”
What was the progression that led you to competing in track and cross country at the collegiate level?  “I actually started as a freshman and I played soccer. Coach Wetzel and coach Mahoney convinced me to run cross country as a sophomore, and I kind of stood out. A lot of the older kids took me under their wing and I was on varsity. I saw I had potential to run. After running at the Penn Relays, a few state championships and other big events, I knew it was something I wanted to pursue at the collegiate level.”
Coach Greg Wetzel says:  “Ben led off our Championship of America distance medley relay at the Penn Relays. He ran a personal best of three minutes and eight seconds, which is outstanding and was a big moment for him personally and for our team. They reset the school record by about 10 seconds. Ben really is one who just rises to the occasion and always runs faster when he has a baton in his hand, which I think says something special about an athlete when that’s the case. He always runs better when he’s performing for others and not just for himself. Ben – as well as Brian and Jake – should be commended for that. They all seem to perform out of loyalty to each other, which is one of the neatest things about sports - to see people do more than they could do on their own. Ben, Brian and Jake have all done that over the years they’ve been here, and they’ve left our program better than they found it.”
About Ben:
Favorite food: 
Pasta
Favorite movie:  The Great Gatsby
Favorite music:  Alternative

Jake Claricurzio – Virginia Tech (Track)
Major: 
Business
Final list of colleges:  Virginia Tech, Rhode Island, Penn State, South Carolina
Reasons for choosing Virginia Tech:  “It just fit me the best geographically, in the track world and academically, and also, it was the type of school I wanted to be part of socially.”
What was the progression that led you to competing in track at the collegiate level?  “Track is a sport that’s always brought me the most success, and I always knew it was a possibility. Once high school came around, it kind of became not as much a possibility but a reality. Ever since then, that’s kind of what kept me running – to get to the next level.”
Coach Greg Wetzel says:  “Jake Claricurzio has the gift of speed, and he knows how to use it. He is a very talented racer and is kind of like a sly fox and will stay out of trouble and kind of lurk in a race until he picks his moment when he strikes. He’s pretty undeniably fast and really knows how to race. Jake’s instincts have gotten us state titles in the 4x800 meter relay a few times now. We’re very excited to see him continue at Virginia Tech. He and Brian will be a pretty potent one-two punch. It will be exciting to see them continue to be teammates and both improve over the years.”
About Jake:
Favorite food: 
Spaghetti & Meatballs
Favorite movie:  Rocky
Favorite music:  All music