North Penn Trio to Compete in Collegiate Cross Country & Track

On Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, North Penn seniors Olivia Dyer, Brendan O'Toole and Ariana Gardizy were recognized for committing to continue their cross country/track careers at the collegiate level. To view photos of the event, please visit the Photo Gallery.

Brendan O’Toole – Bucknell University (Cross Country/Track)
Major:  Business Management
Final list of colleges:  Bucknell, Penn State, University of Pittsburgh
Reasons for choosing Bucknell:  “I chose Bucknell because I felt it had the best (combination of) academics and athletics.”
What was the progression that led you to competing in cross country and track at the collegiate level?  “Around my sophomore year, I realized I had the potential to reach the Division I level.” 
Track coach Jay Jones says:  “Brendan O’Toole – I can only think of one thing negative about him, and that is he’s a (New England) Patriot fan. He’s honestly exactly what we want a North Penn student-athlete to be from the track and field and cross country perspective. He’s hard working, he’s tough as nails, he’s committed. It’s just nice to see all that hard work and dedication pay off, and he’s just only tapping into the talent. That talent is meeting with a great deal of confidence, mixed in with a little humility, and he’s done an outstanding job. We could not be more proud of Brendan.”
Cross country coach Mike Werner says:  “I have worked with Brendan three years with the boys’ cross country team, and through those years and hard work and talent, it all came together. If I’m the coach at Bucknell, this is the guy I would be going after. If I was a college coach anywhere, this is the kind of student-athlete you want in your program.
“If you look at his career from a statistical standpoint in cross country, he was second team all-league as a sophomore, first team as a junior and senior. He’s a two-time state qualifier. He was our league champion individually this year, winning by 21 seconds. He was undefeated in league meets this year. He was eighth in District One, and he was a state medal winner this year, the (program’s) first state medal winner since 2012.  He had an incredible season. You look at statistics and racing fast and all of that, but the impact he had on the program and on the team with that work ethic that coach Jones was talking about and how he approaches his craft and the leadership component, it’s second to none. He made this program better. We look at moving forward and the void that will be in our program, it’s going to be tough to fill, but the leader, the talent, and the hard work that Bucknell is getting - it's incredible. He's going to do great things there."
About Brendan:
Favorite food:  Peanut Butter
Favorite movie:  Lights Out
Favorite music:  RnB

Olivia Dyer – Bucknell University (Cross Country/Track)
Major: 
Bucknell
Final list of colleges:  Bucknell, Northeastern, University of Vermont
Reasons for choosing Bucknell:  “I picked it because I really liked the balance between academics and athletics.”
What was the progression that led you to competing in cross country and track at the collegiate level?  “I knew I wanted to when I saw all my teammates that were older than me continuing their athletic careers in college.”
Coach Jim Crawford says:  “(Olivia) is a four-year letter winner. She has been first team all-league in 10th grade, 11th grade and 12th grade. At the district meet as a 10th grader, she qualified individually for the state meet. In 11th grade, she was a medalist in 14th place and in 12th grade was a medalist in 15th place, and that’s out of 360-some runners. Her best performance in the state was as a junior where she finished 22nd and earned a medal. Unfortunately, she was sick this year. She kept fighting through all that, which was extremely difficult, but she hung in there, and I give her 100 percent credit for that. Many young people would have given up, but she fought through the whole thing and did a great job with that.”
Track coach Dick Swanker says:  “(Olivia) is a four-year letter winner in track and field indoors and outdoors. She has been to the state meet both in indoors and outdoors. Olivia is primarily a distance runner and quite frequently would run on the 4x800 during the dual meet situation. Both Olivia and Ariana have done very, very well in track and field. Congratulations, on your picks. I think they’re awesome.”
Track coach Brandon Turner says:  “I’ve had the pleasure of working with Liv and Ariana. I would say that Liv is one of the best leaders we’ve had. She’s always encouraging other kids and does great being our team mom at times. When she steps on the track, she does a great job.”
About Olivia:
Favorite food: 
Meatballs
Favorite TV show:  Threat Level Midnight (The Office)
Favorite music:  Hip-Hop

Ariana Gardizy – University of Pennsylvania (Cross Country/Track)
Major:  Nursing
Final list of colleges:  University of Pennsylvania, Boise State
Reasons for choosing UPenn:  “I just really liked the campus and the team when I went on my official.”
What was the progression that led you to competing in cross country and track at the collegiate level?  “In my freshman and sophomore year, I saw some of my friends from track and cross country going to college and running in college, so I saw that I had the potential to do that as well.”
Cross country coach Jim Crawford says:  “Ariana is also a four-year letter winner in cross country. She has been the second place finisher in the league as a sophomore, and she’s been league champion in 11th grade and 12th grade. She’s been undefeated in the league for two years, She’s been a three-year medalist at the district meet. She was 12th in as a sophomore, fourth as a junior and this year she was North Penn women’s first District One individual champion in cross country. She’s been a three-year medalist in the state – 21st as a sophomore, ninth as a junior and 14th as a senior, so she’s had an outstanding career. This year we were at six invitational meets in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and New York, and she won four out of the six, so she’s a champion not only here but in the eastern part of the United States.” 
Track coach Dick Swanker says:  “(Ariana) is a four-year letter winner in track and field indoors and outdoors. She has been to the state meet both in indoors and outdoors. Ariana has two gold medals in the 4x800 outdoors and indoors also. Both Olivia and Ariana have done very, very well in track and field..”
Track coach Brandon Turner says:  “Ariana was an integral part of our team for the last three years. She did a great job on the 4x800, she did a great job on the mile, two-mile. She’s always reliable, she’s always around, and she’s just a pleasure to work with every day.”
About Ariana:
Favorite food:  Salmon
Favorite movie:  Interstellar
Favorite music:  Hip-Hop