By Peter Scamardo
Legacy is a big deal here among our Eagle Nation.
Hundreds of sons, brothers, cousins and uncles of students who graduated from this school have
come to receive the same education as their relatives.
Go out into the school courtyard, and you can see the many bricks of the families that have come
through this school. One of the soon-to-be-great legacies of our generation is that of the Rzasnicki
The Rzasnickis are a family of six brothers, all who have run or intend to run for the Eagle cross
Every one of them has previously run at their respective middle schools, coincidentally starting a
family tradition. That family tradition has since become a school tradition now that the siblings have
come through St. Thomas: it almost seems like a requirement to run for cross-country if you are a
“I remember when I saw the entire family for the first time,” cross country head coach Nathan Labus
said. “It was at the Lutheran South cross country meet when Topher was a freshman, and when the
family walked up it reminded me of a momma duck and all her chicks lined up in a row. Nine
members total from the parents to the kids, age ranging from 14 to 1. It was a sight to see.”
Topher Rzasnicki ’14 really is the one who started it all. If it were not for his influence on his brothers
they might never have discovered the sport.
“My older brother started his freshman year; he told me it was fun and that I should give it a try,”
senior runner Jonathon Rzasnicki said. “Later I got my younger brothers to start. I figured I have to
get up early every morning, so they might as well try it too.”
In fact, ever since Topher’s sophomore year there have been at least two Rzasnicki’s running for the
cross-country team. This year there are three on the team, senior Jonathon is a returning varsity
letterman who will be joined by his brothers Alex, a sophomore, and PJ, a freshman.
But just like any sport the Rzasnickis have had to deal with injury scares.
Both Topher and Jonathon have had ACL injuries in the past which could have greatly hampered their running success.
“Topher never seemed to recover fully from his injury, but Jonathon recovered and is running very strong his senior year and is one of our top three runners this year,” Labus said.
In actuality, the Rzasnicki’s are not natural athletes; they are the product of hard work that is starting to pay off.
“Jonathan did not have natural running talent,” Labus said. “He had to work hard over the past four years to get where he is today. I even had a few colleges contact me with interest in Jonathon competing for them this year. Alex and PJ are in the same boat. I see great potential in both of them. Now we’ll have to see if they are dedicated, committed and have the desire to achieve higher heights.”
With the youngest brothers Kyle and Tommy intended on coming to the school as well, they will ensure the legacy of their family will continue even longer than it already has.
“We’re a really competitive family, and getting to compete against my brothers just makes running for the school even more fun,” PJ Rzasnicki said. “And if we start some school tradition along the way, that’s even better.”