Yaniel Petrovich dominates the track


Isabella Schneider

Yaniel Petrovich leads the pack at the Hagerty High School Cross Country Invitational.

Yaniel Petrovich’s feet pound on the track, lungs yearning for a gulp of oxygen as shouts of encouragement echo from the bleachers. It’s a brutal day for this upcoming cross country star.

While there have been many successful and hardworking athletes during the Lions’ cross country season, Petrovich stands out from the others. Working his way up from JV to varsity, he has proven himself to his coach and teammates.

Helping bring his team to the state championships hosted at FSU, Petrovich has impressed many with his exceptional athleticism and ability to complete so much in only his first year of running.

“Yaniel has been cheering us on no matter what,” said team captain Robert Bellamy. “He’s always going and supporting his teammates in the practice and workouts, making sure everyone is okay.”

Petrovich’s positivity and encouragement towards his team has impacted them greatly and is a key role for him. 

Dropping his original 5k time by over a minute, it is clear Petrovich puts his all into every practice. 

“One of the hardest workouts I have had to run would be 1000 meter repeats,” he said. “We would do six or more of them in the heat. All of the workouts come to an average of 35 miles a week.”

According to his coach, Joe Hazera, Petrovich has taken instruction willingly – specifically pertaining to his form or technique and racing strategy.

“Yaniel has been the prototypical, coachable athlete,” Hazera said. “He quickly made the necessary adjustments and reaped the benefits with faster times.”

This is just one other quality of this extraordinary athlete. He has been picking up tips on form and places on the course. The star is considered a major component of the team next year. Hazera’s decision to move him to varsity was made as a result of his impressive performance in practices and competitions.

Petrovich’s continuous hard work and improvement has led him to his incredible success. Coaches and teammates are thrilled to see what the athlete will accomplish next on his journey.