By Dennis Roy and Bright Xiao
After an exciting season for New Hyde Park student-athletes, the teams' dedication and hard work has led to notable achievements. Specifically in winter track and field, senior Shawn Carlson, senior Joey Hoffer, junior Vallerya Rojas and junior Betzy Salmeron have broken the school records in their respective events: boys 300-meter, girls 1500-meter, boys 600-meter and girls 600-meter.
After a successful soccer season as captain, senior Shawn Carlson jumped into winter track as a sprinter, running the 300-meter, 55-meter and 4x200-meter events. At the Freedom Games, Carlson got 37.52 seconds for the boy’s 300-meter, becoming the new holder of the New Hyde Park school record for this event.
“My experience in high school sports has been truly amazing. I just came off an amazing soccer season where I led my team to the playoffs. I won All-Conference and am looking to win All-County. I have also made a lot of new friendships,” Carlson said.
“It’s inspiring to see how people can break records no matter where they are in their high school career,” senior teammate Luke Jacob said.
Source by Areej Zaidi
Shawn Carlson, Betzy Salmeron, Joey Hoffer and Vallerya Rojas hold up W's symbolizing their achievements following a successful track season.
Junior Vallerya Rojas broke the girl’s 1500-meter record at the Nassau Coaches Invitational, with a notable time of 5:18.81. Earlier this year, Rojas had been named an All-County Cross Country athlete, allowing her to participate in the Nike Championship state qualifiers. Now in winter track and field, many would argue that she has remained worthy of her title.
“It’s an enjoyable experience. It has taught me to push myself more than I thought I ever could. This sport has taught me so many things about mental and physical strength and most importantly, discipline. I’m excited to have broken this record because I worked hard to achieve it. I will continue breaking my record in the future,” Rojas said.
“I’m not surprised because of the hard work she puts inside and outside of practice,” junior teammate Matthew Chun said.
“It’s cool that she’s in 11th grade and broke the record. Who knows what she’ll do next year,” junior teammate Alec Dampman said.
Junior Betzy Salmeron broke the school 600-meter record for girls with a time of 1:49.12 at the Saint Anthony’s Conference III Championships, beating the previous record of 1:49.68. Along with her performance at the Armory beating the school girls speed medley relay record with Vallerya Rojas, Juila Lopez and Aleeya Gonzalez, she will be cemented in NHP record books.
“During the race, all I could think about was how much training I did and how badly I wanted it for myself. I didn’t really care all that much about breaking the record. I just wanted to prove to myself that I could go under 1:50. It was hard but definitely worth it,” Salmeron said.
Senior Joey Hoffer, an accomplished runner and soccer player, broke the previous school’s 600-meter record. His new record of 1:30.42 at the Saint Anthony’s Conference III Championships has guaranteed him a spot in NHP history.
"Before the race, I felt anxious, so I had to calm myself. I knew I had to push myself as hard as I could and was already dead by 400 meters, so for the last 200 meters, I just tried to get to the finish line the best I could. Once I reached the line, I fell on the floor and was completely exhausted. I got myself up, looked up at the time, and saw I didn’t break my 1:30 goal. I knew I got second place in the conference and beat my pr, which I was really happy about. I didn’t know I had broken the school record until my teammates and coach told me afterward. I collapsed when I got back to the stands and took a nice nap, and then I got up and cheered on the rest of my team," Hoffer said.
“It is exciting for an athlete to achieve something like breaking a school record. Many records have been up for multiple years, and it pushes and motivates athletes on the team to achieve something, trying to get their names on the wall. The future is bright for the team and the school. We hope to get more students involved and have the drive to work to improve. As individuals progress, the team progresses. The excitement for the sport is coming back here, and we hope it brings more records, individual championships, and team championships,” Coach Buith said.
After a record-breaking season, this new wave of athletes has definitely secured their spot in NHP archives. With their amount of success thus far, many would argue the future is limitless.