Former Balers standout Roascio knows how to cowboy up

Former Balers standout Jason Roascio, second from right, has made an impact as a sprinter at the University of Wyoming. 

From an early age, Jason Roascio realized he was faster than his peers.
The University of Wyoming senior and former San Benito High standout had to grow up faster than everyone around him as well. Roascio’s mom, Holly, died of complications from breast cancer during his sophomore year.
“Not a day goes by when I don’t think about her,” said Roascio, who holds the San Benito High record in the 400-meter run along with being a part of the school’s 2011 record-setting 4×400 meter relay team. “I had really close friends, a great coach and track to help me get through it. Track was kind of like my escape area, a place where I could go and focus on that and nothing else.”
The powerfully built 5-foot-9, 158-pound Roascio has always been able to separate his personal life from the athletic arena.
How else to explain his outstanding junior season at San Benito, when he was named the team’s MVP and finished third in the 200 (22.14 seconds), fifth in the 400 (49.85) while being part of the team’s 4×400 relay team that finished third at the Central Coast Section Championships.
Roascio has enjoyed his experience in Laramie, even though he’s still getting used to the bone-chilling winter weather.
“When it gets down to negative-40 (degrees) with the wind chill, that’s a cold day,” he said.
Although Roascio no longer has immediate family in Hollister—his dad, Ryan, moved to Montana two years ago—he still keeps in contact with his godparents, Felix and Mary Lou Solano, who have been close family friends since Roascio was born.
“They were a big part of my life,” Roascio said. “They watched me grow up and was there for every event and birthday, and they watched me when my parents were at work.”
When Felix talked about Roascio last month, his eyes welled up with tears. The raw emotion was befitting of a man who loves Roascio as if he was his own son. Entering his final season at Wyoming, Roascio plans on going 20.9 seconds in the 200, which would be a new personal record.
Roascio last PR’d in that event two years ago, clocking a time of 21.43, the fifth best mark in school history.
“I see a new PR coming,” said Roascio, who plans on running with the 4×100 relay team this season. “Right now things are going great, and my technique is even better than in previous years.”
When he graduates in December, Roascio plans on exploring a possible move to either Denver or Los Angeles to focus on a paramedic career. Roascio counts his time in Laramie as a great experience.
“I’ve grown as a person, I have a better idea of who I am and who I want to be,” he said. “I know I want to be in a position to help people.”
Roascio grew up playing basketball and football, with the latter being his favorite sport. As a sophomore, he was the leading rusher on San Benito’s junior varsity team, but the following summer he decided to focus on track year-round.
It was on the basketball court—of all places—where Roascio realized he had a gift for speed.
“Playing basketball during lunch breaks, I noticed I was a little bit faster than most people,” he said. “I wasn’t good at basketball, but I could get up and down the court pretty quick.”
One of his all-time best highlights at San Benito came in a dual league meet against Salinas in 2010. The Haybalers needed to win the last event of the day—the 4×400 relay—to beat the Cowboys.
However, Salinas’ anchor runner had a 50-meter lead when Roasico received the baton from his teammate.
No problem. Somehow, someway, Roascio caught up to and passed the Salinas runner, sealing a thrilling 73-63 win. Once Roascio crossed the finish line, he was swarmed by his teammates in a scene of pandemonium.
“That was a very intense meet with a lot of emotions riding high,” he said.
In the April 27, 2010 edition of the Free Lance, San Benito track and field coach Iran White talked about Roascio’s potential as a freshman, the same year Roascio had his tonsils taken out early in the season before a hamstring injury put him out for the remainder of the season.
“I could see the potential even then,” White said. “We just had to wait until his sophomore year to start seeing it. He’s become a meticulous athlete on how he prepares himself. He knows that if you slack off during pregame warm-ups, your season can end. It’s happened to him before.”
Roascio displayed a mental toughness throughout his career. Later in the same article, Roascio talked about how he was able to learn from others in terms of calming himself down before and during a race for optimum peak performance.
“After a race, you might hear a guy say, ‘I could have done better I didn’t go out all the way because I was nervous,’” Roascio said. “You learn from that. … If you hold back, they’ll take it from you. Once you start worrying too much, that’s when you start messing up. You want to perform at your best and make sure you don’t lose that position. It’s not a fear. It’s like when you earn something, you don’t want to lose it because you worked for it.”
From his junior year on, Roascio displayed tremendous stamina and durability as well. In the Top 8 Track and Field Classic during his junior year, Roascio competed in four events, all in the sprint category.
When it comes to his personal life and athletic career, Roascio knows how to separate the two. Whatever is affecting him personally, Roascio never brings it to the track.
That’s why Roascio had a spectacular junior year at San Benito, honoring his mother with his actions on the track along with off it (he had a cumulative 3.97 GPA).
“My mom wasn’t able to go to a lot of my meets because she was sick,” Roascio said. “But my dad would go watch and tell her everything that happened afterward. I know she was very proud of me.”
Along with so many others.

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