Distance Standout JoJo Quarzo commits to NC State

For some, the college announcement from Brownsville Area standout JoJo Quarzo was expected to be up there with some of life's other certainties.

And while, yes, the multi-time state champion made a verbal commitment to North Carolina State this afternoon, the reasons for selecting the ACC school were all hers.

"People might think because my sister (Gionna) goes there," JoJo Quarzo started about her recruitment journey that started with an official visit to the national distance power in Raleigh, "but I looked at a lot of colleges, and NC State was the best fit for me.

"I did not pick NC State because of my sister. Coach (Laurie) Henes said don't make Gionna the reason you don't or do go to NC State."

In addition to the Wolfpack, Quarzo took official visits to Kentucky and Missouri.

"Actually, I wasn't around Gionna at all," JoJo said of her official visit to the NC State campus. "The coaches wanted me to separate from her so I could get a feel for the team and the campus myself."

JoJo Quarzo started her career at Brownsville Area as the running mate to her older sister. A 1-2 finish by the Falcon distance aces happened more often than not.

The global pandemic prevented the sisters from having a final high school track season together and Gionna from potentially claiming a second PIAA track title. However, it did set the stage for the Quarzos to be teammates once again years later on the collegiate level.

"I think it's a good opportunity," JoJo said. "We are sisters so obviously we don't get along all the time. I think being teammates next year is really exciting for me. It's nice to get the fresh start somewhere new with her."

In her two trips thus far to Shippensburg for the PIAA track finale, JoJo Quarzo has been outstanding. She claimed the 3,200-meter run in 10:30.93 in 2021 and finished fourth in the 1,600, while the now senior won both events this past spring, breaking her sister's state meet record with a 10:19.41 in a dominating performance.

JoJo Quarzo is the latest standout girl from Pennsylvania to join the NC State program and head coach Laurie Henes, a former NCAA champion and multi-time All-American for the Wolfpack. NC State won the 2021 XC title, was the runner-up in the 2020 meet and piled up points and All-American honors in the distance events on the track in 2022, including a second-team citation for Gionna Quarzo in the 10,000 at the new Hayward Field.

In XC, JoJo Quarzo twice finished second in the Class AA finale to former Blue Mountain standout and future Wolfpack teammate Olivia Haas.

JoJo Quarzo, who is a preseason honorable mention in the MileSplit50 national rankings, will open her big meet schedule Saturday in the AA race at the 20th annual Red, White & Blue Classic at White Oak Park. Her margin of victory a year ago in this race was a whopping 76 seconds.

"I like this meet," JoJo Quarzo said. "It's a fun meet to do."