Tracz continues family tradition for Prep football squad

David Tracz (center) is integral to St. Joseph's Prep's success this season.
David Tracz (center) is integral to St. Joseph's Prep's success this season. (DAVID MAIALETTI / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)
Posted: October 04, 2012

NOTE TO football players at Catholic League schools: If there's a kid in your senior class whose surname is Tracz, force him to strap on pads.

Not only would your squad stand a decent chance of winning the championship, it could achieve perfection through the remainer of the season.

Say hello to David Tracz, a 6-3, 230-pound senior at St. Joseph's Prep and a 3-year starter at tackle. After a couple of down seasons - by this school's standards, anyway - the Hawks are 4-0 and ranked No. 2 in the Daily News' City Top 10.

Nine seasons ago, David's cousin, Brian Tracz, earned Red Division MVP laurels for his play at linebacker as the Prep stormed to a 12-0 mark.

And 30 years prior, Brian's father, Brian, now deceased, bagged that honor for his talents at that same position while pacing Cardinal O'Hara to, yup, a 12-0 record.

Three seniors named Tracz. Twenty-eight up, none down.

"I knew about both teams going unbeaten," David Tracz said Tuesday, standing in a hallway outside the gymnasium, moments before the Hawks began an indoor practice. "That's pretty cool.

"The experiences my cousin had here were one of the main reasons I came. The first draw, in fact. I was thinking about Inter-Ac schools like Episcopal, Haverford School, Malvern Prep . . . But when I came here for my visit day, I fell in love with the place.

"When Brian played, I was around all the time. One year, I got to ride the team bus to the Thanksgiving game against La Salle, and then I was right there on the sideline, working as a ballboy. That was great!"

But playing is better, natch, and Tracz - pronounced Tracy; it's Ukrainian and shortened from something who-knows-how-many-syllables longer - is enjoying himself immensely.

The Prep's o-line also features center Fran Grey, guards Matt McIntyre and Chris Koilor, tackle Jon Runyan (son of the ex-Eagle) and tight end Shane Williams (also a baseball star) and the average output has been 354 yards.

Of course, the backs and ends receive constant attention, and Tracz doesn't begrudge 'em.

"I'm perfectly satisfied with my role on this team," he said. "The thing I like about football, more than any other sport, is how much of a team sport it is. On every play call, you're so dependent on the guys right next to you."

During the Gil Brooks era, which carried through the 2009 season, the Prep won five CL championships and advanced to five other finals. His replacement, Gabe Infante, is in season No. 3.

Tracz appreciates the current staff's numerous assistants, and that specialized attention is rampant.

"By now, we all understand how coach Infante wants to run the program, and what he expects from us," Tracz said. "The players have really come together, and we all feel good about how things are going."

If someone turns blue, hey, there's always "The Lemon Pie Song."

The what?

Aside from playing football and lacrosse (defender, he can run a 4.8 40) and doing excellent work in classrooms (more on that later), Tracz is something of a crooner.

" 'The Lemon Pie Song'; I made that up at training camp during 'Sophomore Idol,' " he said, laughing. "Right off the top of my head. Took me maybe 20 seconds. I just stood up and sang it. It's pretty goofy, but the kids love it."

Did he care to sing it in front of a sports writer?

"Uh, nah," he said. "But I could do some math problems. Of Ivy League quality."

Tracz' academic load is littered with honors and advanced placement courses and his official GPA is 3.5. His three-part SAT score is 2,060, and he'll tackle the test again Saturday.

"Our school doesn't do a weighted GPA," said Tracz, who's eyeing Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Penn, Brown and Georgetown, among others. "I figured it out myself one time and it came to 3.83."

As much as for his football skills, Tracz, a Swarthmore resident, is appreciated by Infante because he's quite the character. In fact, he reminds him of Kramer, of "Seinfeld" fame.

"I've been told I'm like Kramer many times in my life," Tracz cracked. "Looks? The way I carry myself? Probably both. If I don't keep it down, my hair can look just like his."

Ultimately, Tracz wants to be a doctor. And he's thinking he'd prefer to work in sports.

"I've met this one guy, Peter DeLuca, who's the team doctor for the Eagles," he said. "He gets to work on multimillion-dollar athletes all day, every day. And he gets paid to go watch the Super Bowl and be on standby. If I could get a job like that . . . "

It would likely match the feeling of 28-0.


Contact Ted Silary at silaryt@phillynews.com. High school coverage online at www.philly.com/rally.

 

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