It was the power of a mother’s suggestion that brought Daniel Wronski into the running world.
“I didn’t really know what to choose and my mom was like, ‘You should join the track team,’ so I did. And then later on she encouraged me to join the cross country team and it turned out that I loved that, too,” Wronski remembers.
Once he started, this Wagner High School alum could not get enough.
“I loved it. I loved feeling the rush of adrenaline when you’d finish races, especially when you PRed,” said Wronski.
At first, Wronski imagined himself as a sprinter on the track team. But when he was introduced to the mile, something clicked. He now sticks to the long distance events; the mile and the 5k being his favorites.
Wronski’s fleet feet allowed him to propel his team to victory over the course of his high school career.
“In the past, we weren’t winning that much, but when we won Cross Country Cities [my sophomore year], it just fired us up and started setting off so many other things. We ended up winning Indoor Cities and Outdoor Cities that year and then Cross Country Cities the next season. So we won four city championships in a row,” Wronski commented.
This scholar athlete holds multiple school records and has run the top five times in school history in all his events. He has never failed to medal every year in the championships.
“My sophomore year, after those seniors left who had inspired us to win our first city championship, I knew I had to step it up so I just took it to the trail and kept running. I ran harder and faster to try and fill their shoes,” Wronski said.
As captain of the team, he worked to inspire everyone to push with everything they had, even when the workouts were tough and muscles were sore. Wronski believes the talent is really in the training.
“If you put in the time and preparation, if you do your training, you should have good meets, it’s that easy,” Wronski noted. “It’s a mental game. You gain confidence from knowing what you did and that you’ve truly prepared for this moment.”
Wronski uses this focus and persistence as a student, putting in the time and effort necessary to tackle multiple advanced placement courses while also taking college classes for dual credit. He says it is not an easy task but more than worth the effort.
“Academics are the keystone to a good life. As long as you study and work hard, you’ll go places. But if you apply it all to your real life, you’ll excel in the future beyond academics,” Wronski said.
“I think that’s what makes Daniel [Wronski] such a good student. He’s willing to put in the time to make sure he gets the results,” Wronski’s AP English teacher, Robert Boyd commented.
The track star hopes to pass on what he’s learned in four short years to the younger kids he coaches. Unlike Wronski, these kids are starting out young, and he says he already can see their potential.
“These kids who start training early are just starting out at a better place and will probably go super far. They have a potential to do great because if you’re already committing to something at their age then they’re probably going to go places and be on the right track,” Wronski said.
And he means that figuratively and literally. During practices, Wronski tries to show the kids that everyone has something to bring to the table. It’s not about natural talent, but instead about the time and effort you put into the practice. He wants to make them aware of their potential, especially if they continue working hard.
Wronski is also a part of multiple clubs and spent a summer volunteering at the Richmond University Medical Center. He loved how being a part of these clubs allowed him to connect with people on a more personal level.
“I really believe that’s the first move towards real change. If I can take a little bit of a burden off of someone and help make their day, then that’s important and that’s something I want to be a part of,” Wronski commented.
His time volunteering in the hospital left him impressed by the “above and beyond efforts” of the nurses and furthered his goals of joining the medical field. Wronski hopes to become a radiologist, hinting that he enjoys the idea of helping someone out in a “behind the scenes role.”
Wronski will attend Macaulay Honor College at the College of Staten Island where he will remain on track, furthering his academics and continuing with the sport he’s come to love.
“I just try to live in the moment and do the most with the time that I have.”